Going solar?

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barberakb
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Going solar?

Post by barberakb » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:05 pm

I was looking at going solar on my house. I can afford paying my current electricity bill no problem. Ranges from $100-150 a month.

But there are currently 30% federal and 10% state rebates (NM). After rebates it will cost about $20,000.

Plus I guess you can sell back extra power if you don't use all that you produce.

I'm not sure if it is worth it in the long run though.

Just looking for advice or comments from people who have gone solar and if they regret it or not. Or companies to avoid etc...

Thanks!

chazas
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Re: Going solar?

Post by chazas » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:44 pm

We installed a 10Kw system on a house we built in 2006-7. No state incentives, it cost $100K at the time. And it saved me maybe $70/month in electicity. I don't think we got a premium for the house when we sold it due to the solar. It was alway kludgy, sometimes under repair for weeks at a time. I know prices have come down but friends with more recent installations all report technical problems. I wouldn't do it.

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steve roy
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Re: Going solar?

Post by steve roy » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:04 pm

We installed solar on our So Cal house over a decade ago. Took us out of the top tier of our city's three-tier billing system, so it saved us money. Way we made it work financially was we got a tax rebate; refinanced the house to pull out money for the purchase.

Sold the house a month ago and got way above asking price. Don't know if it was totally due to red hot real estate market ... or the solar panels on the roof had something to do with it.

sabhen
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Re: Going solar?

Post by sabhen » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:05 pm

Brought our house with pre-installed solar panels. All paid for by previous owner.

I had only one issue in the last few years. I noticed an increase in electricity consumption over time. Because the AC/DC inverter failed. The electronic device gets hot and is cooled passively via built-in fins on its cover. It should have been installed in a cooler area.

Fortunately, it was under warranty. I had it replaced and the company paid for all the costs. Since then, it works like a charm. My electricity bill is ~ $0 for the year. I had to replace an old fridge. But overall we use little electricity.

So very happy with the solar panels. I don't think they increase the value of a house.
Last edited by sabhen on Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TravelforFun
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Re: Going solar?

Post by TravelforFun » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:19 pm

I got two bids on the solar panels for my home and determined I would take me about 12 years to break even, and so I decided to wait another year or two.

TravelforFun

mervinj7
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Re: Going solar?

Post by mervinj7 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:39 pm

Go to energysage and get a couple of quotes for your exact situation. Your "breakeven" point will vary enormously based on your expected PV Generation, the effective rate you pay for electricity, and the effective rate you get paid for excess electricity (net metering rules). In my particular case, as I worked out in my post below, I should break even in less than 5 years. That's mostly since I live in sunny NorCal and have a high electricity rate during the day (great for excess solar net metering) and very low electricity rate at night (prefect for charging out EV). My friend who lives less than 4 miles away has a breakeven point of over 7 years due to having a energy provider with different net metering policies.

Installation Estimate: https://www.energysage.com/
Panel Generation Estimate: https://pvwatts.nrel.gov/

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=223055&start=50#p3932615

Gill
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Re: Going solar?

Post by Gill » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:37 pm

OP, with an electric villas low as yours, I can’t see how solar would ever make sense.
Gill

emoore
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Re: Going solar?

Post by emoore » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:33 pm

Really depends on what reason you want to go solar. If it’s environmental reasons then it’s almost always worth it. If it’s financial reasons only then it might not be worth it if your electricity is cheap. How much is your electricity costs per kWh?

letsgobobby
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Re: Going solar?

Post by letsgobobby » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:42 pm

Calculate your breakeven date and decide. It all depends on your costs, your electric usage, your electricity costs, your state incentives, etc. Only you know these data.

We recently paid about $1100 per kW. However the federal tax credit knocks off 30%. State incentives will knock off another 40%. We’ll make up the remaining 30% over 8-12 years depending on assumptions. So it was worth it for us, despite having low electricity usage and very low costs (8 cents per kWH).

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unclescrooge
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Re: Going solar?

