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Thread: Solar Electricity

  1. #1
    Boolit Master




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    Solar Electricity

    I'm in the process of getting solar panels to provide the electricity for my house. I live in the city, but the electric bill is going through the roof. An engineer checked my peek usage, and recommends an 8.7 KW (31 panel) installation. My question is - it only comes with a 7 KW inverter. If the panels can provide 8.7KW, why shouldn't the installation include an 8.7KW inverter?
    During the day, any electricity I don't use is fed into the grid, figuratively running the meter backwards, and the savings will ostensibly pay for the installation. At night, I get power from the grid.
    Any comments?
    Echo
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  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    Mr. Echo,who will hold title to these panels? If you sell the house,are you still subject to pay off any debt or does that debt pass forward to new home owner/s?Also,does the solar co. have a 2nd on your title? How are you buying this equipment?

  3. #3
    Boolit Man RED BEAR's Avatar
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    You may want to consider a new roof if that is where the system is going as it will need to be removed to replace or do very much repair to it. Please let us know how it works out as I have thought about putting in solar system but was not sure the cost benefit would work out for the life of the panels. Electricity's pretty cheap here compared to other parts of country so that may influence my reasoning. My electric bill rarely goes to $300 for a total electric home. Good luck with your project.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I hope this works out as planned. I have known quite a few folks that were off grid and their place and appliances were planned out just for that purpose, but this has always been because grid hookup was either not available at any cost, or just totally cost prohibitive. Anyone I knew would have switched over to the grid fast if it was an option.

    I take that back, I knew one old time rancher that lived till the day he died refusing to hook up to the grid, which came available to him at some point, he like most of his time went to bed with the chickens so just didn't have a lot of need for it. lol

    When he died he still used a one cylinder maytag to wash his clothes, and his whole shop was either gas or hand powered.

    I knew another that paid good bucks to have his house wired and a considerable sum to have power run to his house after years of living without it, when he got his first bill he called and ask what they thought they were trying to pull, he had paid in cash, he too lived out the rest of his days without electricity. lol

    I do know in most places there is quite a bit of difference in what the electric company pays you for your electricity and what they charge you for theirs, even if they tell you it is the same for kilowatt, they neglect to mention that half of it is delivery cost that they do not pay for yours.

  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    I imagine the inverter is sized to your expected power needs, the extra capacity is so that on less sunny days (hazy, or earlier in the day / later in the evening) you have enough power for your needs without using grid power much.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master






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    My buddy lived far enough away from the nearest power and in a very rocky area where plowing cable would be expensive. he decided to go with a combo or wind and solar. I forget now what it all cost but at the time I figured it would take 20 years to even break even at the rate I was paying and our electric is high in this area. I think the time will come when this technology is more efficient and cost effective but its not here yet. Sad thing for him too is he about drained his bank account doing it and died 5 years later of cancer. I'm sure whoever buys the house that was left to his 14 year old kid will thank him though. reason they probably spec. a smaller invertor is energy loss. they probably look at your average consumption figuring if you went over average and into peak useage the cost of the bigger invertor and the increased energy loss wouldn't justify putting something in that really isn't cost effective.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  7. #7
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    You need to ask for the ROI calculations.
    ROI = Return on Investment

    Basically how long they calculate that it will take for the panels to pay for themselves in savings.
    You need to also ask what the life expectancy is for the panels as well.

    By design, you installation is gonna be 100% off grid during the daylight hours with most likely 2kw being sold back.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    My take on solar is that it's fine in the country, if you're not on the grid for some reason. In the city, I figure you're going to be hooked up to the local utility whether you have solar or not. Then it becomes a choice of paying the utility, or paying the solar company. You have to pay someone either way, and I think you're fooling yourself if you opt for solar if you don't need it. JMHO.
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


    Disarming is a mistake free people only get to make once...

  9. #9
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    Standard practice, your panels only produce peak power a little over an hour a day and most charge controllers can handle a 20% over current(they just stop at whatever max current they can handle and ignore the rest).

