Due to a variety of circumstances, my wife and I decided to invest in solar panels for our home.  I had always wondered if solar power would make sense in the Seattle area, given the dark and dreary winters.  One day my wife saw that our city was holding a solarization campaign to try to get households to sign up for solar power packages.  At the presentation, they made a compelling argument, and after doing a little financial analysis, we decided to have the solar panels installed.

Annual Status Updates

2016 year in review
2015 year in review


Note from the picture above that the house does have tree issues.  That was the main concern I had.  However, during the summer months the percent of shading drops off dramatically.  Our installer, NW Electric and Solar, came out and did a site analysis, and quoted an expected first year output for my system at 3886 kilowatts.  This takes into account the % of time the panels are shaded by trees (about 10-20% of the time).  Given this production estimate, with some other assumptions, NW Electric and Solar estimated the payback period at 6 years.

Current kilowatt production statistics:

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System Specifications

16 Itek IT270 panels rated at 270 watts

8 Blue Frog APS500 micro-converters

Installation Date:  January 2015

Installer:  NW Electric & Solar


The big driver in the investment decision were the federal and state incentives – the 30% federal tax credit on the purchase price, plus the revenue per kilowatt state incentive. Without these incentives, it didn’t come close to making financial sense.
So stay tuned to this blog as this experiment progresses. If you have any questions regarding residential solar, feel free to add a comment below, or use this form to contact me.

Price per kilowatt
as of 4/15/16: $1.22

Price per kilowatt
as of 12/24/16: $1.00
Solar Action Alliance

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