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:45 pm

chazas wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:44 pm
We installed a 10Kw system on a house we built in 2006-7. No state incentives, it cost $100K at the time. And it saved me maybe $70/month in electicity. I don't think we got a premium for the house when we sold it due to the solar. It was alway kludgy, sometimes under repair for weeks at a time. I know prices have come down but friends with more recent installations all report technical problems. I wouldn't do it.
Why would you spend $100k to save $70/month?

What technical problems did you face? Since there are zero moving parts in an electrical system, I have a had time understanding why there would be any issues after the initial burn-in period.

As a comparison, I spent $18k before 30% tax credit and save about $200-$300 per month.
Last edited by unclescrooge on Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

vg55
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Re: Going solar?

Post by vg55 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:21 pm

For us it was a 17k investment (after all fed / state incentives). In return we save at least $100 / month in utility bills. The way that I look at the 17k investment was another way to diversify my portfolio and to set up additional savings with a plug in hybrid car. Essentially I am getting at least $1,200 tax free (actually triple tax free; fed, state, local) on a 17k investment. My last month's electric bill was $ 9.21 (June 2018). Plus I have banked at least 1 Mwh with the utility that they must redeem in March 2019. Next step is to buy a used chevy volt. I can use the excess power generated to offset my gasoline expenditures. According to https://www.fueleconomy.gov the chevy volt will save me $ 6,500 / year vs. my 2004 Honda Accord. This has been an enjoyable expenditure / investment for me.

HIinvestor
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Re: Going solar?

Post by HIinvestor » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:33 pm

For us, the system was under $12k and the fed govt paid 35% and state paid 35%. Our electric bill was a bit over $100 on average and is now under $20. We also put in a solar water heater and got 35% + 35% rebate on that as well.

We have no regrets. Shortly after we installed our household photovoltaic, the electric company started enforcing a cap of 10% max of power in neighborhoods could have PV, so we were glad to have installed before the cap.

We mostly installed because it feels like the right thing to do and getting 70% rebate was also attractive. Have not had any problems with solar water heater or PV system. We can remove our PV if we need to reroof or want to take it to a new place—it will only cost about $500 to remove and re-install.

My folks and two of my sibblings also got PV systems and are happy with them.

I’d suggest getting three quotes from people around you who are happy with their systems. Also, have your electric bill estimate for the past year or so to help figure out the size of the system you need. Have all of them give you a quote for the same # of panels and brand of panels and inverters so you are comparing apples to apples.

TravelGeek
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Re: Going solar?

Post by TravelGeek » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:45 pm

We made 51.4 kWh today. Most went into the grid (our “battery”). Overall our system is designed to cover the energy consumption of our energy efficient home. In 3+ years the only problem we had was that the powerline network adapter that sends the production data from the inverters to the cloud died. I diagnosed and replaced it myself with a $30 adapter from Amazon.

We didn’t look at it entirely as an economic decision when we built our home. We liked the idea of having an efficient and comfortable house. No regrets.

giesen5
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Re: Going solar?

Post by giesen5 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:07 am

WA state resident. Got solar two years ago - 5.5 year break even plan. Did it for mostly environmental reasons, our electricity bill averages $60/mo.

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DanMahowny
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Re: Going solar?

Post by DanMahowny » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:01 am

Maybe people could sent their solar money to me and I'll pay their electric bills?

Pretty sure I'll make a killing.
Funding secured

VaR
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Re: Going solar?

Post by VaR » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:07 am

barberakb wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:05 pm
Plus I guess you can sell back extra power if you don't use all that you produce.
Do not oversize your system! I'd think carefully about sizing a system any larger than 50% of your current usage. Not saying you shouldn't do it, just that the closer you get to 80% the more carefully you have to do your calculations.

I'm going through this analysis in Florida with FPL, which has calendar year net metering. A year ago it looked like it would be $24k (after federal incentives) to install a 12kW system that would reduce my electric bill by $2100 a year. Before pulling the trigger, I wanted to do a few things:
1. Replace my roof - It was about 25 years old and had suffered some hurricane damage in Irma so we decided to do a full replacement. This is a big factor as you will otherwise need to temporarily take down your panels should you ever need to reroof.
2. Replace the windows and the sliding glass doors - I think the windows were 50 years old and some of them wouldn't close all the way! $900 a year in energy savings.
3. Replace the single speed pool pump with a variable speed pool pump. $600 a year in energy savings.
4. Put LED lighting everywhere.
5. Replace the electric dryer with a gas dryer. $200 per year. (don't ask me why we do so many loads of laundry)

The bottom line is that various energy saving investments have a much shorter payback period than solar, so do those first. Plus all those investments typically have a very long lifespan.

