Going solar

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Greenman72
Posts: 359
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:17 pm

Going solar

Post by Greenman72 » Wed May 08, 2019 12:46 pm

We just had a hailstorm where I live. Golf-ball sized hail. I haven't got an adjuster out to look at it yet, but I anticipate getting some money for my roof.

If I'm going to have to replace the roof anyway, I'm debating on installing some solar panels. My electric bill is ~$350 per month (it costs a lot to cool down the house during the 110-degree days in June). I have done absolutely no research on the costs, but I do know that in my state (Texas), the electricity providers have to buy back the unused electricity from you. I have heard from several locals that they pay absolutely no electricity bills whatsoever, and in some months, they actually receive checks.

Does anybody have any experience with this? Anything to avoid? PItfalls that I'm not seeing?

(Based on some rudimentary calculations--if it costs $20k to install the solar panels, then I'm only out $14,000 due to tax credits. At $350 per month, I will recoup my costs in about 3.5 years.)

renue74
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Re: Going solar

Post by renue74 » Wed May 08, 2019 12:49 pm

Payback may be longer than you think.

https://www.google.com/get/sunroof

Thegame14
Posts: 1298
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Going solar

Post by Thegame14 » Wed May 08, 2019 12:52 pm

you want to start on www.energysage.com.

We were spending about $175 a month, now $3 per month. System with new GAF 50 year warranty roof and new electric panel cost $40K, less 30% tax credit, so about net of $28K, about every month, 10 out of 12 we earn an SREC which we sell for about $200 and we save $175 a month on the bills, so a positive about $350 a month.

123
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Re: Going solar

Post by 123 » Wed May 08, 2019 12:54 pm

I'd also be wondering about the impact of a hail storm on solar panels (I don't know)? Are they easily damaged? Does homeowner's insurance coverage also apply to the repair/replacement of solar panels?
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Going solar

Post by dodecahedron » Wed May 08, 2019 1:04 pm

Good question about impact of hail on solar panels.

Apparently they can withstand quite a bit

https://news.energysage.com/solar-panel ... urricanes/

Of course, there are limits to everything.

Admiral
Posts: 2488
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

Re: Going solar

Post by Admiral » Wed May 08, 2019 1:12 pm

Greenman72 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 12:46 pm
We just had a hailstorm where I live. Golf-ball sized hail. I haven't got an adjuster out to look at it yet, but I anticipate getting some money for my roof.

If I'm going to have to replace the roof anyway, I'm debating on installing some solar panels. My electric bill is ~$350 per month (it costs a lot to cool down the house during the 110-degree days in June). I have done absolutely no research on the costs, but I do know that in my state (Texas), the electricity providers have to buy back the unused electricity from you. I have heard from several locals that they pay absolutely no electricity bills whatsoever, and in some months, they actually receive checks.

Does anybody have any experience with this? Anything to avoid? PItfalls that I'm not seeing?

(Based on some rudimentary calculations--if it costs $20k to install the solar panels, then I'm only out $14,000 due to tax credits. At $350 per month, I will recoup my costs in about 3.5 years.)
I would look at a green or partial green roof if you have to replace the roof anyway. They have come down in price significantly and can reduce energy costs quite a bit. You'd need a structural engineer to see if the house can handle the dead load (which can be 18lbftsq). Note that solar panels require unobstructed sun (i.e. no trees) to work efficiently. I know some parts of Texas have trees :D

psteinx
Posts: 3427
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Going solar

Post by psteinx » Wed May 08, 2019 1:18 pm

Greenman72 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 12:46 pm
(Based on some rudimentary calculations--if it costs $20k to install the solar panels, then I'm only out $14,000 due to tax credits. At $350 per month, I will recoup my costs in about 3.5 years.)
Well, you need to make sure that the panels are truly only $20K, and that with those panels, you'd truly reduce your electricity bill by $350.

I don't have solar panels on my roof. Have explored it in the past. You can find multiple threads here on BH, I think, discussing things in more detail.

If you're interested, I'd suggest:
* A bit more basic research (including this thread and reading other stuff) to know WHAT questions to ask
* Using a web site or two to get a feel of how many panels you could fit on your roof, and how much power that would likely generate (location specific)
* Call a local installer or two to get a ballpark on their installation cost, and certain other locale specific details

Then, proceed from there.

