June 08, 2007

Here Comes the Sun Article

Below is a letter to the editor of SmartMoney Magazine regarding a recent article about solar energy.

I was eager to read Daren Fonda’s article “Here Comes the Sun” in the July 2007 issue of SmartMoney magazine. In particular I was interested in reading the “Crunching the Numbers” section.

To my surprise the numbers never were crunched! So I’ll do it for you.

According to your article, the cost of a solar system is about $30,000 and the system might last 25 years. So $30,000 divided by 25 equals a cost of $1,200 per year or $100 a month for electric. (This assumes the system will produce all of the electric you need, which it probably would not for me since I live in Southwest Central Pennsylvania.)

My average electric bill is about $80 a month from the electric company and it would be at least $100 a month for solar!

Therefore, when you crunch the numbers, solar is not a viable option for me or probably most people for that matter once you factor maintenance costs into the equation!

I even ran the numbers through the website you recommended (www.findsolar.com) and my breakeven point is 40 years (assuming no property value increase, 33 with property value increase) but the life expectancy of the system is only 25 years!

It doesn’t take an MBA to figure out those numbers. No thanks. Maybe the article should have been titled, “Here Comes the Sun (if you have the Green)!”

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