Daily Illuminator

June 30, 2017: Powered By The Sun!

Solar Panels

In 2014, we installed solar cells on our office and warehouse roofs, as well as on a new parking cover. Here's the original Illuminator. It wasn't cheap. But, especially in these cloudless summer days, we're generating a lot of power.

We used to average more than $2,000 a month in electrical expenses. From January through May this year (not the sunniest months), we averaged $800 per month income from selling power back to Austin Energy. Last year, June and July were our biggest solar months, with income of $1,725 and $1,317 respectively. As a bonus, the solar cells reflect heat, cutting down on our AC costs.

Solar Panel

Taking into account the extra taxes, street-service costs, etc., that we have avoided, the total value of the installation so far has been about $117,000. This is approaching 50% of the targeted return on investment after tax credits. That implies a full ROI in 2021, which is three years ahead of schedule. It looks like in 12 years the system will pay for itself just on energy sold back to the city.

-- Steve Jackson

PS – I'm waiting eagerly for Elon Musk to get his solar tiles on the market. My own house needs a new roof . . . but will Musk's tiles be ready in time? Need that new roof now.

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