Lets look a bit closer for other applications… Optimistically, on a bright sunny day my panels can make about 1.5 kilowatt-hours of power. Here in northern California I pay $0.14 per kilowatt-hour. So the panels have the potential of making about $0.21 worth of power per day. $6.30 per month. $75.60 per year. Free money!
Oh… wait… the panels and controller are not free. The panels cost about $700, the controller another $300. Wiring and other miscellaneous costs add another $150. I won’t count the cost of the batteries, because I need them anyway. Total installation cost: Roughly $1150. I’ll make my money back in 15 years. A staggering 6.5% investment return. Unfortunately, I am not eligible for the various tax credits and subsidies that make solar a more lucrative investment. I have to pay the full economic cost of the installation.
So remember when you hear your neighbor bragging about what a great investment his solar panels were, your tax dollars are making it so.
In other news, today was a two steps forward, one step back kind of day. I got several projects in the head complete, toilet plumbing, shower sump pump, and other such fun projects. Then what started out to be a simple adjustment of the drive belt for the auto pilot, turned into a major rebuild of the steering system as I discovered a broken bearing on the shaft of the steering wheel. Sigh. Oh well. Progress over all.