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The following excerpts were taken from comments posted on JLC’s website ( in response to the article Deck Mounting a Photovoltaic System, February 2013.

Nice article, but it just makes it clearer that the buyers are probably the “bobos” of Bobos in Paradise [David Brooks’ Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, published in 2000] who think they are “green” but just have to have monster kitchen stoves and such.

Our 2,702-square-foot house in southern California is a good example of why the payoff is never. We use about $1,000 per year of electricity, and that is with an electric cooktop; electric ovens; two bedrooms as offices with a computer network, copier, and so forth; my old tube radio restoration and playing hobby; and an electric heater in the master bathroom. We do not believe in waste, so turn unused lights off, but make zero special effort to save power. The $39,000 system featured, even if the owners used the government to steal 50% of the cost from other taxpayers and ratepayers, could never be anything but a big expense, unless they somehow use radically more electricity than we do. Plus, the inverters and such in these systems will eventually fail and need service — probably just replacement, as there are fewer and fewer electronic service people, adding to the cost. — Stephen Masek

Often some important points are missed in the rush to install solar panels. Not only does there need to be closer collaboration and understanding between roofing contractors and solar-panel teams and insurers, but currently you will find that all of your roofing warranty has evaporated as soon as the solar guys start work. Remember that nice 20/40-year roofing warranty you paid so much for? Well, that’s now toast with a solar install.

Look very carefully at how these systems affect any roofing repair work and insurance. — Pete Baston