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Thread: Solar Electricity

  1. #101
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    The Pacific NorthWet
    I once helped a blind friend do some updating of her wiring, she needed more outlets in the basement. I made sure power was out & told her which wires were which colors and explained how to do it, I've rewired more than one house (My mom's place, we almost tripled the breakers in the place, it quit popping the breaker when you turned the lights on in the garage and had the kitchen lights on + anything in the master bathroom... 1 breaker per circuit and 12 Ga. wire instead of 16 Ga and suddenly things got LOTS better.) Passed the code test in suburbia there nicely. It "may" help that I've been studying electronics since the 60s

    Also have fixed an idiot I know's issues in plumbing - You don't want to just (over and over despite being told how bad it is!) use just whatever random scrap of pipe you have, so that water supply like runs Iron, Copper, Plastic, Iron, Copper, Iron, Plastic, Iron, Plastic, Copper, Iron pieces in 20 feet of run, you want it all the SAME material. Prevents problems like galvanic corrosion (where the Iron and Copper act as a battery & corrode causing leaks...)

    It's all been in books & Now's definitely on the web, do look for the "Gotchas" same as in any technology.

  2. #102
    Boolit Master

    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    munising Michigan
    if I won the lotto and money was no factor id be doing it too. thing is very few of us win the lotto and have to look at cost reality. Today that reality still favors the power companys and the grid.
    Quote Originally Posted by abunaitoo View Post
    We might have the highest electricity rates in the country. At 60 years old its a roll of the dice that id even be around when the costs broke even.
    Combination on monopoly, poor government, and everything having to be shipped in.
    I wish I could afford to get solar.
    I would buy and not lease it.
    I'd get it with batteries and a generator back-up.
    Off the grid completely.
    If i were to win a lottery, I would completely do the roof. New panels and all. Then install the solar.
    We have sun, and no snow, all year round. Would save lots of money.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  3. #103
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    I'm still not on the wagon with the proposed pay back numbers. To me its a loosing proposition no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately most here do not have a clear understanding of how to go about figuring a pay back. Luckily in 09 we purchased a new home with 2X6 walls and one that was energy efficient. My electric and gas bills are in my opinion very low unlike the prior home we owned that had utilities 3X more than our present home and had a fraction of the square footage.

    If I won the lottery I would probably move to AZ buy a tract of land and take a good look at a solar farm with up to date technology.

  4. #104
    Super Moderator

    HATCH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Lexington, SC
    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    I sure don't see a lot of condescending posts here or ANY personal attacks. Just some people that have been there and done that that might have came away with slightly different opinions. If you don't want someone elses opinion you should steer clear of an internet forum period! Seems to me your last paragraph is in anything a bit condescending toward licensed electricians.
    This is exactly correct. I have reviewed this thread and that is my thoughts.

    On residential electricity new construction (anything requiring a permit) then it has to be inspected to make sure its up to code (as stated in this thread already)
    Yes there are people that are licensed to do this type of work. It cost money.
    For the most part, I can do ANY home electricial work and do it to standards set forth in the 2017 NESC Handbook.

    Please keep in mind that we all have done stuff in the past. We all come from different backgrounds (as far as what we do/did for a living).

    Because you can do electrical work doesn't make you a electrician just like because you can hammer a nail and saw a piece of wood doesn't make your a carpenter.

    Talking about your past experiences or your thoughts is what makes CB great.
    It is allowed and encouraged.

    Now to get back to the current discussion....

    I can't tell you the exact figures because its been a couple years since I worked at this company but we did install 4 large solar panels on the roof on my building.
    This was a demo because the company I worked for was/is a energy management company.
    What I was told by the owner, SCEG (the local electrical provider), would charge you x amount per KWH you used but then only pay 1/2 of x for KWH you sold back to the grid.
    They didn't sell a lot back because during the summer the 4 panels did not produce enough to cover the 4 buildings usage except maybe on the weekend when it was unoccupied.
    But at the end of the month we always used more then we made.

    Now, I have a friend in Charleston (SC) that also has SCEG.
    He get a check every month from SCEG because he produces WAY more then he uses. He works all the time and most evenings are spent at his elderly mom's house.

