Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

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dgm
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by dgm » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:15 pm

Did it early this year. Totally worth it for us w/ federal and city incentives. 7 yr payback assuming no increase in electricity prices (doubtful)

Plus they keep the house a bit cooler during the hot summer months by preventing the sunlight beating down on my roof directly.

I love watching the system generate power throughout the day and make it a game to try to stay below the generation amount for the day.

I don't know if tariffs change the picture but prices in recent years have been coming down super fast.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:44 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:26 pm
Elsebet wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:04 pm
I didn't run the numbers but there's two issues against my current home. 1) It's in the Pacific Northwest and 2) Electricity is very cheap here. If either of those were different I'd probably check it out.
Partly depends which side of the mountains you are on?

If the dry side you should get good performance. However electricity is generally very cheap and Green (hydro) already.
yep, here in the “dry side” (central OR) we have much more sun.... and a LOT of solar farms...but are also just off some of the major hydroelectric generation in the PNW, so costs are cheap... and it’s not cost effective to put one on our place. I’m sure if we wanted we could buy into one of the solar farms, but haven’t seen the need as our costs are low and even today we’re finding that we only need to run the A/C a few hours when it gets hot (alas, the next few days are all supposed to be over 100 :( )

beachlover
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by beachlover » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:30 pm

Luke Duke wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:01 am
beachlover wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:43 pm

In Pennsylvania, however, we can choose our electricity supplier, and there are many eco-conscious contracts available.
We are now paying $.0619 per KWH for 100% wind power from Texas. I'm pretty sure the electrons coursing through our wires didn't originate from a Texas turbine, but supposedly on the market back end that's where our electricty dollars are going.

I'm pretty sure that there's some creative marketing going on by your electric provider. Pennsylvania and Texas aren't on the same interconnection, so there aren't too many electrons flowing from Texas to Pennsylvania.
Image
It works via backend contracts or Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) used by the supplier to fullfill customer contracts, see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable ... ed_States)

So, no, the electrons in my wires obviously don't originate from Texas wind turbines, but if the market works as designed, my energy consumption purchases are being aggergated with those of other green customers and are being indirectly fullfilled by RECs from Texas wind, at least under my current supplier and contract. The source varies by supplier and contract. I can, for example, buy just the standard offering from my local utility (which in my area in PA, will likely be a mix of coal, natural gas and wind), or only Pennsylvania wind, or all solar, or just all certified renewalables, etc., from various suppliers, for varying contract terms and price per Kwh. It's just that last time I renewed my contract, the most cost-competitive among the renewable suppliers available to me was AEP, who apparently is contracting its renewables with Texas wind at the moment.

Edited to add: So physically my lights are being lit by a PA mix - coal, gas and/or local wind- but my energy usage dollars ultimately are going to a wind farm operator in Texas, to pay for wind power that was put on the grid there.

Valuethinker
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:43 am

beachlover wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:30 pm
Luke Duke wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:01 am
beachlover wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:43 pm

In Pennsylvania, however, we can choose our electricity supplier, and there are many eco-conscious contracts available.
We are now paying $.0619 per KWH for 100% wind power from Texas. I'm pretty sure the electrons coursing through our wires didn't originate from a Texas turbine, but supposedly on the market back end that's where our electricty dollars are going.

I'm pretty sure that there's some creative marketing going on by your electric provider. Pennsylvania and Texas aren't on the same interconnection, so there aren't too many electrons flowing from Texas to Pennsylvania.
Image
It works via backend contracts or Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) used by the supplier to fullfill customer contracts, see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable ... ed_States)

So, no, the electrons in my wires obviously don't originate from Texas wind turbines, but if the market works as designed, my energy consumption purchases are being aggergated with those of other green customers and are being indirectly fullfilled by RECs from Texas wind, at least under my current supplier and contract. The source varies by supplier and contract. I can, for example, buy just the standard offering from my local utility (which in my area in PA, will likely be a mix of coal, natural gas and wind), or only Pennsylvania wind, or all solar, or just all certified renewalables, etc., from various suppliers, for varying contract terms and price per Kwh. It's just that last time I renewed my contract, the most cost-competitive among the renewable suppliers available to me was AEP, who apparently is contracting its renewables with Texas wind at the moment.

Edited to add: So physically my lights are being lit by a PA mix - coal, gas and/or local wind- but my energy usage dollars ultimately are going to a wind farm operator in Texas, to pay for wind power that was put on the grid there.
The most economically efficient choice is that you procure the lowest cost renewable energy - regardless of your physical connection to that source. It's more efficient for Germany, for example, to fund solar farms in Greece and Italy, than to stick them on its own roofs.

Texas, the crown prince of American wind power, is probably the lowest cost state for that - marginal cost of production is zero, and fixed costs have fallen a lot. Texas has wind, and it has wide open spaces - the 2 prerequisites for wind power.

https://www.amazon.com/Great-Texas-Wind ... +wind+rush

Charon
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Charon » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:44 pm

In actual total average cost, rooftop solar loses to just about everything. Even with federal subsidies, it's not great. Meanwhile, utility-scale solar and wind beat just about everything, even without subsidies (https://www.lazard.com/media/450337/laz ... on-110.pdf), and their costs are continuing to drop quickly.

Any particular "is it worth it in terms of money" calculation depends very sensitively on your location, electricity use, local utility, local and state subsidies, etc.

For most of us, if environmentalism is our goal, our money is probably better spent on electrifying and improving efficiency. There's a lot to be gained by going from a gas car to an electric car, or going from a gas or resistive electric heater to an efficient electric heat pump. The grid electricity is just going to continue getting cleaner due to market forces, even if certain politicians temporarily distort things with coal subsidies. Also, yes, fly less.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by WhyNotUs » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:16 am

Charon is correct, utility scale wind and solar are very competitive. In fact, Xcel recently sent out an RFP for new production and bids for solar with storage were cheaper than conventional.

