How do you allocate roof space for both a solar PV system and a solar hot water system? True solar enthusiasts occasionally run into this type of dilemma. It's most common to see one or the other on an individual roof, but the space requirements for these complementary technologies add another dimension to choosing between photovoltaics (PV) and solar hot water, or going with both.
A lot of what we do here at GetSolar involves helping individuals and businesses answer the following question: Does solar PV make sense for me? The short answer, we usually say, is that there is no single answer -- it depends. The ROI and payback for a particular system are the product of a host of different factors, ranging from the amount of shade that hits your roof, to the types of solar incentives (beyond the 30-percent federal investment tax credit, which is available nationwide) that are offered in your area. The bottom line? In some instances, a solar PV system offers a great return on investment. In other situations, where PV can offer only modest returns, some people still choose go through with their project because they believe it's the right thing to do for the environment, and/or because they want to promote energy independence. Finally, there are scenarios in which solar PV just doesn't make financial sense. Your roof gets no sun. You're a renter. You live in Nebraska (where there are virtually no state-sponsored incentives for solar).
Residents and businesses in Boulder, Colorado can now receive a cash rebate for installing a solar hot water (SHW) system after February 2, 2009. Matching a $40,000 grant from the Governor's Energy Office, Boulder County and the City of Boulder will provide up to $1,500 for large systems and $750 for small systems. The Center for Resource Conservation is helping administer the rebate program. As reported by the Daily Camera,