Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Solar Panels

Tired of super high electric bills, and being that we live in sunny Louisiana, Therese and I decided to invest in solar panels. It made sense for us because with our remodeling we now have very efficient windows and spray foam insulation. After some research, we hired Anthony Reis from Solar Works. The panels were installed in early November.
We purchased 16 panels, each one a Sanyo HIT Photovoltaic Module with maximum power production rated at 210 Watts. Thus we have a 3.36 KW system. It should cover, we estimate, about 2/3 of our electric use, and we hope considerably reduce our Entergy bills which average about $200 per month. To measure their productivity we have an Enphase micro-inverter. I am able to measure each panel individually and see its historical production on my computer. We decided not to get the battery backup system, so when we lose power from tropical storms and high winds, we'll still need our generator.

The total cost for everything was $26,225. We expect to get back 30% of this in a Federal tax credit and 50% more from a Louisiana State tax credit, which means our total investment in the end will be $7,867.50. That is if all goes well with the tax filing. I'm nervous about that. I've been reading about Federal Form 5695: Residential Energy Credits and the form for Louisiana. I'll let you know how that turns out in a few months.

Then today we finally got our new electric meters from Entergy. Here is a picture of the old one:
And here is a picture of our new one, a so-called "Net Meter":

We'll basically be farming energy and selling back power to Entergy during the heavy periods of sunlight and when we're at work. Then we'll be using energy in the regular way at other times. The solar panels should pay for themselves in six years we calculate. Also, we have it set up so that if we decide to expand and add panels on the roof it should be relatively simple. We might do that next year, depending on how the federal and state tax credits work out.


Blogger D said...

Very cool. Wish we could do the same...but it would only work about two or three months per year!

9:19 PM  
Anonymous dsb said...

I am so freaking envious! Can't wait to hear how it plays out ...

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Daniel @ Diy Solar Panels said...

I envy you Michael, i wish my country offered the same tax deals.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Clay said...

Very curious how this works out long term in a practical sense.

Keep us posted.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Likewise just had a 2.2Kwh system installed (10 220W Schuco panels, grid-tied, which is probably the easiest to install) plus a glycol hot water system with gas backup tank installed. Was expecting a monthly savings of $30/50 dollars...guess I'll find out...

The system went online as of yesterday...

8:33 PM  

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