Nifty mentioned his new solar power installation in another thread. His blog about it is here: http://www.nifty-stuff.com/solar-panels-energy-part-1.php That got me going and doing some research. What I found wasn't too promising for my situation. I have one very large, south facing barn roof that would probably hold 20 kilowatts of panels, more than I would ever be able to afford. I started researching the cost of the latest panels, inverters and mounts. I found that I could purchase the materials for around $4000 a kilowatt, not too bad a price. I considered doing the installation myself. I do everything myself and a project like that is right up my alley. With the new micro-inverters on the market, a small inverter is installed at each panel with plug and play cabling installed in between each and the only interconnect to the grid is a regular branch circuit back to a breaker at the service panel. I then went to look at incentives. Wisconsin's Focus on Energy will pay $1 for each watt for up to a 25% cost share. Then there is a 30% federal tax credit. The hitch on the FOE rebate is that it has be installed by a certified full service solar energy provider. I figured since I had a number of years working as an electrician and a degree in electrical technology I could get around that. Nope, the qualifications required are very extensive including having done two inspected installations in the past two years before they even consider you as an installer under their program. I could still probably work something out with one of our area installers though.... Our power here is relatively cheap compared to Nifty's. We pay around 11 cents per kWh for the first 1500 kWh and 9.5 cents for any usage in excess of that. Our electric furnace and water heater is metered separately on a second service and we pay 6.5 cents per kWh for that power. Our electric co-op actively "sells" power consumption by providing incentives for people to install high efficiency electrical furnaces and other electrical appliances such as electric outdoor grills. So, I did a number of calculations. Our barn roof faces a 195 degree azimuth and has a 15 degree angle. A flat installation under those conditions would reduce the efficiency by 5%. Not too bad for working with what we've got. Using a 1% per year loss in efficiency and 2% per year inflation on the cost of power, with the above mentioned incentives, I found that the econo, DIY install would pay itself back in 16 years. A professional installation at $6000 a kilowatt would have a payback of 24 years. Hardly an incentive for most to do this in our area... I could get something of a return on investment by trying to game the system and doing it myself, but other than that I'm not too crazy on the idea of prepaying for 24 years worth of electricity.