Alright, so I think it’s time to explain why I chose to entertain a solar panel quote and why in the end, it ended up being such an easy decision for our build. First of all, I am going to go out on a limb here and start a new trend: I don’t hate the earth. I know, bold of me to say, but I don’t. I really want it to be around for a long time. Next, I believe the science that says that the sun gives out energy for free. Third, solar panel technology isn’t where I would like it to be yet in my solar fantasies, but it’s darn good. Here’s my story.
My politically-charged Facebook friend Saskboy was posting about alternative energies as he often does. People said it was too expensive and I made some typical melodramatic comment like “what is too expensive if we don’t have an earth to live on anymore?” Typical Dan! But I also asked what local companies were doing it, because I figured I should be right in their target market, but I didn’t yet feel like I was being advertised to by any local solar suppliers. Saskboy referred me to Sound Solar. I sent our plans to Brooke, one of the owners to get a quote.
The price came back $1000 under what I had indicated what was the top of our budget. However, there’s a 20% cash back grant from Sask Power (click here to read about their rebates), and being able to trade for some of the job certainly lessened the blow. Without yet getting into too many technical details, at our cost after rebates, the expected usage level of power for the house, anticipated increases in power costs (hint: nearly 15% in next 3 years!), I envision the time to recoup the costs associated with installing solar around only 8-9 years. Here’s what it will look like on the roof:
BUT… most important to us is that the House Trade Built isn’t burning coal (as much) to meet its power needs. With very little regular maintenance, these panels will protect the roof and power the home for decades to come. And decades later, when technology is cheap and more efficient, the house owners can upgrade. But by then, the entire world will be powered by wind and solar once we grow up and realize that the big oil companies are destroying the world for the sake of the almighty dollar. But just slagging on oil companies won’t help. As a population, we need to stop demanding it from them and they’ll have nothing to supply. If you have a decent sized South-facing roof, I suggest you look into the grants before they expire this November.
Probably the best part of the entire process so far with Sound Solar is that they also said they can counsel us to ensure we are installing proper lighting, automation, and fixture choices to ensure the power consumption is as low as possible. The only thing better than free power from the sun is not needing to use as much to begin with. Why? Because then those fortunate enough to have solar panels can start giving back and sharing with their neighbours so that we can cut our coal consumption while we still have an earth to save. I feel like a solar pioneer. If I pay more now so that local companies can be more fruitful and get the word out to more people, the earth will be a better place.
Do you have solar panels? If you could go back in time, would you make the same decision? What motivations lead you to pay the large up-front cost?