Rooftop solar can make sense for other reasons and make economic sense in areas with higher electric rates and more incentives. For rooftop the analysis needs to be local rather than national while at utility scale a regional or national comparison makes sense.
Charon wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:44 pm
In actual total average cost, rooftop solar loses to just about everything. Even with federal subsidies, it's not great. Meanwhile, utility-scale solar and wind beat just about everything, even without subsidies (https://www.lazard.com/media/450337/laz ... on-110.pdf), and their costs are continuing to drop quickly.

Any particular "is it worth it in terms of money" calculation depends very sensitively on your location, electricity use, local utility, local and state subsidies, etc.

For most of us, if environmentalism is our goal, our money is probably better spent on electrifying and improving efficiency. There's a lot to be gained by going from a gas car to an electric car, or going from a gas or resistive electric heater to an efficient electric heat pump. The grid electricity is just going to continue getting cleaner due to market forces, even if certain politicians temporarily distort things with coal subsidies. Also, yes, fly less.
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Beliavsky
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Beliavsky » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:05 am

I have read many of the posts on this thread. Here are two general questions:

(1) How does having solar panels installed affect the future resale value of the house? If you spend
say $30K on solar panels today, how would that affect the value of the house in 10 years? I think the
answer depends on how quickly solar panel technology advances. Will currently installed panels
be obsolete in 10 years?

(2) If you pay $X up front (after subtracting federal and state credits) and have reduced electricity bills
going forward (the cash flow from your investment), at what rate should those cash flows be discounted?
Assume you don't need to borrow to buy the solar panels. I think the cash flows have low correlations
to stock and bond market returns and that the discount rate should therefore be low, say the risk-free
rate plus 1%.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by willthrill81 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:27 am

Beliavsky wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:05 am
(1) How does having solar panels installed affect the future resale value of the house? If you spend say $30K on solar panels today, how would that affect the value of the house in 10 years? I think the answer depends on how quickly solar panel technology advances. Will currently installed panels be obsolete in 10 years?
TMK, in our area, there is very little resale value of solar panel systems. I'm not sure if appraisers even account for them.

Solar panel technology hasn't changed that much over the last decade, but they are being made much more inexpensively now. Panels purchased today seem very unlikely to be obsolete in a decade. They will definitely continue providing their rated wattage for the conditions, angle, etc.
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fortfun
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by fortfun » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:36 am

We lease our panels for $81 per month. This is about what we would pay for electricity (monthly average). It makes all of the electricity we use, plus a little extra. I don't think we save much but we do feel better about not using fossil fuels for our power. Yes, I know we use it at night but our daily production goes back into the grid. We have an excellent south facing roof. Without that, it might not be worth it. The only reason I would not recommend them, in our area, is due to complications with having shingles replaced after hail storms, etc. Insurance pays the cost but it is an added headache.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by susa » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:40 am

With so many replies centered around the money factor of worthwhile, here is our unique perspective and yes, I read all 57 replies so far.

We considered it a learning experience. Started small by isolating 240v systems that could be permanently detached from utility power.

Examples

a. Water heater is a standard 4500watt GE appliance. Step 1 was to install a 3 way Switch to be able to run it in both 220 and 110 volt mode. When the switch is triggered, it runs at 1125 watts of power and still heats albeit at a slower rate. Quite fine by our experience. This had the added benefit of being able to run off a small backup generator during hurricane or utility outages. Step 2 was solar connection.

b. Heat pumps are all DC equipped inverters each being a 240v compressor and blower system metering intelligently the power requirement. These were very easy to measure in terms of power required as they all start up from a total shut off at just 100watts and very slowly ramp up to no more than 700watts.

Once we learned how to keep these off utility it was a breeze to just add more systems and to slowly build up the capacity. We did not care a bit about ROI.

Should we or descendents sell the house, everything can be switched back to full utility with less than 15 minutes of work.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by susa » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:46 am

fortfun wrote: .. complications with having shingles replaced after hail storms, etc. Insurance pays the cost but it is an added headache.
Assuming somewhere in a tropical climate based on your icon, but even if not ... what happens when you need roof work as in a complete reroof about every 10,15 or 20 years? Does lease cover removal and reinstallation while Roofing Contractor does demolition and replacement?

We opted not to touch roof but use yard space. Also made it easy to protect systems during hurricanes.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:57 am

Susa wrote:We opted not to touch roof but use yard space. Also made it easy to protect systems during hurricanes.
We had the good fortune to have had the previous owner do a ground mounted solar field. Apparently some potential home buyers didn’t want it; for us, it was a welcome sight and helped clinch our decision.

We are not allowed to be off grid in MA, and I haven’t looked into going off grid for particular devices, but I find it interesting that it’s the way you leaned into it.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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fortfun
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by fortfun » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:58 am

susa wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:46 am
fortfun wrote: .. complications with having shingles replaced after hail storms, etc. Insurance pays the cost but it is an added headache.
Assuming somewhere in a tropical climate based on your icon, but even if not ... what happens when you need roof work as in a complete reroof about every 10,15 or 20 years? Does lease cover removal and reinstallation while Roofing Contractor does demolition and replacement?

