One Year of Solar Power

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the installation of solar panels on the roof of our house. Many people don’t know enough about solar to make an educated decision on whether to purchase it or pass for something else. These are my findings.

Installer:  Brightergy – I recommend them for making this process easy.
Solar Panels: Sunpower
Monitoring Equipment: Sunpower
System Size: 3.6 Kwh
Projected Power Production: 4600 Kwh
First Year’s Production: 4,311 Kwh
Cost Per Kwh: $.06870
Financial Savings: $296.17
Initial Purchace Price: $24,000
Energy Company Rebates: $7,200
SREC Purchace From Energy Company: $4,600
Realized Tax Benefit:
Approximate Cost After All Rebates:
Payback Years At Current Energy Rate: ~ 30 years
Solar Monitoring System Real Time:

In therory, there is a 30% federal tax incentive for purchacing a system. This should equal $7,200 dollars off the system bring the cost of the system down much lower. However, after doing taxes and having them verified by our accountant, we are only receiving approximately $3,000 more of a return over what we would have gotten.

Some of you may be wondering why we chose to invest our money in solar if it isn’t a great investment to get return on our money. Our decision was based on our respect for the environment and the expectation that energy costs would rise helping to ofset the cost of the system. We have a personal joy of knowing that we are trying to be part of the solution towards general conservation. Having solar panels causes us to consider using less energy to have lower energy bills each day. We sometimes question if we need the AC one degree cooler for our comfort. Don’t think that we’re suffering and sweating just to prove a point though. We do like our comfort. And if you come over to our house, I’ll probably turn it cooler because you’re a guest!

If you were to ask us if we would do it again, knowing what we know about the whole experience, including the financial part, it would be a resounding YES! If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll respond to the best of my ability.

Our Solar Installation


6 thoughts on “One Year of Solar Power

  1. I am curious about the tax issue you mention above. I’m guessing that you were looking at $24,000 x 30% = $7,200. But your tax person did ($24,000-$7,200-$4,600) x 30% = $3660 ?

    I had this question too, and in the end did it the latter way. I think it hinges on whether you consider either your rebate and/or SREC purchase as taxable.

    In other words, maybe you could have taken 30% of the full $24,000, but then you’d have paid taxes on the ($7,200 + $4,600). Depending on your tax bracket, it probably comes out roughly even. This is murky though, and I wish it’d get clarified. I often see installers lop 30% off the total, and then subtract rebates, which I think paints too rosy a picture.

    Anyway, glad you like your solar! I love my 2.5kW system. Take a gander at my blog if you’d like to see some of my reflections on it after 1 year.

  2. I’m wondering about the life of the solar panels and system. What will you have to invest in maintenance over the 30 year period?

  3. @Brian, speaking for myself, the only maintenance in my first year was brushing off some snow (which was an optional activity). My inverters are warrantied for 15 years. Newer ones are 25 years. The panels are expected to degrade a bit over time, maybe 1%/year, but that doesn’t really call for maintenance.

    So I don’t expect any routine maintenance, but the risks would be: inverter failure, or wiring degradation (thanks to chewing squirrels or whatnot).

  4. I have been told that the only maintenance required was to wash them if it didn’t rain for a long time. In Missouri, that isn’t a problem, so they are automatically washed. The Sunpower inverter that I have has a 10 year warranty. The solar panels have a limited 25 year warranty, so I’m less worried about them. I have not found anybody complaining bout inverters failing. If I have issues, I will publish them on my blog.


  5. so they are automatically washed. The Sunpower inverter that I have has a 10 year warranty. The solar panels have a limited 25 year warranty

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