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Thread: Solar panels

  1. #1
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    Solar panels

    Who has them? Who wants them? What is your experience? What is your objection if you donít want them?


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  2. #2
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    Don't have them. We have a share in an array instead. I definitely want them. However neighbors trees are a huge issue. If I were to tear down this house and rebuild, I'd fix the tree issue and definitely have panels. I'd like to build a cabin some day with panels. And if I used my camper more often, I'd have a portable set-up.

  3. #3
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    How long do they last, panel components, backup battery/powerwall, etc.. replacement cycles?
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  4. #4
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    I want them but donít think they worth the $.

    Estimates are around 15-20k to get the system installed. Canít sell electricity to the utility only get credit on the bill which is like $100 per month. So itíll take 12+ years to recover the expense. May be if I had electric cars it would make more sense.

  5. #5
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    Cabin (out of grid) , 2x275w panels, 2x100A batteries, fridge, LED lights, (sine wave) inverter and as an extra/fill up 2000W portable generator.

    Beats having a landline, estimate was 200k.

    The floggings will continue until morale improves.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meathelmet View Post
    Cabin (out of grid) , 2x275w panels, 2x100A batteries, fridge, LED lights, (sine wave) inverter and as an extra/fill up 2000W portable generator.

    Beats having a landline, estimate was 200k.
    What did this setup run you and did you handle any/all installation?

  7. #7
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    We have them. THey're six years old and more than paid for but this state has laws particularly favorable to solar, with net metering and a marketplace for renewable energy credits that is pretty great - the energy credits alone have more than paid for the system, bill reduction/elimination is basically gravy but it's substantial too. Would do it again in a heartbeat, here.

  8. #8
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    When it was offered through the local utility it was like a 25 year pay off. Once it gets down to 5 years, maybe 7 I'll start getting more interested
    The whole human race is de evolving; it is due to birth control, smart people use birth control, and stupid people keep pooping out more stupid babies.

  9. #9
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    Put a panel on our wood fired sauna so we could wire some interior lighting. Does that count? It's probably not really doing much to save the planet but it's all I've got atm.
    Brandine: Now Cletus, if I catch you with pig lipstick on your collar one more time you ain't gonna be allowed to sleep in the barn no more!
    Cletus: Duly noted.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_newguy View Post
    I want, but am concerned about installing them on an asphalt shingle roof and longevity.

    Admittedly, Iíve donít little research on either of those.
    If you got the land how about just putting them out on a rack, I know a guy who did it that way ?
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  11. #11
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    Subscribing to this thread. Solar is going to be how I power my island.


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  12. #12
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    i had bids this summer to see what it took to completely cover our house (electrically that is) and home business.
    One bid came in at $1,000/panel; the other was about $1,400/panel. Both sounded like they would negotiate. One proposed provider refused to bid without a structural assessment of our roof given the house age (seismic design reqts). (Oregon Energy Trust doles out 3 certified contacts to homeowners who ask for solar installers.)

    One design proposed 22 panels; the other 28. What was mystifying was they both use the exact same design software.

    Neither outfit gave the impression of being a professional design service; more of a franchise business with low info salespeople as the client contact. They were nice enough but not necessarily educated very deeply in the technical design of these systems.

    They both tried the have-the-wife/husband-both-at-the-meeting thing.

    Something I did learn was that the solar system does not work during a power outage unless you buy a battery system. My interest in solar was as a disaster proofing measure, not a demonstration of my green bonafides. Batteries would be $15-20k for our system.

    I also figured out that the power company was basically crowd sourcing the power produced. That's what happens on sunny days and you aren't home to use the power, for instance. It goes out in to the grid and is used by others. The rate payback doesn't reflect this use, nor do you get much of a deal to store what amounts to power company equipment on your property.

    We declined. Lotta money for the privilege of saying your power is solar. AND a lotta money for a product that will be outdated in 5 years & didn't offer a payback on the install in that timeframe even with state energy tax incentives. Nice deal for PGE, tho.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ::: ::: View Post
    i had bids this summer to see what it took to completely cover our house (electrically that is) and home business.
    One bid came in at $1,000/panel; the other was about $1,400/panel. Both sounded like they would negotiate. One proposed provider refused to bid without a structural assessment of our roof given the house age (seismic design reqts). (Oregon Energy Trust doles out 3 certified contacts to homeowners who ask for solar installers.)

