Columbia family builds solar house

Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Many people are struggling to pay high energy bills, but one Midlands family is cutting costs, thanks to some changes around their West Columbia home.

Charles Schumpert, his wife and two college-age children are making lifestyle adjustments to be more energy efficient. Schumpert built a water heater made of used things, like an old sliding glass door, a storm door and a mirror.

He also installed 22 solar panels on the roof of his house. The power he generates is sold to SCE&G, but he then buys the power back at a standard rate. It's all part of a trade that is available through the PACE or Palmetto Clean Energy Program.

Overall, Schumpert says he's spent nearly $22,000, but it's worth it because he receives money back through federal and state tax credits.

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