====

A start on the relevant questions:

1) How big is your roof, in the relevant direction(s)
2) How much of a margin would likely be needed (i.e. a 25' x 50' roof may be reduced by 3 foot margins or whatever)
3) What's your average KW hr usage and cost now?
4) If you reduced that by ~90%, what would your electricity bill be? Can you really zero it out (or nearly so), or are there basic connection charges associated?
5) State/local SREC(s) (I think that's the spelling) - basically a credit you may be able to get for generating solar power, even if you consume it all yourself
6) Details on likely costs to install
7) Details on possible state and local credits
8) Details on likely generation amounts and patterns (time of day/year)
9) Details on applicable net-metering plans
10) Details on likely objections or necessary permitting by your HOA, city, state, etc.
11) Details on affect on lifespan of your roof
12) Details on durability wrt hail and the like
13) Details on how the system will be maintained, and likely lifespan
14) Details on likely impacts on your homeowner's insurance and property tax bill, if any...

alter
Posts: 250
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:27 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Going solar

Post by alter » Wed May 08, 2019 1:23 pm

I've just signed up for a solar lease...they pay a bit up front as a bonus, come and install new panels, and it will lower my energy bill. They are on the hook to repair/replace if anything happens to them.

I went the route of the lease because I didn't want to pay anything out of pocket, and not sure if I'll stay in the house over 10 years, and I like the idea of solar and like saving a bit of money each month.

curmudgeon
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Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: Going solar

Post by curmudgeon » Wed May 08, 2019 1:31 pm

alter wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 1:23 pm
I've just signed up for a solar lease...they pay a bit up front as a bonus, come and install new panels, and it will lower my energy bill. They are on the hook to repair/replace if anything happens to them.

I went the route of the lease because I didn't want to pay anything out of pocket, and not sure if I'll stay in the house over 10 years, and I like the idea of solar and like saving a bit of money each month.
I personally would NOT do a solar lease. It could make your house hard to sell whenever you go to move (most savvy buyers won't touch taking over a solar lease). Some young first-time buyer friends of ours took on one of those, and they are stuck with not only paying a fairly high rate for the solar electricity, but also paying for power that they don't even use (oversized installation)! And trying to buy their way out of the lease would be quite expensive.

DonIce
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:44 pm

Re: Going solar

Post by DonIce » Wed May 08, 2019 1:32 pm

Greenman72 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 12:46 pm
We just had a hailstorm where I live. Golf-ball sized hail. I haven't got an adjuster out to look at it yet, but I anticipate getting some money for my roof.

If I'm going to have to replace the roof anyway, I'm debating on installing some solar panels. My electric bill is ~$350 per month (it costs a lot to cool down the house during the 110-degree days in June). I have done absolutely no research on the costs, but I do know that in my state (Texas), the electricity providers have to buy back the unused electricity from you. I have heard from several locals that they pay absolutely no electricity bills whatsoever, and in some months, they actually receive checks.

Does anybody have any experience with this? Anything to avoid? PItfalls that I'm not seeing?

(Based on some rudimentary calculations--if it costs $20k to install the solar panels, then I'm only out $14,000 due to tax credits. At $350 per month, I will recoup my costs in about 3.5 years.)
I would avoid the solar lease companies. The leases can majorly impact the resale value of the house if the buyers don't want to be locked into a lease. Lots of horror stories out there if you google around. Buy the equipment yourself if you want it. If you want to finance the difference between the insurance payout and the cost of a solar roof, do it through a personal loan or home equity loan or whatever, you'll come out well ahead of leasing.

Texas is obviously a great spot for solar energy. If you stay away from the most disadvantageous deals (of which there are plenty, as there are lots of really shady companies in solar), it will be worthwhile after several years.

Keep in mind you need more than just the solar panels. Typically, you'll also need AC/DC disconnect relays and an inverter. You can get a system running for a MUCH lower cost if you are willing to DIY a bit.