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Back in 2007 I replaced the HVAC in our all-electric house. I checked in to Geo-thermal, but decided against it because the payback was to long a time - something around 8 years to get the extra money back.

    Little did I realize that in just a year of so, an Administration would be in power that instituted policies DESIGNED to jack up electric rates ("Following my plan, electric rates will necessarily skyrocket..." B.H.Obama).

    What I'm trying to say is - be careful of the cost-benefit analysis. There are always unknowns. If I had it to do over, I would have jumped all over the Geo-thermal systems. Once the holes are drilled, the replacement costs are much lower.

    Electric rates WILL go up, and go up dramatically. We are no longer fueled by cheap coal, which can be contracted for long-term, but by mostly natural gas, which, as a commodity, is subject to market forces. This makes power costs many times more volatile.

    Perhaps installation of solar panels that you own is a good call.
    "Varium et mutabile semper femina." - Virgil
    Man, ain't it the truth....

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Here in Arizona solar works very well. Trouble is the power company I have, APS, seems to want to make it difficult and costly for a homeowner to have solar. They charge you a fee even if you do not use their electricity and have also lowered the dollar amount they pay a homeowner for excess solar sold to them. With leased panels this excess solar monet goes to the leasing company.
    My neighbor had a company install panels on his roof that he does not own so there is an issue if he sells. His bill is fixed at the amount he was paying APS at the time the panels were installed. Took almost 6 months for APS to inspect the installation and turn on the system.
    If I go solar I will buy my own system and install it. I know an electrician who will do the final hook-up so it will meet code. Even with his cost it still will be about 1/4 of the cost of having a "solar" company doing the install.
    Before you install the solar you might want to go over what you are powering now and see if some changes can be made to lower your bill. I had a new HVAC system installed a couple of years ago and it lowered my bill about $40 a month alone. The replacement of incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs with LEDs lowered it about another $20 to $30 a month. I also installed more insulation in the attic and on my garage walls and door.
    The system proposed for your house is very large compared to most of the systems I see on roofs here in Phoenix.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master




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    I hold title - no lease arrangement for me.
    Echo
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    One of the most endearing sights in the world is the vision of a naked good-looking woman leaving the bedroom to make breakfast. Bolivar Shagnasty (I believe that Lazarus Long also said it, but I can't find any record of it.)

  13. #13
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    My buddy lived far enough away from the nearest power and in a very rocky area where plowing cable would be expensive. he decided to go with a combo or wind and solar. I forget now what it all cost but at the time I figured it would take 20 years to even break even at the rate I was paying and our electric is high in this area. I think the time will come when this technology is more efficient and cost effective but its not here yet. Sad thing for him too is he about drained his bank account doing it and died 5 years later of cancer. I'm sure whoever buys the house that was left to his 14 year old kid will thank him though. reason they probably spec. a smaller invertor is energy loss. they probably look at your average consumption figuring if you went over average and into peak useage the cost of the bigger invertor and the increased energy loss wouldn't justify putting something in that really isn't cost effective.
    Makes sense...
    Echo
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    One of the most endearing sights in the world is the vision of a naked good-looking woman leaving the bedroom to make breakfast. Bolivar Shagnasty (I believe that Lazarus Long also said it, but I can't find any record of it.)

  14. #14
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by HATCH View Post
    You need to ask for the ROI calculations.
    ROI = Return on Investment

    Basically how long they calculate that it will take for the panels to pay for themselves in savings.
    You need to also ask what the life expectancy is for the panels as well.

    By design, you installation is gonna be 100% off grid during the daylight hours with most likely 2kw being sold back.
    The estimate is about 8 years - and I hope to last that long, too...
    Echo
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    One of the most endearing sights in the world is the vision of a naked good-looking woman leaving the bedroom to make breakfast. Bolivar Shagnasty (I believe that Lazarus Long also said it, but I can't find any record of it.)

