Sunday, April 4, 2010

Charlie's Estimate

Well, I am a bit disappointed in Charlie's quote. He does good work, but he's expensive. The cost for materials and labor (sometimes from Subcontractors - which means I'm paying for their overhead and profit also) came out to $19 grand. Charlie's overhead and profit at $11,800 which is 60% put the total over $31 grand. Construction would take 4 weeks.

His quote included things like a final cleaning of the kitchen at $350, which when you add in his overhead and profit means the cleaning actually cost $560. To put that into perspective, when we had a house cleaning service, they charged $125 to clean the whole house. Taking out the fat (like the cleaning) and pulling things out for me to do brought the price down, but I think it's still out of our price range.

By running the job myself, I can instantly save the $11,800. By shopping around and doing some of the work myself, I think I can save a few thousand more.

Which is important because I was able to reserve funds in Virginia's Solar Rebate program. The Commonwealth of Virginia will pay me $2 per watt that I install up to $10,000 combined with the Federal Tax credit, it could drop my costs for a 5 kW system to a couple thousand dollars and a payback time of less than 5 years. I think my monthly electric bill will be around $15. Anyway...Kitchen first, solar second, Pizza oven third. Or was that Pizza oven second, solar third...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Solar Thermal Hot Water

I am becoming increasingly disappointed with our solar thermal hot water system. Going back over my records, it looks like I spent $10,056 including parts and labor. The Federal Government is giving me a 30% credit for the system and it was deployed in 2009, after the cap was removed, so my end cost after the tax credit is $7040. The system works great in the summer, but in the winter, it barely makes it up to temperature. I would have to say that it might only be offsetting 50 % to 75% of my hot water heater bill. My hot water heater costs $500 per year, so at best, this is saving me $375 per year. At that rate, it will take me 18 years to reach payback.

My mistake here was using a contractor to put the system up instead of a company that specializes in putting these panels up.