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Solar-ific



This week, we finally went solar. Installation only took ~9 hours total , and they'll return to connect it to the utility next week and after inspection, we'll get the 'tour' on how it all works, including monitoring. I'm so very excited, y'all!


Yes, solar works in the Pacific Northwest.

Yes, solar works in the rain.

Yes, solar works in the wintertime (it's about light, not temperature!).

Yes, solar is efficient.


(Learn more about the myths & facts here).


Over the past decade, I've learned a lot about solar technology, the contractors out there (good & bad), the pros & cons, the costs & benefits, and the realities of our government's tax credit scheme that continues to only benefit the middle and upper class earners when it comes to this hugely beneficial technology for the planet. I'll address the latter in this post...


While we wanted to have solar at every home we've lived in, the costs have always been wildly prohibitive (and haven't gone down over the past 10 years like we'd expected), from the upfront investment required (we don't believe in taking out loans anymore, as we worked our arses off to be - and stay - debt free), to the lack of an instant-rebate available for homeowners - not to mention the nonrefundable tax credit, which means that only those making a middle class or higher income (and are therefore already financially comfortable) qualify to take advantage of the full credit...and thereby discriminating against the working class. You know, the folks who work just as hard for half the pay and get a fraction of the benefits.


What pisses me off further is that solar providers - including ours - mislead customers by telling them that their 'net cost' is lower due to the tax credits, even though that is often a blatant lie, because if you don't make much to begin with, you can't deduct the full 30%.


How many? Here's the data...

"Around 7 in 10 American tax filers would not have enough annual tax liability to receive the full (income tax credit) benefit...And the more than 4 in 10 Americans who do not have any federal income tax liability at all would see zero benefit.” ~ Solar Builder Magazine

The one positive for us is that, unlike some, we DO have federal income tax liability, which means we can eventually receive it over a matter of years, because it allows you to roll it over. But no matter what? You have to pay for the FULL price upfront - over $20K just for a 1,200 sf home occupied by two people (imagine if we used more or had the farmhouse, dang!)...which is something few folks can afford without incurring debt just for that privilege. We only were able to afford this because when we sold our last house, we immediately put the profit between that and our new house into savings just for this purpose, like we did for our heat pump.


We are the lucky ones...and that shouldn't be how it works. A plumbing contractor warned me about not getting the savings on solar and I simply let him know this: I'm 50 - I'm not installing it for how much it'll save me between now and when I turn 80. I'm installing it for my community, for my planet. I'm using my privilege for good.


Long after we're gone, this house will have solar capabilities...and not rely on fossil fuels to keep the lights on or our heat pump warming & cooling our home. We're part of the solution now - not the problem. Yes, we need subsidies and rebates (like Australia), to both save everyone money AND lessen the worldwide devastation of pollution caused by fossil fuels, but that doesn't stop us from doing what we can right here and now.


We'll take the improvements, big or small, and we are still very grateful...but we still ask for better. For example, the feds changed the EV rules to provide an instant rebate option at dealerships in 2024 - why not for solar? Simple answer - not enough progressives in office to outvote the deniers, folks, and more folks kissing the arse of fossil fuels on both sides...it's ghastly.


Which means one thing and one thing only - get your arses to the polls and VOTE. In every election, big or small, and make sure it's for folks who support the planet, who support human rights, who support democracy. (Because those who don't, particularly in the GOP? They don't care about you. And voting OUT those greedy narcissists is vital...they don't have to be perfect, but they do have to be essentially good humans, whether they are 30 or 50 or 80 years of age. And those who choose to be in today's GOP are not Tom McCall Republicans, they're fascists.).


And while we may not have the absolute perfect candidate in Blue (trust me, I have a list of things that piss me off about him), his goodness far outweighs anything that any other candidate has, along with what he has been able to accomplish in an era where the other side would rather cut off its nose to spite its face than work for the American people. Not to mention? Our VP is a woman of honor, of class, of integrity, who represents all of us - not just the wealthy, white, and male.


So while I finish on this particular tangent, I'm sharing a short piece by journalist Lawrence O'Donnell I listened to the other day (linked below) which helped me tremendously in bringing my head back above water to optimisim, particularly in the sea of hopelessness that many are happy to swim in presently.



"Biden on his worst day is better than Trump on his best day." ~ Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC

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