Solar Energy Use on the Rise, Says Local Business Owner

The push for clean, renewable energy has been going on for years, but now, one man in northeast Oklahoma says the United States may finally be catching up to other countries, when it comes to solar energy.

Just talking to Garret Roth, you get a feel for how passionate he is about what he does.

Roth is the co-owner of Sun City Solar Energy, which he runs off of his own property in Bixby.

After living through two energy crises and seeing the need for alternative energy, Roth set out to learn as much as he could about solar energy.

In 1983, he found one of the only solar energy companies in the country at the time and asked for a job. "I told him I'd work for free, just so I could learn about it and, of course, he hired me," Roth said.

Two years later, he started his own company. Now, Roth services customers all over the U.S.

With nations like Germany and China far ahead of the United States in solar energy development, Roth says Americans are slowly catching on to the benefits of this renewable source.

With last year being his biggest, yet, for installations, he says 2013 is looking to be even bigger.

"If the grid goes down, then you have stored energy in a battery bank. You don't have to run a generator, it powers up your critical needs in your home, or powers up your whole house," Roth said.

His company installs everything from battery back-up systems for when grid power goes out --- to solar systems that fully power an entire property.

Roth says he gets goose bumps, showing new customers how much they will be saving on electric bills and how self-reliant it could allow them to be. "You're not relying on a utility company. It's your own utility company. It's totally non-polluting, free energy and there's an abundance of it."

Roth's company has offices in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri.

He says prices can range from $2,000 to $100,000, depending on what the customer wants.