I Can't Justify Solar Panels

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I want solar panels. I want my electric bill to go to zero. I’d even like it to be negative!

But I can’t seem to justify it. Not for my house, anyway.

The thing is - we just don’t use that much electricity. And what we do use, we pay as small as rate as I can manage on Ohio’s Apples-to-Apples site.

Over the past 12 months, we have paid a total of $579.15 for electricity. That means we have an average monthly electric bill of $48.26.

If we want the solar panels to pay for themselves in ten years we’d have to keep the cost under $5,791.50. That’s if we assume no change in our electric bill. If we assume a 3% increase per year - then we have to keep the price under $6,639.31.

Also, we’ve used 6,084 kWh over the past year. The least we’ve used in a month is 322 kWh and the most is 854 kWh. We’ve averaged 507 kWh per month.

This means we run at about 0.7 kW - 6,084 kWh / (365 days * 24 hours.

They say solar costs $3 to $5 a watt - so a 0.7 kw system would cost anywhere from $2,100 to $3,500.

Can you even get a solar panel system under a kilowatt? Would a contractor even be interested in installing such a small system?

I tried signing up to get solar install quotes via EnergeSage, but they sent me the following email:

While reviewing your account, we noticed that you don’t spend much money on electricity ($50.00 per month). It’s great that your bill is so low, but unfortunately, our installer partners do not provide quotes on the Marketplace for properties with monthly electricity bills under $50. Smaller electric bills mean smaller projects, and the economics don’t often work in their (or your) favor.

It seems that if I want to go solar, I will have to do it myself. But the problem remains - how small can I go?

One of the smallest grid-tie system I could find - a 5.4kw grid-tie system - costs almost ten grand.

I did find this 1200 W grid-tie solar panel kit on Amazon, but it has no reviews.

I’ll keep looking for now, but just don’t think I can make it work.

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