​Do solar panels worth the investment?

34 Replies

Do solar panels worth the investment?

Since solar energy is a kind of free and clean energy.So we've been looking into ways to cut our electric bill and was thinking about getting some quotes for solar panels.

Has anyone done this? Is it worth it? How much did it end up costing and how long do you think it took before you recouped your cost?

I recently called a solar panel company and here is what I can tell you.  

I would have to spend about $15,000 minimum in order to save on average $40-$50 per month on my utility bill.  Its about a 12-15yr pay back to recoup your initial investment.  

If you ever have to say take them down and have them put back up for any reason its about $2,000-$3,000.  Example would be you are putting on a new roof and had to remove and re-install.  

I like the idea but thats a long pay back time with so little savings.  Maybe if it was say $100 minimum savings.

No, with the current technology available and the price, they are not worth installing to lower your electeic bill. They are, however, good if you want to lower your carbon footprint and save the environment.

Christopher

@Jing Wei

I will tell you that I was an early adopter of Solar Panels and I took advantage of some pretty hefty rebates/incentives at both the state and federal level.  I installed a 8.4KW system (42 panels with the technology of the day) and have had the system in place for 7 years now.

The decision to move forward for me had lots to do with the fact that I have a large family, pool, and we run the AC a bit...so I would have electricity bills in the summer that would hit over $600/month.

My system ended up costing $31K but I knew that I would be staying in my home for some time so I was OK with the 8 year breakeven.  I haven't had to pay much of any electricity bills and we now don't worry about running the AC or worrying about too many lights being left on (although I'm still after the kids to turn off the lights! :) ).

I'm a huge fan and it has been great for us!

Good luck!

Gil

Originally posted by @Christopher Brainard :

No, with the current technology available and the price, they are not worth installing to lower your electeic bill. They are, however, good if you want to lower your carbon footprint and save the environment.

Christopher

 Give uninformed opinions much?  There are parts of the country (Northern) where the numbers don't make as much sense as others  but in Las Vegas? BS.  I'm in Norcal and i'm making about 15% on my money.  My initial outlay was 27k but after rebates I'm out of pocket about 19k.  I put in an 8kw system and I have no power bill, zero, nada, PG&E owes me money.  There was unexpected savings from lowering my heating costs as well.  I have a 3000 sqft house and heating that all day long with propane is a huge waste of money, I work from home.  We picked up some electric room heaters and only heat what is needed saving us another $500-$1000 a year.  Add in an EV (BMW i3) that costs us nothing to charge and we save even more vs a comparable car.

So, if you think that 15% RISK FREE return on your money is a bad deal, then I guess solar panels don't make sense.  However, I see people on here all the time saying $100 per door is what they look for in a rental.  What is the down payment cost to buy that house?  I guess if your in Ohio I could have bought a house for the 19k I spent but in California that doesn't even get me a down payment and i'm saving almost $300 a month with no tenant or repairs!  It's all about cash flow, doesn't matter where it comes from.  I'm pretty confident power costs are going up not down in the future, making the return on investment increase each year.

Now, you may also want to claim that you won't get that money back when you sell...wrong again.  Google is your friend.  Not only will you get back basically dollar per dollar spent, but your house will sell faster.

I'm planning to eventually turn my current house into an upscale rental for Doctors etc, I'll be able to charge more rent vs a comparable house.  If claiming solar power/no power bill doesn't justify that increased rent in tenants mind I'll simply increase the rent and tell them "electrical utilities included in Rent".

This post has been removed.

@Lee S - you bring up a great point that sometimes the best investments are "improvements or changes" to an investment, and not the investment itself. 

For example, your "improvement" of solar panels is "earning" you 15% per year (maybe more if you factor in resale value of the building you installed them on.) I live in Maine, so solar panels would be as intelligent for me as pre-paying my electric bill for 70 seventy years! But putting low flow showerheads in my rental units is shown to be about a 1 year payback. That's enormous! Not in absolute dollars, but in percentage return, off-the-chart. Same with heating upgrades, insulation, etc. if you live in the Northeast or PNW.

