Had to fight zoning, also couldn't put them on the roof so expensive pole mount was done. 30K. Covers the entire home plus half the Volt (charger at work). Only about 4% return per year if electricity rates never go up and the sun keeps shining.... do a roof mount for 20K and you'll get a 6% or 7% return until you die, maybe more depending on state rebates, incentives and sun exposure etc...
In my case, when I get there, an all 10k eMiles would mean $1400 in gas savings and oil changes. I am starting to think about "milestone gifts" to celebrate them. Maybe $100. in some car accessory or a slush fund at my favorite bar, ha!
One of the problems I noticed is that I know how cheap it is to travel now. In Houston, everything is 1 hr away...all of the good places to eat, clubs, hang outs, friends, etc. I found my self just driving to one of my favorite places that is a 20 mile-away fast food place "because I can" for a $6. meal. Before, I would not go because my gas cost would cost more than the meal; now it is only +$1. on a round trip!
That is great to hear about your solar set up. With this stupid economy, I am seriously thinking about a solar setup. Unfortunately, outside of Austin, there are very little incentives in Texas. However, at my estimation of a paltry 3% return, it is far better than anything at the local banks.
My wife and I would love to install solar panels, but at age 60 facing early (forced) early retirement coming up with the $$$$ would be difficult just now.
If I could do a complete system to pull me off the grid for $10 to $15K I'd be willing to pull that out of my 401K but based on my research that sort of system costs north of $25K, and I can't find any incentives here in southern Illinois. Plus I'm not sure we will stay in this house much longer as it's a two story and the stairs are becoming a problem for my wife, so any capital improvement we make to a house will have to be to a house we intent to love in for a long long time.
Mostly all Solar installation companies are now partnering with Solar Leasing companies and with a lease there is no money down or out of pocket and you pay the leasing company the average amount that your existing electric bill usually is per month. The most important thing is that you need a roof or an open unshaded area that faces mostly south.
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