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I Signed up to Install a Home Solar System

My interest in home solar power systems began when I was a undergraduate student at Colorado State University in the early 1970's. At that time I recall that I was waiting in a nearly one mile long line to get gas for my car during the 1973 oil embargo. The reason for the long line was that word had quickly spread that someone saw a tanker truck at the local Texaco station. After a 3 hour wait, I was able to get my 5 gallons of rationed gas and was happy. This meant that I would be able to use my car to bring groceries home for the week rather than having to walk a couple of miles every morning to carry enough food home for the day in a single grocery bag. This was the catalyst for my career choice. I wanted energy independence for the US as well as myself.

I started seriously thinking about installing a home solar power system in 2018 when Rose (my spouse) and I purchased our current home. The roof has a wonderful southern exposure as well as excellent east and west exposures. The east exposure is free of shadows and would provide excellent morning electricity production while the west exposure would provide wonderful afternoon electricity production during peak loads. When we purchased our electric car in May of 2023, I thought that this would be a good time to begin the process of purchasing a home solar power system. I was particularly interested in being able to charge our electric vehicle at home with the sun.

Rose and I made the decision to go with Green Leaf Solar. The installation will incorporate 34 x 400 watt panels capable of producing 19,052 kWh per year and the system will be grid connected. The city of Columbia allows one to one net metering. This is an outstanding benefit because for every excess kWh of solar energy produced during the day, the city will give an equal amount of grid energy use credit to you. Plus the city has a rebate program of up to $600 per kW installed and a very attractive solar loan program. Our home solar system will basically produce all of the electricity that we will need when combined with the one to one net metering. Our electric bill will only reflect a connection charge of $22. The timing couldn't be better. Columbia will raise its electricity rates 7% in the fall and the federal government currently has a 30% tax credit. The installation of the solar system essentially freezes our electricity cost in time. This is important because rates will only go up in the future. The components in the solar system have a 25 year warranty. Even though you typically use a 25 year system lifetime in solar power system calculations (the panels are guaranteed to retain at least 84.3% of the initial power output over 25 years), they actually last longer. The system will payback the investment in 6.9 years.

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