The hot water system will end up costing us $1,837 after some kind of $1,000 rebate, a $1,000 discount for buying this system and photovoltaic from Poncho's Solar Service, a $1,837 state tax credit and a $1,547 federal tax credit, making this a really smart option in a place that has one of the highest electric rates in the nation and no natural gas.
The photovoltaic system is really the interesting part. Ten solar panels are supposed to produce enough electricity for our home's needs so we'll end up spending only $20 a month on our electric costs for a monthly fee to hook-up to HELCO's power grid. During the day we generate more electricity than we need and what we aren't using gets fed back into the grid and we get credit for that through a net metering agreement with HELCO. At night, we use electricity generated by HELCO and only have to pay for it if we use more than our solar panels generate. This way we don't need batteries to store the power we generate and we have reliable power even if it's cloudy or dark outside.
This was all installed, along with our new digital electric meter, about three weeks ago. Since then, we have generated 88 kilowatt hours of electricity with our 10 solar panels. We've used 94, so right now we owe the power company for six kilowatt hours. We've had hopelessly cloudy and rainy days lately, so I am optimistic that in the long run, we'll be generating enough power to accrue some credits and not have to pay for any electricity.
The photovoltaic system cost $12,100. We will also get some tax credits from this purchase, but I can't remember how much. I think we figured that if our usual bill of $140 is reduced to $20 then the system will pay for itself in about four years at the current electric rates.
So we're feeling very good about our purchase. It will save us money in the long run and is better for the environment, plus the panels were made right here in the U.S.A.
|This readout shows the temperature at the solar hot water panels (117) It also shows the water temperature at the bottom our water tank, which is 110 on the afternoon of a fairly cloudy day.|
|The two big panels on the left heat our water, the 10 photovoltaic panels on the right generate electricity. That small spot of panels on our carport should be enough for all our electricity needs. Crazy!|
|Our 10 photovoltaic panels have generated 88 kilowatts of electricity since this meter was installed about three weeks ago.|