Solar powered energy comes with a hefty price

Residents of Santa Monica would like to support the city’s efforts to “go green” and become more “environmentally friendly,” but with the unsteady economic situation at present, most people are trying to save money. Saving money on energy bills may seem an incentive; however, the initial cost of solar power would far outweigh its benefits.

As it’s promised, solar power will save us money, so it should be something we can all consider upgrading to in the future.

The Energy Upgrade California program earlier this year offered home owners rebates of up to $8,000 for the installation of solar panels on their homes, according to the Solar Santa Monica website.

This begs the question, if they are offering large rebates, than how much does installation typically cost?

Approximately, “prices in Santa Monica have been quoted as low as $5.50 per watt AC,” according to the Solar Santa Monica website, and that “an average residential system of 3 kilowatts (kW) has thus gone from a gross price of nearly $30,000 to as little as $18,000.”

Technically, the prices of solar upgrades have gone down, but so have the rebates from the California Solar Initiative (CSI). According to the Solar Santa Monica website, “in Santa Monica (SCE territory), the residential rate is at $0.65 per watt AC,” compared to the $2.50 per watt AC rebate rate in 2007.

That’s a significant drop on solar power rebates.

According to the Santa Monica City Council meeting minutes, “Santa Monica now boasts over 2.5 megawatts (MW) of solar electric systems installed on over 300 rooftops.

These systems generate over 4,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually or over 2.5 percent of the community’s total annual electricity use.”

We all want to save money, but it seems that with the Solar Santa Monica Project we are outlaying money to save money.

According to the Solar Santa Monica website, “residents, the city, businesses, the State and Federal Government are all contributing to this project.”

We desire to improve efficiency in our buildings and “go green,” but we have already done that with energy-efficient light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances.

Many people find solar panels quite unsightly on a neighbor’s roof.

Technology, especially in the electronics field, is progressing in leaps and bounds, and what works satisfactorily today will likely be obsolete in a very short time.

The Appraisal Institute informs consumers who decide to proceed with solar power, “that for every $1 reduction in annual electricity accounts, residents will gain an increase in their property value by $20.

They inform property owners that should your solar system save you $500 per annum, your property value will increase by $10,000.”

This generates good and bad news.

According to California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 73, homeowners are tax exempt for installed solar systems; however that was only up to 2009.

Some may say that it is good that your home value will increase; however, in other cities—domestic and international—authorities are finding that the installation of solar panels on your roof actually reduces the value of your home and also limits potential buyers, as solar panels are perceived to be quite ‘ugly.’

Economically, outlaying costly fees to purchase solar panels does not seem viable.

Solar energy for consumers at present is not necessary but can be considered for environmental reasons. They are still in the inception stage.

By waiting several years, we may be able to have affordable panels installed that fit aesthetically to our residences.