I got my quotes on energysage.com. I also recommend the solarpaneltalk.com forums.

Also do a search for other threads on this topic on this board. There are various analyses of better financial calculators that factor in expected electricity rates over time as well as some analysis of cost of funds. For me, it looks like it is a great "tax-free" investment since the 20-year annualized return is 7.5% assuming 2% inflation or 7.3% assuming zero inflation.

tpm871
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Re: Going solar?

Post by tpm871 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:48 pm

I recently went solar, and spent a lot of time understanding the financial aspects. After rebates, the cost was about $21k and I estimate that it would return about $50k above and beyond this investment over the life of the panels.

Some points to consider:

1. As some have mentioned, getting extra generation capacity beyond your usage may not have as favorable of a return on investment as sticking with just covering 100% of what you use. If you're mainly focused on the financial aspect as opposed to the environmental benefits, you may want to avoid getting more capacity than you use.

With net metering, your generation up to 100% of your usage fully offsets the electric costs that you would have used (the generation, transmission, and other costs). But while the electric company will buy any excess electricity that you produce, they pay you only at the electric generation rate rather than the full cost per kWh that you are used to paying (i.e., they do not pay you the transmission and other fees).

That's not to say that you wouldn't make any money by selling extra electricity back to the grid, you'll just get a lower rate.

Keep in mind that you build up credits for electric usage, so that if you generate more than you use during the day or summer, those credits are applied during the night or winter. It's only when your annual generation is a surplus relative to your annual usage that you would be compensated for additional electric that you supplied to the grid.

This might vary by state, but that's how it works in my state (and I think most other states).

However, also consider the next point which may actually make getting excess capacity more profitable:

2. Some states have Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) markets, which pay you an additional income on your generation. This isn't buying your power; it's giving you money for producing clean energy (i.e., other companies buy your credits to offset their carbon footprint).

But the rate for SRECs varies hugely by state, so find out what it is for your state before sizing your system. For example, if you're lucky enough to live in Massachusetts, the current SREC price is $300 -- if your system generates 10 MWh of electric per year, you'd get about $3,000 additional income per year.

http://www.srectrade.com/srec_markets/

However, it doesn't look like NM has an SREC market yet.

3. Solar systems can have either a "string inverter" or "micro inverters" for converting DC electric from the panel to AC electric for your home. String inverters are a bit cheaper, but typically only last about ten years or so before needing to be replaced. Micro inverters cost a bit more, but can give you a bit more power in cases like partial shade and may last longer.

I went with SunPower solar panels, which includes a separate micro inverter with each panel. Both the panel and the micro inverter have a 25 year warranty, so I should avoid the cost of replacing the inverter(s) every ten years. Other systems that I looked at only had a 10 or 20 year warranty on the string inverter, so that would be an additional maintenance cost.

So pay attention to the terms of the warranty, and keep in mind that string inverters may need to be replaced every ten years or so.

4. I live in an area that gets a fair amount of rain and is often overcast. Most people in my area think that solar wouldn't generate much for that reason. But fortunately for me, they are wrong.

Over the past couple of months, I've generated more electric than I use every day, even on the rainiest of days. On a good sunny day, I generate what I use in about six days. So I should generate more than I use throughout the year, even during rainy days and the shorter winter days.

But with that said, I'm pretty energy conscious, so my usage is probably below that of most people.

5. There is currently a 30% federal tax credit for installing solar. But this 30% credit starts decreasing after 2019.

TravelGeek
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Re: Going solar?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:09 pm

tpm871 wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:48 pm
I recently went solar, and spent a lot of time understanding the financial aspects. After rebates, the cost was about $21k and I estimate that it would return about $50k above and beyond this investment over the life of the panels.