We opted not to touch roof but use yard space. Also made it easy to protect systems during hurricanes.
Just dreaming of being somewhere tropical :). We are in Colorado. We are about 7 years in on a 20 year lease, with guaranteed production. We had brand new 35yr shingles before the install. Last year's hail storm required new shingles. Insurance paid $2,700 extra for their removal and re-install. These shingles are rated for another 35+ years. So, we should be good. Once 20 years is up, we can buy the panels or have them removed by the company. Ih hind sight, I probably would have purchased them outright to prevent dealing with the provider but it has worked out okay so far.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Stormbringer » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:17 am

I need a new 8000 sf roof for my office building, and called three solar installers so see if I could add panels as part of that. Not one would even give me a bid. :annoyed
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mervinj7
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by mervinj7 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:33 am

Here are the numbers I worked last year before we installed solar.

1. Upfront System Cost
$3.00/Watt * 7.26kW = $21,780
After ITC (30% Federal Tax Credit) -> $15,246

2. AC Energy Generated
Using PVWatts and based on our panel type, system efficiency, and roof orientation, we expect 11,938 kWh produced per year
https://pvwatts.nrel.gov/

3. Average Retail Rate with Net Metering and an Electric Vehicle rate plan
Due to the Net Metering Plan available to us as part of our Community Owned Electricity Provider and being on an EV-Rate, the average retail rates during electricity generation is $0.29/kWh. During the night, when we charge our EV, we pay $0.13/kWh.
https://www.svcleanenergy.org/solar/
https://www.pge.com/tariffs/assets/pdf/ ... 0(Sch).pdf

4. Annual Electricity Value
$0.29/kWh *11,938 kWh/year = $3,462/year

5. Simple Breakeven
$15,246/$3462/year= 4.4 years

We finally did get it installed at the very start of the year in 2019, so let's see what happened in practice:
  • Actual production for the half-year was 6.4 MWh vs 6 MWh predicted by PVWatts. That's likely due to our near ideal conditions (south facing roof, no shade during peak hours, partial shade in late afternoon, no fog, no smog, low thermal coefficient panels, high efficiency optimizers and inverter).
  • Utility company raised their rates from $0.493/$0.269 /kWH peak/part-peak to $0.518/$0.281/kWh peak/park-peak or an increase of 5% in one year. Further increases are expected due to the whole wildfire fiasco.
  • In practice, due to the extreme ratio been peak and non-peak rates (4x), we have time-delayed HVAC, dishwasher, washer, dryer, and of course EV charging to overnight operation. It was surprisingly easy to change household behavior.
  • There's a minimum charge of $10/month set by our utility that will reduce our annual energy production value but that seems to have been more than offset by the per kWh rate increases.
  • Current tariff schedule (EV-A) is very favorable for solar/EV combo. However, PG&E is discontinuing EV-A in favor of EV2-A. We are grandfathered in for 5 more years but the new tariffs will be drastically lower rates during the morning hours (bad for solar, good for EV charging). Generally, they are encouraging folks to use storage with solar to reduce peak evening electricity use (i.e. flatten the duck curve).
Overall, we will breakeven quicker than we expected but future returns after 5 years are not finalized. We may need to revisit the economics of storage once our tariff schedule changes again.

Public Monitoring Data from our system: https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/ ... /dashboard
Last edited by mervinj7 on Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigMoneyNoWhammies
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by BigMoneyNoWhammies » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:49 am

dgm wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:15 pm
Did it early this year. Totally worth it for us w/ federal and city incentives. 7 yr payback assuming no increase in electricity prices (doubtful)

Plus they keep the house a bit cooler during the hot summer months by preventing the sunlight beating down on my roof directly.

I love watching the system generate power throughout the day and make it a game to try to stay below the generation amount for the day.

I don't know if tariffs change the picture but prices in recent years have been coming down super fast.
Tariffs definitely change the equation. Much of the solar industry has shifted to China, especially the production side (state-backed Chinese firms pushed almost all US domestic producers of any significance out of business/into irrelevance with artificially low production costs and what amounts to unlimited funding from the Chinese gov to stay in business regardless of cost), and solar panels are part of the 3 tariff schedules of tariffed Chinese goods put out by USTR. Basically the only thing left stateside as a major component of the solar industry is installation, and even those are starting to be Chinese subsidiaries on occasion.

I work on the Hill, and there have been talks the last few years of ditching tax incentives for solar and wind because they're now considered "mature" industries at this point and not necessarily in need of preferential tax treatment to be viable. Anyone thinking solar costs will stay neutral or decrease should be wary. The state/local tax incentives to retail buyers likely won't change, but if federal tax incentives do, installation and inventory costs will go up noticeably and that cost will be passed on to the consumer. Between lack of preferential federal tax treatment and tariffs on panel production in China, if you're thinking about going solar, the sooner the better.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Michael Patrick » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:11 pm

I wanted to get a solar system, but I don't have enough south-facing roof space to make it worthwhile, and what space I do have is shaded by my neighbors big maple tree for a good chunk of the year.

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Nate79
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Nate79 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:17 pm

We are getting solar installed in a couple of weeks as I posted in another thread but here is a little more details on our numbers. Before getting actual quotes and investigating further I didn't think it would make any sense but looking around our neighborhood I noticed quite a few installs. We just moved in 8 months ago so had been thinking about it more and more. We are in Delaware that is decently favorable to sunshine as well as credits. Our roof is 5 years old and is very favorable to solar (good angle, decent sized roof). It's not perfect because our roof is not one giant surface but has a few different surfaces but it works out. Our house is also on the larger size and our electric bill is enough that it makes sense.

