Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Solar panels for free?

A company called Citizenre is claiming that they will install photovoltaic panels on your home for no upfront cost, then charge for the electricity generated - at a lower cost than your local utility charges for the same kilowatt hours. You can read more on Wired.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Especially when the business model smells of multi-level marketing, which this one does. Nevertheless, it's an intriguing idea.

Xcel energy's Solar Rewards program pays $4.50 (part rebate, part renewable energy credit) per DC-watt of capacity when you install a PV system. That's designed to cover about half the cost of installing a PV system, which runs in the $20,000 ballpark for a typical home. I'd like to know how much Xcel spends per watt to build a new coal-fired power plant?

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