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How Going Solar Can Cost You Nothing

cuple-solarIf going solar would cost you nothing would you consider it?  A few weeks ago I attended a small Green Business Show in San Jose, where our local vendors had a chance to present their services to the community.  These shows are always a great fun because green vendors pack a good punch of specialized knowledge.

That day, one of my inquisition victims was Jeremy, a solar design consultant with Solar Technologies.  So I started as usual… “How are you”, “How’s business?”, and then “Why in the world don’t we have more solar panels in our neighborhoods?”

After quite a few minutes of warm exchange of insights we realized we haven’t come up with anything that much revealing except for one awesome fact – affording solar energy is not as hard as most home owners think.  In fact, it makes total financial sense.  We parted by sharing one last sentiment  – most home owners simply have not taken a chance to look at this opportunity.

So why most of us have not embraced the sun as a source of energy?

1.  The main reason home owners have not adopted solar technology more widely is because of initial cost.  These days it’s in the range of about $25,000 -$28,000 for an average 1,600 square foot home.  Big price tag indeed.

2.  A secondary rationale is esthetics – some folks feel that having big solar panels on their roof hurts the curb appeal of the property.

3.  A third reason most folks have not gone solar could be one or a combination of these simple reasons: they are not sensitive to environmental issues of today’s world or they are simply waiting for a kick in the…  I mean a friendly encouragement from their eco conscious neighbor.

Let’s tackle every single one of these points respectively and see whether our deck of cards with reasons against solar can stand as firm as before:

1.  Financial reasons not to go solar just don’t add up:

a.  PG&E will pay 10% of your total cost thanks to the incentives offered by California Solar Initiative.

b.  Apply for the Solar Federal Tax Credit and claim an additional 30% of the costs for a new system. If you install $28,000 solar panel system on your roof, you can get $9,000 in income tax credits.  (Total rebates per PG&E and Fed – 40%)

c.  You can finance the rest of the costs.  That’s right – get a loan.  This is America, recent history shows we are best at this stuff!  Only this time it’s an investment in an asset and not a liability.   Jeremy from Solar Tech. says that your monthly payment should be the same and often less than your current electrical bill.  So literally, going solar can cost you nothing.  In just a few years it will pay for itself and keep saving you money.

2.  In case your house entrance is facing South you will see those panels from the street but so what? Your neighbor’s esthetically pleasing house will not be saving her $2000 in electricity costs per year.  And hey, this probably won’t surprise you, but many folks feel that generating your own clean energy is actually sexy.

3.  This one could be the toughest case.  Fortunately, going green actually makes great financial sense.  If you don’t care about green house gas emissions generated by that energy hungry plasma TV proudly hanging over the fireplace mantel, then surely you’ll appreciate the fact that it hardly costs you anything to watch that football game.

No matter how you slice it and dice it, going solar just makes good blooming sense.  But before we can really claim it as “no brainer” though, we must consider a few more things:

  1. If you are using very little electricity and your electrical bill is less than $80 per month then forget it, or at least do a very good cost to benefit analysis before you opt for solar.
  2. You’re thinking about moving.  Nothing you can do here.  Save your money and upgrade the next house instead.
  3. If you have an old roof then you will not want to install solar before you replace it.  PV panel installation is a major expense and you don’t want to repeat it.
  4. If you have big trees or some next door Mc Mansion that is shading your roof then truly forget it.  One must have sun rays to produce solar energy.

San Jose has an abundant source of energy and taping into it is a wise decision.  Personally, I haven’t done it yet because we rent but this will change soon.  And when it does, I’ll climb on that roof of mine and kiss and hug those solar panels like there is no tomorrow.

If you reflect on all these points and decide it’s time for you to consider your options for solar energy then go for it!  Do it and inspire some friends around you.  Going solar can truly be a no brainer.  It’s rewarding on both – the environment and your wallet.

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