    One design proposed 22 panels; the other 28. What was mystifying was they both use the exact same design software.

    Neither outfit gave the impression of being a professional design service; more of a franchise business with low info salespeople as the client contact. They were nice enough but not necessarily educated very deeply in the technical design of these systems.

    They both tried the have-the-wife/husband-both-at-the-meeting thing.

    Something I did learn was that the solar system does not work during a power outage unless you buy a battery system. My interest in solar was as a disaster proofing measure, not a demonstration of my green bonafides. Batteries would be $15-20k for our system.

    I also figured out that the power company was basically crowd sourcing the power produced. That's what happens on sunny days and you aren't home to use the power, for instance. It goes out in to the grid and is used by others. The rate payback doesn't reflect this use, nor do you get much of a deal to store what amounts to power company equipment on your property.

    We declined. Lotta money for the privilege of saying your power is solar. AND a lotta money for a product that will be outdated in 5 years & didn't offer a payback on the install in that timeframe even with state energy tax incentives. Nice deal for PGE, tho.
    +1 different but same...

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ųtzi View Post
    We have them. THey're six years old and more than paid for but this state has laws particularly favorable to solar, with net metering and a marketplace for renewable energy credits that is pretty great - the energy credits alone have more than paid for the system, bill reduction/elimination is basically gravy but it's substantial too. Would do it again in a heartbeat, here.
    Here as in Mass?

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  15. #15
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    Yeah. If I was to do the accounting on all this we might be up 100% on the original investment. At least 50%. And it continues to pay. I'm in love with it.

    And this is a poor solar potential area. The fact that people in solar-rich areas like AZ, CA and HI put up with bullshit like ACINPDX detailed above is unconscionable. It's confirmation of the old saying that people get the government they deserve. PGE et al are playing them and winning big.

  16. #16
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    Most satisfying diy project Iíve ever done. And with labor savings itís a much faster payoff - 8 yrs? Kind of wild considering IDs $.08/kwhr. Not same return as VTSAX over past 5 yrs but covers 90% of our power use and that feels good.

  17. #17
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    Solar panels

    ^this is why it pays off on the coasts $.30 a kw verses $.10 where itís sunny.
    Looks like Iím going into the solar bis.
    I was surprised how little solar there is here CO.



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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntblanks View Post
    What did this setup run you and did you handle any/all installation?
    400€ for the panels & batteries, 400€ for compressor fridge, 100€ for the MPPT controller, 200€ for the cables, lights, switches and whatnot, 600€ for the generator so about 1700€. Did all the installations as it was simple, even for a layman like me.
    Have to do more wiring & indoor/patio lighting next summer, that will ad 2-300€.

    The floggings will continue until morale improves.

  19. #19
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    Solar panels

    Installed a 10kw system with no battery on a ground mount at last house. Gross cost $33k, 30% tax credit, savings of $5k a year.

    Current house we installed a 10kw system on the roof and a 18 kWh battery. Gross cost $43k and a 26% tax credit. Too early to know the payback. Definitely longer due to the battery but we get power shut offs and itís a hell of a lot better than a generator that costs more every time you turn on the power.

    Solar is a no-brainer here when power is between $.20 and $.45 per kWh. Cost of panels installed should be about $3 per watt with micro inverters.

    To :: if you get a battery you should have very little juice going back to the grid as you use it and bank the extra. Also Iím not familiar with Oregonís laws but this website says Oregonís utilities provide net metering, so they give you a credit for each KW put in to count against any taken from the grid. https://www.energytrust.org/solar-net-metering/. But Oregon has super cheap electricity prices though, average of $.08.


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  20. #20
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    we bought a 35k system bout 7 or 8 years ago
    the last year utah gave a great tax rebate on it
    aside from 17 days of triple digits july's and running the ac non stop our power bill is 8 bucks
    the note on the system was $100/month bout what the pre solar bill was and on a home eq loan
    refied down to 20 and paid of the home eq loan and system
    givin our choice to pay rocky mountain power who raises rates every year and burns coal for not clean energy
    and solar
    no brainer
    waiting on a good affordable off grid battery system
    i also solar shame karens when they try to idle shame me when im warming my gloves and charging my phone at the trailhead
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
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  21. #21
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    We live in a house that had solar installed in 2007. It's an asphalt shingle roof. 37 100W panels. They are so inefficient, we're gonna replace the system when we replace the roof (next summer)? But there's no leaks in the roof.