Glockenspiel
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Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Going solar

Post by Glockenspiel » Wed May 08, 2019 1:40 pm

If you plan to live there for >15 years, I see no reason to not do it, if you have the cash available. I would look into buying the equipment instead of leasing it. Less of a hassle. Make sure you aren't in an HOA that restricts them, or anything like that. Do you have a large section of roof that faces south without shade over it? If so, you can probably maximize the amount of electricity you can produce. Otherwise, I'd just go for it, even if you calculate your payback to be more than 10 years. Especially if you're the type of person to get some environmental satisfaction out of it, in addition to the financial savings long-term.

SmallSaver
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:34 am

Re: Going solar

Post by SmallSaver » Wed May 08, 2019 1:44 pm

I've spent a fair bit of time on this question, and wrote up this guide. It's specific to the state of Montana, but the principles are the same. There's no one answer to the payback, but the major variables are the system size, the cost, the annual production, and the specifics of your electric rate and interconnection agreement. If you'd like, I can get more specific than that, either here or by PM.

Good luck!

rj342
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Re: Going solar

Post by rj342 » Wed May 08, 2019 3:08 pm

When I looked at it in some detail 10 years ago or so, the payback/breakeven was far enough out that it was a lot closer to the (pessimistic) usable life than I'd like. Of course the panels themselves are cheaper now.

Couple related issues
-- over time depending on your area they will get dirty, impeding efficiency. Cleaning costs? UV fogging?
-- if we're just a bit lucky some of the tech could improve a lot more in the next 10, even 5 years, and your'e stuck w the old stuff.
-- longer term I think all these subsidies continuing as-is is really questionable -- can destroy your financial assumptions
-- being on Gulf Coast I am in hurricane country, another factor both for damage and insurance.

I wouldn't mind a small affordable system whose main purpose was to just defray the added AC cost in heat of the summer (w any other partial savings being gravy), but people don't seem to go there in offerings.

Iorek
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Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:38 am

Re: Going solar

Post by Iorek » Wed May 08, 2019 3:22 pm

SmallSaver wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 1:44 pm
I've spent a fair bit of time on this question, and wrote up this guide. It's specific to the state of Montana, but the principles are the same. There's no one answer to the payback, but the major variables are the system size, the cost, the annual production, and the specifics of your electric rate and interconnection agreement. If you'd like, I can get more specific than that, either here or by PM.

Good luck!
I think I used that guide when deciding what to do, thanks!! There was also a useful spreadsheet that someone put together (don't know if that was also you-- but I have a vague recollection it was either a credit union or extension service somewhere out west).

If you priced solar 10 years ago you would probably be shocked at how much cheaper it is. At this point my impression is that the major cost is labor not the panels (maybe that was always true though?). Also note i think the 30% fed tax credit starts stepping down after 2019 so it's more likely to make sense this year than next.

Thegame14
Posts: 1298
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Going solar

Post by Thegame14 » Wed May 08, 2019 3:52 pm

alter wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 1:23 pm
I've just signed up for a solar lease...they pay a bit up front as a bonus, come and install new panels, and it will lower my energy bill. They are on the hook to repair/replace if anything happens to them.

I went the route of the lease because I didn't want to pay anything out of pocket, and not sure if I'll stay in the house over 10 years, and I like the idea of solar and like saving a bit of money each month.

For the most part the lease is a bad deal, you don't get any govt incentives, and if you want to sell your house, the person buying has to agree to take on the lease. you are basically renting out your roof to save on your bill

alter
Posts: 250
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:27 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Going solar

Post by alter » Wed May 08, 2019 3:53 pm

DonIce wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 1:32 pm
Greenman72 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 12:46 pm
We just had a hailstorm where I live. Golf-ball sized hail. I haven't got an adjuster out to look at it yet, but I anticipate getting some money for my roof.

If I'm going to have to replace the roof anyway, I'm debating on installing some solar panels. My electric bill is ~$350 per month (it costs a lot to cool down the house during the 110-degree days in June). I have done absolutely no research on the costs, but I do know that in my state (Texas), the electricity providers have to buy back the unused electricity from you. I have heard from several locals that they pay absolutely no electricity bills whatsoever, and in some months, they actually receive checks.

Does anybody have any experience with this? Anything to avoid? PItfalls that I'm not seeing?