One thing I think you touched on is that if you install a big enough system, you can "amplify" your return by switching to electric everything. Heat pump water heaters (or at least hybrid), mini split central AC/heat units, etc. And of course, your electric car sweetens the deal. Great post. Unfortunately, the sarcasm diminished the impact a little. Not a judgment...I've been known to "diminish the impact" in my own life every other day some weeks!!

It depends on your state. In Virginia it is not worth it. In Massachusetts, Maryland and DC is is absolutely worth it. The reason why is those locations have higher electrical rates and they pay top dollar for SREC's which is like a stock that the power company buys back from you (bonus money for generating electricity) in those states the payback is in under 7 years. You can also sell directly back to the companies in some of these states so if it's a rental you can either sell it to the tenant (so they still pay utilities) or to the electric company.

In general, they are not worth it yet without subsidies.

The factors that would determine if it were a good idea:

1. Subsidies on capital cost of installation

2. Energy cost savings based on rate structure of your retail electric rate

#2 will be driven by your retail provider's wholesale provider's rates, and therefore depends heavily on the market you are located in. 

Depending on the size of the project compared to your electric demand, the project may generate more than the load of your property during some hours. There are different ways this in handled depending what state & regulatory body you are in. 

The most favorable handling is "net metering," which allows you to offset your usage from other hours within a period (usually month). This is favorable because the retail energy rate you are offsetting typically also includes some fixed cost recovery. 

Another common method is paying you "avoided cost," which indicates the credit you get in those hours is not based on your retail energy rate, but rather the actual avoided cost of energy that hour. This will be lower than the credit you would get from net metering. 

Solar is absolutely worth it, if your property is in a state that is favorable to diversified energy solutions. Big utilities are working with state legislatures to penalize customers for going solar by hitting them with extra taxes or blocking their ability to obtain alternate solutions such as PPA's (Power Purchase Agreements).

With a PPA, the system is installed at no cost to the property owner and the panels are owned and maintained by the solar company. The customer then pays the power portion of their electric bill to the solar company and pays the line portion to the electric utility. Electric bills are currently in two portions anyway, so this isn't a change. The big question is how much you may save off of your current bill.

The average savings is 20%, but my son has had customers with offsets as high as 99%, and I have a friend who lives on Cape Cod whose solar panels generate more electricity than she uses, so the utility bus the excess from her and sends her a check quarterly.

Some states do not yet have agreements in place to allow PPA's. If the property in question is in one of those states you'll have to purchase it outright and the average cost is approx. $25K. It's also possible that your house may not be suitable for solar. My son is in the industry, but I do not have solar because I have a contemporary style home with only a north facing roof, and I have 30' trees about 25' from that side of the house. That means my roof doesn't get enough sunlight for it to be good for solar. If I could pick the second floor of my house up and turn it to face the south from which I get lots of sun, I'd go solar in a heartbeat. As I look at investment properties, one of the criteria of importance to me is whether or not the property is suitable for solar.

Do yourself a favor - get some quotes for reputable solar companies like Sunrun and Solarcity. The information is free and you'll be better positioned to make  decision that's right for you.

Good luck.

Kathy

Originally posted by @Kenneth LaVoie :

@Lee S - you bring up a great point that sometimes the best investments are "improvements or changes" to an investment, and not the investment itself. 

For example, your "improvement" of solar panels is "earning" you 15% per year (maybe more if you factor in resale value of the building you installed them on.) I live in Maine, so solar panels would be as intelligent for me as pre-paying my electric bill for 70 seventy years! But putting low flow showerheads in my rental units is shown to be about a 1 year payback. That's enormous! Not in absolute dollars, but in percentage return, off-the-chart. Same with heating upgrades, insulation, etc. if you live in the Northeast or PNW.

One thing I think you touched on is that if you install a big enough system, you can "amplify" your return by switching to electric everything. Heat pump water heaters (or at least hybrid), mini split central AC/heat units, etc. And of course, your electric car sweetens the deal. Great post. Unfortunately, the sarcasm diminished the impact a little. Not a judgment...I've been known to "diminish the impact" in my own life every other day some weeks!!