    I can't have solar panels here because of my HOA.
    If I ever win the lotto, I will have a solar farm with a bunker underneath it. Yeah I am crazy like that.

    Anyway, I am enjoying the conversation in this thread and thanks for keeping it civil.

  5. #105
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    I applaud people for trying to do things themselves but there comes a time when one should simply bail out and let a qualified person do it. I would be the last one to attempt to build a wall for example. Yes, I could do it and I'm sure it would pass code but it wouldn't be pretty. The usage of a qualified contractor a qualified electrician is paramount. Sometimes people need to step aside and let someone more qualified in to do the job.

    I also saw no instances in the thread so far where there were any condescending comments or personal attacks. I'm still looking for information on how some have arrived at say a seven or ten year payback on thee systems when I have had information that claimed far more than a ten year payback.

  6. #106
    Super Moderator

    HATCH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Lexington, SC
    I can help you with the ROI information.

    Its pretty easy to explain.

    Cost figures of system is just #s

    System size 8Kw
    System cost - $10K
    Panel life 25 years
    Amount power company to pay 6 cents per KW
    Amount power company charges per kw 11 cents

    if you sold back 100% of the power generated.
    Yearly income $480 (4.8 % return on your investment)
    Time to recoup investment - 20.8 years

    Now, lets say you used all the power you generate
    Yearly savings - $880.00 (8.8 ROI)
    Time to recoup investment - 11.4 years

    Whenever you are discussing energy savings with any company you need to ask them for the ROI (return on investment)
    This is a HUGE factor when your going to spend money to save money.

    The company I use to work for dealt with DDC (direct digital controls). Basically its like a computer that controls your AC/HEAT (HVAC) system.
    The average ROI was 2.5 years. The life of the controls was 20 years
    There was a school district in the upstate that invested $100K in a system to control their HVAC. It saved them $50K in electricity a year.
    So after 2 years it paid for itself.
    We installed controls at the USMC Air Station at Parris Island.
    Don't quote me on this figure, but it was almost $1 mill in savings per year. The ROI was 1.5 years.
    This is what happens when you go from NO control to 100% control.'

    The future is SOLAR but the question is when to invest.
    The technology changes so rapidly. The efficiency of the panels has changed so much in the past few years that its almost worth it if you installed a older system to upgrade the panels.
    not to mention the durability of the panels has also increased.

  7. #107
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    plains of colorado
    personally I think solar is to electric companies like cell phones were to ma bell, she had the attitude that cell phones were a fad and everybody needed a land line. our electric rates are 14 cents per kw and every year they go up again and like I said I have to pay a hundred bucks a month even if the breakers are off. I am working on going full solar, so far have one well compleatly solar and will do the other soon then start on the main system. I figure the well roi is about 1 year. when I retire I do not want any monthly bills and especially no monthly bills that keep going up when my income is fixed.

  8. #108
    Moderator Emeritus

    MaryB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    SW Minnesota
    MN is one of the few states that pays retail rate(9 cents per kwh) for any buyback electricity a solar install produces. So many in MN are doing systems. I know of 50 or so in a 10 mile radius, one is 3 sets of 8 panels on full axis trackers! Another is similar to my mounting method, few feet of the ground behind the farmers new pole barn. he has 80 panels back there at a ~44.5 degree tilt. Tracking can gain 20% in energy but it is extremely expensive and with panels dirt cheap now it is easier to just install 20% more panels.

    And there is a huge solar farm going in SW of me about 20 miles.

    I prefer to not deal with the power company and just run part of the house off grid with transfer switches to drop back on grid as needed.

  9. #109
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Kaneohe, HI
    The solar industry here is kind of dying.
    Electric company (monopoly) used to give full market rate credit for any power going back to the grid.
    Now they give less than half credit back.
    They also came up with an excuse to restrict the number of solar systems. Something about overloading the grid.
    We now have less than half of the companies that we used to have.
    Prices have gone up and there are less choices.
    Plus the state has added all kinds of fees and inspection cost to things.
    I've heard of people having to wait almost a year to finish the solar installation.
    Price we are forced to pay for living here.
    At least the sunshine is still free..................for now. .

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