Some points to consider:

1. As some have mentioned, getting extra generation capacity beyond your usage may not have as favorable of a return on investment as sticking with just covering 100% of what you use. If you're mainly focused on the financial aspect as opposed to the environmental benefits, you may want to avoid getting more capacity than you use.

...

That's not to say that you wouldn't make any money by selling extra electricity back to the grid, you'll just get a lower rate.

Keep in mind that you build up credits for electric usage, so that if you generate more than you use during the day or summer, those credits are applied during the night or winter. It's only when your annual generation is a surplus relative to your annual usage that you would be compensated for additional electric that you supplied to the grid.

This might vary by state, but that's how it works in my state (and I think most other states).
Good post. Just to add, in my state (OR) we don’t get any money back from over production. Net metering here simply means that we can accumulate credits and offset them with grid consumption. At the end of the “year” (defined as March billing cycle, so after the winter over-consumption) any surplus credit gets donated to a low rate payer fund.

We did oversize our system somewhat given our initial use. For one, after moving from CA to OR, it was difficult to estimate accurately what our consumption would actually be (eg life style changes). But we also anticipated the purchase of an EV in the not too distant future and we wanted to cover it. Now that we actually have our EV and data from the past three years, we are very happy with our estimation. The solar system should cover roughly 5-7000 miles of driving annually.
4. I live in an area that gets a fair amount of rain and is often overcast. Most people in my area think that solar wouldn't generate much for that reason. But fortunately for me, they are wrong.
Yes, indeed. And solar companies should be able to provide a production estimate for a proposed system based on the geographic location (weather, length of days), house/roof orientation etc.

madbrain
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Re: Going solar?

Post by madbrain » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:59 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:01 am
Maybe people could sent their solar money to me and I'll pay their electric bills?

Pretty sure I'll make a killing.
Good luck with that. My electric bill would be in the $6000/year range without the 40 solar panels.

squirm
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Re: Going solar?

Post by squirm » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:11 pm

When you get solar, you don't have to worry about every time you want to turn the AC on to cool off. We're in a high electrical cost area and without solar, we'd be hot a lot more often. Yes, we could afford to pay the AC bill, but paying for solar and making use of it is a nice feeling. We haven't paid a electric bill in almost three years.

GuyInFL
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Re: Going solar?

Post by GuyInFL » Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:43 pm

OP,
What do you currently pay per kwh? We pay about 11 cents and I couldn't make the math work, even ith the 30% tax credit.

JoeJohnson
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Re: Going solar?

Post by JoeJohnson » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:27 pm

vg55 wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:21 pm
According to https://www.fueleconomy.gov the chevy volt will save me $ 6,500 / year vs. my 2004 Honda Accord. This has been an enjoyable expenditure / investment for me.
$6,500? Perhaps you meant $650?

barberakb
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Re: Going solar?

Post by barberakb » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:55 pm

Thanks for all of the responses so far.

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Devil's Advocate
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Re: Going solar?

Post by Devil's Advocate » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:49 pm

I have been contemplating going solar as well on a new construction. The property we are going to build on is remote and it will cost $30,000 to have electricity access from local electric company. So basically I see that I can go off grid for around $30,000 after tax incentives and after that hopefully be ahead every month without bills.

However you have to calculate the cost of maintenance and replacing your battery bank. So even with that $30000 initial offset I have a feeling going solar still will be a bit more expensive in the long run. But not sure...

DA

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Sandtrap
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Re: Going solar?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:59 pm

Our electric bill can get as high as $3-400/mo in the hottest summer months. Winters are rock bottom since we use gas heat.
Lot's of sun in Northern Arizona.
Been putting it off for 6 years.
Still not sure if it's worth the cost.
Maybe I'd be 90 by the time the costs were recovered and by then I wouldn't care nor remember I had solar.
Dunno.
j :oops:

sco
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Re: Going solar?

Post by sco » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:14 am

Its pretty easy to calculate the payback with some assumptions.

When I did it was almost 15 year payback, and I hadn't calculated in any downtime due to maintenance, etc.. So... No thanks...


Your Mileage will vary.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Going solar?