I agree I could have responded without the sarcasm but sometimes I can't help myself. It was clear to me that the comment above was made with little to no research which was a little annoying. It's about ROI and what each investor would be happy with. Some are looking for 20-30% on rentals and are willing to strap on a bullet proof vest to collect the rent in order to achieve those numbers, that's not me. Outside of that, hard to match the return I'm getting on my solar panels with a completely passive, risk free investment. The momentum of Renewable s and Electric Vehicles is now unstoppable and I've made a pile of money investing in these areas in the last 2-3 years.

Originally posted by @Lee S. :
Originally posted by @Christopher Brainard:

No, with the current technology available and the price, they are not worth installing to lower your electeic bill. They are, however, good if you want to lower your carbon footprint and save the environment.

Christopher

 Give uninformed opinions much?  There are parts of the country (Northern) where the numbers don't make as much sense as others  but in Las Vegas? BS.  I'm in Norcal and i'm making about 15% on my money.  My initial outlay was 27k but after rebates I'm out of pocket about 19k.  I put in an 8kw system and I have no power bill, zero, nada, PG&E owes me money.  There was unexpected savings from lowering my heating costs as well.  I have a 3000 sqft house and heating that all day long with propane is a huge waste of money, I work from home.  We picked up some electric room heaters and only heat what is needed saving us another $500-$1000 a year.  Add in an EV (BMW i3) that costs us nothing to charge and we save even more vs a comparable car.

So, if you think that 15% RISK FREE return on your money is a bad deal, then I guess solar panels don't make sense.  However, I see people on here all the time saying $100 per door is what they look for in a rental.  What is the down payment cost to buy that house?  I guess if your in Ohio I could have bought a house for the 19k I spent but in California that doesn't even get me a down payment and i'm saving almost $300 a month with no tenant or repairs!  It's all about cash flow, doesn't matter where it comes from.  I'm pretty confident power costs are going up not down in the future, making the return on investment increase each year.

Now, you may also want to claim that you won't get that money back when you sell...wrong again.  Google is your friend.  Not only will you get back basically dollar per dollar spent, but your house will sell faster.

I'm planning to eventually turn my current house into an upscale rental for Doctors etc, I'll be able to charge more rent vs a comparable house.  If claiming solar power/no power bill doesn't justify that increased rent in tenants mind I'll simply increase the rent and tell them "electrical utilities included in Rent".

I'm curious how you came up with 15%. Seeing I live in California and you can not make profit on solar that you give back to the power company.

Yes you can reduce your bill but you still have to pay taxes on the electricity you use first then they credit only for the usage not the taxes. Also there is a meter fee that has to be paid for.

The most I have heard anyone saving here is somewhere around 75% of there total consumption. Unless you installed it and paid for it your self first. The most a installer is allowed to install is equal to your highest month of usage multiplied by 12. 

How much are you paying for maintanace? Do you have a battery system for when power fails?

These things cost money solar panels need to be cleaned once a month to get the most out of you panels. You need to keep snow off of them in the winter if you live where it snows. They should be check by a qualified solar person to verify that they are working properly and giving maximum output.  solar panels fail what is that cost to you. They also only have a twenty year life cycle.  What is you annual net loss for your panels. 

 With all of that I think solar is a great product. I just don't think it is as efficiant as it sould be or can be. The only reason solar works now is because it has so many rebates. If you took them away not as many people would get them when it take ten years to recoupe their cost. Most people move with in that time. I believe that most people would not buy a system that is only working at 25-75% of what it was intended to run at. Also knowing that they have a major replacement coming up. 

 This why the Biggs are selling lease agreements. To put solar on your house or business. Because they get free space to install them and they reap all the rewards of solar. They get your rebates. They can sell what you don't use because they are set up as power company wholesalers. They can make profit on your system on your property. This why when you sell if your buyer does not qualify you have to pay the remaining balance owed when you sale. 

