Solar energy has been to a great deal unaffordable to a significant degree for most consumers until now. Companies have entered the market place with leasing arrangements rather than purchasing arrangements which makes it relatively painless with almost no out-of-pocket expenses for installation. The leasing arrangements basically let the company own the solar panels for 20 years. Instead of paying ConEdison, you pay them a reduced percentage of your energy bill that you’re currently paying ConEd and this percentage is fixed for the next two decades.
Essentially in my case, with small upfront costs, which is totally reimbursed by the government as a tax credit, I have no out-of-pocket expenses but will reduce my electricity energy costs by approximately 40%. There are other arrangements where you can actually buy the panels and get tax credits to reduce their costs. This is a solution you may want to consider if you’re going to be in your home for a number of years.
Solar panels once installed do not increase the assessment of the house. By law, they cannot increase your taxes because of them but it will make a market increase in the value of your home when you sell it. Because the costs of energy are fixed for 20 years, you can only imagine what that will mean in the coming decade since ConEd costs have risen considerably on an annual basis going back for the last 12 years. Just check your bill; you will understand.
The energy they provide you during the daytime depending upon your usage will often exceed the usage during the day thereby your meter will go backwards. This will reduce or eliminate the cost of energy you would have in the evenings when the sun is not shining or on cloudy days.
Thus for zero out-of-pocket expense, your electrical energy costs can become a much smaller portion of your budget.
Now for the reasons why I went solar; they are different than many of you might think.
As you are well aware, the environmental issues regarding climate change or global warming has dominated the world stage for a number of years. It’s a complicated issue for which there are good arguments on either side whether this is a man-made problem and whether it’s even correctable at this point.
My personal reasons for going solar and getting a plug-in car have more to do with geo-politics than they do with the climate. As you are well aware of what’s happening in Russia and the Middle East, instability is threatening to escalate.
Russia particularly is dependent for a great deal of their economic input from energy that it sells to the rest of Europe. Europe on the other hand is dependent upon Russian gas and oil to the point where their foreign policies are dictated to a great deal by the fear of loss of Russian fuel. Russia understands this resulting in a certain paralysis on the world stage regarding Russian actions.
The Middle East in turmoil and this appears to be getting more tumultuous. We should never forget the fact that much of the money that comes to finance Islamic fundamentalists flows directly or indirectly from money generated by Middle Eastern oil. Our foreign policy and the foreign policy of much of the Western world is dictated by our dependence on imported oil.
The failure of the U.S. government to deal with this issue since 1973 when we had our first oil shock has put the entire Western world in a very vulnerable position.
Alternative energy sources such as solar are just beginning to become available to us in a cost-effective manner. Cars are getting greater gas mileage and now the plethora of electrical cars is becoming technologically feasible and affordable. The use of solar energy to charge up these cars can have a game-changing effect upon our use of oil, petroleum or gas to fuel our automobiles and trucks.
Thus, going solar and then utilizing that electricity to energize our vehicles can ultimately have a profound effect upon U.S. and Western dependence on oil sources which are disingenuous and at worst could have catastrophic impacts on stability and world peace.
In my particular case, I chose a company called Verengo Solar which is the largest installer of residential solar panels. My experience with them has been excellent.
If you have any interest, please feel free to contact me.
As always, I appreciate your feedback.
Dr. Victor M. Sternberg, D.M.D.