What If I’m Not “Handy”?

If your household is anything like mine (read: cheap), you’re always looking for ways to save money and try out your DIY skills.


But what if you are not “handy” with roofing and/or electrical?   Fortunately, that Continue reading


Mapping Out Your Rooftop

Understanding the exact measurements of your roof is key in planning your project.  You will need to get up on the roof with a tape measure, pencil and paper and map out the exact dimensions of the roof as well as the locations of any and all obstructions like exhaust vents, etc.

Using a software tool like Continue reading

How Much Electricity Does Our System Produce?

Our system is located in Minnesota, and while we can generate large amounts of energy all year long, the decreased hours of sunlight and snow cover impacts our production in winter months.  On the flip side, the summer months are our super star performers.  Our 7kW system generates well over 100% of our usage in the May-November months.  The utility company “buys back” the excess resulting in a profit of $20-$60/month.  Seriously, not only do we not pay for electricity during these months, but the utility company sends us a check each month!


Note that the $20-$60 is in excess of the savings that we are NOT paying utility fees for the month.  We averaged $700/year or $60/month in electricity costs before the Continue reading

What If My Utility Company Doesn’t Offer A Rebate?

As discussed in previous posts here and here, the cost of installing solar panels can be greatly reduced by utility company rebates.  But, what if your utility company doesn’t have an incentive program?  Or your roof doesn’t qualify due to the direction your roof faces?  Fortunately, without the utility’s involvement you retain ownership of the SRECs and can sell them on the Continue reading

Sizing Your Solar Panel System

The amount homeowners are eligible to receive from our utility company is based on the size of their PV system.  For example, as mentioned previously, our home’s PV system has a total of 7 kW.  At the time of installation, the utility rebate was $2.25/watt*.  This resulted in a $15,750 rebate (2.25 x 7000).

After rebates and incentives, our total Continue reading

Ideal Rooftops & Utility Rebates

When considering solar panel installation, it is important to consider two questions:

1)  Is my roof exposed to sufficient sunlight?

First, analyze the direction that your home faces and its surroundings.  Is the rooftop unshaded by trees or other buildings?  An ideal rooftop for solar panels would be free of shade and south-facing for the most sun exposure.


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Our home has east and west facing rooftops, which are Continue reading

Solar Panel Cost Comparison

Solar panel prices have dropped dramatically since we purchased ours in 2010.  While we paid $2.28/watt for our panels, they are now available for as little as $0.78/watt!*  What this means, is that you could purchase an entire solar panel installation kit** for about $6000 BEFORE any power company incentives and tax rebates!  That’s about what we paid out of pocket AFTER our power company incentives and tax rebates.  Crazy.  I love technology, it gets cheaper and better so quickly, it just amazes me.

Here’s a link to my favorite Continue reading