The Economics of Installing Solar

By Yuliya Chernova, Wall Street Journal:

The big question for any homeowner considering installing solar power is a simple one: How quickly will the system pay for itself?

The short answer: It depends on where you live.

hat doesn’t just mean how sunny it is, though weather obviously matters. Just as important are subsidies, such as tax credits and rebates, which differ from state to state and between cities. Another big local factor: how much you currently pay for electricity—because it determines what you can expect to save each month once you start producing your own power.

We asked Clean Power Research, a research outfit in Seattle that has designed numerous online solar calculators, to run through scenarios in five U.S. cities to show how return on investment in a home solar-energy project can differ depending on location. We chose New York City, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Portland, Ore.

Each scenario shared certain features as a common starting point to make the comparisons as fair as possible… Read more

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