Rejecting Solar Power

 | March 3, 2009 1:40 PM

Previously I wrote a post called Considering Solar Power.  Around November of 2008 I heard someone in my area was trying to pool people together to install solar electric systems to get a 10% group discount.  I contacted him and then the salesman but after speaking with my real estate broker who did not think it was worth the investment I decided not to do it.

After learning that the latest federal budget had more incentives for installing solar, I called the REC Solar salesman, Max Greenberg, again and we had a meeting where he presented his solar electric system proposal.

Max is an easy going guy and the presentation was interesting and informative.  Since my electrical needs are rather modest he proposed installing the smallest system their company typically installs.  Still the cost comes out to over $10K after state rebate and federal tax credit.  The federal tax credit will be going up with Obama’s proposals but that is offset by the state rebate becoming smaller since November.

The payoff period for my system is about 15 years.  According to the proposal the first year home value appreciation is $7500, based on $1 in energy savings equals $20 in resale value.  I am sure my real estate broker would disagree with this.

In the end I decided not to do it because I just did not feel it was worth spending over $10K to save less than $400 in the first year.  In my opinion it makes more sense trying to cut down our energy use which does not cost anything but could potentially save as much.

I think if the payoff period had been eight years or less I would have done it.  For others that is the case because they use so much more electricity and the local utility charges more per kilowatt the more you use.

Below is a satellite photo of my house with a sketch by the solar salesman of where the solar panels would be installed on my house.  Since my house does not have much south facing roof space, half of the solar panels would have to be placed on the west facing roof.  The salesman said though that the drop in efficiency from south to west is about 5%.

Satellite Photo with Proposed Solar Installation

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