Feb 10 2011

I’m gonna be the Solar guy in the hood

When I moved to my current home, I planned to convert it to solar energy as soon possible. It did not happen for the past few years, but now I have the funds to install a 8,424 kWh photovoltaic system and I can’t wait for it. I’ll document the process as I go along to encourage others to follow my steps.

NM is hit by a very strong sun every day. Even on days when we have record low temperatures, the sun provides an amazing amount of free energy. I want to tap into it and reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible. I looked over my electric and gas bills for the past few years and determined that my electric energy consumption should be the first one to be addressed, because it is almost constant and represents the largest amount of money every year.

I contacted a lot of different companies in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and finally settled on Consolidated Solar Tech in Albuquerque, because of their reputation and pricing. I would have loved to go with a Santa Fe company, but every single quote I got from local companies was way higher than CST’s.

CST provided a number of quotes for different types of PV panels and different system sizes (the amount of energy produced). I decided to go with the one that provides almost 100% of my yearly energy use. And because I have nothing to hide, here’s the quote from them:

Total system cost is around $33K and after tax credits, other discounts you end up at $20K. This is bundled with an 18-month, 0% interest loan from Enerbank for about $14K.

The important piece of information is on page 2 of the quote. It represents a chart that shows my average monthly usage (yellow) and compares it to the amount of energy that the PV system produces:

For 7 months out of the year my meter will run backwards and send electric energy back into the grid. This also means I’ll be getting checks from PNM for the excess energy produced. For the remainder of the year my PNM bills will be a fraction of what they used to be. Overall I will break even and not have to worry about electricity bills any longer. 8 years from now I will have recuperated the cost of the installation and that’s assuming that energy prices per kWh won’t go up, which is pretty unlikely.

I’ll keep posting updates as we go along, but I have a feeling this is something I won’t regret anytime soon.

3 Responses to “I’m gonna be the Solar guy in the hood”

  • Darlene Says:

    There was a company who came around door-to-door in our neighborhood. They were offering to install solar panels for free. In turn, we would agree to use their utility company instead of PG&E, and be contracted for “x” amount of years. This was if we qualified based upon our utility bills. We don’t use the heat or a/c if we can help it, so our monthly bill is at a minimum, so we didn’t qualify. However, our next door neighbor qualified and had the panels installed. Pretty awesome!

  • Luke Cordova Says:

    +$7/W ?? Seems like pricing fr 2009…

  • CST Customer Blogs About His Experience | Consolidated Solar Tech Says:

    […] complete yet but we’re excited to follow along through the entire process. Here are his first and second posts if you’d like to join […]

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