Saturday, April 14, 2012

Solar ....

Quick intro to this idea - Kristin and I are in the final stages of buying a house, and I like the theoretical idea of solar panels and not having to pay for electricity. So today I did some research and here is what I found (maybe my recap can make it easier on other people down the line.

First things I did was use this site - http://ecofuture.net/energy/cost-of-installing-solar-panels/ - which helped me determine what I need to investigate this. Basically how much juice to you use, How sunny is it where you live, and do a little math.

For us we use about 1500 kWh a month, which is roughly 50 kWh a day.
New Orleans in general gets about 7.2 hours of sun a day according to - http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/US/average-annual-sunshine-by-city.php
Do a little math and we would want / need right at 8 kWh (7,986 watts) worth of panels sucking at that rate to cover our consumption.

Hmmm, that doesn't sound so bad.
Especially when right now living in Louisiana you can get 80%, YES EIGHTY PERCENT, of your costs back from either the feds or the state - http://www.lses.org/resources/tax-credits/ , http://solarsolutionsbatonrouge.com/solarelectricity.html

So how expensive are these panels to get??? - This is where the rubber meets the road, according to Ecofuture it cost about $9 a watt to install - http://ecofuture.net/energy/cost-of-installing-solar-panels/ , ok I'll give you the math here $72,000. YOUCH. Maybe they are wrong some how. Lets look at the locals, Solar Solutions in Louisiana, one place they reference that a 3 kWh system cost about $25000, so dang, let do that time 2.5 and we are talking $62,500. That first price isn't too far off.

So ... even with the government paying 80% of the load that means we would be needing to shell out at least $10,000 for our portion (more but I'll use the round number) which means that it would take at least 4 years to see any positive financial benefit from the panels. That assumes the panels provide every drop of energy we need, that nothing breaks, it ignores the increase in insurance for having them, and perhaps most importantly ignores the future. I like the idea of alternative energy, solar especially, but who is to say 4 years from now it will be ANCIENT technology that could be gotten either dramatically cheaper or everyone has an algae conductor or something?

Just too much money for too little benefit I think.

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