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:39 am

squirm wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:11 pm
When you get solar, you don't have to worry about every time you want to turn the AC on to cool off. We're in a high electrical cost area and without solar, we'd be hot a lot more often. Yes, we could afford to pay the AC bill, but paying for solar and making use of it is a nice feeling. We haven't paid a electric bill in almost three years.
+1
Just went through a heat wave. Temperature broke all records at 114 degrees last Friday. Temperature was 100 degrees at 10pm when I walked the dog.

The AC ran non stop for 3 days as i was constantly trying to lower the inside temperature to 75.

Instead of sweating the bills, I actually made the house cooler during the hottest part of the day in an attempt to precool the house during peak production hours.

Cruise
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Re: Going solar?

Post by Cruise » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:55 am

The only thing I really regret about going solar is that I didn't do it years before. The payback period for me was around five years. Now we are swimming in free electricity. Go for it if the economics work for you.

vg55
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Re: Going solar?

Post by vg55 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:52 am

JoeJohnson wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:27 pm
vg55 wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:21 pm
According to https://www.fueleconomy.gov the chevy volt will save me $ 6,500 / year vs. my 2004 Honda Accord. This has been an enjoyable expenditure / investment for me.
$6,500? Perhaps you meant $650?
Thanks -- should have read $ 6,500 savings over a 5 year period.

https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do ... 3&id=19749

The 2016 volt saves 4,500 over a 5 year period compared to an average new vehicle and the 2004 honda accord costs 2,000 more over a 5 year period compared to an average new vehicle.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Going solar?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:37 am

barberakb wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:05 pm
Just looking for advice or comments from people who have gone solar and if they regret it or not. Or companies to avoid etc...
We recently moved into a house that has a large solar field, a well, and septic. It is difficult to say what the financial effects are (the owner retained the tax credits, and it is difficult to know how much we "paid" for the already installed solar). However, there is a great reduction in guilt when charging my EV, running AC, pumping water out of the well, etc. It is a more comfortable way to live.
Zero Net Carbon by 2019.

gd
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Re: Going solar?

Post by gd » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:56 am

Haven't done it but am starting to consider a small (due to site limitations) installation. Don't see how you can have a useful discussion without including climate and State (for regulatory issues) in every comment.

mmcmonster
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Re: Going solar?

Post by mmcmonster » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:01 am

I'm getting solar installed ... today!

For me, it's more that my local electrical utility isn't quite as reliable as when I moved here, ~7 years ago. I'm concerned that over the next few years it's going to get less stable.

In addition, I'm getting solar and battery backup instead of getting a propane generator system. The battery backup will also be eligible for the 30% federal rebate.

I will probably give a full posting about my experience in a couple months, as a guide for others that use Solar City/Tesla.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Going solar?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:21 am

I will probably give a full posting about my experience in a couple months, as a guide for others that use Solar City/Tesla.
Please do. I actually have a Tesla guy here on the property as I post this, scoping out the site.

I agree about utility reliability in the future. I’m not paranoid, but it would be an obvious target for hackers.
Zero Net Carbon by 2019.

dknightd
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Re: Going solar?

Post by dknightd » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:22 am

I bought into a community solar farm. My house is not well suited for solar, and I did not want to cut down shade trees, so an offsite farm worked for me. Apparently farmers make more money leasing land close to power lines than they can make growing hay, so it works out for them as well. My total cost of electricity went down the month the panels went online. The panels are on a 0% loan for 15 years. That cost will not change. We pay a small lease fee to the farmer, and for maintenance, which will go up 2%/year for the next 25 years.
I save money now. Likely I'll save money for the next 15 years, and when the panels are paid off I'll save even more :)
Plus I get that warm fuzzy feeling about reducing my use of fossil fuels. Seems like a win all around.
I'll let you know in 13.5 years how it all worked out, but, so far so good :)

chazas
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Re: Going solar?

Post by chazas » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:44 am

We spent a lot on everything, particularly green technologies. At the time no one could give us any real estimate of what we would save, we knew it wasn’t that economical but were interested in being a guinea pig for upscale use of green technologies, which were uncommon in our area at that time. We used the largest solar installer in the mid-Atlantic, since defunct, which had never installed a system of the max size for grid tie-in and had never done an installation in a new house, much less a custom house where we were trying to get everything to look good.

