Mom Still Wants Panels

During my time in Portugal this month, my mother and I chatted about all kinds of issues of course. Among them, the re-occuring discussion about how to make her roof back in New Jersey into a solar panel/film to produce energy for the house. She spoke excitedly about a friend in central Jersey who apparently had her roof covered with a solar film and apparently the friend has a deal with the power company that whatever extra the house produces goes into the grid and she gets paid for it.

Despite this it still seems to far-fetched that my parents will have a solar film roof in this lifetime. The costs associated seem to be astronomical. The programs that are supposed to help people afford such advancements are often full and people find themselves on waiting lists. Of course most of this reasoning is based on second hand info, I’d love to hear from someone directly as to how much it cost them and how well it works.

One thing Americans, and actually citizens anywhere could use.. is more help. Help in the form of bringing down the costs of solar technology for private homes. They spend trillions in Iraq and prisoners citizens of Fallujah now have biometric id cards and retnal scans, surely they can help American home owners afford solar panels.

And just as I say that we have the “Stimulus” package, which wouldn’t you know it – includes several provisions for green tech, clean tech, and alternative energy. Among the points I think could make a difference for my parents and people like them:

  • Provides a total of $30 billion for such initiatives as a new, smart power grid, advanced battery technology, and energy efficiency measures, which will create nearly 500,000 jobs.
  • Provides $20 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next 10 years.
  • Promotes energy-efficient investments in homes by extending and expanding tax credits through 2010 for purchases such as new furnaces, energy-efficient windows and doors, or insulation.
  • Includes clean renewable energy bonds for State and local governments.

Not quite as exciting once I start making bullet points. But still, economic problems, jobs, even if we put that to the side for a moment. In the fight for cleaner energy, lower emissions, and sustainable living… the stimulus at least tries to do more. Who knows, maybe it can help some people turn their houses solar. Right mom?

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14 thoughts on “Mom Still Wants Panels

  • February 17, 2009 at 6:07 pm
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    The cost benefit for solar is still way out of people’s range, even with gov’t subsidies it’s really expensive. Though I’m really interested in the how much and how long it would take to repay itself etc.

    The tax credits are a pretty good deal, you can write off 30% of home efficiency improvements up to $1,500. Also, the weatherization program for low income people went from 200 million to 6 billion – that program itself is blog story. See Van Jones green collar jobs.

  • February 17, 2009 at 6:39 pm
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    If your parents are looking… I am friends with a guy who does that. Just let me know 🙂

  • February 17, 2009 at 11:00 pm
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    Ho! I am interested. I need information…

  • February 18, 2009 at 12:46 am
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    YES. Im curious how things go for them. like do they get support from the state gov. Are they really over-run with requests? Yes marky want interview.

  • February 18, 2009 at 12:46 am
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    is your friend related to keef?

  • February 18, 2009 at 12:47 am
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    looks like your favorite boys keith and mike can help. Ill find out what I can for you mama.

  • February 18, 2009 at 12:47 am
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    now googling.

    • February 20, 2009 at 9:27 pm
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      I had a solar company do an estimate on solar panels for water heat.

      It turned out to be $4000 after the 30% tax incentives. I think the *total* was in the range of $7000.

      Not worth it really.

      Yes, apprix 1/2 of the water we heat would cost $.0.00…but when we can just buy a nice new reasonably energy efficient water heater for $670? Why bother?

      I can attest that after all the write offs, being 4 grand…I would argue that it is a MUCH better value than on demand water heaters. Those were $3500 installed. Too close to the still lofty cost of the panels and normal water heater.

      It would likely take over 10 years to have gains. Will we still be in our home 10 years from now? I don’t know really. I would like to live in an area that is a little out of our range currently, and work towards moving there and hopefully renting our place out (or selling it if there is considerable enough equity).

      For now…we will continue conservation measures by washing everything in cold water, taking shorter showers, having low flow faucets and shower heads, and making sure the dish washer is totally packed before running it.

      If the cost can be brought down to $1500 on the solar after incentives and rebates….I think we would raise our eyebrows and be mighty tempted!

    • February 20, 2009 at 9:27 pm
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      I had a solar company do an estimate on solar panels for water heat in PDX.

      It turned out to be $4000 after the 30% tax incentives. I think the *total* was in the range of $7000.

      Not worth it really.

      Yes, apprix 1/2 of the water we heat would cost $.0.00…but when we can just buy a nice new reasonably energy efficient water heater for $670? Why bother?

      I can attest that after all the write offs, being 4 grand…I would argue that it is a MUCH better value than on demand water heaters. Those were $3500 installed. Too close to the still lofty cost of the panels and normal water heater.

      It would likely take over 10 years to have gains. Will we still be in our home 10 years from now? I don’t know really. I would like to live in an area that is a little out of our range currently, and work towards moving there and hopefully renting our place out (or selling it if there is considerable enough equity).

      For now…we will continue conservation measures by washing everything in cold water, taking shorter showers, having low flow faucets and shower heads, and making sure the dish washer is totally packed before running it.

      If the cost can be brought down to $1500 on the solar after incentives and rebates….I think we would raise our eyebrows and be mighty tempted!

      • February 21, 2009 at 1:30 am
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        PDX? interesting info… wheres PDX though?

      • February 21, 2009 at 1:45 am
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        Portland, OR..people call the city by the Airport often : )

  • February 23, 2009 at 7:56 pm
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    great info thanks djkenny – a lot of times reducing use and increasing efficiency out performs drastic green tech. Hybrid cars face a similar dilemma a Prius is 25k and avgs 45 mpg a Honda Fit (which I think is an awesome car) is 15k and gets about 35 mpg

    If gas costs $2 a gallon and you drive 12k miles a year, you only save $152 a year on gas with the Prius

  • February 25, 2009 at 4:08 am
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    I am on the same page and have shared the same thought many a times.

    My little 87 Chevrolet Sprint Turbo, that I have had since I purchased it in 1992 with 107k, still get’s over 40 mpg. It was 2 grand back then, and I can sell it for more than that now. It also has the same exact carbon emission as a brand spanken new Prius.

    2 grand 15 yrs+ ago instead of dropping 25 grand on a new Prius. Hmmm?

    It only has 189k now…btw…bussing and biking keeps the miles down.

    It is also beneficial to reduce, reuse, repair, recycle. Dropping 25 grand down on a Prius would not fit that measure of living.

    I have every intention to rebuild the motor if and when it need’s it…if the air cars are not released, or I am not living in Amsterdam like you!

    Cheers.

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