 You also do not have power when the power fails. Because the system is dependent on electricity to work. There are battery tie systems that will allow your system to work if power fails but no rebates for them. On average a grid tie system is between 2-3 Dollars per watt for residential and 5-6 dollars for businesses. To add a battery system it will almost double the cost. Then there is the space you need to give up for the batteries and the maintanace that will be needed for them.  

Gil Estupinan

I have almost the identical system, cost & time. I have a 7.5kW ground mount system that has been installed 7-8 years with no issues. After rebates the cost was about $32k. In the summer months my electric bill is a monthly credit and its drawn against in the winter months. Our utility, PG&E does a once a year true up on the account. I have to adult aged kids living at home who waste energy so my bill is not 0. I too am a big fan of solar. If it was just my wife and I at home I would probably have a net income on my electric.

I see advertisements now were companies say they will save you 20% on your electric (!) What a ripoff that is. So I guess it really depends on your approach buy/lease and the company you choose.

Brian

The short answer is Almost nothing else you could do except maybe

invest in Gold or Silver right now, food or guns, could give your family

more security, safety and comfort, improve and increase the value of

your home and give you more return than adding solar. Consider solar

water heating at the same time, as well.  _greenearl

These fellows above, for the mos part, know the cost of everything

and the value of nothing. 

Originally posted by @Stephen Joyner :
Originally posted by @Lee S.:
Originally posted by @Christopher Brainard:

No, with the current technology available and the price, they are not worth installing to lower your electeic bill. They are, however, good if you want to lower your carbon footprint and save the environment.

Christopher

 Give uninformed opinions much?  There are parts of the country (Northern) where the numbers don't make as much sense as others  but in Las Vegas? BS.  I'm in Norcal and i'm making about 15% on my money.  My initial outlay was 27k but after rebates I'm out of pocket about 19k.  I put in an 8kw system and I have no power bill, zero, nada, PG&E owes me money.  There was unexpected savings from lowering my heating costs as well.  I have a 3000 sqft house and heating that all day long with propane is a huge waste of money, I work from home.  We picked up some electric room heaters and only heat what is needed saving us another $500-$1000 a year.  Add in an EV (BMW i3) that costs us nothing to charge and we save even more vs a comparable car.

So, if you think that 15% RISK FREE return on your money is a bad deal, then I guess solar panels don't make sense.  However, I see people on here all the time saying $100 per door is what they look for in a rental.  What is the down payment cost to buy that house?  I guess if your in Ohio I could have bought a house for the 19k I spent but in California that doesn't even get me a down payment and i'm saving almost $300 a month with no tenant or repairs!  It's all about cash flow, doesn't matter where it comes from.  I'm pretty confident power costs are going up not down in the future, making the return on investment increase each year.

Now, you may also want to claim that you won't get that money back when you sell...wrong again.  Google is your friend.  Not only will you get back basically dollar per dollar spent, but your house will sell faster.

I'm planning to eventually turn my current house into an upscale rental for Doctors etc, I'll be able to charge more rent vs a comparable house.  If claiming solar power/no power bill doesn't justify that increased rent in tenants mind I'll simply increase the rent and tell them "electrical utilities included in Rent".

I'm curious how you came up with 15%. Seeing I live in California and you can not make profit on solar that you give back to the power company.

Yes you can reduce your bill but you still have to pay taxes on the electricity you use first then they credit only for the usage not the taxes. Also there is a meter fee that has to be paid for.

The most I have heard anyone saving here is somewhere around 75% of there total consumption. Unless you installed it and paid for it your self first. The most a installer is allowed to install is equal to your highest month of usage multiplied by 12. 

How much are you paying for maintanace? Do you have a battery system for when power fails?

These things cost money solar panels need to be cleaned once a month to get the most out of you panels. You need to keep snow off of them in the winter if you live where it snows. They should be check by a qualified solar person to verify that they are working properly and giving maximum output.  solar panels fail what is that cost to you. They also only have a twenty year life cycle.  What is you annual net loss for your panels. 

