April 27 2010

Solar Energy – Big Question Number One: What Does It Cost?

by April

Solar Energy

The biggest question for most of us is: what does it cost?  More than a solar calculator, less than a new home.  If you don’t like that answer you’ll like my next one even less.  It depends on how much electricity you use -duh.  Let me give you the bad news first: it isn’t cheap, but I am sure you already knew that.  The good news is that (at the time I am writing this) you can get a rebate to cover some of the cost, and you can get a tax credit from the IRS that can save you money on income taxes.  I am not a CPA so you should check with a tax professional for the details on this.

I will give you a “for instance” as an example, but this is just an example!  If you would like a professional quote you should contact a local company for a site evaluation.  If you are in Southern California I recommend checking out: http://www.pacificsuntech.com

For instance: It will cost APPROXIMATELY $24,000 to have a system installed to cover a home that uses about 3kilowatt hours per month (contact your electric company to get an average of your monthly kilowatt hours).  Currently, the state will pay a rebate of about $5,700 – giving you an immediate savings and bringing the cost of your system down to $18,300.  The Feds offer a tax credit of 30% of the cost of the system – in this case that would be $12,810.  Big savings come tax time, but consult a tax professional on these credits and how best to use them.

If you are spending close to $200 or more per month on your electric bill you should really consider it for a number of reasons.  Number one, you can usually finance these babies.  Instead of paying $200 a month towards your electric bill, you could be making a $200 payment towards a solar system – financially you are even while making the earth greener.  Number two, once the system is paid off that money stays in your pocket.  Number three, you have added value to your home and again, much greener. 

To get an idea of how green this is: A solar power system uses no fuel and produces no pollutants.  Even the smallest of systems can reduce greenhouse gas emissions as effectively as planting a grove of 50 mature trees. 


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