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Published on June 25th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

18

How to Get a Cheap Solar Roof – for 80% Off

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June 25th, 2009 by
 

Move — to Louisiana:

According to SolarPowerRocks! The massive Louisiana solar state tax credit of 50% for solar roof installations, the most generous state subsidy for solar — Combined with the 30% Federal tax credit for solar that we all get now; (you knew about that, right?) so in Louisiana you can put a solar roof up, paying only 20% (almost free solar) of the cost: (30% + 50% = 80% off).

The way this credit is designed it will benefit modest homeowners the most. If you need a $25,000 system, you get the full 50%. If you need a larger system you get less than 50%, because it maxes out at $12,500.

So, if you have ten plasma tvs and a pool pump and run the A/C day and night, you won’t get as much help with running all that…but

Details:

$25,000 will typically get you about a 3KW system; enough to completely zero out the electricity bill for a modest and green household using about 350kwh a month.

You could be running on all clean electricity! Check your utility bill to see what your usage is.

And even if you use twice that much power, you’d still be cutting your carbon footprint in half with that size system —to max out the state tax credit. Or you could put in a bigger system, enough to zero out those piggy plasmas, completely!

To save more:

Join the local One Block off the Grid group for their New Orleans solar campaign, or start your own; because if 100 or more homeowners in a neighborhood go solar at the same time they can get huge discounts from the solar installers. Talk to your neighbours. You might be surprised.

You could wind up with a zero carbon home for practically nothing in Louisiana.

And if you just can’t move there; check your own state’s incentives at dsireusa.org. And get a solar estimate. Most companies offer free estimates. You might be surprised at what a good deal solar is.

Have your solar estimator calculate what 40 years of paying your utility will cost (if you don’t put in solar) with the prevailing rate inflation rate in your state. Here in California that can range from $5,000 (for a $10 monthly bill) to $500,000 (for a $700 monthly bill) through the magic of compound interest, because that’s really what’s happening when utility rates inflate. Every state is different.

That figure is your energy budget: since you’ll be paying that anyway; if you do nothing. Then get the estimate for the solar installation. You’ll see how (very) much cheaper a 40 year solar power station of your very own costs than doing nothing.

Image by flikr user afagen

Example solar roof from the 2007 solar decathlon

Disclaimer: Both 1BOG and GO Media (including this blog) are now owned by activism startup Virgance, and I round up fellow solar-wanna homeowners in my own neck of the woods for 1 Block off the Grid. Read more here.

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • DWM

    So, Louisiana is, in essence, paying $6.25K to any resident getting some semblance of a solar PV system. $12.5K system won’t get you much, that’s why I say that. Its bare minimum. High energy efficient and small sq. footage home and energy efficient and recent appliances, forget about using the AC (in hot and swampy humid Louisiana?). How about a more realistic scenario?

    If you’re going to do add-ons down the line, you should start out with an inverter rated for your final intents. More money for initial outlay. Or,end up with 2 inverters, one you can’t use except for a paperweight. I see people versed in money here, but no idea of long-term planning for a stepped solar PV system.

  • DWM

    So, Louisiana is, in essence, paying $6.25K to any resident getting some semblance of a solar PV system. $12.5K system won’t get you much, that’s why I say that. Its bare minimum. High energy efficient and small sq. footage home and energy efficient and recent appliances, forget about using the AC (in hot and swampy humid Louisiana?). How about a more realistic scenario?

    If you’re going to do add-ons down the line, you should start out with an inverter rated for your final intents. More money for initial outlay. Or,end up with 2 inverters, one you can’t use except for a paperweight. I see people versed in money here, but no idea of long-term planning for a stepped solar PV system.

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    Oh Max, that’s one giant loophole!

    …so solar must be really revving up there?

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    Oh Max, that’s one giant loophole!

    …so solar must be really revving up there?

  • Max

    This article is partially correct…

    There is a $12,500 cap, but it is on a “per system” basis; and there is NO CAP to the number of systems a homeowner can put on their residence.

    so essentially, even if you wanted $100,000.00 worth of solar panels, you can break it down into four $25,000.00 systems, and receive the full 50% rebate on each one!

    Go Solar Louisiana!

  • Max

    This article is partially correct…

    There is a $12,500 cap, but it is on a “per system” basis; and there is NO CAP to the number of systems a homeowner can put on their residence.

    so essentially, even if you wanted $100,000.00 worth of solar panels, you can break it down into four $25,000.00 systems, and receive the full 50% rebate on each one!

    Go Solar Louisiana!

  • MD

    “Wow. I guess losing a city to climate change wakes us up? Maybe we’re not doomed by teh stupid after all…”

    ! JFC !

    When you build BELOW sea level, and try to keep the water away by hiring the LOWEST BIDDER to build you a wall, it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing… if something bad is going to happen, it will!

  • MD

    “Wow. I guess losing a city to climate change wakes us up? Maybe we’re not doomed by teh stupid after all…”

    ! JFC !

    When you build BELOW sea level, and try to keep the water away by hiring the LOWEST BIDDER to build you a wall, it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing… if something bad is going to happen, it will!

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    Wow. I guess losing a city to climate change wakes us up? Maybe we’re not doomed by teh stupid after all…

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    Wow. I guess losing a city to climate change wakes us up? Maybe we’re not doomed by teh stupid after all…

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  • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

    Louisiana also has a statewide property tax financing program… I believe it’s the only state with one (correct me if I’m wrong).

  • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

    Louisiana also has a statewide property tax financing program… I believe it’s the only state with one (correct me if I’m wrong).

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