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Steve812
Apr 26, 2011 11:23 AM CST
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ
Actually, by paying for part of the installation, utility companies are paying you rent up front. And by buying electricity back at the retail rate they are paying a premium over wholesale rates.

There are companies (though I don't know if they operate in the area) that will install and maintain the panels. In return, you agree to buy a certain amount of power per year from them for a long time. Not sure about the details, but it is a way to hedge against rising utility costs.

My guess is that in the case of driveway lights the big change in technology is the use of LED lamps which are more than ten times as efficient as incandescent lights. It is true that the payback on changing from incandescent lights to either compact fluorescent lights or to LED lights inside a house is much more economically attractive than buying solar panels. It's doubly true in areas where people use a lot of AC because not only are incandescent lights inefficient, but they generate a lot of heat that must be removed by the AC system.

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