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Old 01-10-2013, 11:33 PM   #15
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A 20 year old roof? I would be concerned of remaining life and having to reroof sometime after the solar is installed. Suggest to very carefully check into this aspect. Roofing moneys needed for solar can often be applied towards incentive programs.
I agree and will certainly be up on the roof again myself to inspect the shingles and their condition. We do have access to the underside of the roof through the attic as well, and have never had any leaking issues. There are also new roof guarantees offered, at least for a purchase, and we'll be inquiring about the policy on leasing as well.

I would guess that the new roof guarantee covers removal and re-installation costs should the roof need to be replaced.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:39 PM   #16
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You state in your first post that the lease does not have a buyout option.
You also state that 'who knows if we'll even be in the home 20 years from now'

I'd check VERY carefully to figure out what happens if you sell the house before the 20 years is up - sounds like you're on the lease and obligated for the full 20 years...
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:13 AM   #17
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You state in your first post that the lease does not have a buyout option.
You also state that 'who knows if we'll even be in the home 20 years from now'

I'd check VERY carefully to figure out what happens if you sell the house before the 20 years is up - sounds like you're on the lease and obligated for the full 20 years...
In all reality I don't anticipate that we wouldn't be here, but who can predict 20 years out. From what I have gathered, the new roof guarantee is there if you need to re-roof or move - ie: take the solar with you.

Alternately, in my research, it seems that we could leave the panels with the house and either: "transfer" the lease to the new owners (pending lease approval) or buy out the remaining term of the lease (either before the sale, or with sale proceeds) and transfer the paid lease term to the new owners.

I see benefits and negatives to both offerings - outright purchase vs lease.

With a purchase there's potential upside in the ROI as well as increased home value that "stays" with the home since the panels are owned. One the flipside, it's a significant outlay of cash, no maintenance included and at the end of 20 years (or before) panels may need to be replaced or upgraded at our cost.

With a lease, it's a small payment each month, with a financing expense of about $5,000 over the course of 20 years, maintenance is included, but at the end of 20 years we own nothing and have to decide to remove and not replace or remove and replace - again deciding whether to buy or lease. But the way technology goes, in 20 years *hopefully* the PV technology will be more efficient.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:18 AM   #18
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It's funny how our conversations on this remind me of our conversations about buying our RV. Talked about it for years, and after a life altering event and much discussion back and forth / pro's and con's - we decided life was too short to keep our dream of an RV and travel on the "to do" list.

Certainly PV is not life altering, but we've been talking about PV or Wind Power here for years.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:26 AM   #19
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Before the end of the lease technology and cost reductions will have made a system installed today obsolete. You will likely not want to take it with you if moving. The solar company will not want to remove it at the end of the lease. If they are still around they will just abandon in place. If they are around... A next buyer of the house may well not want to assume the lease obligation of a obsolete system.

What will be around for the full life of the lease is the lease itself and the payments to be made by somebody...
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:14 PM   #20
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The $19,000 came from your friends and neighbors in the form of higher rates and from the taxpayers. Subsidies are not free. It is just shifting the cost to others. I would think that all calculations should be done against the total costs and compared against the time value of the $37,000. These claims are very hard to prove and all of the recent bailouts and bankruptcies have made the existence of these subsidies tentative at best. The wind industry is in shambles and came close to collapse except for a last minute clause in the fiscal cliff deal giving it another year of life via billions in subsidies. I sure wish we had spent more money on research on photovoltaic rather than on installations that can not compete without huge subsidies. When a competitive system is invented, I intend to be the first on my block to buy one. Lets lead the world into these new technologies rather than installing Chinese panels they don't even use themselves.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:50 AM   #21
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helpful insight. need to gather and share..
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:39 PM   #22
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I've been off grid and using solar panels several years and my panels are ground mounted. Easy to clean the panels as needed and it is easy to remove the occasional snow build up. If you have space you might consider ground mounting the panels.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:27 PM   #23
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The $19,000 came from your friends and neighbors in the form of higher rates and from the taxpayers. Subsidies are not free. It is just shifting the cost to others. I would think that all calculations should be done against the total costs and compared against the time value of the $37,000. These claims are very hard to prove and all of the recent bailouts and bankruptcies have made the existence of these subsidies tentative at best. The wind industry is in shambles and came close to collapse except for a last minute clause in the fiscal cliff deal giving it another year of life via billions in subsidies. I sure wish we had spent more money on research on photovoltaic rather than on installations that can not compete without huge subsidies. When a competitive system is invented, I intend to be the first on my block to buy one. Lets lead the world into these new technologies rather than installing Chinese panels they don't even use themselves.
Being in the computer tech field myself, and a techie/geek in general, I agree. We need more and better innovation, but that does not come without a cost. There have to be investments in startup companies to bring out new tech and at some point, there has to be some market production of things to see what real world feasibility is - and unfortunately neither of those will typically come without investment and subsidies.

In order to bring pricing down where average consumers can afford it there either needs to be subsidies OR mass/massive production that *should* drive down pricing through quantities of scale - assuming the underlying parts and pieces can be purchased a significantly lower costs.

But all that said, it's is a shame that this many years on with solar energy that we're still not more efficient and cost effective. I think there are a number of reasons for this ...

- consumers short term memory. Sure we have had energy crisis' before, but generally they are followed by upswings in the economy that take our eyes "off the ball"

- continued high levels of power use by consumers globally. Larger homes, more a/c, a myriad of electronic devices for everyone. I myself have 2 laptops, a tablet, desktop PC, 5 monitors, ipod, SmartPhone and a couple of TV. I also run a network with hundreds of computers and it's only in the last few years that energy efficient power supplies have been available.

- the high cost of technological research with the high cost of early consumer level trials. See both solar and wind power generation for examples of this

- lack of viable research into alternative power generation by the companies that provide us with power now. If they *really* wanted to seek out alternate power sources instead of coal, oil and natural gas, they would be spending more money on it. But, if big energy were to provide alternate solutions, I still see them as having high entry to ownership costs as they would need to offset future lost revenue somewhere.

Take a look at LED bulbs. They are very high priced versus their counterparts, are relatively inexpensive to make (especially when mass produced), but are still high priced. Why? Because the vendors need to compensate for you just buying one light bulb over 5-8 (or more years) versus replacing that bulb every year.
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