HARKER HEIGHTS — This year’s Solar CenTex customer appreciation event Saturday went beyond giving thanks — it was also a way to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Owner Scott Arey, a retired Army colonel, usually holds the annual party for his customers, now more than 300, but he didn’t feel like celebrating while thousands of people along the Texas Gulf Coast try to recover.

Instead his business hosted the “Solar Savings for Texans” fundraiser at it main office.

“What we said as a company is when people come in here and tell us what their savings are, we would donate that amount,” Arey said. The company will match their customers’ savings up to $10,000. “I hope this event raises awareness for others to give and we’re glad to do our part.”

Returning customers walked in and out all afternoon, like a solar reunion, sharing their saving stories and enjoying free hamburgers, hot dogs and salads.

Each customer wrote his or her monthly energy savings on the tally board ranging from $50 to more than $200. All of them were grateful the event was a fundraiser.

James Norman, of Killeen, got his solar installation in 2016 and recently became the first customer to add the LG back-up battery to his system.

“I had a 60 percent drop in electrical use and as of this February, I paid my last electrical bill,” Norman said. The fundraiser was a win-win for everyone, he added. “It’s a great way to get more people involved with helping others and it says a lot about the company.”

Temple residents David and Barb Dostal paid about $250 a month before solar power, but now only pay about $10 a month.

“We brag about our saving at work,” said David Dostal.

Both agreed the combined appreciation and fundraiser event was a fantastic idea. “Every little bit helps out in a time of need,” he said.

By the end of the day, Solar Centex raised $5,000 to donate to J.J. Watt’s Foundation for Harvey Relief, including a contribution from out of state. A solar installation company in Ohio, that keeps up with Solar Centex on Facebook, donated $100.

Besides the fundraiser, Solar Centex celebrated, for the third year, its ranking as one of the top solar contractors in the U.S., 371 out of 500, by Solar Power World magazine.

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