Homeowners and farmers are going solar in growing numbers, for good reasons. For homeowners, solar puts their rooftop to work supplying clean energy for the home. Carefully-installed solar panels produce surprising amounts of electricity in Central Ohio and throughout the state. A quality solar installer will mount the right number of panels, in the right location, correctly tied into your home electric panel and your utility meter. With Net-metering, your utility will credit you on your bill for every kilowatt-hour of solar power you put back onto the grid, in effect, sharing it with your neighbors. This can shave your monthly bill down from, say, $125 per month to below $10 per month. The amount you no longer pay the utility is your solar investment, and once the system is paid down, you are making free electricity.
For many of us, these technical points and financial analysis model are of less interest than the opportunity to take control of our power and make a positive step toward a cleaner, more sustainable planet. No matter which comes first — the financials or the environmental commitment — solar makes sense across the board.
With utility rates rising, an investment today in a solar electric system offers predictable long-term energy costs and a strong hedge against energy rate inflation. A homeowner can often see a 7-9% internal rate of return on their solar investment, a far better return than many investments currently offer. And the higher and faster your electric bill rates rise, the higher the IRR and the faster your return on investment.
Farmers are also buying into solar in a big way lately. Why is that? Our experience has been that farmers, as businesspeople, tend to plan on a longer cycle than many other kinds of businesses. They plan years in advance, and they understand how major investments in equipment can multiply profit potentials. Among the long-term costs farmers seek to manage are their energy costs, which can be high with energy-intensive tasks as milk pumping, refrigeration, grain drying and grinding, barn lighting and fans. Solar can eliminate the volatility of energy costs; for farmers, who deal with volatility in many aspects of their operations, eliminating one area of uncertainty is worth more than money. Peace of mind is priceless.