Friday, August 12, 2011

Solar Panels

Like every new home owners after buying a house we found a way to spend a bunch of money on it only a few months later.

Earlier this year after playing around with 1bog's solar estimate tool I learned about various rebate, tax, and credit incentives that Massachusetts has for those who install solar on their roof including:

* Federal tax credit for 1/3 of the install cost
* Mass State $1000 tax credit
* Mass State rebase which for our install worked out to be around 25%
* Solar panels wont be included in your estate tax for 20 years
* In Mass when generating power from solar for every megawatt you get one Solar Credit which the utility companies buy to fill their quotas (The program will be running until 2020).
* And of course with solar panels our electric bill will be dramatically less (we estimate it will go down to the minimum of $6.95 a month).

Once you combine those together you can project that the system will pay for itself in around five years and over the following fifteen pay for itself again just in electrical bill reductions. And finally if/when we sell our house we can ask for more because we will have solar panels so we should be getting back our initial investment once again. Not too bad of a way to put money into your house.

We got various quotes from solar installers and discussing it with friends and family I got a ton of questions with some skeptics about the payback. Fearing making a major mistake I generating all of the projections to double check the numbers myself. Just a few of the things I ended up looking up was the average electrical percentage price increase in Mass, average number of hours of sunlight for my town, the angle of our roof, angle of house to the sun, and the efficiency of the panels and inverters and even looked up the tax and rebate laws to make sure they applied. Running all the numbers it came out to pretty much the same as the estimates in the installers quotes (theirs were more conservative than my conservative estimates!) so we decided to go ahead and install panels on our roof.

The installer is a local company Brightstar Solar that had been very patient with our questions. The system we decided to go with will put 30 Schüco 185 watt solar panels (the photo up top). We went with the Schüco panels partially because of aesthetics and also because they hit the best bang for your buck.

The past few weeks they have been at our house installing the panels. I took photos of the process and will follow up with a post of the whole install.

Revell Big Boy Locomotive Model Kit

When I was a child I received a model train kit as a present, but as I was just a kid I never painted it or actually put it fully together. ...