 With all of that I think solar is a great product. I just don't think it is as efficiant as it sould be or can be. The only reason solar works now is because it has so many rebates. If you took them away not as many people would get them when it take ten years to recoupe their cost. Most people move with in that time. I believe that most people would not buy a system that is only working at 25-75% of what it was intended to run at. Also knowing that they have a major replacement coming up. 

 This why the Biggs are selling lease agreements. To put solar on your house or business. Because they get free space to install them and they reap all the rewards of solar. They get your rebates. They can sell what you don't use because they are set up as power company wholesalers. They can make profit on your system on your property. This why when you sell if your buyer does not qualify you have to pay the remaining balance owed when you sale. 

 You also do not have power when the power fails. Because the system is dependent on electricity to work. There are battery tie systems that will allow your system to work if power fails but no rebates for them. On average a grid tie system is between 2-3 Dollars per watt for residential and 5-6 dollars for businesses. To add a battery system it will almost double the cost. Then there is the space you need to give up for the batteries and the maintanace that will be needed for them.  

 What it looks like to me is that you have your mind made up in advance (anti solar) then search out or state opinions in an attempt to back up that stance.  I'll try to answer your questions one at a time.  I had a post in another solar thread recently that answered some of these same questions:

For starters, my system cost $27k and change (less than 28k) cash completely installed for an 8kw system. After my 30% tax rebate, I was out of pocket ~$19,700. You can not say "without rebates it doesn't make sense" because the rebates exist, therefore you calculate them in to your return. That would be like saying "you can't count rental income in your ROI for your rental properties". A tax credit dollar is good everywhere a W2 dollar is :) As solar costs come down and rebates disappear while electricity costs increase, solar will continue to be a great investment moving forward.

I'm not getting paid by PG&E, my return is 100% based on not paying an electric bill and a reduction in my propane bill.  You are suppose to tru up once a year but I must have filled out my paperwork incorrectly.  PG&E owes me money (they send a statement every month) but they have never sent me a check.  Not worth my time right now to figure out why, it stays as a credit (shown on my statement) on my acct so it's not lost.  My combined savings for electricity and propane a year is ~4k (3000 sqft house with full sun exposure).  Add in the additional 2k I'm now saving by driving an EV and what is my full return?  I was conservative with 15%.  This is not including the money PG&E owes me.

There is no "maintenance" on panels, there are no moving parts and everything is warrantied for at least a decade (inverters).  How much maintenance do you do on the wiring in your house?

I haven't figured out the best way to wash them yet, but mine have stayed fairly clean and producing well so i'm not that concerned.  Worse case is I climb on a latter once a year and spend 15 minutes cleaning them.  Up till now I just grab a hose and spray them off.  This also works well for snow also though I only live at 2k feet so snow disappears very quickly.  They are also very smooth so snow slides off of them almost immediately.  Let's make a comparison, do investment properties require maintenance?  Could the value of that investment decrease?  Yes and Yes.

I've lived in my current house for 4+ years and my power has been out for a total of maybe 1 minute other than 1-2 scheduled maintenance days that we were notified of ahead of time.  What do you do with your non solar house when the power goes out?  You see, you're in the same boat :)  Nonsensical argument.

My panels are guaranteed to be producing 80-85% at year 25 which is pretty much the industry standard, so much for the 25-75%.  At that point in time, the panels will have paid for themselves 4-8x over and will continue to produce for decades beyond that.  How is that you say?  Do you think electricity is going to get cheaper in the future?  My yearly return will increase as electricity rates increase.  http://energyinformative.org/solar-panel-warranty-comparison/

Batteries are currently not worth the cost based on my time spent without power and the fact that you I can't do significant rate arbitrage. However, As far as space and cost of batteries, Tesla alone is solving that issue and other companies will try to follow.  http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall

A quick google search will also provide the information you need on home resale value.  You will be disappointed to see that the value of your home increases ~dollar for dollar the cost of the system AND will typically sell quicker than an equal non solar home.  So, if you want to sell you will not lose your money, even more true if you factor in the percentage of the system that has already paid for itself at the time you sell.   These studies are based on sold homes, very solid data.  http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2011/04/21/bright-spot-for-solar/

I personally would never lease the panels, however, since a majority of people live pay check to pay check they have no other choice.  In this situation, getting a slight reduction on your bill and going green is a win win for everyone, just not a big financial win for the home owner but it's not a loss either.  Some people actually care about things other than money, the environment being one of those things.