(Based on some rudimentary calculations--if it costs $20k to install the solar panels, then I'm only out $14,000 due to tax credits. At $350 per month, I will recoup my costs in about 3.5 years.)
I would avoid the solar lease companies. The leases can majorly impact the resale value of the house if the buyers don't want to be locked into a lease. Lots of horror stories out there if you google around. Buy the equipment yourself if you want it. If you want to finance the difference between the insurance payout and the cost of a solar roof, do it through a personal loan or home equity loan or whatever, you'll come out well ahead of leasing.

Texas is obviously a great spot for solar energy. If you stay away from the most disadvantageous deals (of which there are plenty, as there are lots of really shady companies in solar), it will be worthwhile after several years.

Keep in mind you need more than just the solar panels. Typically, you'll also need AC/DC disconnect relays and an inverter. You can get a system running for a MUCH lower cost if you are willing to DIY a bit.
This doesn't apply to me as I can just buy out the lease if it ever was any concerns with the buyer assuming the lease. The buyout price after about 5 years is not much of a premium over financing it would've been. So there is zero concern with a buyer not wanting to assume a lease because they won't be forced to, but I do not think they would have an issue. The company I'm leasing from is the biggest provider of residential solar in the country, they are not a "lease" company they don't care if you buy or lease the system, and I don't want the large upfront payment or hassle of maintaining it.

KandT
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:32 am

Re: Going solar

Post by KandT » Wed May 08, 2019 4:02 pm

One pro that I haven't read here is if it makes you feel like it is the right thing to do for the environment.

Today I think it can be a solid financial decision and ALSO good for the environment. So if you are splitting hairs and counting pennies maybe the environment kinda tilts the scales some. Also, I personally like the idea of being able to use the power (if the sun is shining or you have a battery) even if the grid goes down.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Going solar

Post by WhyNotUs » Wed May 08, 2019 4:50 pm

rj342 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 3:08 pm
When I looked at it in some detail 10 years ago or so, the payback/breakeven was far enough out that it was a lot closer to the (pessimistic) usable life than I'd like. Of course the panels themselves are cheaper now.
No relationship to prices today. A TB of storage was also very expensive 10 years ago.

OP, there are lots of previous threads on this and I would encourage you to review them as the conversations are pretty redundant. Those who have panels and are happy with them and those who do not have panels and assert there is no payback or no reasonable payback or just don't like them. I am one of the former.

Walking through the logistics and numbers is good. There is a great deal of activity at the utility level that has broken through previous price barriers for wind and solar. It is making it easy for utilities to move toward renewable quicker than most expected.

I have four systems (3 pv and one thermal) purchased over a period of years until hitting 100% renewable and each new iteration was noticeably less expensive.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

spooky105
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Re: Going solar

Post by spooky105 » Wed May 08, 2019 6:23 pm

Any thoughts on looking at an energy efficient metal roof (raw galvalume or white/light color) instead of shingle? Depending on your situation, going with metal may yield significant savings in the heat of the summer. Your utility may even incentivize the change (mine offers up to $400). Metal roof won't get you to zero on the electric bill, but should save you some coin. Will also save you money on down the road by lasting 2x-3x longer than even a high quality shingle roof.

Other options to look at include attic insulation, window/door insulation/leaks, the energy efficiency of your HVAC system, swapping incandescent bulbs with LED, etc. Recommend looking at this low-hanging fruit before running the cost-benefit of solar over a multi-decade timespan.

Personally, I'm still not sold on going with solar at the household level right now (outside of an isolated/rural environment) -- net metering policies can always change and the tech is only going to get better / cheaper / more efficient as time marches on.

MathIsMyWayr
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Location: CA

Re: Going solar

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Wed May 08, 2019 7:07 pm

rj342 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 3:08 pm
Couple related issues
-- over time depending on your area they will get dirty, impeding efficiency. Cleaning costs? UV fogging?
I went to a seminar on solar panels. Accumulation of dirt will lower the efficiency of solar panels over time. They recommend an annual cleaning to maintain the efficiency. Rain water does a good job of cleaning, but they do not recommend using tap water. Tap water will leave mineral deposits which are difficult to remove. I remember that a cleaning costs a couple/few hundred dollars. This is in the Bay Area.

