We are finally net zero after having added more solar panels on our other two roofs this spring. Our original panels met 45% of our electric needs; together with the new panels we should produce enough power to meet all our electric needs - for heating and air-conditioning, hot water, lighting, household appliances, as well as home office computers and office machines. No fossil fuels, clean and silent energy.
Taking the federal and state tax credits into account the payback on purchasing solar panels is somewhere around 7-9 years for us. Given that the panels are good for 20-25 years we expect between 11 and 16 years of free utilities. Not bad considering that energy costs are steadily inching up and fossil fuels are on their way out. At today's rates that translates very roughly into a $52,000 to $75,200 savings over the life of the panels. Not bad. How would you like to put that kind of savings towards paying your mortgage off early or your kids' college fund?