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Case Study: Solar by the Numbers

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Eric of Marlborough: Solar Electric and Solar Hot Water

“Solar was a leap of faith for me, but one I felt was the right thing to do.”

residential_case-study_solar-by-the-numbers-production-graph-300pxKilowatt-hours, utility rates, SREC prices, rebate amounts, tax credits, net costs…the variety of numbers associated with installing solar energy systems can be mind-boggling. But for those with an appetite for data, solar-related numbers deliver a lot of satisfaction.

Eric of Marlborough, MA, is one of those customers. He waited years to install solar: “I became interested in the whole solar energy concept in grade school. In junior high, solar electricity was so expensive only NASA could afford it. I kept it in the back of my mind, and finally, the opportune time came – costs were within reach, and I was in a position to jump in.”

Since his 5,040-watt solar electric system went live in May 2010, Eric has tracked his production and savings diligently. So without further ado, we’ll let his numbers speak for themselves.

Impact on Electric Bills 
Net monthly income from solar$95
% of electric bill covered by solarMore than 70%
Typical pre-solar monthly electric bill$100
Typical monthly electric bill with solar$30
Monthly SREC income$125
Solar Electric System Production201020112012
January124285
February0415
March415432
April524714
May594580
June664684
July747739
August711644716
September523471516
October432381345
November276341350
December213274179

Eric on solar electric costs: “I was a little apprehensive regarding solar electric at first, because of the substantial commitment involved financially, plus the usual contractor-related give and take. It was a leap of faith for me, but one I felt was the right thing to do. I have been pleasantly surprised. The system performs very well, and now has a couple years of performance under its belt. I am very happy with my systems.”

System Costs 
Eric's Net Cost — Less than half the starting price!$15,500
Starting Cost (including $2,000 for electrical service upgrade)$34,000
Commonwealth Solar Rebate-$10,500
Eric's Out-of-pocket Cost$23,500
State Income Tax Credit-$1,000
Federal Income Tax Credit-$7,000