Ken and Barb, Part II: Ken’s Secret

Nickolas Hein – 4/16/18

(See Part 1)

Ken is also thinking about the energy upgrades they did recently.  This is the first night after the improvements had been made, and he’s a little uneasy about all the money they had to spend up front to make them happen.  He realizes that there are paybacks in comfort, convenience and simplicity that they notice right away.  Yet secretly he can’t shake the uneasy feeling that they put this was a lot of money to spend at one time, including some that came out of their retirement account.  He feels right about the decision, but he doesn’t yet feel good about it.  Now they are about to make decision about adding rooftop solar to their home to further reduce their dependence on the electric utility and fossil fuels.

They’ve gotten an assessment from Legacy Solar Co-op showing that they can offset their electric usage almost entirely with a modest-sized system of several kilowatts.  The assessment included financial projections showing that the money they’ll have to spend up front will be paid back in only a few years.  If they choose to finance it their electric bill will be nearly the same until the loan is paid back, and then will be lower by hundreds of dollars a year.  If they take money out of their retirement account, they’ll avoid the interest costs and end up with a better return on their investment than any of their current accounts are giving – and it’s equivalent to a guaranteed rate of return.  Since the panels and equipment are guaranteed for 25 years* (and are usable for up to 40) years. When they are retired, and their incomes are fixed this will mean their electric costs are fixed too.  If anything does need to be upgraded after retirement, they may be able to deduct the expense (if current tax deductions for renewables continue). 

They’ve also seen that rapid advances in battery technology mean they may soon be able to replace their dirty, noisy emergency generator – and even convert their gas appliances to electric to further reduce their fossil fuel use.  Vehicle to grid technology will also soon be available to use their electric car as an additional battery, meaning more of their appliances can be taken off natural gas.

The assessment has answered all of his questions except one.   What are we waiting for?

Barb looks across to Ken and asks, “What are you thinking about?”  Ken answers, “I was just thinking how much things have changed since we were younger.  We used to spend all day at the beach or driving around in that red convertible and never thinking about tomorrow. Now we’re thinking about our future and doing something to make it better. “She answers, “Yes, that was the old Ken and Barbie.”

Are you thinking of adding solar to your house? Are you in a similar situation as Ken and Barb? Legacy Solar Co-op can do a site assessment for your home and let you know where your opportunities lie – that’s relief for the environment as well as your pocketbook. For more information email us at info@legacysolarcoop.org.

*Some equipment may require an additional charge for 25-year warranty.

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