DonIce
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Re: Going solar

Post by DonIce » Wed May 08, 2019 7:18 pm

MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:07 pm
I went to a seminar on solar panels. Accumulation of dirt will lower the efficiency of solar panels over time. They recommend an annual cleaning to maintain the efficiency. Rain water does a good job of cleaning, but they do not recommend using tap water. Tap water will leave mineral deposits which are difficult to remove. I remember that a cleaning costs a couple/few hundred dollars. This is in the Bay Area.
Just climb up there and wipe them down with kimwipes and isopropyl alcohol.

mav12
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Re: Going solar

Post by mav12 » Thu May 09, 2019 12:31 am

I was wondering the same, if it's worth it? All my construction friends say no way, the payback period is too long. Would this system make sense for someone living in Oregon, cloudy most of the time?

Also, I noticed that IRS had not extended the Fed tax credit for someone who installs the system this year, 2019. Is it true? No provisions on the IRS' site.

Thanks

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SevenBridgesRoad
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Re: Going solar

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Thu May 09, 2019 12:56 am

Oh, good grief people. I can't believe some of the schemes here. Bogleheads are supposed to keep it simple. This is anything but.
Retired 2018 age 61 | "Not using an alarm is one of the great glories of my life." Robert Greene

rj342
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Re: Going solar

Post by rj342 » Thu May 09, 2019 12:49 pm

mav12 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:31 am
I was wondering the same, if it's worth it? All my construction friends say no way, the payback period is too long. Would this system make sense for someone living in Oregon, cloudy most of the time?

Also, I noticed that IRS had not extended the Fed tax credit for someone who installs the system this year, 2019. Is it true? No provisions on the IRS' site.

Thanks
No way in Oregon. Reliance on subsidies for even a long breakeven horizon is biggest vulnerability. Also requirements that power company buy back your excess power, which causes them headaches, at full price. I just can't see relying on these long term.

Iorek
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Re: Going solar

Post by Iorek » Thu May 09, 2019 12:54 pm

rj342 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:49 pm
mav12 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:31 am
I was wondering the same, if it's worth it? All my construction friends say no way, the payback period is too long. Would this system make sense for someone living in Oregon, cloudy most of the time?

Also, I noticed that IRS had not extended the Fed tax credit for someone who installs the system this year, 2019. Is it true? No provisions on the IRS' site.

Thanks
No way in Oregon. Reliance on subsidies for even a long breakeven horizon is biggest vulnerability. Also requirements that power company buy back your excess power, which causes them headaches, at full price. I just can't see relying on these long term.
The tax credit is still in effect at 30% for this year, then it will start gradually reducing (unless of course Congress acts). The tax credit plus not having to pay the electric company are the two biggest economic drivers of payback period. State level subsidies or the ability to sell SRECs, or the ability to sell excess to the utility may shift payback from 10 year to 7-8 years, but to me that doesn't fundamentally alter the economics (of course ymmv depending on circumstances).

mav12
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Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:36 pm

Re: Going solar

Post by mav12 » Thu May 09, 2019 9:50 pm

Iorek wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:54 pm
rj342 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:49 pm
mav12 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:31 am
I was wondering the same, if it's worth it? All my construction friends say no way, the payback period is too long. Would this system make sense for someone living in Oregon, cloudy most of the time?

Also, I noticed that IRS had not extended the Fed tax credit for someone who installs the system this year, 2019. Is it true? No provisions on the IRS' site.

Thanks
No way in Oregon. Reliance on subsidies for even a long breakeven horizon is biggest vulnerability. Also requirements that power company buy back your excess power, which causes them headaches, at full price. I just can't see relying on these long term.
The tax credit is still in effect at 30% for this year, then it will start gradually reducing (unless of course Congress acts). The tax credit plus not having to pay the electric company are the two biggest economic drivers of payback period. State level subsidies or the ability to sell SRECs, or the ability to sell excess to the utility may shift payback from 10 year to 7-8 years, but to me that doesn't fundamentally alter the economics (of course ymmv depending on circumstances).

I talked to my co-worker, who is thinking about installing these. Apparently on Oregon, Portland General Electric doesn't buy back the excess power, but stores it for 1 year, on your account.

