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Let's Talk About Going Solar!

I am always looking for the next best thing!

A professional installer of commercial solar panels.
Professionally Installed Commercial Solar Panels

If you have read any of my work, you will sense my affinity for technology and gadgets. It was the driving force to get involved with successful and unsuccessful crowdfunding. I found it compelling to get in on the ground floor as an early adopter.

Every success had to be a failure, which seems to be the typical inventor's motto. There is something to be said about simplicity, but there is also something about having too much technology. If we experience a power outage, most of that technology is useless. Try as you might, you need some form of electricity to run these items.

Sure I have considered solar power to take ourselves off the grid. It would be nice to be off the radar of our local utility company. Unfortunately, in many cases, alternative energy sources are very costly upfront. I immediately jump to solar as my initial choice. My biggest complaint with solar is the bulkiness of the panels. Sure they have made strides in the past few years, but those panels are big!

A sample picture showing typical solar roof panels.
Typical Solar Roof Panels

Tesla went further and incorporated the solar aspect into an eye-pleasing roof system. They also made it highly durable to handle all of the elements. The downfall to this is a hefty price tag and one heck of a wait-list. I recently looked at an “estimate” of the roofing system compared to the solar panels, and it was enough to make me gasp. Looking for an ROI (return on investment) will take that much longer to realize savings with the tremendous amount of money initially paid.

A representative picture of a Tesla Solar Roof Shingle
Tesla Solar Shingles (medium by JC)

If I am going to take advantage of going solar, I need to do it before the tax incentive disappears. As stated by the Harvard Business Review:

Investment Tax Credit, which defrays 26% of solar-related expenses for all residential and commercial customers (just down from 30% during 2006–2019). After 2023, the tax credit will step down to a permanent 10% for commercial installers and will disappear entirely for home buyers. Therefore, sales of solar will probably burn even hotter in the coming months, as buyers race to cash in while they still can.

With that, another wrench gets thrown into the equation. The HBR article calls out another negative aspect to going solar. While there are several advantages, with energy savings being number one, the cost of replacing and recycling solar panels is the unspoken negative factor. Solar panels are not an endless energy source, and they lose a certain amount of energy efficacy over time. If not properly recycled, these solar panels end up in our landfills and create another hardship on our already expanding waste. With a lifespan of 30 years, we are, in essence, creating a future problem.

There is a lot to consider when bringing on an alternative energy source like solar. There is a large initial cash layout to have it professionally installed. Permits need to be pulled because it changes your home's facade. There are options, and there are tremendously long waitlists once you have decided which way to go. Of course, you want to take advantage of the tax incentive, so a decision should be made before 2024, which is fast approaching. All of this, and there is the daunting task of having to deal with a recycling/waste issue in 30 years. Ultimately, going solar is not a decision I am ready to make!


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