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08 February 2014 @ 04:33 pm
Are solar panels actually a good investment?  
snucksnuck on February 8th, 2014 10:30 pm (UTC)

Depends where you live, how much they are going to cost you, how much power you will use, whether you will be getting a rebate for feeding back in to the grid and how long you will live there/expect a return on investment from them.

I live in a sunny part of the world where I can feed excess power back into the grid and get paid for it, I am building a home I plan to live in for more than 15yrs. For me... probably.

I live in a rural area where if I went to land that wasn't already on grid it could cost me $30,000AUD to do a relatively competent but not excessive solar power setup vs two to three times this to pay for the poles to be installed for grid power. And the cost of replacing the batteries would be the equivalent of the power bills anyway.
I know you are, but what am I?babity on February 8th, 2014 11:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your input!
Sarcasticia Nitpickerson: personal bloggingtisiphone on February 8th, 2014 10:36 pm (UTC)
That depends on where you live, both because there are different costs involved (for example, some places have subsidies) and how much sun you actually get and can capture. They're not an automatic win at this point, but neither are they a silly expenditure. I'd suggest looking into programs and costs for your specific area to see what's available.
I know you are, but what am I?babity on February 8th, 2014 11:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'll look at that. :)
Just Me: Bookswilhelmina_d on February 9th, 2014 12:22 am (UTC)
Yes! We have a 5 kilowatt system and they're awesome. It covers about half our power needs. We sell the power back to the power company and get all our power from the company, so we don't have to futz with a battery bank. However, we have a 2,100 sq foot house + basement and our power bill is usually under $100. This winter it's only been around $170. We do also have geothermal in-floor heating/cooling, which helps a lot, too.
I know you are, but what am I?babity on February 9th, 2014 12:41 am (UTC)
We have been talking about using a system that puts it back on the grid for that reason. Thank you for giving me more to think about!
Erinerinmdmd on February 9th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
Depends on where you live, any rebates/grants/tax deductions/etc available to you locally, and how suitable your home is for them. I've investigated them for my house, but the south side is shaded by a large tree, and the north side isn't going to give us enough energy generation in our climate, even with the abundance of financial benefits available to us.
I know you are, but what am I?babity on February 9th, 2014 01:25 am (UTC)
I don't think I live too far south of you, and I am under the impression that we will have a bit of help to offset the cost.
Erinerinmdmd on February 9th, 2014 01:53 am (UTC)
I'm in the PNW where sunshine is scarce. We have many many many programs available to us to help subsidize the cost on pretty much every level of government right down to a group with grant money to help bring solar panels to my "lower income" part of the city. Check everything!
I know you are, but what am I?babity on February 9th, 2014 02:32 am (UTC)
Oh I assumed you were in Maryland based on your username, lol. Still, I do intend to scour for sources, thank you for the suggestion!
runonthesunrunonthesun on February 9th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
Depends on what your goal is. Virginia is pretty low for return on investment of solar panels. Power here is cheaper than two thirds of the country and it isn't always sunny (it isn't as cloudy as up north, but up north power costs more).

More insulation in your attic and new windows has higher return on investment in most cases, unless it has already been done.
snucksnuck on February 9th, 2014 05:34 am (UTC)
Good points! If your goal is to reduce power costs or power use or reduce environmental footprint even (depending on your home) there's probably other things you can do that will be a good solid impact without being as expensive.

Insulation, air leaks (window & door seals), thermal lined curtains, even gardening can all play a very BIG part.

(And solar panels may not be that environmentally friendly when you take into account battery packs, rare earth metals in manufacture, shipping from China/manufacturer etc unless you are really getting a good life out of them.)
I know you are, but what am I?: smug blairbabity on February 9th, 2014 12:33 pm (UTC)
We intend to be in our next house permanently, which is what made us think now is the time, but you bring up some good points!
I know you are, but what am I?: smug blairbabity on February 9th, 2014 12:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you, this gave me a lot to think about!
Jaelle n'ha Gillajaelle_n_gilla on February 10th, 2014 02:03 pm (UTC)
That depends very much on how much sun your roof is getting. Sunny area, roof facing south - you'll probably get your money back and do something good for the environment. Roof facing east/west like ours? Not so much.

Oh, I forgot: Of course it depends how much you pay for electricity where you live. Or for hot water if you go that way.