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snackdog
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Re: Going solar

Post by snackdog » Fri May 10, 2019 1:34 am

Your electricity use or cost (or both) seem high. We pay about $.09/kWh and use about 500 kWh/mo to keep a 3300 sq ft Texas house very comfortable 24/7.

Valuethinker
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Re: Going solar

Post by Valuethinker » Fri May 10, 2019 4:21 am

KandT wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 4:02 pm
One pro that I haven't read here is if it makes you feel like it is the right thing to do for the environment.

Today I think it can be a solid financial decision and ALSO good for the environment. So if you are splitting hairs and counting pennies maybe the environment kinda tilts the scales some. Also, I personally like the idea of being able to use the power (if the sun is shining or you have a battery) even if the grid goes down.
Most home solar systems are configured so if grid stops working (power into the house) they stop producing (power out of the house) I believe.

That's a safety system for whomever is reconnecting the grid - this could be miles from your house.

If you genuinely want backup power for grid failure, you need to configure the system yourself - there are many discussion threads here about portable generators and the issues. Solar + battery might be good enough to run your fridge & a few lights but you cannot store that many kwhr easily - won't run a house AC for long, if at all. If you really need backup power you would need a generator + fuel.

Valuethinker
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Re: Going solar

Post by Valuethinker » Fri May 10, 2019 4:57 am

KandT wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 4:02 pm
One pro that I haven't read here is if it makes you feel like it is the right thing to do for the environment.

Today I think it can be a solid financial decision and ALSO good for the environment. So if you are splitting hairs and counting pennies maybe the environment kinda tilts the scales some. Also, I personally like the idea of being able to use the power (if the sun is shining or you have a battery) even if the grid goes down.
If you want to really help the environment the cheapest emission avoided, by far, is rainforest preservation. Just stopping new palm oil plantations.

There are groups like Rainforest Action Network which lobby, with some effectiveness. (Just to name an American one I have supported -- I don't get any tax credit for it) .

So it would be better to take that money and give regular donations to groups like that.

To give you an idea of the scale of this, 1 tonne emissions avoided by saving rainforest costs less than $10 ($1-2 in some estimates). A rooftop solar array? On the order of $200-300.

I have the south facing roof and southern England is actually surprisingly sunny. A 1.1 kw array would generate about 850 kwhr pa (in Tuscany it would be closer to 1500, similar to Southern California) - about 1/4th of my annual consumption. Although at the time the subsidies were absurdly good, I decided it would be "greenwash" - make me feel better but have very small impact on total pollution.

If solar panel efficiencies doubled I'd think about it.

Eno67
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Re: Going solar

Post by Eno67 » Fri May 10, 2019 8:05 am

We have 12 solar panels producing up to 235W. We had them install in 2011. The cost was roughly 15K with 30% Federal Tax credit and 35% State Tax credits but the credits were non refundable and could be rolled over 5 years. Still, we have 3 young children so I reduced my FIT and SIT to $0 upped my 401K contributions and still got back a tax refund from the child tax credits. So after everything was said and done it was $5,250.

Pro - The solar panels reduced my electric bill by 1/3. My average monthly bill is now roughly $90/mo. My house is 2400 sq ft. I live in southern United States. Summer and Winter the bill goes up obviously. February is the costliest month averaging $150. The power company seems to raise the rates every 2 to 3 years.

Cons - A panel seems to constantly go out. Get it fixed and another will go out. I don't know if it is the contractor or the quality of the panel but the contractor replaces them at no cost to us. Unless you get enough panels to go totally off grid the power you "sell" back to the power company get you very little. The smart meter the power company will have to install basically prevents them from allowing auto payments.

Another consideration you may want to look into is a Geothermal Heat pump if climate control is your biggest concern.

If you have kids the biggest energy savings you can do is get them out of the house as soon as possible. Daughter takes 45 minute hot showers. TV is always left on, lights left on, computers left on, doors always seem to be left wide open. My voice is about out from telling one of them to turn something off or shut it. Honestly I would not be surprised if we don't have a raccoon living in the house from one of the open doors. All that said, somehow, someway our power company sent us a letter congratulating us on being one of the most energy efficient houses in the area.

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