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Posted: 3:03 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013

Do it yourself solar for just $4,000

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


How would you like to install solar panels at your home for as little as $4,000? It's now possible thanks to a new development.

This is the tipping point year where solar in many places is now cost effective versus traditional sources of power, and cheaper in many cases too. The cost of panels has declined by a huge amount from just a few years ago and the efficiency has increased.

The Financial Times reports Bangladesh has some 80,000 home solar units being installed each month. Roughly 1 million of their homes a year are converting to off-the-grid solar. Meanwhile, Ikea is selling self-install systems at some of its stores in Europe.

Closer to home, there's now a $4,000 do-it-yourself kit called the Solar Pod for sale in certain hardware stores like Menards and Northern Tool.

It won't run your whole house, but it will run a number of key electronics and appliances, according to The Minneapolis Star Tribune. And best of all, you can add to your array by purchasing additional kits over time to power more and more of your home.

So whether at your home or your business, solar has reached a price point where it makes economic sense. Do it yourself solar for $4,000 is a slamdunk in my book. Especially in states like Florida, Arizona, California, Utah, Texas and Oklahoma, to name a few. And solar boosts the value of your home at resale by a huge amount, so it makes sense even if you don't stay in your home.

In my home state of Georgia, a utility company called Georgia Power is attempting to get regulation through the state that would essentially make it impossible to install solar because of punitive fees. But the problem with that is when you squeeze too hard, people look for other ways to leave the grid. I currently have solar at home, so I'm looking for other off-the-grid alternatives as I write this.

The utilities that are trying to cheapshot us will find the marketplace responds, and they'll lose people entirely. Creating economic disincentives will force people off the grid.

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