In in Charlotte, North Carolina – they are paying $100,000,000 to install solar panels for your home, so we want to know just how difficult it may be to go green at your house. For answers, we talked to Bob Thomason: a man who’s wired up with solar panels in Myers Park, one of the leafiest and shade filled areas of Charlotte.
Right now, it’s showing about, I think, 1100 watts, which is about half the total capacity and that’s because it’s early in the morning and some of the panels are still shaded. When the sun is shining, we’re using the electricity that’s produced by our panels. There’re times when the panels are producing electricity like right now, where nobody’s in the house and we’re not using any electricity. In that case, the electricity goes back out on the grid and Duke Energy pays us for that electricity and other people in our neighborhood get to use it so it doesn’t go to waste.
For the year, this is telling us that we’ve saved $841 on our utility expenses. These systems are set and forget. You put these panels up, they’re guaranteed for 20 years. There’s nothing that can hurt those panels that wouldn’t hurt your roof. The disadvantage of the panels, if there is one, is that you have to come up with a lump sum of money to buy the panels. It’s sort of like buying 25 years of electricity and paying for it now. For we’re sending electricity out on the grid, that meter actually spins backwards. So that’s a great feeling, too, when you see that–that meter spinning backwards. When people ask me about payback: ‘when does the system gonna pay you back?’ I tell them they’d pay us back the day we’ve turned it on and flipped the switch and started producing electricity from the sun. There is no better feeling than knowing that we’re doing that and we’ll do it for the next 25 years.
Pretty well! Meter spinning backwards! Those panels last about 25 years. Thomason says there are several companies here in Charlotte that will come to your house. There’s also a website that you can check out that will tell you how much it’ll cost to install those panels, how big of a system you’ll need, and how much you’d save on your power bill.