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Answering Questions About Solar Panels for Your Home

There’s been a lot of interest in how we’ve gone about acquiring our solar panels we installed last fall. I figured rather than write the same email over and over and such, I’d write up a quick post that might be helpful to other folks too.

going in, we had (and met) three goals:

  1. No added expense - we didn’t want to be saddled with any extra payments and we assuredly didn’t want to trade liquid cash for a non-liquid asset. there was no way we wanted to wait forever for our investment to recoup. to avoid that, we calculated how many solar panels we’d need to leave our total monthly energy payment unchanged. so, the total of our loan payment added to the new power bill ($10 to $30 a month, depending) is less than or equal to our old power bill.
  2. adding equity to our home - talk about instant equity! “here person buying our house, i hope you like your $15 a month electric bill!“ over the course of 30 years, that’s $54,000 in savings if energy prices stay the same.
  3. saving money long term - speaking of energy prices staying the same. did you know that power rates in 1990 out here were 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour? now, they’re 15.38 cents. yeah… that’s a 50% increase. and next year, they’re going up to 15.57 and the year after that, the power company is saying they’re going to be 15.61. for those keeping track at home, that’s about a 2% increase per year. not for us!

you’ll notice i didn’t say “being green”, tho, that’s a nice side effect, it certainly wasn’t the driving reason. it’s funny how many people think we did it because we’re crazy californian hippies. makes me laugh. no, it has nothing to do with that at all. i mean, have you looked at your power bill lately?

joc did tons and tons of research prior to the install and we ended up choosing marie phillip at herca solar here in san diego ( – they were awesome and are highly recommended by us to anyone interested. just tell them joc and i sent you.

so, to recap: our monthly power budget at worst (until the loan is paid off) is a little less than before the panels, we added a ton of equity to the house and we’ve insulated ourselves from future power rate increases. win, win and win.

hell, all we need now is an electric car and we’ll be the hippies with the $15 power bill to your $200 one and our $0.00 a month fuel bill to your $200 one. tho, i suppose at least you won’t be called a hippy.

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About Topher Chapman

i like to write.

well... and paint. and program video games. and model economies. and run, surf, play football, etc. basically, i'm one of those irritating polymaths. my achilles heel, however, is obviously capitalization.

this is me, hurling my writing at you.

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