Making the Committment: The Sunny Side of Solar
By Robert J Feuerstein, Ph.D., Principal Architect: Transmission and Synchronisation Networks, BT Innovate and Design, Transport Platform, Infrastructure Platform Cluster
We live in Boulder, Co, a rather sunny spot with good solar irradiance. We had been considering solar panels for a few years. The incentives from the local utility, the federal tax breaks and finally BT’s rebate program with Sunpower made the decision an easy one.
The 24 panels with a peak power rating of 5.5kW have been up almost two years now. We generate more electricity than we use over a year.
The highest power at the inverter I have seen is about 5.1kW, and we have generated a maximum that I have noticed of about 33kW-hrs of energy in one summer day. Our average usage is about 24kW-hrs per day.
It’s great knowing we don’t use any electricity from the grid. Our answer to the perennial question about return on investment, is, “What’s your ROI on your kitchen remodel?” After all, it is an investment in our house, and we get no electric bill, and no increases as they continually raise the rates year after year. But, with all the rebates, we probably get about 6.5% return (electric bill savings) on the cash we invested. And the value of the house is increased of course.
So, actually it’s great no matter how you look at it.