Our speakers were Andy Bass and Gary Morris. Their families both power their houses using solar panels.
Andy gave an overview of renewable power sources. Renewable resources are currently limited as to the amount of energy generation. Some sources such as water and biomass have tradeoffs. Converting a house to solar use is the equivalent of planting 150 trees based on carbon reduction. Home solar systems are sized to provide 85% of the electricity needs.
Michigan is in 36th place in solar power generation of all of the states. Significant jobs are created by solar power as well as electricity.
Gary talked about the economic side of home solar energy. The cost per kW for a house is more than a commercial building because of economies of scale. The Morris home solar installation cost was about $19,000. This cost is offset by federal tax credits for installation and by energy offsets. Gary projected his payback to be 12-13 years with the policies in effect at the time. His solar system has a projected 20 year lifetime. Payback calculations are changing based on carbon fuel price uncertainty, decreasing federal tax credits, and changes in how utilities calculate credits for electricity generated for the grid.