Solar Panels

Recently we went solar. When I tell people this (as I am proud of this improvement), invariably one’s reaction is, “Oh! Good for you,” and then they add with some interest, “How much did it cost?” When I disclose the price tag, the follow up reaction is typically, “Oh my.” (Just for the record, the federal government and the state picked up about a third of the tab. But don’t expect that to be the case much longer. People are starting to take advantage of said rebate and I am sure the Gov is going to quickly end that program.)

The weird part to me though it that was no more expensive than any other capitol improvement on a house – comparable to a low-grade kitchen remodel or maybe having having one’s floors redone. Furthermore, those kinds of capitol improvement only pay out if you sell the house right away. Otherwise, they’ll wear and tear and eventually add no value to the house. (I am not knocking improving the kitchen or redoing the floors. It is important for one’s house to be to one’s liking. I plan on doing that myself very soon.) The Solar panels on the other hand will pay themselves in a decade or less. After that, it’s all gravy. Delicious sunny gravy. Plus I get the satisfaction of sticking to The Man every moment the sun is out – which is priceless.

And it’s not that I mind all the nay-saying. But when all those black and brown outs were happening this week, I was oblivious. In fact, I opened up the fridge and freezer, started the dishwasher, started the clothes washer and started the dryer on high. Not really, because I had no idea the power was out for everyone else. I just went about my merry day.

But a few days ago I received my first electrical bill where we had the panels up for the full length of the billing period. Guess how much it was. Go on. Guess.

And I fully acknowledge that this was the bill for August, probably the most fruitful of sun drenched months. And I fully acknowledge that December will not be as prosperous. But even those who nay-said have to admit – this is totally awesome. We produced 89kWh more than we used for the month. And the $1.73 is not even for power, it is just a city charge for “being on the grid” and other red herring charges from Edison.

I’m expecting our dinner invitation from Al Gore and Leo any day now.

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