Beacon Citizen Network (BCN): a place for neighbors to get the word out, be heard and stay informed in all matters concerning Beacon, NY.



New Blog About Getting Solar Panels On Our House In Beacon

Hey folks!

I just launched a weekly blog in February, detailing the process of getting solar panels on our roof!  I thought some of you might like to follow along since our place is in Beacon.  We just bought the house in October (though my fiancée, Amie, grew up in Garrison and is a full-blooded Hudson Valley girl).

The blog is a little bit personal narrative, a little bit ode to the environment, and a little bit big-picture view of science and our place in the universe.  The goal is to let folks know that getting solar panels is a relatively easy thing that real people do, and that solar is helping to change our world for the better.

The first post is a good place to start:

Climate Change and the Power of the Sun

Or you can jump right into the most recent posts at:

Happy reading!


Tags: Beacon, electricity, energy, local, solar, solar panels

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thank you, i was thinking about doing the same

We're really happy with the process so far, Ben!

We're doing a solar lease with Verengo Solar (just recently acquired by NRG Energy), since it's a way to start making an environmental impact right away with no upfront payment and with a lower electric bill than we currently have with Central Hudson.

They also handle the system design, permit process, installation, etc at no cost, which has made the whole experience very smooth so far.  Panels should go up in the next few weeks!


There are lots of reasons to buy instead of rent. So many incentives and rebates exist that the cost ends up being surprisingly low, and there are designated low cost loans to cover the up-front costs. As for maintenance, there isn't much call for maintenance on a solar system. Buying puts the profits in your hands instead of the corporation's. 

Joan--Definitely.  If you have the upfront capital, buying is definitely the way to go.  With all the incentives in place, and with all money upfront, in New York you're likely to beat the stock market with the eventual return on investment (between 10-24%) that the panels will provide in savings and in electricity purchased back by the utility back into the grid (something I talk more about here).

We decided not to go with a loan for a few reasons:

  • you're simply indebted to the bank instead of the solar leasing company
  • the monthly payments would be more expensive (the affordability of the lease made a huge difference for us)
  • the permitting (approval from city, drafting of legal documents) and installation processes presented obstacles of time and money that we don't currently have the resources to tackle
  • if anything goes wrong, we are not logistically or financially bound to repair
  • while we don't get all the tax benefits, we do still get a yearly tax rebate that will recoup the payments on the panels for the first 5 years (free electricity for 5 years ain't bad)

Most of all--in the end, we're able to make an environmental impact right away and have lower monthly electric bills while doing it.  Even if we're not getting all the financial benefits that we could, it's hard to find anything wrong with that.


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