To the editor:
After reading the solar power guest commentary in the Feb. 2, 2022, issue of the Island Reporter, I felt the need to respond with a real life example of why, unfortunately, a roof top solar power system was not a good value for retired homeowners like my wife and I.
In 2020 we replaced the rusting 33-year-old metal roof on our recently purchased Sanibel home. Part of our consideration in this major investment was to add a new solar system on top of our brand new metal roof. We reasoned that if we were ever going to “go solar” now would be the perfect time. With the best of intentions and with an optimistic approach we invited two local solar contractors to provide price proposals for a new system that would include battery back-up storage for power outages. After review the best case pay-back would take 14.6 years, which I was told was not bad. But that wouldn’t be enough to sway us because we seldom stay in a home for half that time.
There were several other negatives besides the outrageous investment required to “save the planet.” Let’s start with the thought of covering our new beautiful white roof in black solar panels. I mean literally, it would take panels spread out all over three sides of our roof to meet our needs. Plus, we figured that we’d constantly be concerned about wind damage to the roof and solar panels during hurricane season. And what about the 40-year roof warranty (that we paid extra for) if we did so? Then another reality hit when we heard how much wall space would be required for the battery back-up storage panels. It was absolutely ridiculous.
Therefore, despite our best of intentions we nixed the solar project. Sixty-three thousand dollars out of pocket was too high of an investment on a 2,400-plus square foot home. I can only imagine what those prices would be today with the sky high inflation. Like most folks on Sanibel we want a clean environment, clean water and clean air just as much as we want no bad storms and “normal” weather. But from our experience the solar industry is not quite ready to convince folks like my wife and I to become customers. Technology is improving. Maybe some day it’ll work out. Hey, we tried. But, for now, without substantial government rebates or downright governmental mandates the 1 percent statistic cited in the guest commentary for the number of American solar homes sounds about right.
One other real world example of the solar industry’s challenge is my GenX son in metro Atlanta, Georgia. He was determined to install a solar system on his home in 2022. That generation is supportive of such innovations as solar. He seemed to have little doubt he was …….