We did the math… and decided that 20 years’ worth of free electricity sounds like a good deal. We just signed up for solar power. We’ll have a photovoltaic array on the roof by Christmas.
We considered waiting until the hardware is cheaper. The problem is that the big rebates and tax breaks diminish quickly… for example, if we waited until Jan. 1, we would pay $1100 more than if we installed it on Dec. 31. So, even though the gear will get cheaper, it could be a long time before it gets so cheap that the prices match the (roughly 50%) discount available today.
There are other benefits to committing now. Here’s one: Consumers can expect to pay up to 30 percent more for heating and cooking this winter because of the higher cost of natural gas, according to PG&E.
Yes, that article addresses the cost of natural gas, not electricity. The article goes on to explain that one of the reasons natural gas is 30% more expensive than last year is that “dozens of new natural gas-burning power plants have opened around the country.” Those plants have to buy gas, too, don’t they? I doubt they will absorb a 30% price hike.
Also, our new governor has announced his intention to “encourage energy firms to build more power plants”, according to the Chronicle. Who’s going to pay for those? PG&E is already bankrupt.
Whatever happers with Schwarzenegger’s plan to build more power plants, a 30 year analysis indicates that energy prices will go up. We’re happy to be exiting this vicious (and expensive) trend.
Ironically, the faster electricity prices rise, the sooner my PV system pays for itself.