With $15,000 would you buy PV or improve your envelope?
Last night I went to an informational meeting sponsored by Solarize CT. This organization negotiates with solar companies to reduce installation costs for PV panels. They keep lowering the price in accord with how many people sign a contract. Currently they’re offering installed panels at $3.30 a watt. A 9 or 10kw array would likely meet all our electrical power needs. Also at the meeting were lenders who will finance the net cost (less 5% down) for 15 years at 6.5%. You can also lease the panels which involves no money down.
Currently the feds are offering a 30% tax rebate on PV installs and the state is offering up to a 35% rebate. In round numbers, at $3.30 a watt, combined with state and federal incentives, brings the cost of a 10kw array to $15,000. I’ve always believed that envelope improvements make more sense than PV, but the state and federal incentives and super low prices of PV coupled with our very high electric rates has me considering an installation. My question is, what am I missing? Am I silly for installing PV first without significant envelope improvements to my very small but not terribly efficient home. In the three years we’ve lived there we’ve needed 3 tanks of heating oil so our heating costs are much lower than most folks in New England. Our house is small and reasonably air tight. If we lowered our plug loads, it’s conceivable we could also heat our house with heat pumps or resistance heaters using our 10 kw array.
I’d be grateful for your thoughts.
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