While I live in the north, the back of my house has a southern exposure. I would love nothing more than to stick some solar panels on my roof and start making some use of this wasted energy. The problem – its far too expensive. Some rough estimates put the cost at around $30,000 for the installation of solar panels suitable for our needs.
If I look at my current electric bill, we are spending around $1,200 a year on hydro – therefore, even if we were able to get 100% of our electric needs from these solar panels, it would still take 25 years till we would break even. More likely, we would only get half of what we need at most (factoring in cloudy days as well as nights, in which case it may take 50 years till we break even. Yes, a benefit for the environment, but certainly no financial gain.
Wait? How long do solar panels last? Would they even last 50 years? I’m not sure – perhaps financial gain is impossible.
A few years ago I saw something about a company that would come and install solar panels on the rooftops of big business (grocery stores, department stores, etc) at their cost, then sell the power back to the retailer at a rate lower than that of the power company. By doing so, the retailer saved money, the solar company makes money, and the environment can breathe a bit easier. Seems like a win-win-win situation. My question is, where did they go?
After a few Google searches I was unable to find this company – I have to admit I didn’t look very hard, but still. It seems like such a fantastic idea that should have taken off, yet it just disappeared into nowhere.
All we need to do in order to get more people and business on Solar and take a bite out of this whole global warming thing is make it cost effective. Only a select few will go solar strictly for the environmental benefits, but if you throw in actual financial savings (and perhaps even a small profit via net metering) it would be a no brainier!
I think its time for the governments to put more funds into R&D for Solar to help improve the technology and drive down the cost. It seems that the answer to the world wide power crisis is just sitting there staring at us, and nobody is doing anything about it. Come on people…