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Question DetailsAsked on 4/25/2013

What should I pay for a solar panel installation .on a 1700 sq. ft. home ?

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2 Answers

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It's not just the size of the home that is a factor in how many panels you will need. They also take into account how much of your roof will get the most sun and your current electric usage. You should get quotes from at least two companies before you make a commitment - quotes are free, so why wouldn't you get as many as you can? Also, with a lease, you could pay no money upfront and then you would just pay for the lease per month like you currently do your electric bill - only your lease payment will be less and you'll be receiving SRECs on top of that (in NJ, not sure how other states work with the SRECs).

Answered 6 years ago by LoriS

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The US Department of Energy and the EPA have downloadable info on this subject, and your state energy conservation office and coopeative extension service probably does too. Some public power utilities have alternative energy programs that can assist with demand / typical costs estimates, too.

Unless you have had an energy audit, you may have a rude surprise coming. Generally speaking, residential sized solar energy installations are only economic in the sunniest parts of the country, and even then commonly only when electricity is expensive or a subsidized rate is provided for alternative energy installations. Generally, roof installations are iffy except in the most southern states, because the sun angle is not right for the roof most of the year - the really efficient way to collect solar energy is on the walls, but that has not caught on yet due to aesthetics. Even if it works out as economic, the payback period runs in the decades and you are lookingat a very big initial outlay (except on a leaseback deal), and most people are not planning on staying in a house that long. Even a lot of the leaseback contracts are written with the OWNER responsible for the payments, not the property (same as for a car) - so if you move the new owner has to voluntarily assume the lease agreement or you are still on the hook for the life of the contract. Solar power on the roof is generally considered a detriment rather than a benefit in selling a home, because not many people want the cleaning requirement, financial risk and hassle involved. There is a lot to putting together an effective solar power installation, and a lot of the cost comes in power regulation for tying it into the power system or hot water heating.

Generally speaking, the breakeven payback period is VERY long, and if you are in an area with heavy snow or wind blown debris / tornadoes / hurricanes, the insurance on the system can be pretty expensive.

One stray factor most people don't think of is that unless it is installed over a brand new roof rated for 30 years or more, it can take your typical $5-10K reroof job up to double or triple that, because the entire panel system has to be removed to reroof the house.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD




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