This blog is being developed as a collaborative, comprehensive resource for all things solar. Here you can search for information and upload articles in an ever-expanding library of knowledge, news, innovations, experiences and conversations. Whether you’re a solar newbie or a renewable energy guru, we want your blog – enjoy!
There’s many ways to answer this question, and some answers may slant the argument heavily one way or the other. I’ll try to give you an unbiased way of looking at the issue.
First, let’s assume you’re in your house for the next 25-30 years, so we can ‘put a pin’ in the question of how much does it add to the home’s resale value (quite a bit, by the way – that will be covered in another blog later).
So most panels today are guaranteed to perform at 80% or better for the first 25 years – in fact Mage are now guaranteeing 30 year performance.
Let’s look at an average example: Medium sized house with a $200/month light bill. A safe assumption is an increase in utility rates of 3% per year (most people will agree on the 5% to 10% range). This means that as the owner of this house you have agreed to hand over more than $27,500 to the utility company in the next 10 years, with no choice (unless you like sitting in the dark with no A/C or heat).
But a photo-voltaic system that would generate enough electricity to get your bill to a ‘net zero’ will cost in the $50,000 to $70,000 range – let’s assume $60,000 for this example. There may be local utility company rebates available to reduce this amount quite a bit. But if not, there’s still currently the Federal Government Tax Credit for 30% of this figure – $18,000, which means you’ll have spent $42,000 for 25 years+ of electricity. If the panels all stop working 1 day after the 25 years is up, you will have paid $42,000 for over $110,000 worth of electricity (what the utility company will take from you whether you like it or not over the next 25 years). If the panels last for their expected life of around 40 years, you’ll be getting a whopping $180,000+ value for your $42,000 spend.
So it’s a ‘no-brainer’ – of course it’s worth doing. Who doesn’t like the idea of pocketing an extra $70,000 or so?
And regarding the argument that it’s $60,000 now, not spread out over years to come? – Finance it! – you didn’t write a check out for your house did you? – Any big ticket item like this is probably going to be financed.