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solar power for your home. anyone have it?


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I'm thinking about installing solar panels but I have no idea where to start. is it worth it? whats the payback. are they effiecient enough yet - what about tax breaks.


If I end up staying where I am (florida) then how long do I have to stay to make it worthwhile - or if I move can I take them with me.


does anyone have insight they can share?


ultilamtley I'd love to be off the grid (geothermal / solar and electric car etc) but I'm not sure how to get there yet...

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I think it's a great thing to look into. I would definitely do so too if I wasn't renting and living somewhere that is 100% powered by hydro.


Florida has net-metering (utilities pay you for extra power you send to the grid), which makes things much better for you.


I have no idea what solar installers are active in the state, but by googling a bit you should be able to find them and see what kind of deals they offer, and they will be able to let you know about all the incentives and tax breaks available.


If SolarCity operates where you live, it's probably the first one to check out. If you lease a system, they could set it up so you basically have almost nothing to pay up front and the cost of the lease is lower than your current bill, so it's kind of hard to lose...


Good luck, and let us know how the search goes! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes-so generally in florida the financial returns aren't up to par with those people see in places like AZ, CA, and HI, mostly due to the relatively lower retail power rates. Having said that you can definitely get a PV system. To my knowledge the 2 largest residential solar power companies (SolarCity & Sunrun) don't operate in FL yet--but I'm sure some more local installers do. If I were in FL I would probably wait a few years...costs are coming down quickly and power rates are on the rise. Economics (and therefore returns) will get better.

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I recommend:

1. Go to DSRIEusa.org click on your state and look for applicable incentives.

2. Before installing solar pv and before investing in any stocks, install solar water heating panels. This system will have a payback period of just a few years with much much higher return and overall efficiency than pv. I don't know why people don't install these in their house, they are extremely efficient, especially in sunny climates.

3. Next install pv if your utility company allows net metering (you don't use the power that you generate, you sell it to your electric company, but overall you contribute green energy to the system) For Florida, depending on available incentives the payback period should be much quicker than the 20-30 year life of the pv panels. So it's in a sense a guaranteed small return. Adding batteries really increases the system cost.


In addition to all of above, you also get to add intangible value of not contributing to the planet's demise to your personal balance sheet.

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i'm happy to let someone else create the electricity for me. if you get some stupid tax breaks or something for tinkering with panels, then go for it. but i doubt it'll make much sense in the long run, especially if you have to pay for labor (can't do it yourself).


usually when i see people thinking they can do a better job than the utilities(wind, solar etc) or cable companies(putting up own antennas) it just makes zero sense, and that time and effort would be much better spent elsewhere.


edit: forgot to mention that there is one exception to this and it's geothermal energy used for heating in cold places. it makes sense on a small scale too and pays for itself in 7-8 years. it's also almost zero maintenance.

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