Piedmont Neighborhood News

What's happening in Piedmont, CA

Piedmont Solar Electric Buyers Group Discount Ending Soon

Posted by drewbendon on April 20, 2009

Sunlight and Power, a solar energy contractor based in Berkeley, is offering discounts for a limited time to all Piedmont home owners who contract with them to install a solar electric system for their home.

Now that more than ten homeowners have signed up and been approved, the manufacturer rebate stands at $2,024. If the group gets at least twenty, the rebate will increase to $2,944.  In addition to the manufacturer and contractor rebates, the Federal tax credit cap has been lifted and the California Solar Initiative is still offering significant, but declining rebates. While the cost of residential electricity has increased 6.7% per year since 1970, the cost of solar electricity has decreased from $80 per watt to $10 per watt. Factoring in rebates, the cost of solar power is close to $5 per watt.  The return on investment for solar panels is approximately 10%.  The payback period is approximately 14 years, if you assume that solar panels do not increase the value of your house. However, if you assume that solar panel additions increase the value by 25% of their total cost (very low compared to most home improvements), then the payback period is reduced to less than 7 years. The panels are guaranteed for 30 years, so even in the worst case, you would be getting 16 years of electricity for free.

The upfront cost for adding solar panels to a 3200 sq ft house in Piedmont is approximately $34,200. Costs may vary based on electrical usage, available roof area and orientation and angle of the roof with the sun. The cost is reduced to approximately $18,400 after applying the combination of manufacturer, contractor and California Solar Initiative rebates and Federal tax credit. Electrical savings are estimated at $1,200 the first year, increasing to approximately $2,000 by the tenth year would be approximately $6,600 by the thirtieth year.  Approximately 220 square feet of roof area is required to mount the solar panels.

If you can’t afford upfront costs, there are loans available. If you choose a loan period greater than ten years, your loan payments will almost certainly be less than what you would be paying for electricity on your PG & E bill. If you are not planning on staying in your house for a long time, there are assumable loans that can be passed on to the next homeowner.

If you are interested, please contact Sunlight and Power at (510) 845-2997 and mention the Piedmont Buyers program. The orignial deadline for the Piedmont buyers program was March 31st, but it has been extended.  But not for long. So hurry and call if you are interested.

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