    My parents had a 37kW system put on their house in Maine this year. Total cost after tax credits was somewhere a little south of $15K.

    If I can ever find somebody that will build it, I'm also going to build a garage and put solar panels on a house in Vermont. It's got perfect exposure, no tree issues and we only have electric heat there. I'd build it myself but I'm too old to sheath the roof.

    Batteries are way too expensive and are really only good for about 18 hours in the winter. For the price of 1 Tesla Powerwall, we're installing a Generac for disaster-proofing.

    My ROI will be fairly short (electricity from the grid is very expensive in VT and NH) and the energy will be cleaner.

  22. #22
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    We are a year in with an 8kw setup. Based upon this past year we are looking at a 13 year payoff. Limited setup as we are in the city on a small lot. Fire codes prevented panels on the house roof with the best exposure. Once you have a 3 feet clearance from roof edge to the panel, we would only be able to fit a couple of panels.

    There are 10 panels on the detached garage, no setback requirement there. Another 10 panels on a carport. The carport produces great in summer but less the rest of the year due to low angle and the fact itís between our house and the neighbors house.

    Overall very pleased with the setup. We have also converted most everything to electric, heat pump heat, heat pump hot water heated, and a plug in hybrid car. With the heat pump weíve been running ac more than we ever have in the past. We also have an ERV providing fresh air year round. Lots of electric use so our bill is never zero but itís much lower than it was.

    We went with a small independent installer. We met with the big player in Vt, Sun Common. Double the price and vague specifications. There pitch was pay a deposit right now for a discount and we will work out the details later. I donít like committing without knowing what Iím getting and we told them that we we told the guy it was time for him to leave. He got kind of pushy.

  23. #23
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    Someone linked a paper about Solar in the US. Maybe Summit, I forget, but the bottom line was to put all the Fed incentives in NM, AZ, CA and power the grid. The roi for the nation would be better off.

    We don't get shit up here all winter. But with that said, my next house will have solar. I have not invested in it yet because we plan to move before the roi would come close to balancing.

  24. #24
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    Solar panels

    Quote Originally Posted by neufox47 View Post
    To :: if you get a battery you should have very little juice going back to the grid as you use it and bank the extra. Also Iím not familiar with Oregonís laws but this website says Oregonís utilities provide net metering, so they give you a credit for each KW put in to count against any taken from the grid. https://www.energytrust.org/solar-net-metering/. But Oregon has super cheap electricity prices though, average of $.08.
    Yeah, understood
    The payoff isnít proportional.
    Out here you invest in solar as a philosophical position more than a ROI position.

  25. #25
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    I work at a solar/power installer in NW WA


    If roofspace isn't an issue, we can have systems payback be down to 5 yrs, usually around 7 though. If you're roof is at all getting close to needing to be replaced and you are set about doing solar, replace it with a metal roof. Fuck your HOA, a standing seam metal roof and solar add a shitload of value to your house since the combined system is basically mainentance free for the 25yr life of the panels. Banks work to finance both if thats at all an issue.


    In general, it's not worth it at all to have a battery system in this state. Power is out for a week or 2, maybe, a year. Usually in winter when prodcution is poor. price breakdown is...

    15k+ for a 13kwh proprietary battery system installed. Lasts for a day or 2 without full charge. Clients that don't have a generator on site lose power autonomy on day 3 or 4. But then you have a sleek wall of power setup you can big dick with your 'friends' about.

    A 50a generator outlet and 7kw generator installed is 5k. fuel to run it for a day is $10-20. Sure its loud, but it also reliably works until the powers back on and can be plumbed into municipal LP/nat gas.


    Also, as a company, we have not had reliable shipments of batteries from our RENO based supplier. We've had 2 customers worth of batteries received in over a year. I think we currently stand at ~40 systems waiting for batteries (at 2+ units a system). Many customers wanting to work with us solely for the backup, and getting sold solar as an aside.


    All that aside, its been a sick pro deal to have living off grid. Also its a great way to get a residential electrical license if you can

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