Published: 6/15/2021 6:56:42 AM
Like many homeowners, I have been deluged by offers from solar companies. They offer, in one way or another, to put solar panels on your rooftop with little or no front-end cost but plenty of deferred costs, which they gloss over. At the same time, entrepreneurs are trying to persuade towns to let them put up solar fields. There’s something not quite right about this situation, but it can be corrected.
Let’s recognize all the costs of solar installations, including the cost of disposing solar panels when they are no longer functional and the costs of roof repairs or enhancements. I believe that when everything is added up, community-financed solar power is a good bargain.The town offers to install and maintain solar panels on your roof at no cost to you — including both front-end and back-end costs — if you will send a major part of the power back to the town. Rooftop panels on malls and big-box stores can be particularly productive.
The fundamental idea here is that there’s lots of rooftop surface available, and solar providers need lots of surface area. While solar fields often remove good agricultural land from production, rooftop panels don’t degrade the environment. Really free rooftop solar can be a win-win. It’s similar to the way that towns offer homeowners free upgrades to their sewer connections in order to improve the quality of the effluent that comes into the town’s sewage treatment plants.