Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to use our TARP Money - Cents for Solar

Forget dollars for dishwashers or Funds for Furnaces! How about Cents for Solar?

A company called GreenRaySolar has developed solar panels that are plug and play into your home AC electrical grid. So you don't need to pay to have an installers put in complicated breakers, load balancers and invertors. It should be 2x easier than installing your own satelite dish on your roof. Each panel has all of the components built in and you just click the wiring together. Ease of installation will reduce costs and barriers associated with current residential solar applications.

In theory, we could use our TARP money and buy one for each roof for each house in the U.S. plug it in and save. Here's my estimates (give or take a few million) using 2007 Census data:

111,162,259 households in the U.S. x $800 solar panel = $88 billion dollars
We would produce 64,918,759,256 kilowatts per year.
The national average price of eletricity is 0.12 p/kilowatt. With the solar panel it costs 0.091 p/kilowatt. Each household would save $70.08 a year in electricity. We should pay $53.33 back to the government over 15 years to pay off the $800 panel. Each house would then make $16.75 a year from the electric company. Over 15 years each house will save $251.25. This might not sound like much, but try multiplying this over 111 million households.

Not only would we pay back the $88 billion to the government, each house would be cash positive, we could all properly start the going green movement, perhaps add a few more panels to the system if we want, and more importantly relieve some stress on our failing power infrastructure. Add a few energy saving lightbulbs to the mix and let's see how that compares with throwing away dollars for dishwashers?

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