Total cost: $20,000
Federal tax credit: $6000
local rebate: $3000
Net price: $11,000
System size: 9.1kW (28 panels 325W)
System estimated output: 11,231KWh
We are only doing an inverter and not the more expensive microinverters or power optimizers to save money.
Delaware has SREC program and with our contracted bid credits will be ~$600/year. Our electric utility credits overproduction and then will then credit at the end of the year any overproduction (design is <100% of estimated usage)
Install price is $1.21/W and $0.98/KWhr.
Payback was calculated at about 5-6 years.

In general around here a solar system adds some value to the house. Certainly not the entire cost of the system but probably more closely to the value minus any tax credits. But I didn't bank on much value addition and more on the payback period which I wanted to be in the 5 year range.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Big Dog » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:24 pm

We finally did get it installed at the very start of the year in 2019, so let's what happened in practice:
...In practice, due to the extreme ratio been peak and non-peak rates (4x), we have time-delayed HVAC, dishwasher, washer, dryer, and of course EV charging to overnight operation. It was surprisingly easy to change household behavior.
...
tbf: with an EV, you already had available ToU rates., so you could have easily changed behavior without solar panels....Thus, not sure this is a consideration in the payback calculation.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by mchampse » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:43 pm

We live in California and have recently signed a contract for solar and are waiting for their crews to come out. We also got a battery. We had been thinking about it for a while but pulled the trigger for the sake of resiliency. PG&E (our local utility) has said that they may shut power down to sections of the state at times to reduce the risk of their lines causing forest fires. The battery means that we will still have power even if the grid does not.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Cwise » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:26 pm

I have had solar for 4 months now. Here is a public link to my system/stats. https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/pv/ ... ?preview=1

Total Cost was $32,000 (including additional $7,500 for ground mount)
After fed rebate cost: $22,400
I sell excess back to the grid rather than use a battery. Battery didn't make sense for me in SoCal. Battery is expensive and you have losses with charge/discharge cycles.

This is an owned system. Leasing is the worst way to buy solar so that wasn't an option for me. A loan would have extended the ROI by a couple of years.

My air conditioner runs over 100 hours a month in the summer. I track AC run hours vs kWh generated. Last bill was $16.97 and my AC ran 101 hours. This would have been over $375 without solar. In the winter months I will have a negative bill which will offset the summer months.

I believe this will be a benefit to home buyers if I ever decide to sell. But that wasn't the reason for going solar.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by mervinj7 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:46 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:24 pm
We finally did get it installed at the very start of the year in 2019, so let's what happened in practice:
...In practice, due to the extreme ratio been peak and non-peak rates (4x), we have time-delayed HVAC, dishwasher, washer, dryer, and of course EV charging to overnight operation. It was surprisingly easy to change household behavior.
...
tbf: with an EV, you already had available ToU rates., so you could have easily changed behavior without solar panels....Thus, not sure this is a consideration in the payback calculation.
That's right. We didn't fully consider changing behavior when we did the payback calculation. After we did the switch to the TOU rate and shifted behavior, it made each kWh of solar produced during the day more valuable. For example, we could generate 18kWh during part-peak hours at $0.29/kWh but at night charge our 40kWh Nissan Leaf battery for $0.13/kWh. We also didn't realize how much we were going to love our EV and that we would consider getting a second one. I don't regret our installation but I wish we had made it slightly larger and more specifically added a few panels on the southwest roof line.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:17 pm

Totally depends on where you live. We always had solar in CA, there are all kinds of rebates available and the "sticker price" of electricity is very high (ie. $250/month if you run AC)

Here in TX our bills are relatively low, $150/month in August with _two_ airconditioners running 24/7. Not worth it to get solar because we wouldn't' break even on the payments. (Winter months are only about $40/month, we heat with gas.)

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:42 pm

I think the calculations change by the extent to which your house is electricity dependent.

For example, we got rid of our oil burner and heat/cool with geothermal which requires electricity. We have wells that won’t bring up water without electricity. We have septic that won’t get rid of waste (eventually) without electricity. My car is an EV, and if I don’t want to drive to a charger, I require electricity at home.

It’s also somewhat dependent on how fragile your grid is. We live around lots of woods, and we have lost power at least 5 times in the past year for multiple hours, including twice for longer than a day. Trees not only take out power lines, but they often keep deliveries (of oil or propane) from being possible. I do know, having spent a week at a time without power in NJ in our old house, that even if pipes don’t freeze, it can be miserable.

Finally, how sure are you that your grid won’t be hacked?

Some of these things can be calculated on a spreadsheet, others can’t. I can continue to live comfortably indefinitely without the grid, what value do I (and my neighbors) place on that?
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Leif
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Leif » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:53 pm

We have expensive electricity. It costs $0.19/kWh for the first tier. Except for a few months in the summer I'm in the first tier. I've calculated payback is about 10 years. Being retired I figure it is probably not worth it, or marginal worth it. If I was 30 and planned to stay long term it would certainly be worth it. Now is probably a good time. I've read the even with tariffs the price on solar panels has gone down. Also, the federal credit will start to decrease next year.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Big Dog » Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:39 pm

I've calculated payback is about 10 years.
Hard to believe that the payback is that quick. We are in a similar situation: 19c for the firs tier, and 26c for the second. Total bill averages $125/mo, and that includes two EV's. Of that, only half is actually charges for electrons. The other half is a bunch fixed of expenses. Even if my electric charges go to zero, that would only save $750/yr.....

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Leif
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Leif » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:11 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:39 pm
I've calculated payback is about 10 years.
Hard to believe that the payback is that quick. We are in a similar situation: 19c for the firs tier, and 26c for the second. Total bill averages $125/mo, and that includes two EV's. Of that, only half is actually charges for electrons. The other half is a bunch fixed of expenses. Even if my electric charges go to zero, that would only save $750/yr.....
Really? Did you see the earlier post with a payback of 7 years? A lot depends on your location and how much sunlight your roof gets and how much electricity you use. Anyway, that was the on-line estimate I got (Google Project Sunroof).

