How to Spend $0 on Utility Bills

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Results
Simple! Go solar!!

Even in the northeast, it's possible to rely completely on solar energy to power your home. Not only that, but it's cheaper than ever before. With recent advancements in technology and improved production methods, the cost of solar is coming into parity with the regular cost of electricity. Add in the various state and federal tax rebates and incentives and you could recoup the installation cost within months - then start making money by feeding excess electricity back to the grid!

Here's a very rough and simple example, using my own latest utility bill.

  • Latest monthly kWh usage = 295
  • Desired result: 100% solar power
  • Required system size: 2.84 kW generation
  • Average sun radiance (Arlington, MA) = 4.31 kWh/meter squared per day - this is the average power the sun would generate for my location in about one day.

Based on very rough estimates from the solar power calculator at, I would need at least 283 sq. ft. of roof surface covered in solar panels at an estimated $22,718 initial installation cost. BUT - after the Massachusetts and Federal tax rebates and other incentives, the final cost to me would be roughly $5,833!

You may think that still sounds expensive, but as a Massachusetts resident, consider this: $5,833 divided by my average monthly utility bill of $75 results in a payback period of roughly 78 months. Keep that number in mind, because here's the good part: Massachusetts residents can take advantage of the MassSAVE HEAT Loan program, which provides for a loan of up to $15,000 at 0% interest with a 7-year (84 month) payback period. Taking out a $5,833 loan at 0% interest and paying it back over 84 months would make your monthly payment just $69.00! Sure - it may only start off as a $6 monthly savings, but consider the good you'd be doing for the planet, reducing your carbon footprint and saving vital resources at the same time.

Also, consider the fact that utility rates will increase over time but the cost of the sun's rays won't. In that case, you'll inevitably save even more each month. Don't forget the increase in your property value - another $9,880 - $18,671! Finally, with the projected lifespan of today's solar equipment to be 15-20 years, you'll more than end up making money with your new solar-powered roof, whether or not you sell your property within that time frame!

For more information on solar power and a listing of some local Eastern Massachusetts solar vendors, visit my web site at

Until next time, Peace!

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Steve Merson 512 412 1621
Keller Williams Realty - Austin, TX

Great post Tim.  I live in central Texas and we have had triple digit weather for months now and solar power must be the obvious way forward.

Aug 18, 2009 06:08 AM #2
Brian Griffis
Realty Choice - Springfield, MO

Great info Tim.  Sounds like your state is really promoting this.  Would be nice is such programs are everywhere. So, are you going to take the plunge? 

Aug 21, 2009 02:37 AM #3
Christine McInerney
Great Life RE - Knoxville, TN
The McInerney Team, Knoxville TN Homes For Sale

Wow that is great that your state offers those incentives.  In TN the grants only go towards commercial builidings at the moment.  The payback for a commercial building is so amazing that in 7 years they actually actually make a 25% return on their investment.

Once more people use solar technology the prices will go down even further.

Sep 04, 2009 03:10 PM #4
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Tim Cahill

MBA, EcoBroker
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