Are you thinking about going solar in Western Washington? With an entire winter of clouds and rain it sounds crazy, but the Pacific Northwest receives 70 percent the amount of sunlight as Los Angeles, California! The main question is not whether solar is viable in the Pacific Northwest, but is it affordable?
Right now, the city of Olympia has a green utilities option for residents . Home owners can opt to pay a few dollars extra per month to hook up to a renewable energy source instead of the traditional utility grid. No doubt, this now optional service will be the only service of the future as more and more cities transition to alternative energy. For now, home owners have a choice.
If paying extra to the utility company for green energy doesn't sound appealing, you can opt to install solar panels on your own home and get a rebate from the utility company in return. This process is called net-metering. During peak solar season, homes that generate their own energy via solar (wind power is also included here) can sell excess energy back to the utility company through a meter box that monitors usage and energy production for your home. A typical 5,000 Watt solar array will cost about $35,000 to install. But, federal tax incentives bring that number down by 30 percent. Then, when your system produces excess energy, Washington State requires utility companies to credit your account at the full retail rate. It's like running your very own power plant. The estimated payoff time for installing a solar system in your home is about seven years.
Home owners need to be realistic about what solar can and can't do, though. During the hazy winter months you can expect less reliance on your solar panels. The idea of net-metering is an attempt to compensate for this problem during the sunny summer months. So, is the initial cost of installing a solar system worth the price? That all depends on your long term home ownership goals and your desire to become more self sufficient.
If you want to learn more about solar in Olympia, join the South Sound Solar Tour beginning at the Olympia Farmer's Market 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, October 1. The tour will include a self guided map of 19 solar locations both residential and commercial for you to visit. Olympia is going green.
Author:Cari Schwisow Phone: 360-878-5401 Dated: September 30th 2011 Views: 3,757 About Cari: I am pleased to be with RE/MAX Professionals, a highly respected and innovative real estate firm in ...
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