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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Solar Disclaimer

I think I should set the record straight regarding our solar system costs, only because I'm not sure that everyone would be able to realize the savings we did by having one installed.

Steve is factoring in the four years of tax advantages to our state income tax, the one year tax advantage from the feds, and the rebate from the Energy Trust of Oregon.  I don't know what the current tax codes allow for solar PV and hot water installations, or if any other states or provinces or even countries have the same kind of energy entity that the state of Oregon has, but our calculations will undoubtedly be different than your calculations.

Taking up space in the living room
For one thing, we do have really low energy usage, but that's because we work at it. Besides the usual turning lights off and putting as many devices that pull phantom loads as we can on power strips so that we can turn off said phantom loads, we also hang-dry our clothes most of the year.  In the summer, it's all out in the backyard, but during the winter, our laundry takes up a lot of space in the living room opposite the wood stove and on the airer in the kitchen;  not everyone wants to live up close and personal with their underwear but it's something we're willing to do to save money.  Plus, it's just the two of us, working in tandem to keep our usage down.  God help you if you have teenagers in the house.

The other thing to consider is where you are in the world: if you're in Arizona or Colorado, you are going to do a lot better than we are and may be able to use more energy than we do because you're producing more but even that might be a net equation factoring in your air conditioner.  We don't have one and have decided that we'll never have one.  If you live in San Francisco where much of the summer is shrouded in fog, solar may not work for you. I don't know.  There are a lot of things to consider for your own individual situation.

I just wanted you to know that there were mitigating circumstances that made our final costs so low and that we do have freakishly low energy usage.  If you're thinking about solar, you still should still consider it- just don't expect your results to be the same as ours.

They could be not as good, but they could also be lot better.

2 comments:

eatclosetohome said...

Is 4638kwh/yr considered "freakishly low"?

Cool. :) We're on track for <3000. So maybe we could pull off solar...I'd always heard the rule of thumb that you need to get your usage down to 3kwh/day or less before even considering solar panels. Must be out of date!

Joanie said...

FYI - solar in San Francisco works very well. My friend installed a 7 panel system and her PG&E bill for electricity was $18. last year. (and she's in the foggy Sunset district) You don't need lots of sun to generate power!