Question: Hello Robert. I enjoy reading your articles in The Signal very much. They are so informative. I have a few questions concerning solar. Our average monthly electric bill is about $125. Would installing solar offer us any advantages?
We do plan to purchase an electric vehicle within a few years, so our usage would then go up. If we installed solar, we would want to purchase it outright rather than financing the project. We have a just under 2,000-square-foot, one-story home in Castaic.
Could you tell us the number of solar panels we would need and an approximate price range? Also, would you recommend a backup generator? Finally, is there a solar installer that you would recommend? Thank you so much!
— Linda B.
Answer: Linda, my thoughts are different on solar than many people. This is a math game to me. I know many people who have purchased solar and within a few years for whatever their reasons, they moved and have eaten the cost of the solar for someone else.
Your monthly bill is approximately $125, according to your letter. What is the cost of the new solar if you purchase it? Paying $125 per month on your bill — what is the payback of the new solar? Did the salespeople talk to you about the maintenance on the panels? How long are you planning to live there? What is your age?
I personally know a man who recently purchased a system and due to damages to his roof he still has not paid them. He happens to own a drone and flew over the roof prior to start, and found no damaged tiles, and after the job was completed there were 11 broken tiles that they did not report to him and thought they were going to get away with the damage. He still has not paid them.
I can keep going on with many more examples but won’t. Please, just do the math. For the record, I don’t have solar.
Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].