Solar credit crash, gas glut catches solar chumps by surprise

“But now, knowing it’s — at best — a break-even proposition, we’re not so comfortable telling other people to do it.”

From NPR’s “Solar Panels Compete With Cheap Natural Gas“:

Barbara Scott and Mac Given in Media, Pa., had 21 solar panels installed last March. With government rebates and tax incentives, Scott says, her family spent $21,000 to install the system. She figured it would take eight years to recoup that investment.

A lot of other people had the same idea at the same time, which sent the price of solar energy credits down sharply in Pennsylvania. Scott says that added another seven years to the payback period.

On top of that, Scott says, electricity rates aren’t going up as quickly as she thought they would, thanks in part to low natural gas prices.

“So that, again, adds another two years to our payback period,” she says. “We’re up to 17 years, which is, essentially, the life of the system. And we haven’t even considered what happens if the system breaks or what it’s going to cost to take the system off the roof and dispose of it”…

3 thoughts on “Solar credit crash, gas glut catches solar chumps by surprise”

  1. And what is the payback if they had spent 10%-20% of that money to better insulate their home and a few other conservation projects? In 1980, during one of the other solar booms, I looked at passive solar on a house that had a southern rear exposure. The payback if I bought, built and installed the solar panels myself was 20+ years. The payback for a few bucks worth of insulation was the next winter. I’ve looked at today’s solar panels and unless you live in a place with very high electric rates, the payback isn’t much better than the 1980 payback I calculated.

  2. Of course the original eight years failed to consider the money the tax payers were forced to give them to get the price down to $21,000.

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