How to pay for solar?

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Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2013
South Florida
Seems a no -brainer to have solar in Florida, after all it is the "sunshine" state.
"Sunshine State" in nickname alone, we have no state rebates for installing solar, nor do we have an SREC trading market. FL used to have some rebates funneled through the utilities if you installed solar, but you could only get into the queue in a 3 minute window open every 6 months. The rebate also required using an electrical contractor. The last time the queue was open, my utility botched the whole deal by opening the window 5 minutes early. The list was filled two minutes before the window was ever supposed to open to take names. After they corrected that botched "give away", I believe the utilities convinced the PSC that rebates are not cost-effective, because "the money (up to $15.5 million annually) benefits too few customers at the expense of all ratepayers".

Valuman hit it on the head:
You would think, but the truth is that Florida has relatively poor incentives for solar PV.

Net Metering with FPL works as 1kW out = 1kW in at $0. Base metering fee is presently $7.57/mo.


Burning Hunk
Mar 11, 2014
Valuman hit it on the head:

Net Metering with FPL works as 1kW out = 1kW in at $0. Base metering fee is presently $7.57/mo.[/quote]

FP&L runs the Sunshine State when it comes to these kinds of policy decisions.


Dec 26, 2008
People spend big bucks to add another room or remodel a room, would any of you consider a loan (not a withdraw) from your 401k plan to pay for solar? Why or why not?

Before going into your 401k, consider getting solar with other ways first. I'm about to start building my ground array for a 5kw system. Over the last three years I've purchased solar panels, inverters, controllers, square tubing for the ground array, and large gauge copper wire. I've paid for 90% or more of it with "other people's money".....

I learned that going to garage sales can be quite an adventure while learning a money making skill. I looked for low priced items that I knew I could double my money. Some things get much more than that. Two garage sales a year is what Uncle Sam says each adult can have without reporting it as income, but it was just too slow.

When silver hit $25 an ounce three years ago, I sold what I'd been gathering from, of all places, garage sales. You can't sell precious metals to those "We Buy Gold" or Pawn places without getting maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the market price. I found a refiner; there are many. They buy and process silver at 80% of market price and gold at 98%. I sent them what I had been finding. I had $250 in what I'd collected of gold and silver, and got a check back for $2,003.00.

Solar panels have come down, a lot! since I began, but so has precious metal prices. So it's an even wash if I were to start anew in 2015.... I find silver and gold every month, and sometimes, twice a month. I find 10 times more at garage sales and owner ran estate sales that I find in my metal detecting hobby!

While at those same garage and "owner run" estate sales, I buy brass decorations for little to nothing. Brass was selling for $2.00 a pound, and I could easily double my money by taking yellow brass as well as more expensive red brass (valves and faucets) to the local scrapyard and sell it. Here in Texas, most imported brass decorations popular and expensive in the 1970's and 80's won't sell at garage sales. Something like an original ship's brass porthole will !! You just have to learn what the market wants.....

White gold is the easiest to get mixed up with sterling silver, but buying garage sale jewelry in $2 Ziploc baggies, or by the piece is both an adrenalin rush as much as it is a great fundraiser. I bought a $3 necklace with the ugliest pendant on it. The pendant was trash; the necklace was stamped 18kt. With the dollars from gold, silver, and garage sales, I've paid for two 3500 watt inverters, three 80 amp solar controllers, eight L-16 six volt batteries, and about 50 panels from all those fundraisers. At garage sales, you will be surprise to find copper wire for sale. I bought 90 feet of 4/0 copper wire for $45. At the big box stores, it sells for over $3 a foot. I don't need that much wire that size, but for the price, there will be zero line losses between the house and the inverters!

To get out of debt before the economy hits the skids, I did take $24,000 out of my retirement IRA to pay off a 2012 Ford F-150 with $19,000 of it. The rest went for the IRA taxes.... but the 30% I'll get back from a working solar system cost will repay the IRA tax loss plus leave me with a $1,000 profit and debt free.

I'll most likely still have to have grid power for anything that runs on 220v like the clothes dryer, cook stove, deep water well, and shop welder. But for now, I will be able to run anything on the 1 acre place that uses 120 volts. That should cut my power bill by 1/2 to 2/3's of my current bill.

The one thing you need to remember is that you are buying your future's electricity at today's cost. Electricity cost have to go up, but yours won't. As electric appliances get more efficient and L.E.D. bulbs come down in price, you'll use less power to do the same things.

Living efficiently in a home today is really a blend of ways you save money to keep your lifestyle home comfort the same. With a Lopi Freedom Bay fireplace insert, and always on the lookout for a fallen tree, we have cut our Propane bill. We use Propane for a 40 gallon hot water heater and the Central furnace. Two years ago, the Lopi kept us to one fill-up of a 500 gallon tank (400 gallons) for 13 months. Propane was higher than what I paid in January of 2015, but the full year and a month cost us $650.00. Some people were spending that much on their utilities in one month that winter!! From 2014 to 2015, the Winter has started rather late, so for this past 12 months, I paid $364.00 to fill the same tank in January.

Now, I'm reading where 750 watts of solar panels, are wired directly to a 40 gallon electric water heater's original elements will "pre heat" the water, it's never wired into your home's electrical circuits. With its heated water going into the cold side of current water heater, your electric or gas home water heater runs little to not at all on any day the sun shines.

Get your solar started with a little hustle and side income as soon as you can. If grid power goes down, a battery system could provide you with lights and enough to run your fridge/freezer or TV/cable box/DVD player and make some bad times a lot better! March is one of the best months for Texas to have a garage sale. People have been stuck in their houses and like to come out and find bargains!

Hope this give you some ways to blend dollars to get your solar electric project going!

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