The DIY Rooftop Solar family has had our own little 7kW power plant chugging along on the roof for almost three years. We are not only a NET-ZERO electricity home but we are also making money on our solar panels each year. How that works is that the utility company (Xcel Energy) pays us for the power that our solar panels produce that we don’t use. Each month that we produce more than we use, we get a check in the mail. Each month that we use more than we produce, we have to pay them. It all adds up over the year with a net gain ($$) for us! Here’s a chart, since I love spreadsheets:
So, we are not only saving the money that we would have been paying each month, which averaged $700/year, but we’re also making a net profit ($100 in 2012, on track for a similar amount in 2013) for a total of $800 gain each year. With out-of-pocket costs of under $6,000 for the project, we expect the system to pay for itself in less than 8 years. After that, FREE electricity! With the panels guaranteed for 30 years under warranty, it is a solid investment.