Brought to you by Solar City and Solar Universe
by Jack Rein
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to miss the commercials and print ads for solar companies on TV, radio and the web. If you’ve been considering having solar installed in your facility or your home, then I think there are a few things that you should know.
First of all, from a cost vs. savings standpoint, you should know the pros and cons of solar installations. The pros are simple and easy to understand: there will be dramatically less cost in your overall electric bill. The panels and systems require very little maintenance and last for decades. The environment is saved by the use of totally renewable, punctual and almost daily-available energy source. (If you live in a place that gets more sunlight than others, all the better!) In other words: Why wouldn’t you?
The cons are as evident as the pros: installations are NOT cheap, and depending on the size and angle of your roof more efficiency translates to higher install costs. The sun only shines during the day, and so part of your energy has to be generated from another source, or expensive batteries need to be installed.
Still, some of the investment can be offset by incentives that state and local governments can supply. There are federal tax breaks that you can qualify for, but they expire on December 31 of this year. Fossil fuels are still cheaper, in the aggregate, for homeowners who already have HVAC units installed and in working condition.
So, why should you invest in solar?
Let’s look at the three most interesting and important things you should consider before converting to solar power.
- RCFEs and ARFs expend a lot of power every month. If your energy bill is $1,000 a month, a new, efficient solar array can reduce your monthly costs by as much as 60%.
- Because the panels and systems last so long, there is plenty of time to let the investment pay for itself. (They will, however, gradually decline in efficiency as the years pass.)
- Your property value can increase by as much as 5% with a modern system install.
Since your facility is an investment, there are serious advantages to converting to solar power. Even though installs are pricey (above $20K) once you do the math their attractiveness increases and the job that they perform, quietly and efficiently for years, may well out-weigh the disadvantages.