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by RustyShackleford » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:55 pm

riverguy wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:21 am
Solar is entirely dependent on subsidies.
Sounds like somebody has an axe to grind. This is far from true.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 3ea7054ff2

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by RustyShackleford » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:58 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:58 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:32 pm
I pay 48 cents per kilo watt during the super peak hours in summer, and 39 cents in winter.
Gracious, where do you live?
Sounds like a time-of-day rate; maybe that is the default in CA ?

I pay almost that much in NC, but only weekday afternoons in summer and weekday mornings in winter. And it's an optional program (as opposed to a flat rate). The carrot is that I only pay about 5 cents (instead of 11 cents) outside those times, and now we have an EV, we pay less than 3 cents during "super off-peak".

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by RustyShackleford » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:06 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:04 am
The only downside is that it is not a backup.
Don't feel too bad. We are considering a small PV system at our house, and it turns out that you can't use it when the grid is down. Sounds crazy, but true. Unless you either invest in a big lithium-ion battery unit like Tesla's PowerWall (VERY expensive), or figure out how to do it with a smaller installation of lead-acid or AGM batteries (very complicated, for reasons too tedious to discuss here).
I have bought an 800 W power inverter
that will hook to a car battery to power my sump pump or furnace in case of dire emergency.
Yep, I'm gonna buy a similarly-sized inverter to be able to use our EV's 40kwh battery. But it's probably not practical to get the juice needed for our well pump (large but sporadic 240vac load).

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by willthrill81 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:40 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:04 am
I have bought an 800 W power inverter
that will hook to a car battery to power my sump pump or furnace in case of dire emergency,
and we've never had an outage of longer than 8 hours in the last 35 years.
Have you tested that? My experience with multiple furnaces is that they will not light without a neutral-ground bond, and I don't believe you can use one with an inverter. You can with a generator, however, very easily, and that's what we do. A neutral-ground bond plug is very easy to make (you literally just tie the neutral and ground lines together), and you just plug it into one of your generators outlets or into an extension cord connected to one of the generator outlets. There are YouTube videos about how to do it.

I also urge you to try your sump pump with your inverter. 800 watts is probably enough to run it, but starting it might be an issue.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by emlowe » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:50 pm

Projections can be tricky - even with net-use metering buybacks.

My electrical company started to do 2 things that make the initial projections pretty invalid when I put in solar:

1) Starting charging LESS per (kWh) - ohh sounds great right? Starting charging MORE "flat connection fee". This reduced the net-use buyback but resulted in the utility getting the same $ per month more or less.

2) Per California law, once 5% of power is generated by solar for the utility, the net metering buyback goes down even more pretty close to 0 (actually 0.0598 kWh)


You won't get a single solar projection that actually lowers the kWh cost from any salesperson, but that is exactly what (my small local) utility did

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by willthrill81 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:03 pm

emlowe wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:50 pm
Projections can be tricky - even with net-use metering buybacks.

My electrical company started to do 2 things that make the initial projections pretty invalid when I put in solar:

1) Starting charging LESS per (kWh) - ohh sounds great right? Starting charging MORE "flat connection fee". This reduced the net-use buyback but resulted in the utility getting the same $ per month more or less.

2) Per California law, once 5% of power is generated by solar for the utility, the net metering buyback goes down even more pretty close to 0 (actually 0.0598 kWh)

You won't get a single solar projection that actually lowers the kWh cost from any salesperson, but that is exactly what (my small local) utility did
Your objections are well founded and shared by many others. Many utilities have been pushing to only pay for power at the significantly lower wholesale rate or even to forbid net metering altogether. They are increasingly viewing their customers' adoption of solar as a competitor and pushing for regulation to reduce this competition for them.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by MathWizard » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:20 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:40 pm
MathWizard wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:04 am
I have bought an 800 W power inverter
that will hook to a car battery to power my sump pump or furnace in case of dire emergency,
and we've never had an outage of longer than 8 hours in the last 35 years.
Have you tested that? My experience with multiple furnaces is that they will not light without a neutral-ground bond, and I don't believe you can use one with an inverter. You can with a generator, however, very easily, and that's what we do. A neutral-ground bond plug is very easy to make (you literally just tie the neutral and ground lines together), and you just plug it into one of your generators outlets or into an extension cord connected to one of the generator outlets. There are YouTube videos about how to do it.

I also urge you to try your sump pump with your inverter. 800 watts is probably enough to run it, but starting it might be an issue.
I have used the inverter with the sump pump, but not the furnace. Thanks for the info about the neutral ground bond. I'll check it out.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:44 am

willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:03 pm
emlowe wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:50 pm
Projections can be tricky - even with net-use metering buybacks.

My electrical company started to do 2 things that make the initial projections pretty invalid when I put in solar:

1) Starting charging LESS per (kWh) - ohh sounds great right? Starting charging MORE "flat connection fee". This reduced the net-use buyback but resulted in the utility getting the same $ per month more or less.

2) Per California law, once 5% of power is generated by solar for the utility, the net metering buyback goes down even more pretty close to 0 (actually 0.0598 kWh)

You won't get a single solar projection that actually lowers the kWh cost from any salesperson, but that is exactly what (my small local) utility did
Your objections are well founded and shared by many others. Many utilities have been pushing to only pay for power at the significantly lower wholesale rate or even to forbid net metering altogether. They are increasingly viewing their customers' adoption of solar as a competitor and pushing for regulation to reduce this competition for them.
It depends whether the utility is vertically integrated and has generation assets. In which case a solar PV is a direct competitor.

