Should I have solar panels installed on my house now, or should I wait for the technology to improve?

Question by dennisdawn: Should I have solar panels installed on my house now, or should I wait for the technology to improve?
I live in Southern California, and I have been considering solar panels for some time. I’d love to air condition my house, but I’m not willing to do so until and unless we come up with an alternative energy source. I’m somewhat anxious to go ahead with the solar idea. It seems, though, that the technology is changing rapidly. I wonder if it would be smarter to wait.

Best answer:

Answer by billrussell42
If you can afford about $ 50000 for an average house, go ahead.

You might want to calculate how much power cost this saves per year to see how many years it will take to get payback. Look at your old utility bill to see what you paid for the last year. Also see what your average power consumption was for that period.

Check with your utility company to see if you can sell power back to them from your array. Then get an array 2-4 times bigger than your average power consumption is. This allows you surplus to sell to them to make up for periods with no sun.

Remember that you need a roof facing the sun with nothing to block direct sun, not even a small bare tree branch. The way the arrays work, if any small portion is blocked, the array puts out nothing. The array should be at the optimal angle, which varies with location.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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5 Responses to “Should I have solar panels installed on my house now, or should I wait for the technology to improve?”

  1. How the #$ %^ do you live in SoCal and NOT air condition your house? Surely it’s hotter than hades in there.

    Nevertheless, technology will always improve regardless of when you purchase your solar panels. They’ll be obsolete soon enough (just like computers), but all that matters is if they fit your need and your budget. If they do, I’d say go for it.

    Otherwise, set yourself specific, objective guidelines of when you *will* purchase solar panels. If you don’t, you may get yourself into a perpetual waiting period as you watch solar panels become incrementally more sophisticated and you continue to wait for more “improvements.”

  2. some scientists just figured out how to produce hydrogen with rust doped silicon.most of the hydrogen/electric technologies are backward compatible with electric/hydrogen technologies so it’s just a matter of application before they figure out they can create electricity in a simular way.i’d wait because rust is cheap and plentiful.

  3. Wait. At present, solar costs about $ 10 per installed watt of capacity, and each such watt can produce a maximum of 2 kWh of power per year, worth, at today’s prices, about 25 cents. You would be better off leaving your money in a good savings account. BUT, if you can get a fat subsidy, and there are some available, you can get the taxpayers to pick up a substantial part of the cost, and then it might pay.

  4. I faced the same question six years ago, and installed a system. It was not paying off, until the price of electricity and gas jumped. It will still take a long time to recover the cost, but it will.

    Living alone in Northern Cal, I use my 6 kW system both to supply normal electrical loads, and my heating requirements. California is on net metering, so you will not need batteries. Check out the state energy commission rebate program and any tax benefits.

    Especially if you plan to sell the house within the next 15 or 20 years, I encourage you to to ahead. What doesn’t pay off in reduced utility bills will come back to me in the selling price of my home.

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