I recently had a professional evaluation for a 1400-watt PV system (i.e., small system) on my home. The system would produce roughly $140 worth of electricity each year (that is about 15% of our home's annual usage of about $1000), and the complete system would cost ~$12,000 (including installation). After state and federal tax credits the residual cost would be ~$4,300, and the "simple" payback time (calculated at a rate of $0.08/kWh) would be 31 years (that's right 31 years).
Despite my sincere desire to install this system, it is really hard for me to justify an up-front, out-of-pocket expense of $12,000, for a system that will replace only 15% of my annual electricity usage, and which will require ~30 years to just pay itself back (fully, at today's rates). The tax credits (residential in my case) are nevertheless substantial, and "doing the right thing" has its own merit, but these considerations can only carry so much weight in a spending decision of such magnitude. I have reluctantly concluded that despite its environmental merit, solar technology remains more of a "rich man's toy" than a real solution for the majority of Oregonians. At today's price, it is inconceivable to me that solar can be more than a novelty to be enjoyed only by the affluent.
Will somebody please prove me wrong?
posted 3 years, 11 months ago
view in context