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Residents Association of Greater Lake Mathews

RAGLM Board > General Discussion > Solar Power: Leasing, Buying, DIY and Some Other Facts
4/23/2013 10:06:52 AM
LinksReply: sean k
We are getting very close to owning a home of our own in the GLM area. My mother is very proud of her solar panels and paid to have a contractor put them on her home and would love for us to do the same when we get the keys to our new place.

Can you share some links to places for both the DIY style, and also combined system style. I am interested in learning as much as I can while we prepare and plan for home ownership. The last post made me feel insecure about doing solar, but this was much more positive and re-affirmed my interest in going this route.
4/23/2013 8:53:29 AM
Solar Power: Leasing, Buying, DIY and Some Other FactsPost: Anders

The example I use here to illustrate some of the disadvantages of leasing a solar system is based on the presentation I gave at a RAGLM meeting in January 2012.  (It may still be available on the website – if not I will be happy to forward it to you).  A typical 5.5 kW system would cost approximately $28,600 if a contractor installs it for you or approximately $14,300 for a DIY project.


Leasing the same solar system, 5.5 kW, as the following implications: 1) you don’t own a leased solar system - that may pose issues when/if you sell your house.  Either, you must convince the new owner to take over the “lease” or you may have to pay a penalty to “break” the lease before the term is up, 2) Over the 25 year life of the solar system you will “earn” approximately $50,000 for a leased system compared to over $100,000 for a DIY system, 3) you cannot take advantage of any of the rebates and tax incentives of a leased system because the “leasing company” owns the system, not you, and 4) if you own the solar system then the value of your home will increase by about 20 times the value of the annual energy savings, or approximately $25,000.  This is not the case with a typical leased system.    



And a few additional comments to previous postings:


After a power outage your solar system will come back automatically once the grid is powered up.  So there is no longer a need for a manual reset by either the utility or by the owner.  This means that you will always generate power during the day AND when the utility power is on.  


And, if you would like to use solar power when the grid is down this is also possible.  Today there are at least three companies that I am aware of that provide equipment for a combined system  -  a solar system that will allow you to use your solar energy even with the grid is down.   It will be a bit more expensive but may be worth looking into.  Alternatively, a back-up generator with a manual- or automatic transfer switch may be the way to go.

We do what we can to keep our favorite beverages cool!  And, as always, the devil is in the details.

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