It ain't easy being green
Figuring that the water heater is about at the end of its expected life, it was time to consider some options. One was to go solar. Steve Nash, one of the ball chucking chimps playing for the Suns is always on about going solar so maybe that is the way to go. Hell if a real live sports hero says it’s a good thing, it must be true.
One quick call and the solar salesman was on his way to spread the joy and savings of going solar. He was pleasant enough and went over all the facts, even had a PowerPoint with our very own Mr. Nash in it. Then he showed off his package (not that package, but the solar one) and unveiled the $35,000 price tag. Now our good sporto Nash undoubtedly could dig around the couch cushions in his crib and come up with 35K in a heartbeat, me not so much. However Salesman Sam (name changed to protect the innocent) said with gov’t subsidies, tax credits, yadya, yada, yada -- we only had to fess up 13K. And don’t forget the free case of LED light bulbs.
For this 13K we’d get, besides the case of bulbs, one water heater, the plastic panel on the roof, one attic fan and household voltage capacitor (which would cost 3K alone). Maybe not a bad deal in the long run, especially with the installation and all, but it is still a lot of money at this point. With the gov’t involved there was hope the price would be fairly negligible, but with no job in sight and limited savings solar is still beyond reach.
The other small problem revolved around permits. Any time anyone plans on doing anything to a house and says there are no permits needed he is either lying or ignorant. Always, always, check with your local municipality and find out what building permits are necessary. In this case not only was a permit necessary, but the contractor doing the work had to have his or her license on file with the City of El Mirage as well. This is for the homeowner’s protection. With solar installation, the contractor has to lay pipe, so to speak, and drill holes in the roof and this could easily spell disaster if that contractor is less than on the up and up or his “skilled workers” were the vagrants he picked up on the corner that morning.
So as the well known frog once crooned or croaked, as the case may be, it ain’t easy being green. It’ll cost more than one would imagine, involve some pitfalls and a few “got yas.” It is important to research the subject thoroughly to avoid being buffaloed by Salesman Sam or wind up with a half-ass job by some fly-by-night contractor who thinks E-Verify is a SPAM filter for e-mail. The power barons and resource pirates that control the oil, coal, and gas aren’t going to drop prices and with Mr. Obama’s “cap and trade” program the consumer is really going to get bent over, so solar is a good option and does deserve serious consideration, but as always, buyer beware.