Your Questions About Solar Panels For Your Home

William asks…

Solar Panels for Home?

Me and my wife just saw an ad on TV about going solar and saw the money we can save every month… any here have solar panels? How much do you save every month on energy bill? Is it true that your energy meter will spin backwards? lol

ssadmin answers:

You can put a dent in your usage, and save money without having to spend any. Look at the “half program” at

The notion of spinning a meter backward has a lot of people plugging in their solar panel via an inverter- but this is a very bad idea and illegal as well- the power company requires a lockout device they control to kill power in their powlines for servicing and repairs- a plugged in solar panel and inverter can cause them injury or death.

If you have about 30,000 dollars to invest (cost will vary), and you are going to be staying in your home for at least 10 years, contact your electric power utility as they will have the progams in place to do the installation on your site, and install the needed equipment for you to be legally grid tied. They will also have your paperwork prepared for your tax person come tax time. Most are actually seeking people out to do this, I won't go into details why, but by listening carefully to the power company in their presentation they will indirectly tell you why.

Any installation that is intended to be grid tied MUST be approved by the power company and meet their specifications. Too many people are ignoring this last detail.

James asks…

If you could buy a solar indoor florecnt light for your home?

that was fairly bright and no need to put solar panels outside or run wiring would you buy it ? Makes no difference if you live in an apartment . I see allot of people say they cant use solar because they have no place to mount panels . Anyway would you buy such a light with say 15 to 20 amp florescent bulb and approximately what would or should such a light be worth to you .

I made up my own lighting system that is kind of unique . I have not seen them on the market or on the web i build them myself . In fact that's what im sitting here with now . Its so simple and it cost me approximately $10 to build each light and im trying to figure out what to sell them for on ebay .
No Mickey you would need one huge panel to even come close for it to feed itself
But thanks for the answer

ssadmin answers:

Very intriguing! I'd be interested in knowing how you've managed to do this without wires or external panels, and whether your invention is original? It does sound very innovative and commercially viable because it would have such a huge market – people in flats or apartments, business, etc.

I think people would buy such a product but you'll only be making pocket money in the ebay market. It'd need a proper launch to be commercially viable; a lot of advertising, promotion and selling in stores.. Obviously is more cost effective to produce on mass as this would also lower the retail price to the consumer.

Michael asks…

Why can't governments subsidize solar panels for every home?

Even if they don't provide it for free, why not at a significantly discounted rate, and then make it ‘compulsory' for every home to have one installed?

The up-side for consumers;
– free electricity
– less pollution
– job creation (manufacturing of the solar panels)
– job creation (installation of these panels)
– job creation (maintenance of the panels)

So yes, we'll have to pay for them, but at a discounted rate, which could be split over 12 months by your local municipality. If you think of your current electricity bill, over 12 months, does it not make financial sense to pay a small fee like that over 12 months to get free electricity for all, for life?
@Dave Mar – You're an idiot. You're already forced to pay for your electricity. If you don't, it gets cut off. So what would be the issue with spending that same money you would have spent anyway, towards solar panels, so that after a year or so, you're no longer bound to anyone for electricity?


ssadmin answers:

The government's funding is provided by taxpayers, many of whom are not interested in such an “investment”. You cannot make the purchase of panels (or health insurance for that matter) mandatory and stay within the confines of the constitution.
The downside for consumers:
-The electricity they generate is far from free. Rolled up cost over 10 years with maintenance is most likely higher than just generating the conventional way/
– Manufacturing ANY product creates waste and thus pollution. Panels are no exception.
– Job creation is mostly for the people who make the automated machinery that creates panels. When the machines are complete, few people are needed to make panels
– The premise of buying, installing and maintaining at a discount necessitates that wages be low for those who produce, maintain and install panels. That's a lose-lose deal for all.

Bottom line, if you feel they are a great investment, do so at your expense not at the expense of already overtaxed citizens.

Sharon asks…

Can we install solar panels on top of a townhouse in California (Bay Area)?


I want to buy a town house in Bay area (San Jose, SFO). But my question is can we install solar panels on my roof?

Is it allowed? Or roof is part of HOA maintenance program? What is the law states here?

Is a single family home is the only way to install solar panels?

Thanks for your help.

Can i install on my backyard at least?

ssadmin answers:

Look up AB2473 – The California Solar Rights Act. That removed most of the barriers to installing solar on any property you own. If you had a detached home, even in a gated community with a homeowner's association, you have a good chance of getting solar even if the HOA doesn't like it.

The problem with a townhome is that you don't own the roof. Before you buy, have a cordial conversation with the president of the HOA, to get an idea of how they feel about this sort of thing. If they don't like it, I wouldn't fight. Even if you win legally, your neighbors will give you dirty looks for being a troublemaker. But you might be surprised. This IS the bay area, after all, pretty liberal.

Mary asks…

Connecticut Solar Lease Program?

I have recently heard about the CT Solar Lease Program- you can lease solar panels for your home, and depending on the kW you use and the size you lease, you can save money on your electric bill each month. The “typical ssystem”, according to the website, is 5kW and costs $120/month, for a period of 15 years. You keep these panels for 15 years, and the cost supposedly does not go up, even when the electricity prices rise. It would cost $2000 to remove the panels, if you would like them removed before the 15 years is up, or, when the 15 years is up, you can have them removed for free or pay a reduced amount to keep the panels. Any electricity you do not use can be sold back to the electric company.
This sounds all good on paper, however, there seems to always be a catch on everything, and the last thing I want to do is be tied down to these panels on my home. I have tried doing research on this online, but everything seems positive, and I am wondering how much of this positive feedback is from the company, the installers of the panels, etc.
Does anyone know any more about the drawbacks to this? Any experience in the program?

ssadmin answers:

According the the nrel map, for an ideal installation (oriented due south, titled at latitude), Connecticut gets about 4 – 5 equivalent sun-hours per day. That means the 5 kW array would produce between 600 and 750 kWh a month, averaged over the year. That puts the cost of the electricity produced from 16 to 20 cents per kWh. That's probably more than you pay today, but bearing in mind that the price never goes up, it could be a winner over the life of the lease. I doubt it will be a huge moneymaker, and I would think it returns less than just buying a full system, outright. Also, having such a system does not mean that your monthly electric bill would be zero. If you use more than that 600-750 kWh in a month, you'll have to pay the power company for it. The power company may also have some miscellaneous fees just for reading the meter – fees which are not normally noticed on an electric bill that is larger.

You will also need to check whether your electric company will allow net metering. That is, will they buy electricity at the same rate that they sell it to you? If they say any excess can be sold to them, that suggests that they may buy at wholesale, and sell at retail.

If this is a private company, and not the government, I'd look carefully into what happens if the company goes bankrupt, or is sold/merged. Could you pay your 20 cents a kWh for the next 5 years, then have the panels yanked from your house by creditors if the company goes bankrupt?

Also consider what happens if you sell your house. Can the lease be transferred to the new owner? Without even considering the $2000 removal fee, it would be disruptive and possibly damaging to the roof to take the panels off.

See if you can get a local reference, that is, a site near you where such panels were installed, and talk to the owners about how it's working out.

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