by Brent Sauser
2015 is quickly coming to an end and we are left with more questions than answers.
- Will the debate over human influenced global climate change continue to divide a world?
- Will politics over human influenced climate change continue to dominate the conversation instead of common sense?
- Will we waste more time pointing fingers and name calling those on both sides of the issue?
- Will the growing movement toward renewable systems slow down, speed up, or stay the same due to recent legislation by Congress to extend the 30% solar tax rebate program beyond 2016?
- Will more people come to the realization that it makes good common sense to lower our overall power consumption and decide to go solar to offset what power we do consume?
These and more questions face us as we transition from 2015 to 2016. It is anticipated that because of the recent solar tax rebate extension by Congress, the total number of solar installations will increase over 2015, but not to the levels projected when 2016 ended the tax rebate program. Now that the solar rebate program extends through 2020, the forecast is indicating a moderate increase of solar installations each year.
It is a fact that in many parts of the USA power parity has already occurred. Just check out costs per kWh in San Diego and Hawaii. Going solar already makes good common sense . . . . . dollars and cents! We installed a 7.5 kW roof top solar array in early September. Last month we paid $10.44 for our power bill. That is the minimum amount we pay and reflects the fee for net meter hook up as well as taxes. Our bill also indicated a 97kWh surplus that the utility has “banked” in our favor. What did you pay on your power bill last month?
Do the math . . . . we paid $24,000 for our 7.5kW solar array. The 30% federal tax rebate brings that total amount down to $16,800. Our Enphase microinverters and Axitec solar panels are warranted for 25 years. Assuming our system achieves Net Zero . . . . our total investment remains $16,800 over the 25 years. Those who decide to stay on grid power will, in contrast, pay over $26,000 over the same period of time, and that is without taking into consideration rate increases. So, you decide which makes more sense, staying on grid power or going solar. Putting close to $200 back in my pocket each month is no small thing. And here’s the good news; we managed to do all this in a 20 year old home with an eastern orientation. I promise, it can be done. It takes a lot of planning, research, along with a bit of lifestyle adaptation to make it work, but it works.
Let the politicians and intellectuals point fingers all they want. All I know is I’m saving close to $200 every month on money I’m not spending on power bills. That really adds up over time. If you can’t afford to pay for a solar array outright, there are low interest loans increasingly available throughout the USA. Check it out.
If this is the time of year to make resolutions I hope you will consider moving to a more Net Zero life style. I wish you not only a happy new year, but a sustainable new year too.