The inverters were made by Outback. They did have moving parts, cooling fans. But IIRC there were other parts that died, and sometimes it was just visit after visit after visit trying to get things to work together properly.

And after the original installer went out of business it took us a while to find someone who would service the system.
unclescrooge wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:45 pm
chazas wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:44 pm
We installed a 10Kw system on a house we built in 2006-7. No state incentives, it cost $100K at the time. And it saved me maybe $70/month in electicity. I don't think we got a premium for the house when we sold it due to the solar. It was alway kludgy, sometimes under repair for weeks at a time. I know prices have come down but friends with more recent installations all report technical problems. I wouldn't do it.
Why would you spend $100k to save $70/month?

What technical problems did you face? Since there are zero moving parts in an electrical system, I have a had time understanding why there would be any issues after the initial burn-in period.

As a comparison, I spent $18k before 30% tax credit and save about $200-$300 per month.

Wellfleet
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Re: Going solar?

Post by Wellfleet » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:26 am

I'd like to put on solar panels but don't have the cash to fund and would need a loan at 4%.

My rough math looks like I'd save about $1,000 per year and cut my electricity bill in half, saving $80 per month.

But need to finish paying off all non-mortgage debts and weatherizing first- better doors, air sealing, etc.

Negotiating a couple deals on insurance, cable, cell phone seems like the easier route, for now. Could buy 100% renewable for small $$.

pwill112
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Re: Going solar?

Post by pwill112 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:15 am

mmcmonster wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:01 am
I'm getting solar installed ... today!

For me, it's more that my local electrical utility isn't quite as reliable as when I moved here, ~7 years ago. I'm concerned that over the next few years it's going to get less stable.

In addition, I'm getting solar and battery backup instead of getting a propane generator system. The battery backup will also be eligible for the 30% federal rebate.

I will probably give a full posting about my experience in a couple months, as a guide for others that use Solar City/Tesla.

Can anybody explain the difference between getting a propane generator vs "getting solar and backup battery" that mmcmonster is doing? Meaning what can and can't be run functionally during a power outage?

Rupert
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Re: Going solar?

Post by Rupert » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:42 am

gd wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:56 am
Haven't done it but am starting to consider a small (due to site limitations) installation. Don't see how you can have a useful discussion without including climate and State (for regulatory issues) in every comment.
+1. Just read an article about my state permitting our electric utility to charge homes with solar panels some ridiculously huge monthly fee. I'm in the Southeast, where electricity tends to be cheap and the Southern Company owns most state legislatures.

MathWizard
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Re: Going solar?

Post by MathWizard » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:00 am

I think that the best advantage for solar is in places which have tiered and/or time of day pricing.
I believe the SF bay area has these.

In the past, your rates got cheaper the more elec. you consumed (the infrastructure cost was high for low consumption users)
Now, in places which are having problems with peak use are going the other way, either with rates going up the mnore you consume,
or charging more during times of the day when usage is at its peak (or both).

Putting in grid-tied solar to get you out of the highest tier, along with Fed rebates, makes economic sense.

This is not true for me, so I am buying into a community solar project. I can buy in units of half panels, and let the utility company take care of the infrastructure, and they discount my bill by a small percentage a month. It looks like I have about a 5 year payoff, not counting the time value of money.

barberakb
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Re: Going solar?

Post by barberakb » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:04 am

I am getting together the quote to post in here but the company is sunpro solar.

I live in NM and my house has no shade.

The loan would be 12 years at 2.99%

It looks like they have a 25 year warranty, if they are still around in 25 years...

I think my electricity currently costs 11.87¢/kWh / no idea if that is good or not

And they said each pane has a micro inverter

TravelGeek
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Re: Going solar?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:17 am

barberakb wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:04 am

I think my electricity currently costs 11.87¢/kWh / no idea if that is good or not
About a penny below national average it seems. See

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly ... epmt_5_6_a

mmcmonster
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Re: Going solar?

