How fast is your solar investment returns?

5 Posts
Sep 20, 2010 04:15 pm
How fast is your solar investment returns?

I was trying to find a calculator on the internet what can show me how fast is my system start making money. I have not found any, that is why I created one.

I know there other more complicated calculators on the internet, but with those you can not calculate if you buy 300 watt panels and an inverter and how many years does it take when your system starts producing money for you. The other ones are try to sell systems and loans and leases this one is for one purpose only.
For example a have got a 125W panel (used) and a micro inverter for $250. So i craeted a formula to find out it takes a around 9 years to get back my investment.
Oct 9, 2010 07:04 am
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

Wow, I am surprised that, this one, did not get a rave of replies. This board has really died off lately. I guess with RE gaining in public awareness and the RE industry as a collective reporting earnings in the billions, no one feels the need anymore to stick their neck out and defend RE.

I am curious Gergely Markolt, is your calculator based on the kilowatthour rate as posted by your electricity provider? Does it take into account the cost of such things as Operation Desert Storm? I know Bush said "its not about oil" but does anyone really believe that? Even Forbes magazine reported that, one of the things Saddam Hussein was attempting to accomplish was to change the price of crude oil from being based on the U.S. dollar to being based on the Euro dollar which means we here in America would be paying in excess of $10. a gallon for gasoline by now. What is the price of a human life? $100,000.? -$100,000,000.? - Would it be the same for each and every one of us? Or would certain ones of us believe that we are worth more than the other? Is a General worth more than a Private? Payscale would suggest it. More privates die than Generals but that could be simply because there are more Privates in actual combat than Generals. Is the life of a U.S. President worth more than that of young child. You would think not because we always here "women and children first." But what about the children who lost their fathers to Operation Desert Storm. I didnt see George Bush with a gun in his hands on the front lines.
(More about war. )

Its been said that our monthly electric bill is misleading, that we are paying out of more than one pocket without even knowing it. I believe this to be true of every monoply, even RE as a collective. The most effective form of control in any area of life is monopoly. When you control every single facet of something, be it gold or oil or shipping or the media or corn or water or air or flu shots, you control the people.

That last, flu shots, think about how natural selection over thousands of years has caused most humans to be resitant to flu viruses. A lot of people paid the price of their lives in order for the rest of us to be able to live through a flu infestation. WE, humans, got stronger while flu viruses got weaker. Now think about what  is happening now with the flu shots we can get. Because productivity in the work place was suffering everytime the flu showed itself something had to be done.
Because of this, I fear that what is happening is a reversal. We, humans, will be getting less and less resistant to flu while the flu gets stronger.
Now, imagine  a time in the not to distant future when we all, every last one of us has to take that shot every year without fail or we will die. Big bucks for the pharmaceuticals right. Look at energy in this same way. We, humans have become so dependent on energy that if it were to disappear over night a lot of us (billions) would die before the first year was over.

A message to all of you that want to save the planet Earth and save money on energy, "Just Say No To Energy".
Think about it at least. How the human race as a whole lived, without all of these energies we take for granted today, for thousands of years and how now in just the last 100 to 200 hundred years we believe we cannot live without them.

Pity about Earth.
5 Posts
Oct 9, 2010 11:36 am
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

I think my calculator has nothing to do with politics, but I heard they are going to put solar panels on the White House, that is a good start.
Oct 12, 2010 05:15 am
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

Your right. I am sorry. God! I can be such an idiot. I keep forgeting how easy it is to get off of the subject of RE here at Alt-E general discussion board.
I must be crazy to suggest that anybody would just quit energy (renewable or otherwise) cold turkey. Thats like saying "quit living!" To actually go to the main breaker in our home and reach up and turn it off. Its as if I were asking them all to commit suicide in mass. Man! What was I thinking?

Okay, I think I am trough beating myself up now. Back to the subject you brought up, "How fast is your solar investment returns?" Can I change that to past tense? Because I lived with out any electricity, at all, for nearly three decades before utilizing photovoltaics. I figure that at the going rate of $0.15 per kWh, based on my current electricity usage, summed up over a period of 30 years I would have saved somewhere in the neighborhood of about $2000. Considering how much the PV array alone cost me, I still have about three more decades to pay for it.
But. Hey! You know what? If I base in on someone else's electricity bill that pays around $100. a month then,,, Wow! I could buy a brand new car with what I saved. Does this fall under the axiom "the more you spend the more you save" and, all that? I am confused. Does this mean I could be driving around in a brand new car instead of an old "beater" pickup, if I had just used more electricity? Man, this all so complex. Its a good thing there are so many "brianiacs" in the field of renewable energies to figure it all out for us and tell us how smart we are to use Renewable energies.