If it's in a deregulated market where the utility buys and distributes power, the problem with "behind the meter" generation is it lowers final demand for the utility and surplus power can, again, lower their units sold.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Jablean » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:31 am

Stormbringer wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:17 am
I need a new 8000 sf roof for my office building, and called three solar installers so see if I could add panels as part of that. Not one would even give me a bid. :annoyed
I appreciate that you are trying. I think commercial roofs should be the new solar farm which I'm not fond of ecologically.

moi
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by moi » Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:12 am

emlowe wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:50 pm
Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?Quote Valuethinker
by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:44 am
Hi Emlowe, do you mind sharing what your power company is charging you exactly in terms of rate structure?

I'm interested in solar for environmental + economic reasons (50/50), but the economics just doesn't seem compelling where I live.

I've got more details on my other thread (sorry I'm not trying to hijack this thread): "Solar Panel worth it 2019? SoCal region."

Any new solar buyer in Southern California Edison has to be on time of use plan (TOU). I have an EV so I'm on the TOU 4-9pm Prime plan. Its rate structure is as followed:

- Summer (June- Sept) weekdays 4-9pm is 40c/kWh (ouch!), all other time is 14c/kWh. On weekends 4-9pm is 28c/kWh, all other time is 14c/kWh
- Winter (Oct-May) weekdays 4-9pm is 36c/kWh (ouch!), all other time is 13c/kWh. On weekends 4-9pm is 36c/kWh, all other time is 13c/kWh.
- there is also a monthly $12 baseline charge, for which I don't get any electricity.

The key feature are:

1) 4-9pm rate is THREE times as much as off peak.
2) Solar generation pretty drops off precipitously from 4-6pm.
3) For most families that work / go to school, 4-9pm is exactly when everyone gets home and start using a lot of power. It's also when it's the hottest inside the house, and AC is running all the time in my house from 4-9pm. Yes I precool from 2-4pm to take advantage of the cheaper kWh rate, but still run the AC pretty much all the time from 4-9pm.

Since excess solar kWh is generated from lets say 8am-4pm, I'm selling to SCE at $0.14/kWh, and buying kWh 4-9pm at $0.4/kWh. Makes it much harder to recoup the cost of the solar system if one were calculate based on the electricity cost saved.

There's also a seasonal problem to solar production. In the summer I use 700-1300 kWh per month, but in the other months I average only 300kWh per month. This means if you size your system to cover exactly the kWh you use for the year, in the summer month you will under produce compared to how much you use that month, and in the winter you will over produce compared to how much you use. So the net effect is, you'll be producing a bunch of electricity that you sell back at only $0.13/kWh

A battery would solve that problem and store the electricity for later use, but at $7000 per Tesla wall, and I think you'll need two, the price kills the ROI for the system. The battery probably will be good for 6-8 years only as well.

Any Californians here find installing solar in 2019 with the new TOU plan worthwhile?

I was eager to install solar to take advantage of the 30% rebate but now I'm not so sure.... Google solar thinks pay back period is 9 years..
Best, | moi

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by riverguy » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:44 am

RustyShackleford wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:55 pm
riverguy wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:21 am
Solar is entirely dependent on subsidies.
Sounds like somebody has an axe to grind. This is far from true.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 3ea7054ff2
This thread is about putting solar on your home. Prove that it is economic without subsidies. I’ve looked at it and even with the federal subsidy it was at least a ten year payout assuming perfect light each day vs a power rate of around 10 cents/kWh.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Nate79 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:52 am

riverguy wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:44 am
RustyShackleford wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:55 pm
riverguy wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:21 am
Solar is entirely dependent on subsidies.
Sounds like somebody has an axe to grind. This is far from true.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 3ea7054ff2
This thread is about putting solar on your home. Prove that it is economic without subsidies. I’ve looked at it and even with the federal subsidy it was at least a ten year payout assuming perfect light each day vs a power rate of around 10 cents/kWh.
The system that we are installing in a couple of weeks had a 5 year payback with Federal and local tax credits/rebates and would have a 9 year payback without any subsidies which is well within the 25 year lifetime of the system.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by riverguy » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:58 am

Nate79 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:52 am
riverguy wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:44 am
RustyShackleford wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:55 pm
riverguy wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:21 am
Solar is entirely dependent on subsidies.
Sounds like somebody has an axe to grind. This is far from true.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 3ea7054ff2
This thread is about putting solar on your home. Prove that it is economic without subsidies. I’ve looked at it and even with the federal subsidy it was at least a ten year payout assuming perfect light each day vs a power rate of around 10 cents/kWh.
The system that we are installing in a couple of weeks had a 5 year payback with Federal and local tax credits/rebates and would have a 9 year payback without any subsidies which is well within the 25 year lifetime of the system.
What are your electric rates? A 9 year payout is not a good investment for me. Maybe it is for you.

Nowizard
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:59 am

Depends on whether "Worthwhile" is defined monetarily or ethically and/or ecologically, in my opinion. Ethically, for us, the answer is "yes," but economics still say "no." Just one of a number of areas where the potential for conflict between stated values and behavior are not congruent!

Tim

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Userdc » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:20 am

riverguy wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:58 am
Nate79 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:52 am
riverguy wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:44 am
RustyShackleford wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:55 pm
riverguy wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:21 am
Solar is entirely dependent on subsidies.
Sounds like somebody has an axe to grind. This is far from true.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 3ea7054ff2
This thread is about putting solar on your home. Prove that it is economic without subsidies. I’ve looked at it and even with the federal subsidy it was at least a ten year payout assuming perfect light each day vs a power rate of around 10 cents/kWh.
The system that we are installing in a couple of weeks had a 5 year payback with Federal and local tax credits/rebates and would have a 9 year payback without any subsidies which is well within the 25 year lifetime of the system.
What are your electric rates? A 9 year payout is not a good investment for me. Maybe it is for you.
A 9 year payback is something like a 9-10% return on investment over 20-30 year life of the system. There are some risks, but I think the risks and headache factor are lower than any other readily available investment with that kind of return.

