We have wanted to install solar panels for years. In the past they were just too expensive. Even a lease would have cost $5,000 down at one time. We just didn’t have that kind of money.

So once a year or so we’d see what the cost of getting panels was. To our delight this year they became available for a $0 down loan. The number of panels (and therefore the cost) recommended for each house depends on the historic electrical usage for that house. Given our historic use of electricity we could get enough panels to generate $158 per month of electricity and the lease rate would be only $117 per month. That would be a good-sized saving of money while also reducing our carbon footprint!

Obviously purchasing them would be a lot of money upfront, but the expected rate of return on that invested money would be 8.3% per year. That’s based on the panels lasting 20 years but since the warranty on them guarantees energy production for 25 years you know they will last longer so the rate of return would be higher. We’ve been told that investing aggressively in the stockmarket typically results in a 7.75% annual return. Buying solar panels would actually be a better investment than the stockmarket.

So we have a signed contract with Technicians for Sustainability And we are trying to get our house ready for solar panels. So this past weekend we finally got around to installing insulation in our attic. There were areas without any insulation. Although I spent four hours total feeding insulation into the blower, my husband spent the same amount of time in the attic crawling on his knees, trying not to fall between the rafters (He succeeded in that mission.)

The next step of this process will be to install a metal roof. This is not a requirement of getting solar. However, we looked at the cost of replacing an asphalt shingle roof every 15 years (in our hot climate.) The cost of metal is double the cost of shingles. But it will probably last the rest of our lives and we won’t have to pay to have a new roof installed ever again. Plus every time a shingle roof is changed the solar panels have to be taken off. That could result in damaged panels. So in the next month we’ll have a new roof. And after that, solar panels.

What else we’re doing…

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