In 30 years, Tennessee Valley Authority will appear only in history books. Solar thermal, used to heat water, and PV, solar electricity, is now financially feasible. People are slow to change their old ways ;however, the 30 % tax break makes it appealing to do so.
Forget TVA's small bonus on kilowatts, for it does not affect solar water heating, which can save close to one-third of your electric bill. Heating water is twice as efficient as solar electricity. Can anyone foresee a day when hot water is not needed?
Education about solar is so very limited and usually is a one-on-one matter. Having installed more solar systems than anyone in the state allow me to repeat myself and say, "thermal solar" heats water and PV panels create electricity. Can you envision a time when you will not want either?
The question heard most is: "when will it pay for itself." This is not a stupid question but impossible to answer for it depends on rate increases that double every seven to ten years. Should these rates double, triple or quadruple( which must happen). The choice to pay up, or do without, this leaves us little leeway Needless to say that rates will increase faster with coal waste spills and massive bonuses to the higher ups. Not to mention, your current method of powering a home will never "pay for itself."
Few people realize that 9,000 solar water heaters can prevent constructing one nuclear plant. Hawaii did more than that just last year. Tennessee is far behind most states no matter how many PV plants are to be built in our state. This is so unlike the Volunteer State.
I was raised in this great state and loved TVA, as most do, for they make life better. They did not begin as the political monopoly they have become. Politicians and even the media shy away from any conflict with these "power brokers."
"Rome was not built in a day," so seek independence little by little. The most logical and efficient step for a homeowner is a solar water heater which gets you 30 % closer to everyone's goal of total independence. I refer to it as "Point Of Use" power. Aside from having a home paid off , my next goal would be to send TVA the following message: "Thanks for your service but come get your wires that have chained me to your ineptness, and rate increases, both in the past and obviously,in the future." By the way, I wish you all the success in repaying the approximate 28 Billion Dollar debt you now possess. Since you only have income from selling electricity, it is obvious who will repay such poor management. You can count me out on that obligation.
Dave Ramsey's followers proudly shout, "We're debt free." I long for the day when we can shout, "We're energy free." Kilowatts presently cost us about 10 cents each and most people can produce 5,000 Kwh's per year by thermal collectors, thus 500 dollars can be saved annually. If dimes were rained from the sky as kilowatts are, most would buy a bucket.
Personally, I'll take freedom from a monopoly and a big barrel to catch my dimes.
Jim Lindsey, Solar Plexus