I installed last year and have been tracking carefully. As projected, I’m on track for a 5.5 yr payback (assuming flat utility rates), or an 17%-18% return over system life. I wish I had more investments like that!

Without the various government rebates, the breakeven would be twice as long, but probably still an interesting proposition.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by BigMoneyNoWhammies » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:28 am

Nate79 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:52 am
riverguy wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:44 am
RustyShackleford wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:55 pm
riverguy wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:21 am
Solar is entirely dependent on subsidies.
Sounds like somebody has an axe to grind. This is far from true.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 3ea7054ff2
This thread is about putting solar on your home. Prove that it is economic without subsidies. I’ve looked at it and even with the federal subsidy it was at least a ten year payout assuming perfect light each day vs a power rate of around 10 cents/kWh.
The system that we are installing in a couple of weeks had a 5 year payback with Federal and local tax credits/rebates and would have a 9 year payback without any subsidies which is well within the 25 year lifetime of the system.
The current federal tax treatment won't be around forever. Congress has come close to cutting the federal tax subsidies/PTCs for solar and wind several times in recent years. The wind tax subsidies/PTCs are being phased out by Jan 1, 2020, because wind is viewed as a mature industry at this point that after multiple decades of development doesn't need a leg up from the gov to compete in the open market. Solar is viewed by legislators in much the same way and is likely not far behind. You can take it to the bank that the increased costs for producers prompted by removal of an advantageous federal tax treatment will be passed on to retail consumers. And then there are tariffs. There was a 30% tariff put in place in 2018 on all solar panel imports regardless of source (it reduces 5% per year for 4 years to 15%) as well as a 165% anti dumping duty placed specifically on panels from China in 2014 (where most solar panels are produced these days. Chinese dumping propped up by essentially unlimited state funding to stay in business regardless of profitability led to many domestic manufacturers going out of business or drastically reducing output). The Harmoinzed Tariff Schedule is fairly complicated so it is hard to tell from a cursory review, but it's also possible individual components of the panels get caught up in one of the 3 Tariff Schedules imposed against China as well, adding an additional 25% cost to those components. USTR and Dept of Commerce have been pretty stingy with exemptions to Section 301, 232, and 201 tariffs, so if components do qualify under one of the tariff schedules there's likely no getting around it. POTUS loves his tariffs, especially on China, so additional tariffs on an industry where Chinese firms are specifically attempting to drive US firms out of the market are not out of the question.

Seems like the longer you wait to install, the higher the chance for a less favorable financial outcome. This is also dependent upon the state you live in as some places have state and local level incentives on top of the federal subsidies, and a few states let you go off the main power grid if you produce enough power on your own. As with most things, YMMV.

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Nate79 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:51 am

BigMoneyNoWhammies wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:28 am
Nate79 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:52 am
riverguy wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:44 am
RustyShackleford wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:55 pm
riverguy wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:21 am
Solar is entirely dependent on subsidies.
Sounds like somebody has an axe to grind. This is far from true.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 3ea7054ff2
This thread is about putting solar on your home. Prove that it is economic without subsidies. I’ve looked at it and even with the federal subsidy it was at least a ten year payout assuming perfect light each day vs a power rate of around 10 cents/kWh.
The system that we are installing in a couple of weeks had a 5 year payback with Federal and local tax credits/rebates and would have a 9 year payback without any subsidies which is well within the 25 year lifetime of the system.
The current federal tax treatment won't be around forever. Congress has come close to cutting the federal tax subsidies/PTCs for solar and wind several times in recent years. The wind tax subsidies/PTCs are being phased out by Jan 1, 2020, because wind is viewed as a mature industry at this point that after multiple decades of development doesn't need a leg up from the gov to compete in the open market. Solar is viewed by legislators in much the same way and is likely not far behind. You can take it to the bank that the increased costs for producers prompted by removal of an advantageous federal tax treatment will be passed on to retail consumers. And then there are tariffs. There was a 30% tariff put in place in 2018 on all solar panel imports regardless of source (it reduces 5% per year for 4 years to 15%) as well as a 165% anti dumping duty placed specifically on panels from China in 2014 (where most solar panels are produced these days. Chinese dumping propped up by essentially unlimited state funding to stay in business regardless of profitability led to many domestic manufacturers going out of business or drastically reducing output). The Harmoinzed Tariff Schedule is fairly complicated so it is hard to tell from a cursory review, but it's also possible individual components of the panels get caught up in one of the 3 Tariff Schedules imposed against China as well, adding an additional 25% cost to those components. USTR and Dept of Commerce have been pretty stingy with exemptions to Section 301, 232, and 201 tariffs, so if components do qualify under one of the tariff schedules there's likely no getting around it. POTUS loves his tariffs, especially on China, so additional tariffs on an industry where Chinese firms are specifically attempting to drive US firms out of the market are not out of the question.

Seems like the longer you wait to install, the higher the chance for a less favorable financial outcome. This is also dependent upon the state you live in as some places have state and local level incentives on top of the federal subsidies, and a few states let you go off the main power grid if you produce enough power on your own. As with most things, YMMV.
This is one of the reasons we decided to move quickly to get solar now vs wait. The quick payback (5 years) was also an important criteria. The problem I have with longer payback is that the installation may make sense from a 25 year perspective but it isn't so clear that the value is added to the property if we have to move and sell the house. So I targeted a quick payback where I'm pretty sure we will be here for 5 years and don't assume any value add to the home. I think all of these tariff issues are short term issues and who knows long term what will happen to the federal tax credits.