Post by mmcmonster » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:09 pm

pwill112 wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:15 am
Can anybody explain the difference between getting a propane generator vs "getting solar and backup battery" that mmcmonster is doing? Meaning what can and can't be run functionally during a power outage?
Regarding Propane Generator vs. Solar:

They both produce electricity. So if you have a large enough system you can run the entire house with either one. (Solar produces DC, so you need an inverter to convert it to AC for home usage. I think a generator produces AC.)

Solar/Battery is limited by the amount of electricity you can capture during daylight hours. If your loss of electricity is in the middle of winter (short hours of daylight) and you don't have enough battery storage before the outage, you can run out of power before electricity is restored to the area. (If you know a bad storm is coming, you can set your battery to stay charged at 100% during the day and only be used when there is an outage, to minimize the risk of loss of power.)

On the other hand, generators are dependent on fuel being used. If you run out of fuel, you're out of electricity. I have friends with their generators hooked up to their utility's natural gas. Presumably it will run indefinitely so long as there's no gas line breakage at the same time as the electricity going out.

Battery is solid state, so you can recover from electrical outage/brownout effectively instantaneously (as opposed to generator which can take anywhere from a few seconds to the time to manually turn the generator on). Generators have a lot more moving parts and need a bit more maintenance to keep everything in running order.

barberakb
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Re: Going solar?

Post by barberakb » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:19 pm

Lets see if this works.

Here is my quote.

Removed for security reasons
Last edited by barberakb on Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Quaestner
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Re: Going solar?

Post by Quaestner » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:32 pm

I'm in the Land of Enchantment, too. I went with Affordable Solar. The panels have been up for 5 1/2 years, and had no issues with production.

Some thoughts:

Be wary of sales rep's projections on electricity price inflation, their projections seemed wildly high (and might skew the financial merits of a purchase). Be careful about over buying. They sized mine at 85% of previous year's use, but since then I've always used under that amount (so I've built up credits with PNM). This is likely because I became much more attuned to our electricity use and found additional ways to conserve - and the kids finally moved out!). Even with a plug-in hybrid and a hot tub, I still won't be paying an electric bill.

Some hidden costs that most folks gloss over: Your homeowner's insurance should go up a bit (talk to your agent). Your eventual re-roofing costs will be thousands higher (don't buy if your roof isn't in great shape to start with).

PNM works to make this less attractive. I expect they will lobby the PRC to increase fixed charges (like connection fees) in preference to raising rates. They would like to make solar pay their "fair share" of the grid maintenance. While we hope existing solar home owners would be grandfathered in to past policies, the future is uncertain.

Unless your system is huge, your purchase cost sounds high - I hope you've shopped around. I paid $25K gross, $15K net, for my 6.24 KW system in 2012. Prices should have come down since then.

Despite the issues I mention, I think this has been a good financial investment. It's got some entertainment value too, not to mention the warm fuzzy feeling from fossil-fuel free energy! Hope it works for you!

Dudley
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Re: Going solar?

Post by Dudley » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:03 pm

I love my solar. But i suspect it only makes sense for rich people. First identify where your electricity goes and work on reducing that.

barberakb
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:14 pm

Re: Going solar?

Post by barberakb » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:21 pm

Quaestner wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:32 pm
I'm in the Land of Enchantment, too. I went with Affordable Solar. The panels have been up for 5 1/2 years, and had no issues with production.

Some thoughts:

Be wary of sales rep's projections on electricity price inflation, their projections seemed wildly high (and might skew the financial merits of a purchase). Be careful about over buying. They sized mine at 85% of previous year's use, but since then I've always used under that amount (so I've built up credits with PNM). This is likely because I became much more attuned to our electricity use and found additional ways to conserve - and the kids finally moved out!). Even with a plug-in hybrid and a hot tub, I still won't be paying an electric bill.

Some hidden costs that most folks gloss over: Your homeowner's insurance should go up a bit (talk to your agent). Your eventual re-roofing costs will be thousands higher (don't buy if your roof isn't in great shape to start with).

PNM works to make this less attractive. I expect they will lobby the PRC to increase fixed charges (like connection fees) in preference to raising rates. They would like to make solar pay their "fair share" of the grid maintenance. While we hope existing solar home owners would be grandfathered in to past policies, the future is uncertain.

