Comment: It's an interesting question at an interesting time.

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It's an interesting question at an interesting time.

Although a serious system in a temperate climate is still $10,000- $35,000, it is getting closer to when solar can supply all of our energy needs economically IF we reduce our energy demands.

High efficiency lighting is available at reasonable hardware store prices which can reduce electricity usage by up to 80%. The less demand you have, the smaller the solar collector system you need.

Super insulation can reduce heating and cooling needs by a similar amount. Reducing lighting and heating requirements by 80% obviously reduces the size of a solar collector system needed by a large percent.

Solar collector efficiencies are going up at the same time the costs are coming down. (Solyndra was, to some extent, killed by a drastic price drop in Chinese made solar panels)

Years ago, as I recall, solar panels were about $6 per watt.
I'm now seeing them for just under a buck a watt, and a buck is worth less than it was worth back then.

For me, new foam insulation and high efficiency lighting in my Chicago area business has been so effective that most of the heat in the place comes in the form of waste heat from two 5 HP compressor motors, electric water heater, washer and dryer, phase convertor, 5 HP jet washer, 3 computers, lighting and the TV. None of them run all the time.

Although adequate solar systems are still too expensive for the Chicago area, and windmills are out of the question, cold climate mini split heat pump/AC units are cost effective especially if it is time to buy the furnace or AC unit. Heating costs can be reduced by half or more.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