I’ve been considering installing solar panels on my roof for several years now. The number one reason I haven’t is cost, where I fear the upfront cost won’t justify the long term savings. But to be more specific, it’s that I’m a bit wary of being an early adopter in any new technology too soon because as the technology improves (e.g. the difference between a laptop made 2001 vs. a laptop made in 2011), the upfront costs will be lowered and panels made ten years from now will probably yield more energy than today’s existing technology.
In other words, by using solar power, you can effectively lock in future energy costs by harvesting our sun’s photons instead of relying on King Coal. As the video discloses, and like anyone who has purchased a home on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage will confirm, having a fixed rate or rate lower than the rate of inflation will add up to substantial savings over time.
If you’re a finance savvy person or looking for a means of reducing your home energy costs, such an alternative energy source means you won’t be held hostage to the average energy inflation rate — around 6% per year — and will pay a fixed rate or drastically reduced inflation rate by harvesting free photons.
(FYI: companies like SunRun offer the option of installing solar panels on your roof, or allow you to pre-purchase electricity generated from solar panels from an offsite location. Therefore, you have the option of “testing out” the cost savings before spending $20,000+ on solar panels, don’t have to worry about maintenance, applying for tax credits, etc.)
If you’re a green living advocate, it means you’re harvesting renewable energy while cutting your carbon footprint, lowering the amount of steam/smoke belching from the smokestacks, etc., etc. While the amount of carbon reduction is miniscule for a single person, the savings start adding up when we’re talking large numbers on the scale of neighborhoods, towns, industrial parks, etc.
So regardless if you’re motivated by saving money or saving the planet, it would appear once again that frugal living and green living go hand in hand.
It also brings up a second, and perhaps even more interesting dilemma… if you had the option of choosing your electricity provider based on how they generate their electricity (coal, natural gas, wind, solar, etc.), would you choose one option over the other?