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Blueskies123
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by Blueskies123 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:59 am

Like me I see you live in Florida. I talked a friend of mine out of solar because our electric rates, in South Florida, are so low compared to other states and you cannot sell excess electricity back to grid at full value. I also worry about hurricanes and obsolescence.

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emlowe
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by emlowe » Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:06 pm

moi wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:12 am
emlowe wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:50 pm
Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?Quote Valuethinker
by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:44 am
Hi Emlowe, do you mind sharing what your power company is charging you exactly in terms of rate structure?
There is no economic argument for my solar - I think currently it is like 25-30 years post-installation before it might break even - which is past the nominal lifetime of the panels (although I expect them to produce past their nominal lifetime).

I only produce about 25-30% of my needed power, so I almost never "run backwards" - there are sometimes when I am but typically what I'm doing is taking kWh off the top, rather than actually net producing.

My electrical rates are VERY cheap for California.

My rate schedule is as follows:

Basic Service Charge: $26.00
Up To 500 kWh: $0.0931
> 500 : $0.1435

Renewable Energy Surcharge: $0.0056
Greenhouse Gas Surcharge: $0.0002
State Energy Surcharge: $0.00030

Net metering: existing solar pays back at the $0.0931 rate - new solar pay at $0.0598

When I installed the system, the Basic Service Charge was around $10 and the top rate (3 tiers) was 0.1756 and net metering rate was 0.1083

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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:20 pm

Nowizard wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:59 am
Depends on whether "Worthwhile" is defined monetarily or ethically and/or ecologically, in my opinion. Ethically, for us, the answer is "yes," but economics still say "no." Just one of a number of areas where the potential for conflict between stated values and behavior are not congruent!
Tim
Tim, I think it depends on what’s included in the “economic” analysis.
You already mentioned ethics, which has some non-zero value to you in terms of feeling good (difficult to assign a number to, but you and I know it’s not zero)
Ecologically, ditto
I find great value in noise abatement and other comforts (for example, getting out of reliance on oil and its expense and smell indirectly led to upping our electric production). Dollar value of this is high for me, possibly lower for someone else.
I find great value in feeling impervious to the state of the grid. Difficult to place a monetary value on, but I find it priceless that I will have well water, heating, cooling, lights, etc. regardless of the grid’s status indefinitely. This does require either 1) going off grid (not allowed in my state) or 2) installation of storage

The “break even” time should include some allowance for these.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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emlowe
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by emlowe » Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:42 pm

moi wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:12 am
emlowe wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:50 pm
Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?Quote Valuethinker
by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:44 am

2) Solar generation pretty drops off precipitously from 4-6pm.
Just for FYI, I'm in NorCal -

At 4pm I produce about 77% of peak production
At 5pm: 56%
At 6pm: 21%
At 7pm: 10%

moi
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by moi » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:49 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:20 pm
Nowizard wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:59 am
Depends on whether "Worthwhile" is defined monetarily or ethically and/or ecologically, in my opinion. Ethically, for us, the answer is "yes," but economics still say "no." Just one of a number of areas where the potential for conflict between stated values and behavior are not congruent!
Tim
Tim, I think it depends on what’s included in the “economic” analysis.
You already mentioned ethics, which has some non-zero value to you in terms of feeling good (difficult to assign a number to, but you and I know it’s not zero)
Ecologically, ditto
I find great value in noise abatement and other comforts (for example, getting out of reliance on oil and its expense and smell indirectly led to upping our electric production). Dollar value of this is high for me, possibly lower for someone else.
I find great value in feeling impervious to the state of the grid. Difficult to place a monetary value on, but I find it priceless that I will have well water, heating, cooling, lights, etc. regardless of the grid’s status indefinitely. This does require either 1) going off grid (not allowed in my state) or 2) installation of storage

The “break even” time should include some allowance for these.
Hi TomatoTomahto,

I thought when the grid goes down, your solar panel also goes down (no power). Unless you have a battery too?
Best, | moi

moi
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Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?

Post by moi » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:53 am

emlowe wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:06 pm
moi wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:12 am
emlowe wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:50 pm
Re: Is solar power for your home a worthwhile investment?Quote Valuethinker
by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:44 am
Hi Emlowe, do you mind sharing what your power company is charging you exactly in terms of rate structure?
There is no economic argument for my solar - I think currently it is like 25-30 years post-installation before it might break even - which is past the nominal lifetime of the panels (although I expect them to produce past their nominal lifetime).

I only produce about 25-30% of my needed power, so I almost never "run backwards" - there are sometimes when I am but typically what I'm doing is taking kWh off the top, rather than actually net producing.

My electrical rates are VERY cheap for California.

My rate schedule is as follows:

Basic Service Charge: $26.00
Up To 500 kWh: $0.0931
> 500 : $0.1435

Renewable Energy Surcharge: $0.0056
Greenhouse Gas Surcharge: $0.0002
State Energy Surcharge: $0.00030

Net metering: existing solar pays back at the $0.0931 rate - new solar pay at $0.0598

When I installed the system, the Basic Service Charge was around $10 and the top rate (3 tiers) was 0.1756 and net metering rate was 0.1083
Emlowe, thanks for responding. Your rate plan doesn't look like anything that I would have expected within California. It's CHEAP! Your peak rate is same as my off peak rate.
Best, | moi

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