You might as well get on board or be left in the past, your choice.  I provided my data and links. show me yours?  :)

 Look You think I'm bad mouthing solar your wrong. I just think that it's not what all the hype of it says.  What I am saying if there was not any incentives then your return on investments would not make sense. Look at 19k for cost and let's say you are saving 4k a year it would take just four years to break even. Now let's say it was 28k it would take seven years to break even. With that being said the average length someone owns a home is 6 years in califonia and 11 in the rest of the U.S.  So you would truly only benefit from solar after you have paid for it.  Solar panel are a deprecating asset they don't increase over time like your property does. There really is no roi for solar. Because they will be worth nothing in 20 years. Yes you may save 4k a year and after 4-7 years you may save still save 4k a year for the next 16 years. So you  potentially could make 65k if you save every penny that was saved from the 4k savings after  you paid back the 19k. By then Its time to be think about buying new panels. 

What if you sell before it is paid for. You still have to pay it back unless you used cash. Then you are out the cash hope your appreciated more then you spent on solar. For your thinking your going to sell your house for more money because you have solar your dead wrong. The only way you will sell your house for more money is if the buyer sees it as value to the property. By the way the average buyer is not going to give half of what you paid for it. Its like a car paid 20k only can get 10k for it. Also call an appraiser ask them what they will appease it for when selling your house it will be somewhere around 25% of cost at best. Unless they see it as value. It is like a pool cost you 40k to put in but maybe 10k to value. If it is a lease system it adds nothing to the value to the house. You can google that one. 

 As for life span here what LG one of the largest producer of solar panels says about life span. Here are the links I also provided another one.  http://energyinformative.org/lifespan-solar-panels...

https://www.lgenergy.com.au/faq/solar-panels/when-...

Here is some more info on being green and solar panels. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/positive-negative-eff...

http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/solar-en...

I have work and contracted over the last twenty years in the electrical industry. Even my industry believes that solar is not a cost effective means of power. In the future it will be. You can look at this way. The technology that we see today is the same as we saw when fluorescent was replacing the filament light bulb. Now we have led. Solar is in the same place that fluorescent was. Soon it will be where we are with led Technology cheaper and more efficient. I believe solar is the future of electrical power generation. When we get there we will see power companies acting as grid shifters then power suppliers. They will pushing power from one grid onto another grid to meet that demand. 

Originally posted by @Stephen Joyner :

 Look You think I'm bad mouthing solar your wrong. I just think that it's not what all the hype of it says.  What I am saying if there was not any incentives then your return on investments would not make sense. Look at 19k for cost and let's say you are saving 4k a year it would take just four years to break even. Now let's say it was 28k it would take seven years to break even. With that being said the average length someone owns a home is 6 years in califonia and 11 in the rest of the U.S.  So you would truly only benefit from solar after you have paid for it.  Solar panel are a deprecating asset they don't increase over time like your property does. There really is no roi for solar. Because they will be worth nothing in 20 years. Yes you may save 4k a year and after 4-7 years you may save still save 4k a year for the next 16 years. So you  potentially could make 65k if you save every penny that was saved from the 4k savings after  you paid back the 19k. By then Its time to be think about buying new panels. 

What if you sell before it is paid for. You still have to pay it back unless you used cash. Then you are out the cash hope your appreciated more then you spent on solar. For your thinking your going to sell your house for more money because you have solar your dead wrong. The only way you will sell your house for more money is if the buyer sees it as value to the property. By the way the average buyer is not going to give half of what you paid for it. Its like a car paid 20k only can get 10k for it. Also call an appraiser ask them what they will appease it for when selling your house it will be somewhere around 25% of cost at best. Unless they see it as value. It is like a pool cost you 40k to put in but maybe 10k to value. If it is a lease system it adds nothing to the value to the house. You can google that one. 

