Living Off the Grid: Area residents reap the rewards of alternative energy

Feb 8, 2013 Full story: Pahrump Valley Times

Kathleen McKevitt / Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Local resident James Thornton has enough solar power to run all appliances, the pool, lights and ceiling fans and several outbuildings of his 3,200-square-foot home.

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Twentynine Palms, CA

#1 Feb 9, 2013
Kathleen a little due diligence would have exposed this fallacy:"Solar panels last 25 years, and Opatik said he reminds clients that President Carter installed solar panels on the White House in 1977 and they have yet to be replaced."

The solar panels on the Whitehouse roof were solar hot water units. They were installed on the odd shaped roof and had a problem of causing the roof to leak. Ronald Reagan removed the panels in 1986 and they were donated to a college. I believe they are still used today to make hot water for the campus cafeteria. George 'W' Bush O.K.'d the Parks Department to install solar PV and solar hot water heating on the Carriage house that is on the Whitehouse grounds in 2002. Obama is now enjoying the heated water in the Spa and the offset of electricity provided by the panels.

The solar PV system my wife and I put on the roof of our house doesn't put us "off grid" as it is a grid tied system. But the monthly electric bill savings is an amount one can retire on. At a time when solar PV installations are down in price per installed unit, we are at a point to make the decision as to where our savings should go. If you spend 35K on a solar PV installation a grid tied system could very well eliminate your monthly electric bill (for life). Putting 35K in the bank will net you what, 0.5 to 1.0% interest? What's your monthly electric bill? Putting the 35K in solar PV on your roof will net more return on your investment than putting it in the bank.

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