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Solar Power For Home Cost

Amber Said:

Is adding solar power to a home in the Northeast financially sound?

We Answered:

You need to learn a lot before you can obtain a valid answer.

First make an estimate of the total number of kilowatt hours you would use. This can come from a review of your average annual consumption.

Then determine size of a photovoltaic system that would supply that demand. You can find tables that show how big a system it would take to supply your needs. Be aware that the rating of a system is not what you will get out of it. Due to losses, the system will not be 100% efficient.

If you intend to be able to power the house at night and in cloudy weather, include the initial cost and maintenance cost for batteries.

Perhaps your area has incentivies that will reduce the final cost.

Determine the power company's procedures with regard to metering costs and the various possible arrangements. For instance my power company offers net metering and time of use metering. With net metering, I feed them power in the daytime, and can take it back at night. At the end of the year I pay them if I have used more than I generate. If I generate more than I use, they do not pay me for the amount I overgenerate. Time of use metering has higher rates during summer days. If I do not use much power during these days, I "sell" power to them at a high rate. I pay at a lower rate for power used during off hours.

Get a rough estimate of the installation cost for a system, and determine from your present bills if the system can pay for itself

Now learn all you can, including taking a seminar or class on the subject. This will enable you to refine your cost estimates, and make a determination.

You may conclude that you will not save enough to pay for the system, but might add enough to the value of the house to make a difference when the house is sold.

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