I geuss this is what happens to someone that lives without electricity for nearly 30 years.
46 Posts
Oct 12, 2010 07:29 pm
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

hi gergely and thomas (and everyone else. andy black has done payback calculators and calculations for years, and his computations are probably at least as good as yours (gergely) if not better. no disrespect intended, haven't even looked at your calculator. it's just that mr. black has been doing this professionally for years, giving seminars and working in the re field for a very long time. last heard he was working at ongrid solar. used to be that for "positive cash flow" it took about 10 years, but prices for most components have dropped and longevity, efficiency, and durability have all increased making that $ payback closer to 5-7 years and still shrinking.
but the truth is is that the payback is immediate.
you are no longer getting electricity from coal smoke. or nuclear waste. or a damned river!(spelling correct). or some giant corporation drilling holes into the body of the earth, spilling methane, sulfates, crude oil. or another country (happy places i am sure).
you may have thought that your calculator is not related to any politics, but that is silly. sorry. our every action is a decision and reflects upon the whole of the world (universe).
i still drive a ice. with any luck, soon i will have an electrical vehicle and will have broken yet another link in the dirty chain. hey, wow, just realized that i could charge my new "car" on my home grown electricity. can you calculate my payback for me then?
thanks, -m
ps, everyone check out
46 Posts
Oct 12, 2010 07:30 pm
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

ps tom,
6 Posts
Oct 21, 2010 10:48 pm
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

It's hard to quantify payback or ROI for solar panels.  If you are just going by pure dollars it can take many many years, even with the incentives you get on your system.  But, if you factor in peace of mind then it can pay off quickly.

A few years ago Hurricane Francis made its way through my part of town.  Our power was out for 5 days.  Not me!!  I had solar and a wind generator that kept my lights on the entire time.  Strictly speaking ok I made maybe $1.27 worth of electricity with the panels.  But, the $400 dollars worth of meat in the freezer that didn't spoil, the food in the refrigerator that wasn't thrown away, and keeping the beer cold.... priceless.

I also need to mention I have battery back up as well to keep the power going during the night time when the sun wasn't shining.  My point being though, one has to look at investing in Alt Energy from more than just purely a dollar point of view.

Currently, it's nicer out and I don't have to use the A/C.  During about 6 hours of the day, i am entirely off grid, I am supplying all the power requirements for my house.  When a storm rolls through and the power goes out (happens a lot), im still running strong.\

If dollars is your main driving force then it is very hard to justify a solar system, but if reliability and emergency power feed into your requirements, then it pays off very quickly.

97 Posts
Oct 26, 2010 12:20 am
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

I totally agree with you Aaron, that return on investment is very much a personal mindset.  I have invested a few thousand on an alternative energy system, and expect no payback, dollar wise, on this in my lifetime, but have daily rewards in terms of peace of mind, freedom, and independence from the utility grid.  Many times, the local utility has gone down, and my lights didn't even flicker.  I am the only one in my community that has gone off grid with alternative energy and I get many "dropped jaw" responses when I say that I make my own electricity.  So, the payback is not in monetary's in personal terms.  I grin a lot. :-), but don't gloat.
I hear many personal stories here, and it is very much tailored to ones own personal needs.  This forum is so interesting that way......we get a glimpse of other people's experiences. From people that brag about being off grid for decades and wondering why everyone can't do it as well to those that have a starter system and look for ways to expand it.  This is very much dependent on climate, area, wind, and solar exposure.  My grandmother lived in a sod house in northern minnesota, with no alternative energy except wood heat, with temperatures around -30 to -40 degrees F in the winter months, and died at age 36 from pneumonia after giving birth to 6 children. Some are blessed by living in a warmer climate where they can actually live without other fuel sources, but fortunately, grandmother's children were farmed out to families that had the evil utility power and fuel oil heat that allowed them to survive and produce me. :-) We now have other heating/cooling sources like Geothermal, and have a better handle on alternative energy sources like wind and solar.
I applaud everyone's positive experience with this technology and never regret my investment in it. I wish good fortune to all.  Jon C.
1 Posts
Mar 31, 2011 06:42 pm
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

hahahahaaa... Not sure how a post about a nice solar calculator turned into something so long. but to get back to original post I have to say - really liked the work. Nice and simple, no frills but works pretty much right on. Good job. Bookmarked it for future reference.


Lime Light Power
99 Posts
Apr 1, 2011 02:56 am
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

It's hard to take seriously any calculator which gives estimates decades away which doesn't factor in inflation.  In reality, payback (on a purely monetary basis) is much sooner.  At only 2% inflation, prices double in 36 years.  At 10% inflation, prices double in 7 years.  A truly accurate calculator must do compounding for inflation.  E.g. see my light bulb cost comparison calculator.  It makes a huge difference.  One of the greatest advantages of going off-grid or even just installing supplemental solar is that your costs are defined, which removes a lot of risk, which is extremely (though non-quantifiably) valuable in and of itself.  So a great calculator would allow you to put in a range for average annual inflation and provide a range of payback periods which may be decades apart depending on inflation.
49 Posts
Apr 1, 2011 07:55 pm
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

 Mine was instant, The elec co wanted 20,000 to run the wire
underground 1/4 mile so I chose 20,000 worth of inverters batteries and panels.
99 Posts
Apr 2, 2011 12:09 am
Re: How fast is your solar investment returns?

Mine was instant, The elec co wanted 20,000 to run the wire underground 1/4 mile so I chose 20,000 worth of inverters batteries and panels.

Me too, exactly the same situation.  Pay the same amount up front, but don't pay an electric bill ever after.

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