Going Solar


I have gotten estimates from two companies to install solar panels. We are leaning towards just buying the panels (as opposed to leasing or a PPA) and were quoted about 34K before any tax credit. Our house has a pretty good setup facing almost due south and no trees in the way so I figured it was a good way to lock in our power costs for the future.

Anyone out there gone solar or seriously considered it have any advice on the topic?

When I first came here to the Dominican Republic 13 years ago I looked into solar but it was too much for me. For a system for my house, it would have cost about $15K. Three years ago I finally got a system because the costs were way down, I paid about $7K. The panels were about $270 each, I have nine. And the special solar inverter was about $1000. I already had a regular inverter and some batteries but I got a few new ones. I moved to a new house with solar but I think I was getting around 300 - 400KW or so from my other system.

It was a mess because we set up to sell extra electricity to the electric company which is the biggest thief in this country. In my new house I know better than to get involved with the electric company. I still get some electricity from them but I don’t sell to them now that I know their special solar meter is just to spy on how much I use so they can charge me at a higher rate which equates to 22 cents per KW.

Wow, $34K! What is the breakdown on that? How many panels?

Our breakdown is 36, 295w modules since our home is all electric including our ground source heat pump (so about 14,000 kWh total). The total cost is a bit high but there is a solar tax credit good until the end of 2019 that is 30% of the parts/install with no limit so our actual price after the credit would be about $24,000.

I assume this is your annual total … but still, my most recent bill was for 200 kWh in a month … just short of 400 kWh/month in the middle of winter … or less than 1/4 your consumption …

Some conservation efforts might be helpful …

Anyway … how long will it take for the cost savings in electricity to add up to the $24k? … I would offer as a very general rule if this is less than ten years then it will be worth the investment … and this is without considering the added value to the resale value of the real estate …

We live in Phoenix, Arizona, and bought our panels at the end of 2016. We’re very happy with them. Wife has done the math, and they will pay for themselves by around 2024. It’s likely we’ll stay here longer than that. Our electric bill is around $18 per month, averaged.