Friday, March 16, 2012

Our Own Power Plants!

Signing the Contract with
Kevin from Solterra Systems
Using less oil has become more practical for my family because the roof on the house we bought last year was in such bad shape that we could install solar cells only after reroofing.

That's good news becuase now the credit union will finance the roof on the same loan as the cells! The CU isn't being charitable of course; the reason they don't normally finance roofs is the difficulty of repossession, whereas the solar units are relatively easy to move and resell should there be a default on the loan. So the upshot is that the CU has a secured loan that pays them well, and we will be generating most of our own electricity (here in cloudy Seattle!) and occasionally feeding a bit into the grid.

I had thought that the incentives and so forth were simply social engineering, and perhaps there is some of that, but what I have come to realize is that I am effectively capitalizing peak-load generating capacity for Seattle City Light! Electricity usage peaks (during the week) roughly the same time as peak solar energy production (10am-2pm) so my units are not competing against the cheap baseload generators, but against the expensive stuff that kicks in when everyone's running their work computers etc. City Light *could* invest in more capacity but instead *I* and other homeowners are taking the risk and borrowing the capital. My investment breaks even in 14 years (which may not sound fast, but remember, I'm not investing any labor time into this!), and after that it's pure profit.

Yay micro-capitalism!

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