Cristo Balete wrote:Sam, there's generating solar power to sell back to the utility company, and there's generating power to store in batteries in an off-the-grid system. Not sure which one you are talking about. The ability of solar power to work in different parts of the country is not a given. Solar is all about location, location, location. There has been so much hype about solar I think it's very misleading. We've had lots of discussions about it on this forum, so there's lots for you to read. Until Arizona settles its lawsuit about leased panels, and the possibility of homeowners being charged as a business for generating power, it's better to own panels.
Solar hot water is probably the least effective thing to get from solar, unless you are in San Diego where it doesn't get very cold in the winter, and it's sunny most of the year. Panels can only get power between the hours of approx. 10:00 and 4:00 in the summer, and 10:00 and 3:00 in the winter. What they call "sun hours" means nothing to panels. It's the absolute direct sun on the panels that counts, and that's a very limited number of hours a day. If it's overcast, if there's even a thin cloud layer, the panels cannot generate what they are capable of. Every single day is crucial in a solar setup, usage every single day has to be kept track of. If there's a 5-day storm, you've got to make adjustments to usage. Unless you have a backup generator, but that uses a lot of gas, so that cost has to go into the total. A good, reliable generator is several thousand dollars, not to mention a separate shed for it, and separate wiring into the house.
Solar equipment is expensive, so just because you don't have a monthly bill doesn't mean you haven't paid thousands of dollars to generate electricity by buying solar equipment, including the inverters, frames, controllers, and a very large bank of very expensive batteries, one shed for the batteries, and another for the electrical equipment, and your ability to maintain it all. You just paid the money all at once, instead of a monthly bill. Amortized out it is likely to be more costly than paying a utility company if you have an onff-the-grid system.
If you want to be independent, and not have a monthly bill, depending on where you live and how much you downsize, you might be able to do that. It's unlikely to be cheaper.
I agree with Joseph. Solar it is something that we commit to, learn a lot from, and are more happy with the use of it, and are willing to maintain it and keep track of it,
K Putnam, if you get a $1500 check once a year, that averages out to a little over $100 a month. What is your average monthly electricity bill? Probably more than that once it's averaged, so it's more likely to be an offset of the cost, not $1500 over and above paying nothing for power.. And your rebates seem to have gotten you a good chunk of the payback, not the solar. People in San Diego would have a very different story from those in Wyoming or Michigan.