Sunday, November 23, 2008

Investing in solar power

When Suen Lau decided to install solar panels on the roof of his home, he could not find a local contractor to bid for the job.

He spoke with a number of contractors he found through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Web site.

“I called 10 or 15 of them before I connected with someone,” said Lau, 45, of Whitestone. “I discovered that a lot of people don’t want to deal with the red tape associated with doing this kind of work in the city.”

Lau found a contractor and is now enjoying the financial and environmental benefits of living in a solar powered home. But the approval of the design of his panels by Con Edison, along with additional permits, approvals and inspections required by various city and state agencies, totaled almost four months.

Solar power fills man’s home, wallet

“These panels produce clean energy and supply 80 percent of my power needs,” Lau said. “I pay less for my energy needs now than I did before the panels were installed.”

Lau estimated that his monthly Con Ed bill averaged $900-$1,000 per month before converting to solar power. He now pays $600-$700 per month.

Solar powered homes also help prevent blackouts because the excess power they produce reverts to Con Ed’s main electrical grid. This extra power can then be used to fortify neighborhoods experiencing a higher demand for electricity.

Solar powered homes require a long-term commitment and large financial investment upfront.


Anonymous said...

So, he estimates his savings at $300/mo,weighed against the cost of purchase and installation, I don't think many will consider this an attractive alternative. Also, these panels deteriorate over time and their output declines with use.

Fuel-cell tech, though more dangerous has a better chance of eventually giving energy independence.

Anonymous said...

If the solar power panels supply 80% of his electric power why did his bill only go down 30%.

Anonymous said...

he's the asian who doesn't know math?

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm missing something because I live in a small apartment but $900 or his reduced bill of $600 a month seems like an awful lot for an electricity bill, even considering Con Ed rates.

Anonymous said...

Solar electric is not even close to nbeing a contender above latitude 40 degrees. There simply os not enough solar energy striking the earth, particularly this time of year. Just research the average solar watts/meter^2 in NYC.

Anonymous said...

They might be more affordable if we were not detered from using them in the past.Reagan ripped off the solar panels Carter put on the white house.

Anonymous said...

In New York:
Solar electric PV systems qualify for a rebate of $4/Watt up to 5 kW. Systems installed in a New York Energy Star home qualify for $4.50/W up to 5 kW.


Federal Incentives:
Residential solar hot water and solar electric PV systems qualify for a personal tax credit of 30% of the system cost after any state incentives with a cap of $2,000.

Anonymous said...

I heard recently on a recent TV special that the bottom line installation costs start at $10,000 and quickly soar up to as high as $40,000 to $60,000 for a fully adequate system.

What's the amortization rate compared with the deterioration rate of these panels?

It sounds like all show and no blow to me!

Since I've lowered my thermostat to 63 degrees (wearing a sweater) along with other energy saving measures, I'm saving about 20% on my energy costs already.

katlupe said...

My your bill is high! I have been using solar panels myself since 1999 and haven't paid one cent to a power company since then.

As for solar panels deteriorating, it's not enough so you'd notice. Even used ones are worth buying. I haven't had any power outages in all that time and I have a VERY small system that most people couldn't live with. But I like being independent.

As for not enough sun here in NYS, well you're right, the months of October, November and December can be a bit much....the rest of the year makes up for it. I live right in the middle of the forest with lots of big trees. I Still get plenty of power though.