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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Solar Power

     Today was the day we had seventeen solar panels installed on our roof.  The usual approach is for the homeowner to pay the substantial up-front costs and have it paid back over several years by spending less for electricity.  Some states and some utility companies have combined to make it easier on the consumer.  There are tax incentives and rebates.  In some areas the utility company permits "net-metering" whereby, if the solar array is providing more power than the house is using, the utility will buy the excess power back at the retail rate.  At least one solar company, Vivint Solar, has a different business model.The homeowner leases the solar panels by paying a fixed amount each month (adjusted annually).  The amount is substantially below the usual electric bill.  Granted, they get the rebates, tax incentives and the utility pays them for the excess power.  They are the owners of the array.  Since the amount we will pay each month is based on last year's consumption, and since we are gone during the sunniest months, the finances will be skewed until we stop summering in Maine.  It will be interesting to track the finances.

     The crew arrived just before 0800 as advertised.  I had expected to take some pictures of the several folks clambering over the roof, but I was asked not to.  Harnesses aside, they didn't always follow the company/OSHA rules while scampering over the roof and didn't want that photographed.  They did a professional, clean installation...unlike some of the DirecTV work that preceded them.


     Here you can see the two arrays of eight plus the odd seventeenth panel.  The difference in color of the panels on the roof of the screen porch is pollen!  The last shot shows the big inverter which inverts the panels' DC to AC.  Note the cutoff box between the two systems and the box that is ready to receive SCE&G"s bi-directional meter.  I'll keep you posted on how I fare financially.  Obviously, I'm not off the grid.  SCE&G will bill me even if I generate more power than I use just because I am connected to their grid.
     While all this was going on, the foreman kept a careful eye on the proceedings.

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