Unless your system is huge, your purchase cost sounds high - I hope you've shopped around. I paid $25K gross, $15K net, for my 6.24 KW system in 2012. Prices should have come down since then.

Despite the issues I mention, I think this has been a good financial investment. It's got some entertainment value too, not to mention the warm fuzzy feeling from fossil-fuel free energy! Hope it works for you!
Thanks, I haven't shopped around yet. Its not a big system. Only 16 panels which was 100% of guestimated use. Only been in home 3 months.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Going solar?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:34 pm

Going forward, I just might go off grid. We have a ~30kW system, and for the first 2 (winter/spring) months, had a credit. Then, last month, they charged us for 1500+ kWH! What (pun intended)!?!?! I did find a split AC in the garage that was running 24/7 (thanks, son) and had quite a block of ice covering the vent. Also, we had opened the pool, etc., but I find it hard to believe. Which leads me to the fact that the utility has ZERO interest in figuring out whether they made a mistake, whether their net meter is accurate, whether we actually consumed the staggering total, etc.

As a first step, I’m going to install a Neurio or Sense device to see what I’m using, not net. I have SolarEdge that tells me what I’m generating. Who has installed a home energy usage meter?
Zero Net Carbon by 2019.

TravelGeek
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Re: Going solar?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:38 pm

barberakb wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:19 pm
Lets see if this works.

Here is my quote.

(removed)
That appears to have your home address in it, so you might want to remove it.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Going solar?

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:52 pm

chazas wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:44 am
We spent a lot on everything, particularly green technologies. At the time no one could give us any real estimate of what we would save, we knew it wasn’t that economical but were interested in being a guinea pig for upscale use of green technologies, which were uncommon in our area at that time. We used the largest solar installer in the mid-Atlantic, since defunct, which had never installed a system of the max size for grid tie-in and had never done an installation in a new house, much less a custom house where we were trying to get everything to look good.

The inverters were made by Outback. They did have moving parts, cooling fans. But IIRC there were other parts that died, and sometimes it was just visit after visit after visit trying to get things to work together properly.

And after the original installer went out of business it took us a while to find someone who would service the system.
unclescrooge wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:45 pm
chazas wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:44 pm
We installed a 10Kw system on a house we built in 2006-7. No state incentives, it cost $100K at the time. And it saved me maybe $70/month in electicity. I don't think we got a premium for the house when we sold it due to the solar. It was alway kludgy, sometimes under repair for weeks at a time. I know prices have come down but friends with more recent installations all report technical problems. I wouldn't do it.
Why would you spend $100k to save $70/month?

What technical problems did you face? Since there are zero moving parts in an electrical system, I have a had time understanding why there would be any issues after the initial burn-in period.

As a comparison, I spent $18k before 30% tax credit and save about $200-$300 per month.
How did this make mathematical sense?

Operon
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 4:33 pm

Re: Going solar?

Post by Operon » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:49 pm

I love my solar panels. My only regret is that it wasn't economically feasible to put my system on the back rather than the front of the house... and that there aren't more residential electricity suppliers in my area offering 100% solar so that I can prop up the market for my own renewable energy certificates. 8-) Cost to own was $17k for 12 panels not including the various tax credits and rebates, covers 100% of my electrical bill, payback period of 6 years and estimated annual return after that is upwards of $1k/year in a home I plan to occupy for at least another 25 years. I went with Panasonic panels: mid-range pricing, but the keys for me were 1) long warranty, 2) great temperature coefficient of -.26% (solar panels perform more poorly in higher temperatures, so I imagine that in NM, this will be even more important for you than it is for me further north), and 3) super low panel degradation (guaranteed power output after 25 years falls to 90% of peak vs. 80% is industry-standard), which makes for a higher return on my investment. I loved my installer, too (Revolusun) but unfortunately I fear they are not operating in your neck of the woods. For anybody reading in MA, though, I recommend them very highly.

As far as companies to avoid, my understanding is that the major national players like Vivint and Solar City are really hit-or-miss, but since I didn't work with them, can't personally attest to it.

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