solar power

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 11:05 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
[personal profile] darkoshi
Our electric company has a program where you can either buy or rent solar panels which are set up out in the countryside (rather than on your roof). They take care of all the setup and maintenance. As I want to support clean renewable energy, it sounds like a great thing for me to do. But after reading the details about the program, I have a nagging feeling that it sounds too good to be true.

Especially the part in the FAQ about renting panels, which says "Monthly credits are expected to be greater than monthly fees providing for instant saving."
I wonder if the panels provide more power when they are new, so that to begin with, the credits might exceed the fees, but in later years the reverse would be true?

Do any of you have experience, or know someone with experience, in these type of programs?

The electric company also has a rooftop solar program. Each customer can only participate in one of the programs, not both. I've seen several houses with solar panels on their roofs. My house would likely be a good candidate for that too, as it gets a good amount of sunshine. But the idea of putting solar panels on my roof worries me in that
- the panels would interfere with getting the shingles replaced, whenever the shingles eventually need to be replaced (although maybe they lengthen the life of the shingles underneath them, as the shingles would be less exposed?)
- if someone needs to walk on my roof for something (cleaning gutters, fixing leaks, trimming tree branches), the panels would be in the way
- if not installed well, they might cause roof leaks?

Date: Thursday, July 13th, 2017 07:00 am (UTC)
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
From: [personal profile] marahmarie
Their website has everything going against it - an oversimplified explanation about the panels, fake testimonials, "CEC featured in...[shows a dozen big-name website logos with no backlinks to prove they were featured anywhere]" banners all over the place, no explanation of what CEC is until you scroll down, no indication you should scroll down until you hit the bottom of the page because of hidden automagic endless scrolling, and so on. Just *argh* having to deal with that website might make me rip my hair out.

And I say that as a customer of a co-op utility so out of the current online loop that until a few months ago you didn't need to log in to view *anyone's* current and past bills and exact, daily usage. Any address they serviced came up without providing any credentials to view their information at all. Which yes, provided many hours of shock and hilarity for me, the neighbors, and even our landlord, not to mention everyone else in the county and possibly the entire world who knew how to look any one of us up.

But still their website is more clear and straightforward than your utility's is, I'll say that.

You might be best off to call your utility directly and ask one of their humans about this solar program - best of luck.

Editing to add...it sounds too good to be true because they probably get the credit for "installing" the solar panels, not you. So they'll pass on the credit in the form of "savings" seen on your electric bill. The thing to do might be to try to figure out (with an actual calculator) what it costs to buy and install the panels yourself and how much of a credit you'll get from the government for doing so, plus how much money you'll save by having the panels on or at least at* your house vs. how much money you'll "save" by letting your utility claim the solar panel installation credit and keep the solar panels for themselves out in some field somewhere, then just have them pass the "savings" onto you.

I also wonder if what they're doing is even legal.

* You don't have to put solar panels on your roof to save some money. You can keep them literally anywhere on your property that has full or even part sun, then use them to charge and/or power various batteries, electronics and appliances.
Edited (added another thought or two, typo) Date: Thursday, July 13th, 2017 07:12 am (UTC)