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Our Move to Solar

Discussion in 'VapourArt' started by yankeebobo, Aug 25, 2016.

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  1. yankeebobo

    yankeebobo Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Western MA
    [​IMG]

    This year, we decided that it was time to pull the trigger on converting our home to pure solar electricity consumption. It was something Jo had talked about for years….about 7 to be exact. As the years went on, the talks increase in frequency and intensity. But we waited. And this year, the financial benefits from both federal and state government gave us no further excuse to make that just talk.

    She interviewed about 5 companies, some over the phone from as far as Boston and some in person on site. I had some off feelings about the facts that were delivered to us so I couldn’t feel comfortable, and as a result of my feelings and her own feelings, we never felt quite right. But she made a call to Northeast Solar and opened the talk candidly. Rusty was the man we dealt with because the result was confidence in them. We are both much more comfortable when the company is extremely confident in the answers they provide, the quickness they provide them in, and the ability to actually get back to you on the few they don’t know the answers to.

    As I said, financially, it was time. Some of the benefits included:

    Federal:
    - 30% tax credits (not deductions)

    MA State:
    - $1000 tax credit
    - subsidized loans (as low as 1.49%). Now, you could pay out of pocket, or select this rate as part of your loan. I haven’t seen these rates in MANY years.
    - SREC program (solar renewable energy credit)
    - NET metering of 1:1 (100%) as long as the overall system stays at 10kw or less.

    Combined, these bring the overall system cost down considerably. Keep in mind that the state benefits do vary by state. But there is added benefit to the planet - a reduction in carbon footprint. Granted we are only one home, but one of many. And from what I could tell from my town after being involved heavily in the permit/inspection process, more and more are signing up weekly.

    NET Metering: It means that anything we generate ABOVE our normal usage during the day, goes back to the company at their rate as paying us and at night when we need it back, we pay exactly what they “paid” us for it. They don’t pay for it per se, but they offer it as credit. This translates to us making extra credit during say, March, April, May, June (high sun during spring) and when December, January, February (low sun, shorter days, winter), we don’t have to pay for electricity because of the credit we’ve accrued during the earlier months. This is as long as you stay at/under the 10kw system. If you go above, then the ratio becomes 60% rather than the 100%. Imagine getting “paid” 60 cents for something only to have to pay a full $1 to get it back. Cost benefit extremely drops off. So we maxed our system to the full allowable size.

    Tax Credits: They roll over, so what you don’t use, you get to carry over to the next year, and the year after until you’ve exhausted them all.

    SREC: I’ll keep this as simple as possible tossing out some round numbers. The program continues for 10 years. Essentially 1 SREC = 1000kw. To keep the numbers even, if you can generate 1000kw in a month, then it’s 1 SRECs and that translates to 12 SRECs per year. Investor owned utility suppliers MUST satisfy a certain % of their power to the grid by renewable energy. And this is where the SRECs come into play. This can be looked at as "selling stock” in loose language. These are sold both quarterly and annually. Market prices change. As a utility supplier reviews their % of energy provided by renewables, then they reach out to “buy” these SRECs from customers, which increases their percentage they can report on. Sounds complicated, but it’s perhaps the way I’m wording it. For the sake of argument, each SREC will have a value of say a really low $200. Let’s say a realistic annual count of 10 SRECs per year based on a 10kw system, not 12. Simple math shows this being $2000.00 annually, and over the course of 10 years, $20,000.

    Quick Cost Savings Breakdown:
    - $20,000 over life on SREC (varies depending on size of system)
    - 30% Federal tax credit (calculates against total cost of system)
    - $1000 one time state credit (regardless of system)
    Depending on the system you choose, you can calculate your savings.

    It actually became a difficult decision to NOT go solar this year.

    The process: Once the company was selected, and the contract signed, this became extremely easy. Northeast Solar handled ALL of the paperwork. I mean everything. They communicated with the state, the solar division, the electric company, the town…..EVERYTHING. Granted, in my case, I had to get somewhat involved with the town because of the town’s staffing to try to keep this on track. But it was pretty much hands off. If we got an e-mail with missing forms from our electric company, Northeast Solar intervened. It was that simple. It’s why I say, it’s actually easy if you select a company you are comfortable with.

    To get to this point, we decided we better replace the roof now, rather than wait what we thought would be another 3 years or so. But in order to do that, we really needed to rebuild the top stack of our chimney. This became a chain of events type of project. But it did break down to 3 separate projects. All are shown in the photos, but the album below is focused on the solar aspect.

    Because I frankly am not sure how I'll long term store the images to link, I've created a small album to share here. I'll leave the photos in place there. I will be going through my rough photos and adding good shots to this album.

    iCloud Photo Sharing

    Disclaimer: Other than referencing a 10kw system (which we did go with), none of the numbers and dollar amounts represent any factual information about our system. They all used rough and round numbers for the ease of my calculations while writing. Percentages and credits I mention in the benefits are public knowledge in the state of MA. State benefits vary by state.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. perseas

    perseas Registered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Dec 11, 2011
    Athens, Hellas
    Congratulations my friends for this decision and nice write-up!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. yankeebobo

    yankeebobo Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Western MA
    Thank you my friend. Jo is over the moon with excitement. She has been researching this for years. She wanted the kitchen done and we got that done a few years ago. Now we accomplished another of her goals. I have to say she really taught me in this as I didn't look a heavily into it and she was impressing the company with her knowledge. In the end it helped select the company as she could tell who was dancing around the questions and who knew what the answer was.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. perseas

    perseas Registered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Dec 11, 2011
    Athens, Hellas
    These are memorable events and to be independent in energy is so soul relieving and practical at the same time, it's a multilevel boost. I am very happy for you guys!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. yankeebobo

    yankeebobo Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Western MA
    She is already looking ahead for what happens after the ten years.... Batteries should progress even further. Today Tesla has their power wall. But imagine what it will look like after 8 years or so. And how many will get involved and give the consumer options?

    Using energy created naturally is certainly the first step. An important one at that. But to use it and be able to store it affordably later on, it's another step
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. yankeebobo

    yankeebobo Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Western MA
    I wanted to add for anyone interested... Leasing was not an option for us. Its a tricky situation. The leasing company places the panels on roof and discounts your electric bill by a fraction. Example $30 less on your bill. THEY receive the benefits I outlined above and your rates are not impacted. If your rates go up, your bill can easily end up right where it started and even higher. They also charge a fee which alone brings that electric bill to almost where you started. And your contract with them is 20 years making them essentially own your roof for that time period. This can impact sale of the house if you choose to sell as many don’t want to take on that contract. Either rip them off and pay a termination fee and then patch the roof or struggle to sell possibly.
    Owning at these program options is the only way for us to go. We didn’t spend time on this decision.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. yankeebobo

    yankeebobo Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Western MA
    [​IMG]

    We went live last Friday (9/2) at about 1pm. For these three days, we made more electricity than we used. Off to a good start.
     
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  8. somdcomputerguy

    somdcomputerguy vaper dedicato Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Super congrats to you and your wife!
    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. yankeebobo

    yankeebobo Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Western MA
    Funny. That's what my wife says. The weather is now checked daily. "It's gonna be a solar day!!!!!"
     
    • Like Like x 1
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