Question

How much would it cost me to power my 2000 sq ft home with solar?

Asked by Chad Akers
Grand Rapids, MI

I live in Michigan and we're thinking about installing solar panels on our home. How much would it cost us to do so? Is it better to lease? If we sell, can the lease be transferred, or would we have to cancel our lease? If so, how much would that cost? What company has the best prices for solar panel installation, pricing, and/or leasing? I hear that Michigan is soon supposed to be "the solar capital of the world," says Gov. Grandholm. Should we wait, or is it pretty cost-efficient to purchase/lease now through another company out of state?

Answer

Scott Johnson

Answered by Scott Johnson

Lake Elsinore, CA

AVO Power

December 20, 2010

OK. Let me dissect this. To answer your questions in order...

  1. How much would it cost? Many factors dictate final cost.
  2. Is it better to lease? No.
  3. If we sell, can the lease be transferred? That's "tricky" to "no"!
  4. Could we cancel the lease? Get out of a lease? hummm...
  5. What are the best prices for solar panel installation and/or leasing? Module prices drop daily. Expect $1.75-a-peak-watt wholesale by mid-2011.
  6. Is it cost-efficient to purchase or lease from a company out of state? Do not go out of state.

Leasing just plain scares me. Leasing salespeople will argue, but most of them have been in the business about 3 weeks.

  • Also, remember, all and any tax and rebate advantages and breaks will be taken by the leasing company or their agents.
  • Here's the way I see it. Lease=banks, =the same banks that gave us toxic loans, =Wall Street, =you can guess the outcome.

If you can fund this yourself and/or obtain a lower-interest loan for such projects, do so.

Three factors determine solar's cost

The question I'm asked most often is "How much will solar power cost?"

Three factors determine most of this.

  1. Connected load.
  2. Available sunlight in your area of the country.
  3. Percent of load offset (realistic numbers).

A client recently asked most of the same questions you are asking. The individual had taken bids from five different solar companies and was overwhelmed at the final cost and demanding salespeople.

  • Five different companies, and all 180 degrees apart.
  • They all asked to see his utility bill for the all-electric house with pool.

The quotes were between $35k and $65k, based on the derived info from his SoCal Edison statement. They were in the fifth tier over their lifeline rate! Surprisingly enough, they all said he was a perfect candidate for solar.

Better options?

I asked if any of the companies offered:

  • Solar water? Answer: NO.
  • Weather stripping and insulation? Answer: NO.
  • Solar pool pump? Answer: NO.
  • Energy-efficient lighting? Answer: NO.

Why would you add extra PV panels to heat water? Heat the house? You see where I'm going with this.

Does this help?


For more information:

Read Anthony Addesso's Q&A "I want to convert to solar energy. Where do I start?" and Christine and Robert Boles's Q&A "How much will it cost to install solar panels on my 2,000-sq.-ft. home in San Francisco?"

Also, read Paul Rosen's Q&A "Can you tell me how well solar hot-water heaters work?"

Tagged In: green cost, solar panels

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