Anthony Watts has a nifty article on how to go solar with your home. It blends his expertise as scientist (meteorologist) and average Joe homeowner for a super sustainability article. Watts says that if you are planning to go solar, there are a few things you should know:
· Pick a reliable contractor experienced with the process, particularly with the California Energy Commission rebate process, because a mistake there can cost you a lot of time and money.
· Be prepared to spend money or to seek financing. There are low cost state-sponsored finance programs available.
· Be patient. The process takes time, often more than you think, especially in a retrofit. There are applications, permits, tests, and government interactions involved.
· Solar will immediately add to the resale value of your home, that value never decreases. So when you get a state rebate, say for $10,000 towards the purchase, you get to keep that as equity.
· Financing should be balanced in such a way so that it is equal to or less than your average existing electricity bill, so that you are paying yourself back. When the system is paid off, then you’ll have zero payments for energy.
· You’ll be switched to a yearly billing system rather than a monthly. If your solar system doesn’t produce enough electricity to cover all your use, at the end of the year you’ll have what’s called a “true-up” bill, which could be large, but averaged over the year will be much smaller. Be sure to plan for that.