  15. #15
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by scattershot View Post
    My take on solar is that it's fine in the country, if you're not on the grid for some reason. In the city, I figure you're going to be hooked up to the local utility whether you have solar or not. Then it becomes a choice of paying the utility, or paying the solar company. You have to pay someone either way, and I think you're fooling yourself if you opt for solar if you don't need it. JMHO.
    My electric bill just went up to $239/mo, averaging over the year.
    Echo
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    One of the most endearing sights in the world is the vision of a naked good-looking woman leaving the bedroom to make breakfast. Bolivar Shagnasty (I believe that Lazarus Long also said it, but I can't find any record of it.)

  16. #16
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    Sounds like a win win setup to me.
    ROI used to be 15-20 years. Not worth it for the ROI.
    8 years ROI means 12 to 17 years of pure profit
    Well worth the investment


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by HATCH View Post
    Sounds like a win win setup to me.
    ROI used to be 15-20 years. Not worth it for the ROI.
    8 years ROI means 12 to 17 years of pure profit
    Well worth the investment


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Here's hoping - but I doubt that I will last 20 years!
    Echo
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    One of the most endearing sights in the world is the vision of a naked good-looking woman leaving the bedroom to make breakfast. Bolivar Shagnasty (I believe that Lazarus Long also said it, but I can't find any record of it.)

  18. #18
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    So what are the payments on the solar installation? Will you still need the power company on cloudy days?
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


    Disarming is a mistake free people only get to make once...

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    If this is a roof mount the angle of the panels to the sun may derate the panels to work with that 7KW inverter. Most roofs are the wrong angle and pitch to make the best use of the sun. If the earth realigns itself with your panels we'll have more problems than an overloaded inverter. Working load is usually 80% of max load which would be 5,600 watts peak. I have only built offgrid systems but electrical standards are the same.

    Pole mounted panels usually have more output with better alignment to the sun and better air cooling. Hot panels produce less electricity. Most gridtie solar firms only do roofmounts. Might be kickbacks from roofers LOL.

    If it's going on the roof ask a roofer. Best of luck.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master






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    my electric bill with just myself and wife is 210 a month. That said I'm a bit prejudice because I worked in the electrical utility field as a lineman most of my life. Yes that's a lot of money but many pay near that for there cable tv, phone, heat ect or the payment you pay on your new truck, car, motorcycle, atv ect . Look at what all you use electric for. Most of us use it one way or the other for at least 12 hours a day and couldn't live without it. I can live without tv and a smart phone but if you look at the big picture you get more for your money with your electric bill then any other bill you have. You wouldn't be on here without it. If your here you probably cast bullets and load ammo. Take electric away from that and most would find a different hobby. Also factor in the electricity that is not factored in to heating and cooling your home, powering that tv, computer ect that should be considered part of those costs. shut off all your luxury items like tvs, stereos, phone chargers, microwaves ect and buy yourself a wood stove for heat and hot water and go and cut firewood and see how much you can drop your electric bill. Bottom line is none of us want to give up those luxuries. So its not the utility's fault you use so much electricity. Lots of ways to reduce that bill if you really want to. Your great grandpa didn't have a hot shower every day. Didn't run a water pump every time he went to the can. didn't wash His dishes or clothes in hot water from a hot water tank. Didn't have probably anything in his house that needed electricity and even your grandpa probably on used it for lights. Only reason your electric bill is over 200 bucks is the same reason mine is. I use it ALL THE TIME because it just makes life easier. I'm sitting here right now at 8 oclock in the morning. Allready used electric to cook breakfast, my wife showered before work using hot water and the water pump. Lights are on, computer is obviously on and the tv is on in the back ground along with the cable box. Furnance blower has came on a few times since ive been up. fridge and freezers have probably came on in the last couple hours too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Echo View Post
    My electric bill just went up to $239/mo, averaging over the year.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

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