After 3 years of agonizing and wishful thinking, we installed solar panels on our home. Earlier this week, we flipped the switch and powered up the 35 panel array that will provide nearly 85% of the electrical usage for the house.
Why solar? There are many reasons, from wanting to be more environmentally aware and lessen our carbon footprint to the bottom line: dollars and cents. How much could I save on my electric bill? How long would it take me to recoup my costs and will it increase my property value? With Federal and State tax incentives paying for a third of the installation cost of the system, the electric bill savings, and the ability to sell the Solar/Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), we calculated that the system would save us the equivalent of a mortgage payment each year and pay for itself in approximately five years.
Solar panels also add long term value to your house. According to a study in California released in April 2011, between 2000 and 2009, houses with solar panels installed sold at a premium of $17,000 over similar houses with no solar panels (Source: Berkeley National Labs). There are two ways to install solar panels: lease and purchase. With leased panels, solar companies rent you the panels on your roof with little upfront costs and pass the energy savings onto you. Purchasing the panels has more upfront costs–but in addition to the energy cost savings, you are eligible for the Federal, State and local incentives, as well as owning the rights to the SRECs. Either way, it is a good way to add value to your home, and help the environment at the same time. At the end of the first day of use, we had generated more power than the house consumed and offset the equivalent of 46lbs of Carbon Dioxide in the air—the amount of CO2 absorbed by a fully grown tree over an entire year!
When thinking about solar power, keep this in mind: Every time you generate more electricity than you consume, the remainder feeds back into the grid, spinning your meter backward. Additionally, every kilowatt you produce is a kilowatt that your local electric company is not producing, transporting, or billing you for. You can breathe easier in those hot summer months knowing that those reflective panels on the roof are keeping your electric bills colder than your house with the air conditioning set on frosty–and THAT is all the reason in the world to make the investment in solar.
What have you heard from your clients about Solar?
By Paul Stankus (Guest Blogger)