A Financial Perspective on Solar Energy with Jeff Ray, Arch Director of Finance

 

Considering solar energy as a home or business owner involves a lot of different considerations; environmental, energy independence, aesthetics, building value, and the financial aspects. I’ll just focus on the last of these today as finance is my area of expertise.

As a homeowner, solar is essentially locking in a fixed energy cost for whatever percentage of your utility bill is offset by your solar installation. For a typical home in Wisconsin, this is usually anywhere from 60-95% of their annual energy bills. From the financial angle, your energy bills are subject to change, and traditionally that change has always been upwards. Meanwhile, your solar payments (either financed or cash upfront) will never change after they have been installed. (At least with any reputable installer).

You can see how we demonstrate our cash flow on a year over year terms below using a conservative system design with a payback of 14 years (above average). Assuming that utility costs stay as they are this 9.3 kW system will return its investment in 14 years and after that, it’s all profit.

 

 

Now if utility costs rise by any significant amount, then this system’s payback time will shrink dramatically because that rate increase will not impact the energy usage offset by the solar system. So, from a financial perspective, this system will conservatively pay for itself in 15 years if utility rates stay consistent and they also serve as a financial hedge against volatility in utility rates.

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At A Glance

  • System Size

    388.9kw

  • Annual Savings

    $51,340

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metering

  • Environmental Equivalents

    26,135 gallons of gasoline consumed. 22,815 gallons of diesel consumed. 256,973 pounds of coal burned. 3.1 tanker trucks' worth of gasoline.

At A Glance

  • System Size

    133kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $386,522

  • Utility Provider

    Alliant Energy

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    12,550 Gallons of Gas

At A Glance

  • System Size

    26.6kw

  • Estimated Anual Savings

    $3,953

  • Utility Provider

    Alliant Energy

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    12,578 Pounds of Coal

At A Glance

  • System Size

    128.7kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $513,821

  • Utility Provider

    Manitowoc Public Utilites

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    13,964,512 Smartphones Charged

At A Glance

  • System Size

    45.5kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $275,531

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    4,679,952 Smartphones Charged

At A Glance

  • System Size

    1.825 MW

  • Estimated Savings

    $103,000 Annually

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Direct Sell Rate Tariff

  • Environmental Equivalents

    1,740,000 ton of CO2 emissions

At A Glance

  • System Size

    388.8kw

  • Annual Savings

    $51,288

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metering

  • Environmental Equivalents

    26,104 gallons of gasoline consumed. 22,789 gallons of diesel consumed. 256,673 pounds of coal burned. 3.1 tanker trucks' worth of gasoline.

At A Glance

  • System Size

    64.845kw

  • Estimated Annual Savings

    $21,442

  • Utility Provider

    WPS

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

At A Glance

  • System Size

    299.3kw

  • Annual Savings

    $42,934

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metering

  • Environmental Equivalents

    20,076 gallons of gasoline consumed. 17,526 gallons of diesel consumed information. 197,404 pounds of coal burned.

At A Glance

  • System Size

    50.7 kW - DC

  • Estimated Savings

    $10,329

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Line Side/Parallel Generation (CGS-NM)

  • Environmental Equivalents

    361,853lbs of coal burned annually

At A Glance

  • System Size

    31.87 kW

  • Estimated Savings

    $4,998 Anually

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Monthly Net Metering (CGS-NM)

  • Environmental Equivalents

    CO2 Emissions: 22.6 Metric Tons 2,341 Gallons of Gasoline

At A Glance

  • System Size

    370kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $1,053,732

  • Utility Provider

    Alliant Energy

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    401,786 lbs. of Coal or 44,218,770 smartphones charged.

At A Glance

  • System Size

    173.6kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $28,483 Annually

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metered

  • Environmental Equivalents

    184,864 Pounds of Coal

At A Glance

  • System Size

    26kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $4,238 Annually

  • Utility Provider

    Two Rivers Water & Light

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    2,411,958 Smartphones Charged

At A Glance

  • System Size

    23.8kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $3,716 Annually

  • Utility Provider

    Alliant Energy

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    1,948 Pounds of Coal

At A Glance

  • System Size

    197.6kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $22,293 Annually

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metered

  • Environmental Equivalents

    20,695 Gallons of Gas

At A Glance

  • System Size

    149.5kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $23,913 Annually

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metered

  • Environmental Equivalents

    1.8 Tanker Trucks of Gas

At A Glance

  • System Size

    123kw

  • Estimated Savings

  • Utility Provider

    Madison Gas & Electric

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    13,709,514 Smartphones Charged

At A Glance

  • System Size

    389kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $56,681 Annually

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metered

  • Environmental Equivalents

    44,398,424 Smartphones Charged

At A Glance

  • System Size

    73.84kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $329,713

  • Utility Provider

    Plymouth Utilities

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

At A Glance

  • System Size

    133.2kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $1,114,935

  • Utility Provider

    Madison Gas & Electric

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    14,727 Gallons of Gas

At A Glance

  • System Size

    25.7kw

  • Estimated Savings

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

    26,293 Pounds of Coal

At A Glance

  • System Size

    26kw

  • Estimated Savings

  • Utility Provider

    Alliant Energy

  • Connection Type

    Parallel Generation

  • Environmental Equivalents

At A Glance

  • System Size

    28.86kw

  • Estimated Savings

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metered

  • Environmental Equivalents

At A Glance

  • System Size

    43.6kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $151,039

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metered

  • Environmental Equivalents

    4,817,623 Smartphones Charged

At A Glance

  • System Size

    389kw

  • Estimated Savings

    $1,190,164

  • Utility Provider

    WE Energies

  • Connection Type

    Net Metering

  • Environmental Equivalents

    384,108 lbs. of Coal or 42,273,187 smartphones charged