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Thanks Judi, interesting read. So were the rest of the series...like foraging. Good site
 

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I've researched Solar before - even if you got free labor, in our area, on our usage, it'd take 20 years to break even.

Prices need to come WAY down. :(
 

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I've researched Solar before - even if you got free labor, in our area, on our usage, it'd take 20 years to break even.

Prices need to come WAY down. :(
Same here in Wi. Even with all the rebates etc. We just don't get enough sun like California or Az.

However if I were designing a home I thought I was staying in for the rest of my life I would use geothermal and solar. Hubby cousin installs both for a living and has shown us how economical it is over the long hall but also how much less expensive and easier it is with new construction versus an older existing home.
 

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Solar Installation Costs

Hey all,

Thanks for posting the link to the solar co-op, I think it's called SEAREI now (that story's from 2008) but they're still around.

As a professional solar installer, I thought it would be worth chiming in about the cost of solar.

First, to be clear there are two types of solar systems you can install on your house - solar hot water and grid tied solar electric systems.

Solar hot water (also called solar thermal) works by using the sun to heat up a storage tank which is then tied into solar hot water collectors and also an oil boiler, or as a preheat to a propane or electric backup unit.

When there's enough sun you don't need to run the backup at all. Even in Maine and New Hampshire, that means you're using no fossil fuels to heat your water from roughly May to September (little known fact: we have more sun in New England than Germany, the world leader in solar, in fact we're about as sunny as the south of France...)

One of these systems is between $10-11k depending on the size of your household, before rebates, which get it down to around $6,500 (30% fed tax credit and $1,000 - $1,500 state rebate depending on if you're in Maine or NH).

If you're heating water on oil, you can save you roughly 200-300 gallons of oil a year (since your oil boiler is ridiculously inefficient when heating in the summer). At today's prices, that's roughly $650/yr of oil saved, so your payback is at 10 years or less.

Solar electric is a whole different thing, and what people are more familiar with (panels absorb sunlight and turn it into electricity). Costs HAVE gone down a lot, so if it's been since 2008 or earlier that you looked into it, you might be surprised.

Typically payback is 15 years or less (7-8 in NH where there's a $6,000 rebate right no), for a system which will last up to 50 years. Not a bad way to lock in your electric prices nowadays!

Anyways, hope that's helpful. Just want to debunk the "expensive" myths where they crop up. It's a serious investment, no doubt, but the economics of solar are solid and are worthy of consideration even in New England (and I suspect Wisconsin, too!).

- Fred
 

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Anyways, hope that's helpful. Just want to debunk the "expensive" myths where they crop up. It's a serious investment, no doubt, but the economics of solar are solid and are worthy of consideration even in New England (and I suspect Wisconsin, too!).
I appreciate that you're in sales in the solar arena, and I have a lot of respect for green power/heating solutions - but...

... please do not insult our intelligence by first telling us that the payback is in the 10 year ballpark and THEN saying that the talk about solar being expensive is a myth.

A heck of a lot of people won't even be in the same HOUSE for more than 5 years - so pitching a "10 year investment" is practically a joke.

That said, I do appreciate the information you have shared. But if you can't get the repayment window down below 2-3 years, forget it. If I'm not gonna refinance a house if I can't recover the closing costs in 2-3 years, I'm certainly not gonna buy an ADDITION to the heating system that won't recover the costs for 10ish.
 

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~Thanks for the article. I love hearing about people helping each other to save money!
G, I'm wondering if installing solar power is like installing new windows but without any good data for recouping installation cost when selling. We weren't sure if we'd be in this house long enough to recoup the cost of our replacement windows in energy savings but were sure we'd recoup it in increased home value. The data for windows is out there. I should think a lot of people would be interested in and pay a higher price for a home with solar power. But where's the data on that? ~
 

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Thanks for the article. We have discussed putting in solar power at length. We have pretty much decided that we will eventually. God willing we will be staying in this home for the rest of our days, so we have little worry about recouping our money. We just want to be far less reliant on costly energy sources. We kind of figure it will benefit us in retirement when we have a reduced flow of cash. In retirement is when we will need that kind of break the most.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
I don't think solar energy to supplant the grid woudl work for us here, but I do like the idea of running some things, mostly the phantom load. DH needs computer stuff for his business; we have a lot of things that hun almost all the time and many of them have LEDS, monitors, etc. If I could get solar to supply that, I'd be happy.

I'd also like solar water heating, but right now the thing on the roof that's going to get done first? It's the roof!

Judi
 

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Sort of a related topic... But have you heard about the plans to install solar cells in our roads?

Anyways, back to the main idea, I plan on getting solar panels with my home whenever that day comes. And even if I end up moving, I would assume solar power would do a wonders in resale/added perk for a buyer
 

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A few years ago I found a site that showed me how many years it would take me to break even if I went solar. It was 30 years. I'll wait. I'd be 75 y/o and probably won't even care then.
 

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The trendy to be stingy now. This also applies to districts where the luxury of spending a municipality, according to a recent report of the Luxury Institute. The report examined the rich consumers who have a net worth of millions to discover the plans for their own luxury expenditure for the remainder of 2010.
 
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