MAIL: Monetizing Sunshine

ATM Solar-Electric Module
If you have money to invest in solar, subtract utility costs from other investment returns you're considering.
ATM Solar-Electric Module

I enjoyed Andy Kerr’s “Monetizing Sunshine” in HP154.

There is one very major factor that is not considered with solar as an “investment.” If you have money to invest in solar, you then subtract utility costs from other investment returns you are considering. In other words, if you choose to invest in a mutual fund instead of solar electricity, you subtract your utility cost from your mutual fund returns. If a solar-electric array costs $15,000 out of pocket and returns $80,000 in savings—that’s good. The same $15,000 invested in a mutual fund may return $100,000, but you’ve still paid the $80,000 in utility costs.

Now consider what you do with the savings. If you pay off your array in five years, and then invest the savings in an individual retirement account—well, now you’re talking. Because—work with me now—to pay a $100 electric bill, you have to earn almost $150 in order to also cover taxes. Which means you can now save roughly 150% of your utility cost, tax-deferred. Your out-of-pocket is the same, but you are paying yourself $150 instead of $100 to utility and $50 to Uncle Sam.

R. Schorert via

Comments (1)

Len Lefebvre's picture

This was my disappointment with the Ontario solar investment set up. You can not use the power you are generating yourself, not even in a black out. Everything goes to the grid. The rationale is they pay you much more to produce it than it cost to get off the grid. But spending all that money and you still can't pump your water, weird.

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