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Oh man, I just got off the phone with a rep from Solar City, and I am sooooooo tempted right now to grab some solar panels for the roof!!!  I can’t believe how easy and SIMPLE it all seems, and they even have a $0 down deal too! But first, let’s track back a little.  Where the heck did solar panels even come up in my work-from-home life? Every month you’d save roughly 5%-15% of your entire bill, all depending on your personal use and how much sun typically hits your house on average.
And that’s my solar panel story!  Lots of exciting stuff brewing in the air over here, and super excited to run it by Mrs. In terms of resale value, I do think that solar panels would increase the value of your house if you did decide to move. Yeah the whole 20 years thing would have me as well, but then I’ve never stayed in the same place for more than 5 years. I’m stuck on the whole 20 year contract or you have to maintain everything yourself issue.
Couple things to keep in mind, if the panels become dusty or covered with leaves, you will get less efficiency out of them, so they need to be cleaned monthly. Also, my understanding is that if you go the 20 year plan, SolarCIty collects all the free government money and tax writeoffs. As an engineer who looks at the numbers on this stuff regularly, I find that the best plan is usually just to cut your power consumption down.
Then if you really want solar power, you can just buy a smaller system, in cash, and not worry about financing or leases. In my area, I already get 100% wind-generated power from the Colorado plains for only a bit more than what most people pay for coal power. I like the idea, but don’t know if it would be feasible up here in NY with all the snow we usually get. With everyone going green now a days they could def help you sell the house in the future if you wanted to. I am very interested in solar panels and hope they can be a part of my self-sustainable early retirement. I like the picture of the roof and will also be utilizing metal roofs that can last forever.
Let me make sure I understand this… for a 20 year contract you will save anywhere from 5-15% of your entire electric bill? 20 years is a long time, but it could possibly make it easier to sell your house with solar panels. Plus, there are a lot of ways you can save 5% – 15% off your monthly power bill without installing solar, some as simple as installing better, more efficient light bulbs! Weird timing on this, me and my dad were just talking about a friend of his that was considering buying a system, and then found out there was a way to make them yourself on the cheap. I for one LOVE the idea, Other than death and taxes, the one thing you can depend on paying is an energy bill.
The 20 year thing concerns me not because of the odds that you’ll leave that house, but the odds that the company will still be around then.
Pretty much everything I was going to saw has already been said, but I’ll say it anyway.


Probably the biggest determining factor (other than size) on the effectiveness of a solar installation is the average number of solar-hours you receive per year. So if I understand this lease situation correctly, Solar City has nothing to do with the relationship with the local energy provider—in may case, SoCal Edison—who will pay me for producing more energy than I consume, i.e. Also, anyone know of a website that provides info on what the energy buyback rates are, company by company?
We’re hosting an information evening  to give you an overview of the options, costs and incentives, with plenty of time for questions and to hear from local people who have installed solar panels. They do business across the entire country, so hopefully one of you have ALREADY used them and can give us the inside scoop! Calif that you would not have power when the power goes out unless you had added equipment not typically provided with a solar panel install.
If you’re not going to climb on your roof and clean them yourself, then add in the cost of having someone clean them for you. Money–Normal damage to panels is covered under my standard home insurance poilicy, this includes baseballs, tree limbs and wind damage.
In areas with lots of sunshine and high power prices, and good tax incentives (california, hawaii, etc), the numbers work out great.
I think you could get a 5% savings by turning off lights and electronics when not in use or by getting a newer energy efficient dryer or water heater. If you decide to really cut your costs there back, you can do a lot (including solar, high-efficiency insulation and windows) but SolarCity?
And I think this idea has a lot of merit on a site that caters to getting out of debt and making your money work for you. If you really want to do solar panels, buy the panels (pay cash) yourself and get solar installers to install on weeekend + 1 electrician to do final connection.
Yeah, the 20 years contract is long, but if you need to sell the house, you can mark it up right? The number of buyers who would be turned off by solar panels will be far exceeded by those who would be turned on by them.
It’s possible that you might not receive enough sunlight to make solar panels worth the expense. My neighbor invested in them several years ago and has been quite pleased with the results. Also, some tax credits require the panels be American made, so check to see if they are American or Chinese. Also, I doubt when this company says they provide maintance, that includes monthly cleaning, so I would check .
So I can’t justify the solar panels, other than for the fact that I think it is really cool.
However, when the negative wealth is all paid off we are covering our roof with solar panels. What better way than to take one of the largest, previously insurmountable bills, and not only be able to break even, but to make money in the process? Then you are your own power company (depending on state and local laws) you can sell back to the grid (passive income).


And btw, SC surely is not the only company providing this sort of 0% down long term lease option, yes? And while solar panels may had to your property value, aging solar panels are likely to be a deterrent in selling your property. At least then you’ll have some actual numbers to work with and make an informed decision.
It is not only about finances – it is about independence, and sustainability (better than nuclear any time). Of course, it all depends on where you live since how much energy your panels can harvest, and consequently save you money, depends on constantly changing factors such as time of day, season and weather, but also geographic traits such as climate and latitude.
Personally, if you don’t have energy efficient windows and a well insulated home, tankless hot water heating, and energy efficient appliances, I would first invest in those energy saving methods before investing solar panels.
It’d be much better to research it yourself, find the parts and put your own installation together. But as with any other investment, do your research, run the numbers, and strike when the iron’s hot.
Eighteen months ago, I got as estimate, and looking at the numbers, I wasn’t sure at my age (senior citizen) the numbers would really pay off. When you use solar energy, you rely less on electric companies to give you electricity, your monthly bills go down, and you even earn a credit on your statement. For the first six months after the quote, I kept getting letters saying commit now before the price goes up. The bigger your energy needs, the more your cost is, and you can spend thousands of dollars. The government can give you credits for adding solar panels, but manufacturing and installing panels are still high.
Nevertheless, some providers are actually offering interesting ways to fund your PV installation, so you don’t need to invest a massive initial capital to get going. Depending on where you live and your payment plan, your energy savings could equal your monthly payment. I am spending about $2000 a year on electricity, so we are looking at 7 years before I break even. But my neighbor is generating more electricity than he uses, and receives a $2000 check each year from the electric company.
Luckily, most of the United States has a great potential for solar energy, as you can see in this map of global solar radiation from the United Nations Environment Programme. For the absolute best solar resources in the United States, think southwest. So If I am able to keep my usage as low as my neighbor and receive a similar credit, I could apply that credit and break even within four years.



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