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IvonetteMadison
Starting Member

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2015 :  11:26:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi everyone. I just registered. I was thinking of your opinion on solar panels? I am being persuaded by a friend but I am having second thoughts since it is rather expensive.

Any thoughts?

stusviews
Advanced Member

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2015 :  09:03:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the forum. Solar panels are costly. But so is LED lighting compared to conventional bulbs.

The benefit is actually two-fold. First and foremost is conservation of natural resources. Another benefit is the air.

Personally, I consider any financial gain a side effect, not the main goal. It will take years to realize savings after factoring the cost. But, that's true with LED lighting as well.

Stu's Views is Education and Fun. What do YOU want to VIEW today?
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Both Stu's Views and MathLandia are free websites that do not sell anything.
Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.


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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
812 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2015 :  3:25:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Two years ago I considered installing solar panels, but the return on investment (ROS) was about 30 years! This did not include the effect of the energy rising cost (which would improve the ROS), but neither does it include the equipment lifecycle, which I'm sure is nowhere close to 30 years and thus decreases the ROS. On the positive side, the hardware cost is coming down but it also means your hardware will quickly become obsolete.

GJN
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EVIL Teken
Advanced Member

Canada
2359 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2015 :  1:31:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by IvonetteMadison

Hi everyone. I just registered. I was thinking of your opinion on solar panels? I am being persuaded by a friend but I am having second thoughts since it is rather expensive.

Any thoughts?



Some thoughts and considerations about solar energy. You need to decide of the three types which connection you want.

1. Off grid, grid tied, hybrid. In most cases 90% of the people are grid tied meaning all generated solar power is simply sent back to the grid. The POCO gives you credit on your monthly bill or actually pays you for the excess electricity you generate.

2. Since you live in the USA you should note the federal 30% tax credit for renewable energy is going to end. So you better get on that train if you want to get all the tax credits from the feds and from the state you're in.

3. You need to perform a energy audit to realize how big the solar array is going to be and be honest what your goal is.

Is your plan to be NET Zero? This means you produce enough power during the course of the year to break even.

If your plan is to be above NET Zero then you obviously need more solar panels to offset your consumption. If your plans is simply to reduce some of your energy bills again it comes down to what percentage you're looking at?

4. Look at your monthly electrical bill and let us know what the last 12 months were. This will roughly speaking determine the size of the solar array.

5. Do you want to use a central inverter or micro inverter? Using micro inverters provides fail over and lessens the shading issues people see with a single central invertor.

6. What is your budget this will determine really what you're going to get.

7. Does your site have full southern exposure? If not you may be getting into something that may not generate enough electricity because the sun doesn't shine very well and this may require a ground mounted system.

8. Have you considered going the route of solar leasing?? Millions of Americans have gone this route and it simply works for them. The company basically comes out and installs all the gear for you for free. They promise you a set KWH for the life of the contract etc.


Teken . . .

Want to make a real difference? Cast your vote to make the PLM Pro a reality: http://forum.insteon.com/forum/main-category/new-insteon-device-wish-list/8221-plm-pro

Stusviews: This world is made less with out your presence. Your contributions in all things has helped inspire millions to succeed. You were a husband, teacher, mentor, a friend to all.

I will forever miss our chats, debates, and collaboration. I will not remember how you died but remember how you lived and what you left behind. The sky has another star in the Heavens where you reside but the Earth is much darker with out your light to lead the way.
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
812 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2015 :  4:59:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm quite familiar with solar systems, but option (8) raises a few concerns. It will let you jump right into solar without a significant outlay of money, but you must remember that the piper will have to be paid eventually. No publicly traded company can survive in business if its profits are not significantly above the bank interest rate. So just on the investment (hardware and installation) you will pay more than if you borrowed the money in the bank. Add to it the maintenance costs, service, equipment upgrading, etc. I'm not trying to dissuade you from going solar, I merely suggest you crunch the numbers to know exactly what if any gains you will realize.
And yes, there are the environmental benefit which some people consider more important than the financial ones. Kudos to them, but they are in a tiny minority. Most of the humanity has always voted with their pocket books and this will not change any time soon, if ever.

