So, people requested more info on the solar and whatnot, so pictures under the cut.
The process took a bit over a year, from researching to filing to install to 'on.'
So, I did a lot of research and contact a couple of solar companies in the area. The most helpful ones at the time I went with. Basically, the system was looking to be about 80k for a 10kilowatt system. The State rebate was to cover about 45% of that up-front.
The solar company helps file the original paperwork with the state to get the up-front rebate and approval for any additional programs. The approval process took about 6 months or so. I got a letter in March saying I was approved and had to have the system installed by end of February 2010, and State-inspected, to get the rebate.
By about June, I had gotten some competing quotes and found one of the largest installers in the state to be the cheapest, and willing to give me some extra discounts bringing the cost to $70k, or $35k after the state rebate.
I had to take some trees down, which I wanted to do anyway because they were sweetgums that littered my yard with these damn things:
more under the cut...
So, I had to go get a home equity, as well, to cover the up front costs (the $35k plus tree removal). The solar company would take me signing off the State rebate as their final payment.
In addition, during the approval period, the state came up with their new program, SRECs, which I also qualify for. For 15 years, I will get about 12 SRECs a year, currently trading in NJ for about $650 each. So, figure about $7,000 a year from SRECs each year for the next 15.
The Federal is due to give me a 30% tax credit (not deduction) on the $35k I laid out, so that's $12k the first year, as well.
This does not include the savings from not pulling from the grid, and/or money made putting back into the grid. I'm figuring maybe an average $300 saved or made per month, for about $3k a year.
So, all told:
$70k - $35k rebate + $6k trees - $12k federal = $29k cost.
$7k + $3k = $10k/year. So, that's a 3 year payback. After that, it's;
$10k * 12yrs + $3k * 10yrs = $150k over the next 25 years ($120k being in the next 15 years). Not bad for an original $35 investment.
Once I had everything set, money-wise, the install took 3 days. The township had to come in and do construction and electrical inspections. After that, those approvals were sent to the power company, who approved turning on the system. (about 10 days in all). Now I'm just waiting for them to put in a true bi-directional meter.
Why? At this point, the meter will just 'net' my production/use. So, I only pay the power company the net usage. With the bi-directional, I will pay the power company for whatever I use from them, BUT, they will pay me the going rate for the power I produced per day at the day rate. So, generally, I should make out better than in a netting situation.
Back of the house:
These are the puppies that take the electricity directly from the panel and convert/regulate it for delivery to the meter.
The inside shut-off:
The outside behind the meter: