Solar As Investment

Circumstances that Make Solar worth Investigating

  1. PG&E has tiered pricing, meaning that heavy users get slammed by high rates. If you’re in the higher tiers, paying 26 - 32 cents per kilowatt for some of your electricity, you need to look into adding solar now.
  2. Right now there is a 30% federal tax credit for residential solar. Not a tax deduction, but a tax credit, which is like cash! If you purchase a $30,000 solar system, you will have a $9,000 credit. If you would have owed the Feds $10,000, at tax time, now you need to pay them only $1,000.
  3. Panels are very cheap right now. Not just the unknown brands, but the premium brands like Sharp, Soniva and SolarWorld.
  4. Home equity lines of credit are cheap right now (though they require that your home be worth more than your mortgage).
  5. Your cash is earning next to nothing in the bank.
  6. Your utility bill will continue to increase. Five years from now, electricity will cost more than it does today.  And ten years from now, it will cost still more. Purchasing your own rooftop power plant now eliminates these future rate increases.
  7. If you’ve got a nice section of roof facing east, west or south, with little or no obstruction, that’s a positive. (Or if you don’t mind a ground-mount off in the corner of the yard, that’s just as good.)
  8. If you understand Return on Investment, Internal Rate of Return, etc., that’s (almost always) a strong positive.

Before I go on, let me emphasize the first bullet, above. Organizations that are against solar — like the billion-dollar coal industry — claim that solar costs 18-20 cents a kilowatt-hour, while coal-generated electricity costs only 8-10 cents. True — these organizations are known to be… loose with their figures. But get your electricity bill. If you’re paying 30 cents or more per kilowatt hour for a portion of your electricity, then even the coal industry says that solar is a wise investment!

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