 As for life span here what LG one of the largest producer of solar panels says about life span. Here are the links I also provided another one.  http://energyinformative.org/lifespan-solar-panels...

https://www.lgenergy.com.au/faq/solar-panels/when-...

Here is some more info on being green and solar panels. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/positive-negative-eff...

http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/solar-en...

I have work and contracted over the last twenty years in the electrical industry. Even my industry believes that solar is not a cost effective means of power. In the future it will be. You can look at this way. The technology that we see today is the same as we saw when fluorescent was replacing the filament light bulb. Now we have led. Solar is in the same place that fluorescent was. Soon it will be where we are with led Technology cheaper and more efficient. I believe solar is the future of electrical power generation. When we get there we will see power companies acting as grid shifters then power suppliers. They will pushing power from one grid onto another grid to meet that demand. 

 Thanks for the links, they back up exactly what i'm saying.  Panel efficiency slowly degrades but it doesn't drop to zero over night at any point.  The link I gave above, that you also linked makes this exact point so i'm not sure you actually read anything other than the title.  If you scroll down, it states that panels will be making significant power 30-40 years later, which means they will continue to make power after that as well.  Here is the link for the 3rd time:

http://energyinformative.org/lifespan-solar-panels...

I see no negative Solar views in the other 3 links either.  Yes, one company was polluting but that has nothing to do with solar and everything to do with the polluting company. There are bad companies throughout manufacturing, regardless of what they are making.

If you had read my link regarding home prices, you would see that your argument that the home does not sell for more is not true, I'll link again:

http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solar-panel...

The reason that people will buy a house and pay more for the solar panels is the previous owner did them a favor, which was to pay the cash up front to have them installed.  Now the next owner can simply purchase them with a home loan because they are part of the house.   What does 20k extra on a home loan cost on a monthly basis?  How much does Solar save you on electricity costs?  It's free money in this situation, you're paying 4-5% on the 20k additional home loan and saving 15%.

I am not claiming that you can spend 20k for a solar system and turn around and sell the house for 40k more, feel free to quote where I said this. The data shows that you can get 20k more for that house than a comparable home without Solar, meaning you get your original 20k back. In some cases you will get slightly more than it cost you to put the system on the house. Remember, most people can't save 2 nickels and struggle to save up a 5% down payment to buy a house. The Numbers would be different with a lease situation but that is irrelevant to the discussion because the seller of that home did not come out of pocket for those panels. Therefore, if you paid cash, you are getting a ROI on your investment.

The pool comparison was made in the other thread I posted in recently.  They are not the same because a pool is not a necessity.  A house with a pool will cost you more to live in than a house without a pool, the exact opposite of Solar.  Electricity would be considered a necessity in our 1st world, a pool is a luxury.  This is like comparing a Honda accord (house with no pool) that gets you wherever you need to be perfectly fine, against a Mercedes (house with a pool) that gets you to wherever you need to be but makes you feel better about yourself on the way and is a more comfortable (opinions for arguments sake, not necessarily mine).  Some people see value in paying for the Mercedes, but it isn't financial.

You don't need to be an electrical engineer to see the value in Solar, all the data is in the links provided above.  Therefore, the only conclusion I can come to when someone is "anti solar" is that they have an agenda (tied financially to carbon), or they haven't bothered to do honest research.

Bookmarking this discussion with its nice collection of links, and also posting this informative site again http://www.solarpowerrocks.com/ that gives a nice state-by-state summary of various solar-friendly incentives of various sorts. I'm not affiliated with this site, but found it a useful compilation.

As I understand it, the larger your system is the faster the typical payback period. 

One reason solar is not "exciting" to electricians is they should have already

taken the conservation measures, added solar hot water heating (water

tanks are batteries here folks) that store hot water (energy) for later use.

