TAMPA, Fla. — For years, solar panels were touted as an environmentally friendly and economic sound option for cutting energy costs.  

  • Nonprofit helps low income families obtain solar panels
  • Solar panels known to help cut down on utility bills
  • Initial set up cost can be very expensive

More and more Florida families are choosing to retrofit their homes with green technology, hoping to cut down their utility bills.  However, the initial cost to fit your home with solar panels comes at a steep price. 

A local nonprofit is stepping in to help families who might not be able to afford the switch. 

Solar Energy Loan Fund or 'SELF' was founded in order to help people who live on fixed incomes — like Jeff Siddons and his 90-year-old mother Dee Siddons.

"I'm expecting the bills to be probably 60 percent cheaper than they were and they were running $200 in the summer and $100 in the winter here," Jeff said. 

Not only do the solar panels help cut down on utility bills, they are also environmentally friendly. 

"We're concerned about the environment and anything we can do to cut down pollution is good," Jeff said. 

The low interest sustainable green lenders provide a low interest $7,700 loan to Dee Siddons to provide her with solar panels.  The money is part of $8 million in loans the nonprofit dispersed to about 1,000 families in underserved communities since 2011. 

"We want to see that these technologies be deployed to the people who really need them the most, but are least likely able to afford them," said Annie Vanek-Dasovich with SELF.