Author Topic: Free solar? No thanks.  (Read 3176 times)

Rife

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 62
  • Age: 48
  • Location: WA
Free solar? No thanks.
« on: September 02, 2017, 08:27:10 AM »
This came to mind as this is the time of year the State of Washington cuts me a check to pay for my solar panel installation. Some background:

We started with 26000 out of pocket (the system actually out produces our current use), and got 2000 from the power company (right away)and 8000 from the federal government(at tax time) to take that down to 16000. Then we get annual production incentives at which was 3000 last year and our first full year is another 4000. We are on pace to actually get more back than we paid by the time the program ends, and this doesn't even count the free energy.

Yes, the program was discontinued because the dropping cost of solar made it way more generous than they intended, but it was available to anyone. I told everyone I know, at least who I knew made good income, about this great opportunity. Every conversation ended like this:

"All you have to do is put in the money up front and the government pays you back, and you end up with free solar panels."...."Yeah, but it's a lot of money up front."

Yes, general risk associated with trusting the government may have had some sway, but the main reason no one else I know got free solar panels is they balked at the up front cost where for us we had the cash. Now, we saved 65% of our income that year so diverting a bit to solar was just not a big deal, but to my non-mustachian friends it was too much to consider. No one even checked into it to get a quote or to verify the terms of the program. 
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 08:29:28 AM by Rife »

paddedhat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2229
Re: Free solar? No thanks.
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2017, 08:47:05 AM »
Then you have the flip side of this. Folks who did the complete opposite of your savvy investment and signed really stupid lease agreements for solar. We are in very hot real estate market ATM, yet our realtor friend has potential.sellers who need to either come up with $15-20k to buy out their panels and contract, or convince a buyer to assume a fairly poor contract.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 08:54:03 AM by paddedhat »

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2393
  • Location: NZ
Re: Free solar? No thanks.
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2017, 01:55:44 AM »
Madness isn't it. Hell the could have probably put the $26k on a 3% HELOC, and come out ahead.

We've just gone solar, no government subsidies, no buy back of excess power, but the ROI is over 13%, a better return than I can get anywhere else, it'd be stupid not to.

SnackDog

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • Location: Latin America
Re: Free solar? No thanks.
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 03:47:07 AM »
Less than 1% of US homes have solar installed so I reckon there is a fear factor of modifying the house with a high upfront cost non-mainstream technology.  With solar prices plummeting, it may not be long before it is simply built in to your new Tesla solar roof at virtually no cost. This addresses concerns about the ugly appearance of solar panels, potential roof damage during installation and potential solar panel damage during roof replacement.

SimpleSpartan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Washington
Re: Free solar? No thanks.
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2017, 04:03:56 AM »
Less than 1% of US homes have solar installed so I reckon there is a fear factor of modifying the house with a high upfront cost non-mainstream technology.  With solar prices plummeting, it may not be long before it is simply built in to your new Tesla solar roof at virtually no cost. This addresses concerns about the ugly appearance of solar panels, potential roof damage during installation and potential solar panel damage during roof replacement.

As long as Tesla can get those prices down. Last time I checked they were for marketed for the wealthy and 2-3x more expensive if not more, than the average roof in America.

 

faithless

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108
Re: Free solar? No thanks.
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 04:45:40 AM »
Perhaps some people were concerned they would move house before recouping the cost? That was one reason we didn't get it as we knew we would likely move in 5-10 years. (Moved after 6.5 years, now our location and house design does not make sense for solar at the moment).

Fudge102

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 167
  • Location: Albany, NY
Re: Free solar? No thanks.
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 09:39:18 AM »
As someone who works in solar sales, you have no idea how maddening it is that most people won't even entertain the idea of a free quote that explains how solar can save them thousands.  The math is sound.  And with the way financing works, it can be had for no difference than what you current owe the utility company.  One of my favorite conversations actually happened yesterday with a guy who acknowledged that it sounded too good to be true but was still willing to talk through the math and incentives anyhow.

Sadly most lease models have tarnished how productive and easy solar can be.  And Tesla's solar roof gimic hasn't helped much either.  Especially since it's old technology that's still unproven.  Those 5-10 years you're waiting for better technology still waste money going to utility companies.  It's not like you're not going to pay for power while you wait for better power...

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11235
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Free solar? No thanks.
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 01:35:27 PM »
Those roof tiles look interesting. We have homes in the Desert with tile roofs. We'd love to add solar tiles, but 1) the roofs are lifetime concrete tile and  2) the durability of Musk's roofs is unproven.

Our primary home backs up to a hill and is surrounded by trees. Not gonna cut down redwoods to make way for solar. Boo-hoo.