quantAndHold wrote:ponyboy wrote:Solar is a cool concept but its a joke. Its just too expensive. I dont care what the tax incentives are. I guess if you plan on staying in your home forever...because its going to take 20 years to break even. Imagine what the initial price of a full solar roof...now invest that in the 3 fund vanguard portfolio...whats $30k going to grow to over 20 years? Catch my drift? Solar is a waste.
Ummmm....no. Most people don't need a $30k system. Our California house has a 2.4 kW system that was just barely over $10k after incentives several years ago when solar panel prices were higher. It provides 85% of our electricity for that house, and doing the math with actual power generation and electricity prices, the payback period is 7-9 years.
My guess is you don't use air conditioning much? Say 2.4kw at 1500 kwhr pa (that's twice what I would get in London, UK). 3600 kwhr pa. The average UK home uses about 3500 kwhr pa, and that's with gas heat, less than 1500 square foot, etc. You have *very* low electricity consumption if you are burning say 4200 kwhr pa-- by North American standards.
I agree if the system is not sized to produce 100% of your annual consumption, it's usually very good for the payback period.
People *do* install PV systems in Vancover BC, and Victoria BC (which has less rain on the whole). So it does work up there. Although BC is mostly hydro electric, there's enough carbon emitting power in the reserve margin to make a difference (although I've never actually checked the stats). Also Alberta is of course almost totally fossil fueled, so exports across the border displace emissions. I suspect something similar with the US NW, to the extent it is connected to California and the Midwest.
In Kelowna (possibly the sunniest town in Canada?) it really does make sense-- gotta love the rain shadow .
In Seattle, where it's far north, cloudy, and electricity is both cheap and not carbon based (90% hydroelectric), solar makes no sense. But there are large parts of the country where it does make sense.
Most of, in the case of the USA. Because it makes sense in Germany which is both further north, generally, and has lousy weather. Arguably it was highly subsidized to make sense, but, then, again, as they phase our their nuclear power their only alternatives are joys like lignite.
Although solar panels give low outputs in New England, as long as you can get the snow off the panels, they make sense against very high power and natural gas prices. They make sense in Maine, for goodness sakes!