Not quite time to go solar…
My Amazon author page!!!!

I’ve been looking at Solar Power solutions the last few days. Mostly because we went through a house in North Potomac that was 90% solar powered, their average bill to the electrical company was 30 bucks a month (what the company charges to maintain and keep the line running to your house). Some months they actually sold power back to the power company.

However, it only adds a little value to your house and it costs a lot of money. Let’s say your average electric bill is 250 dollars per month. You reduce that by 200 dollars a month and that represents 2400 dollars a year. The system you will need in order to power your house is around 25000 installed. Take off 5 grand (and than .05 % of the 5000 grand in the incremental value add and over a ten year period your going to add about 9000 dollars in value to your house). So subtract the 10 year ROI of 9000 from the initial cost of 25000 and that leaves you with 16,000. That means you won’t make back your investment for at least 8 years. And all of of us know, after the last few years that a growth rate for home value isn’t guaranteed. Which means you need the full ten years for a real ROI.

I’ve had IT projects that returned 100% of their value cut in 24 months because they weren’t paying back the investment fast enough. 10 years is a long time for an investment to break even.

Now in defense of solar panels you do also get a 5 year tax break. So there may be a faster payback but the math is still tough to sell. When you consider that you will be also maintaining the system it really pushes that payback out. Now if the price comes down 10 thousand dollars you are looking at roughly a 5 to 6 year payback. That would be something to consider.

Until then, oh well.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

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