Any solar panel experts here?

woohoomanJuly 2, 2014

If so, I'd like to get a few minutes of your time on what's the best way to go about getting mostly/or entirely, off the grid without it taking forever to recoup costs. It doesn't make sense to lease and it doesn't make sense to buy if it takes 20 years to recoup cost on a 25 year product.

Let's talk please.



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Annie Deighnaugh

I'm no expert, but I can tell you what we decided. We have a state subsidy which paid for about half the cost of our panels up to 5kw, so that's what we went with. To get the subsidy, it required us to be on the grid so we feed the system when we're not using the power we generate. We bank what we don't use, and then, come winter, we draw down the bank before we start paying for power. We don't want to be a net generator as they pay you wholesale, but you buy retail, so it really doesn't pay.

We also got a 30% tax credit off our income taxes for the solar panels, so we figure, assuming no electricity price increases, we have about a 10 yr payback. What other appliance actually pays you back? We also have geothermal heating/cooling, so our only fuel cost is electricity, so for us the panels really pay. If we were only using the electricity for lighting, it really wouldn't pay for us to go that way. We also live in the area of the country with the highest electricity costs, so the payback is worthwhile.

If you go off grid, then you have to think about batteries which are heavy, take up space, require maintenance and present their own environmental challenges.

If you get a qualified solar panel company, they will do all the calculations for you including what your subsidy will be, how efficient the panels are, how much you should expect from your location, etc. Just be careful as there are a lot of fly by night operations out there and the better business bureau has lots and lots of complaints so check with them first.

In our area, 3 towns got together and tried to get residents to do a quantity buy which brought the price of the panels down considerably too...they pre-selected the installer so you didn't have to do any shopping or comparisons....I think they ran it for about 4 months.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 8:32AM
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