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Question DetailsAsked on 11/16/2013

How much would it cost to install a new solar electric system conversion for my home.

I would like to have my house and it's electrical/heating needs based on solar energy. The house has a huge basement, and a very large accessible attic for the system. At this time the house is heated by radiators connected to a boiler. The house is approximately 2500 square feet of living space and is a victorian house built in the early 1900's. It would be a real challenge, I know. But everything starts with a dream.

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2 Answers


Everything starts with a dream - but some dreams are not practical, and yours might fit into this category. Unless you plan on living in the house for several decades at least, there is essentially no chance of cost recovery unless you live in a very sunny part of the country, and even then marginal.

First, you would have to insulate the Victorian house to beat the band, which would be very expensive, and in the course of doing that would probably find you need to replace all the wiring and plumbing and probably the entire interior or exterior finishes and maybe some structure - probably not a situation you even want to get into. Even with that, unless you side the house with panels or get a permit (unlikely) to put a ground-mounted solar farm on your property, developing more than a small fraction of the required energy is not economic or even feasible in most of the country. The angle of the roof is just too flat in all but the southwest and Gulf states, and except in the warmer areas the roof area is too small to provide enough energy to heat the house on solar alone.

Go to the EPA and DOE websites - google on solar and alternative heating, and check out the SolarCity website (the only company currently doing significant residential installations) on the energy calcs and issues. Your local electric company or state energy conservation office might have info available too. just bear in mind, all that type info will be written with rose-colored glasses - solar power systems for homes typically have 100-300% cost overruns, and grossly underestimate maintenance and weather related repair costs, and overestimate energy efficiency and solar panel life - again commonly by a factor of 2 or more.

Not to try to discourage your dream, but by the time you install such a system on this house you could probably have built an entirely new high-efficiency house where solar energy could actually play a major part in meeting your energy needs.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


The answer I have just read stating not to have solar installed is such a nonsense.

Do you want renewable products, if the answer is yes then have them installed.

I hear this "it will take forever to recoup the monies spent"

When you purchase a car you get nothing but huge running costs, for your monies do you moan? no you just get on with it.

Insulating a victorian home if carried correctly doesn't cost such a vast amount of cash.

When you have solar pv, air source water heating, solar roof fan, thermaldynamics installed into your homes structure the the savings are well worth the investment plus the knowledge that your bill costs are going one way (down).

So do yourself a favour do want you want to do and spend your money on how you want to and stop listening to the glommers of this world, oh and the planet will be a better place.

Answered 6 years ago by andrewmand

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