Real Estate Q & A



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Dave Kimbrough has 14 years of experience in the real estate business and heads up the most successful team of agents on the Western Slope. Learn more about The Kimbrough Team at  http://www.thekimbroughteam.com/).



By By Dave Kimbrough
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In response to our recent question about solar panels, we received many emails with differing opinions, perspectives and experiences.  After reading the responses, I have learned a lot about people, and I also learned that solar panels can be a “hot button” topic!  I love it!  I love the interactions with my readers and in this instance I wanted to share.  Although I cannot reprint them all, these two certainly caught my attention and broadened my horizons on the topic of solar panels.  I appreciate everyone who wrote in and am thrilled that you felt comfortable enough to share your thoughts with me!  I love writing this column and feel privileged to have the opportunity to share my passion for real estate with our community!  Thanks again for reading!
Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team, REMAX 4000 Inc.

Dave,
In your column on solar panels, one issue you just grazed was “what to do at the end”.  This answer may negate “it is good for the environment”.  When analyzing “it is good for the environment” it is actually pretty complicated.
Most panels are made in China; which has generally speaking, very loose environmental controls. The panels are likely produced in a manner that produces lots of pollution.  Then those panels have to travel on a boat, then truck or train, then delivery van to your house; more pollution and resource consumption.  Also, the panels do not last forever and what to do with the used up panels is not so clear.  It depends on what they are made from.  A related issue is what to do with the batteries (and how long those last, etc.) if you want to have a buffer for night or cloudy days.
I want to add solar because it is cool, sounds nice, my neighbors all did it (but when their house was new which is better than retrofit) BUT the numbers never have worked (maybe in the future) and the environment benefit is not so clear.
I am hopeful that the “Tesla” solar shingles change this analysis or some other break through that makes the technology better.  The analysis could also change if the power company had to buy electricity at a rate closer to the rate they sell it at.
Lloyd, Grand Junction


Hi Dave,
Your response to Doug’s solar question was good general information and you brought up some important concerns.
Here is my experience with solar. I live on in Grand Junction in a 2,000-square-foot, single-story house with a west-facing roof.
In 2011, I had a 4.5 kV solar system installed with a 20-year lease. I paid the lease up front (with a CD that was paying very little interest) in the amount of $4,400. The lease includes a 20-year warranty covering all aspects of the equipment and a production guarantee. In addition to installing the system, the leasing company updated my main electric panel from 60 amps to 200 amps at no charge.  So far the system has produced about 50 percent more electrical energy than we use (about 4,000 kwh per year) and we have 3 years of energy in EXCEL’s bank that we can use if ever the solar system shuts down. The system will have completely paid for itself in two more years (eight years of production).
After the 20-year lease expires, the solar company owns it but it would not be cost efficient for them to come from California or pay some local contractor to remove it so we would then own it. And by that time we will have had 12 years of free electrical energy plus a number of additional years banked for the future.
If we were to sell our house (we have lived here 40 years so far) the new owners would have no financial responsibility - only sign an agreement to maintain computer connectivity so that the solar company can continue to monitor the system and take any action to keep the system on line in case of a problem. Any necessary repairs are covered under warranty for the 20-year life.
We went with a lease because I am retired and the tax credits would not have benefited us. Our neighbors waited a couple of years to see how it worked for us and then tried to obtain the same deal but the incentives, tax benefits, and solar company program changed and they couldn’t get the same deal.
If the situation we have is “too good to be true” we haven’t experienced it yet since to this point we have received about $3,600 worth of electricity for the $4,400 invested with 14 additional years of future benefits.
Thank you for your weekly columns; I read and learn from every one.

Ron, Grand Junction

 

Do you have a question? Send it to 
askdavegj@gmail. com and Dave Kimbrough will personally answer it in this space. Some questions may be more technical in nature than others and require more time to research. Due to volume we can’t guarantee a response to every question.

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