System Pays for itself in 7 Years.
"Our solar electric system was installed in 2003 and has since paid for itself.
It certainly is one of the best, risk-free investments we have ever made."
- Kristen Yanker-Hansen
Project name: Hansen Residential Solar System
City & State: Danville, CA
Rated DC Output: 4.5kW
System Output (AC watts): 3.8 kW
Modules: 27 Kyocera 167 watt panels
Inverters: 2 SMA SB2500’s
Total installed cost: $33,517
Rebate amount: $15,188
Tax Credit: $2,899
Net Cost: $15,430
Net Cost per Watt: $4.06 AC, $3.42 DC
Date of installation: December, 2003
Designer: Dick Hansen
Installer: Sustainable Technologies
The system was designed in the fall of 2003 when the availability of solar products (capacity of inverters and geometry of panels) was much less than exists in 2010. In addition, PGE rules at that time required that the solar disconnect switch had to be located within 10 feet of the meter, which necessitated a 150’ conduit run that would not be needed today. If installed in 2010, about $2,000 could be saved on the installation.
In 2003 the state rebate was $4.00/watt and the state offered a 7.5% tax credit but there was no Federal Tax credit, which today is 30% of the installed cost.
First year savings were calculated to be $1,500 with expected payback in about 9.5 years. However, since 2003 PGE has raised their tier 4 and tier 5 surcharges by 200%, actual savings have totaled $14,000. This yields a break even in 2010 or 6.5 years. If ‘pre-tax’ savings were calculated, the break even point was reached in mid 2008 or in 4.5 years, which is basically a risk-free rate of return of 22%.