I finally got my 5,000 watt solar system installed and running.
Let's review some figures and see if this was a good investment:
5kW kit from Go Green Solar is $7450 (No sales tax on solar gear in Florida is the only state sponsored incentive currently.) Add $450 for the engineered drawings Add $800 for permitting, wiring and an electrician's help Add $50 for some cheap beer for your buddies that are gonna help you install
Total Damage: $8750 Subtract the 30% tax incentive offered by Uncle Sam: Subtract $2625.
Actual cost to you: $6125
Lets say this will generate 800 kWh of power per month averaged over the year and your power company charges $.117 per kWh of power. This equals $1123 of savings per year.
Now, you are looking at your investment and thinking it is a bad one because it will take 5.5 years to pay off. This is correct, but on the 6th year, it is paying more than if you had invested $6,125 in some bank that pays 2% interest. (Most 5 year CDs right now are paying 2%)
$6125 invested at 2% for 6 years will be $6905
$6125 invested into solar on year 6 will be $7248
Every single year after the 6th year, you are continuing to earn. Add to this the real possibility that your power company is gonna raise their rates. Also, your solar panels are going to reduce in efficiency at a rate of 1% per year. Both are a factor, but I betcha that the utility is going to raise their rates at more than 1% per year, so you will still win, but we will call it a wash and say that you will save $1123 for the duration of the system's life.
At 20 years: $1123 x 20 years = $22,460 - $6125 investment = $16,335
At 30 years: $1123 x 30 years = $33,690 - $6125 investment = $27,565
For comparison from above, $6125 invested at 2% for 30 years would equal: $11,094.59
Subtract minor maintenance costs and a replacement inverter in there if you want, but you are still ahead.
So this is only worth a damn if you keep the house for 20 years right? Heck no. You have added value to the home that is more, or at least even to what you have into it. So we will call that a wash. Even if you were to sell the house a week after you install your solar, you are not going to lose money.
Solar is a winning investment in my book as long as you are willing to put in the initial outlay of money and labor. Just don't install it in August in Florida.....
Investing additional information that whips the Solar investment in the butt.
Where it gets interesting though is the $6125 invested in an S&P 500 index fund. Not counting investing fees, (which should be very low for this type of fund) and considering the fund making an average gain of 8% for the next 30 years, the amount is legit: $61,633.77