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The Ideal Investment

January 6, 2011
Chris Mintzel, CEO of Clean Energy Maui LLC

In the last 20 years, the cost of a solar panel has decreased to less than a tenth of its original price due to volume production and new technology. A typical residential system now costs less than $7 per Watt—that $7 expenditure will deliver a total of $50 of electricity during the next 30 years, which is a great investment return.

Typical residential systems cost between $14,000 and $28,000, depending on the amount of the electricity needed. A battery system adds another $3,000 to $6,000 and will ensure you have the lights during an outage.

To make the decision even easier, tax credits pay for up to 65 percent of the purchase price. Commercial users also get a hefty write-off. For the details, ask your tax advisor, but the rule of thumb is that the payback period is two to five years. After that, the system still retains its value, increasing the sales price of your house if you move.

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Clean Energy for Maui
Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy Maui LLC

To make the purchase possible, a few banks have begun to offer loans. The best I found is the University of Hawai‘i Credit Union, which finances electric solar systems for an initial 2.99 percent interest rate.

If you are worried about inflation, consider that the price of electricity rises with inflation. That means that a solar system provides an ideal inflation hedge. To develop this idea further, you will soon be able to invest into solar on someone else’s roof and generate both an attractive income and an inflation hedge.

An unconfirmed rumor indicates that in California this year, more Republicans bought solar than anyone else. Truly, it has come a long way!

If you have any questions or want a personalized recommendation, give me a call at 205-0392.



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