Solar Power your Retirement Home

Thinking of Solar Energy? Here is a simple explanation.

When it comes to a retirement home – the lower the cost to maintain, the better, so why not build one or convert one to use Solar Energy?

Solar Power – How it Works

1. Power Collection
Solar Panels made of photovoltaic (PV) cells create DC power from the sun.

2. Power Conversion
The power travels to the inverter and converts to electrical current, or AC power.

3. Power Distribution
AC power travels to the Electrical Panel and may be used as standard electricity.

4. Power Metering
Electricity usage is measured by the Utility Meter, but when you produce more power than you use, the utility company gives you credits towards your next bill!

5. Utility Grid Utilization
Your building remains connected to a Utility Grid to supply more power when needed.

The Numbers

Financial Feasibility is Important

One of the first steps is to find out how big of a system you need for your home and how much it might cost. As an example, let’s assume that your electric bill is $250 per month or $3,000 per year. All the homes are different, but as a rule of thumb you would need a 6-8kW system to completely eliminate your electric bill.The cost for a 6-8kW turn key system is roughly $24,000 to $36,000. This is about $4 to $6 dollars per watt (THIS IS WITHOUT INCENTIVES!). The current government incentives help with the cost, giving buyers a 30% tax credit. Assuming that your income was $75,000 this year, which would equate to roughly a $20,000 tax liability, you would be eligible for a $6,000 credit. Therefore, your final cost of the system would be between $18,000 and $30,000.

For easy math, let’s say that the system cost you $24,000. With $3,000 annual savings (12 x $250 = $3,000), your return on your investment would be 12.5%.

Also, according to the National Appraisal Institute, every $1,000 you save in electricity will increase the value of your home by $20,000, or in this case, $60,000. It is easy to see why more and more people are turning to solar power.

Solar Water Heater

Did you know that solar water heating technology can provide 90% of the household hot water demand and provide hot water for up to 30 years?

How Do They Work?

An active closed loop solar water heater system is quite simple. The sun heats the water through a flat plate collector on your roof and then the water is collected in a container so it can be used for the house.


A typical turnkey solar water heater system can be purchased for $3,000 – $6,000 depending on the size of your home.

15% – 20% of your electricity costs are from heating the household water. Using the same $250 a month electric bill example, the annual savings from the solar water system are roughly $450 – $600.

The typical return on your investment is more than 10% on an annual basis.

Next Step

The best thing to do when thinking about adding solar technology to your home is to sit down with a qualified solar technician, who will do an evaluation of your property and then prepare an optimal solar solution for your home. There should be no cost to do this and it is necessary for you to find out if this is best option for you and your family.

If you decide to proceed, it is important to make sure that the proposal you receive is a turnkey solution that includes the permit costs. Also, it is imperative that the technician explains to you the differences between the products. You want to make sure you get the best solar technology available.

Finally, always make sure that you get a complete warranty including the system maintenance program. It is okay to contact multiple solar companies to make sure that you find the one that provides your home the best possible solution.

From: MA Green Homes


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