I have hot water heating systems, installed in the mid eighties all over the

high desert, you've seen my work in Lancaster. Palmdale, Little Rock 

and Southern California.  Make solar the dual savings it should be, solar

domestic hot water heating and solar electric BANG you win. Even in

Germany you win.  Yet you so called "experts" never mention it. Electricians

don't usually do plumbing and plumbers shy away from electricians.

Any good solar company worth it's weight has pro's and equipment

standing by to do both.  Now, finally you are down,  talking with "EXPERTS"

_greenearl

Look I am not anti solar or anti green. I have been and still stand by my thoughts that without rebates or governmentally insentives that solar does not make sense. The technology is not where it should be or could be.

Unfortunately its not worth it. Energy companies around the country are unilaterally killing solar by deciding to charge new "grid" fees that make the numbers look terrible. Leases actually decrease the resale value of your home. Here is an interesting article about what is happening in AZ:

AZ solar

  1. Great Post I like the Pros and Cons.
  2. I totally agree it depends on a few factors.
  3. What state your in and can you afford it and when is the pay back.
  4. I purchased my solar system in Jan 2015.  
  5. I will never have to pay for electric again as along as I live in my house.
  6. The federal Govt provides 30% incentive and the Mass provided me $2,500.

I also get SRECs as mentioned in this string of replies. One SREC equates to one mega of power produced which is worth $295.  I project 10 SRECs per year. $2,950 per year.  SRECs are good in my state for 10 years then the program ends.  About six months ago our electric power went up by 20%.  I was paying average $250 for electric.  This is a savings of $3,000 per year.  $2,950 + $3,000 = $5,950 savings per year.  After all incentives my system cost $29,500.  $29,500/$5,950 = under 5 years payback.  Shorter payback if energy cost go up further.

  1. I have 27 panels.  8.829 KWH system
  2. The SRECs money saved I will use to pay for heating cost.
  3. I have natural gas heating system.  We can not sell excess electric back instead we can bank the savings.  I plan to bank enough with the electric company to use portable electric heaters to augment my heating system in the winter.

When I go to sell my house and show no electric bill and if I move out before the 10 years, then the new owner gets the benefit of the SRECs.  What is the added value when to my house when I go to sell it??

I can not say enough about solar.  I have a spreadsheet and I capture my progress.

I project not to have to pay for electric as long as I live in my house and not have to pay for heat for ten years from the SRECs produced for producing clean energy.

    I wish our state had SRECs. That makes a huge difference. But it's still a good investment here in B+ WI.  (16th in the US from the link I shared earlier)

    A+ MA and NY are the top two states in the country for solar!

    Originally posted by @Serge S. :

    Unfortunately its not worth it. Energy companies around the country are unilaterally killing solar by deciding to charge new "grid" fees that make the numbers look terrible. Leases actually decrease the resale value of your home. Here is an interesting article about what is happening in AZ:

    AZ solar

    I'm sure there are areas in the country where politics will make solar less advantageous in the short term, carbon based companies are fighting for their lives and the have deep pockets and numerous lobbyists.  I don't have a problem paying a monthly fee to help cover the upkeep of the grid, this is the big complaint from non solar residents.

    I read most of the article you linked, and as I said up thread, I'm not sure that leased panels add any value to a house because anyone can go down and add those and there is no money out of pocket.  Why should the person that installed lease panels get to cash in on those 5-10 years early?  I know I had no interest in a lease because "psychologically" I was still having to pay for my power, even at a reduced rate.  From the same article, if owned panels are  increasing home values by 4-6% that goes right with what Livermore lab found in their study of sold comps.

    I never put much weight into one person's "opinion" vs a study of hundreds/thousands of sold comps which is the reality.

    I installed solar (bought 5.25kw outright) for 21k (15k after subsidy) and offset my bill and absorbed charging electric car. With time of use metering, I give electricity to grid at $ .20 and .32 and consume at 0.13. It turns out this year I consumed more than my production yet got net zero bill. Amounts involved as so small that talking about ROI is inconsequential compared to real estate here ;).

    So go solar it is good way to offset energy costs in california.

    https://www.californiasolarstatistics.ca.gov/ is a good record of solar installations in california.

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