GJN
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solartom
Starting Member

6 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2015 :  07:53:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A bit late to the game here but one of the places where Geo missed the boat so far as leasing a solar system goes is that the payment for the equipment lease includes maintenance, insurance, and repair should any be needed. The way that math works is if you can get a fixed lease payment which together with what ever amount you may be left paying the power company are less than what you were paying the power company before, you will save money. Additionally if your lease payment is fixed you will create a hedge against power cost increases. While more of a "save now" than "save a lot" strategy, solar leases from reputable companies (check out SunPower) are a great way to personally benefit while assisting with the community benefit of harvesting solar energy rather than burning accumulated plant energy.
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
812 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2015 :  12:32:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Some companies include maintenance in their contract, others may not. Some may lease the equipment, others charge for the electricity generated by the panels instead. But that's not the point. They're all there to make money, so "caveat emptor" needs to be remembered. Rather than believing everything the sales people say, one must use his own judgement and crunch the numbers. A member of my family living in the Chicago area determined his payback, using official electricity cost projections, to be 15 years. Very few companies will consider ROI (return on investment) more than 5 years. So once again, it's more complex and primarily business/financial as opposed to a technical issue.

GJN
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solartom
Starting Member

6 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2015 :  3:30:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All lease agreements include repair and maintenance as the leasing companies truly own the equipment and typically guarantee a certain production of power in KWH/ yr /term. So technically there is no ROI calculation in that sort of arrangement as the return is gained in terms of immediate electric bill savings. Purchasing is a different animal and while in Arizona the return is typically 7-12 years depending on roof orientation, current cost of power, and cost of money (if financing). And while I understand that business like to see their capital investments getting 5 year returns, the reality is most homeowners never see anything like the 20% annual return suggested by a 5 year ROI, on any of their savings, or home improvements. So I would think a better yardstick for comparison would be the return from home improvements ie kitchen or bath remodel as reflected in change of sell price or appraised value, rather than some absolute metric that isn't achievable by any means that doesn't involve taking some risks. The biggest risk with solar if a reputable partner is chosen is that the sun stops rising and I think we all know there will be bigger problems than our money at that point.
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
812 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2015 :  08:23:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Evidently, we're not on the same page.

GJN
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Kyile Rey
Junior Member

Canada
34 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2016 :  04:15:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kyile Rey's Homepage  Reply with Quote
To get the optimum performance generate the most electricity from a solar system, your roof should ideally be south facing and pitched at an angle of around 30 degrees. The panels will still work if your roof faces another direction and can be fitted to flat roofs with a frame but the power generated from the panels will be less.

While there's no need to worry about the gloomy UK weather as panels still generate significant amounts of power even on cloudy days, you do also need to consider whether there are any obstacles that could get in the way of light reaching the panels such as trees, or maybe next door's extension.

And the more space you have for the panels to be fitted to, the better. So while your shed or extension might be in a more southerly direction, chances are your roof will be a better home for the panels.
How much does it cost?

Microgeneration expert at the Energy Saving Trust Ian Cuthbert says the cost of installing a solar unit has fallen significantly in recent years, with most people looking at a cost of between 6,000 and 9,000.
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DTRiemer
Starting Member

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2016 :  7:11:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Like so many other things, resorting to solar energy has its own pros and cons. The benefits of using solar panels to name a few --- it's renewable, abundant, environmentally-friendly and reduces energy costs. The downsides? It's expensive, intermittent and not to mention, you'll need space if you want to use solar panels. So weigh things up and choose what can benefit you more in the long run.
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mafa42
Starting Member

Czech Republic
1 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2018 :  06:33:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Recently I have bumped into interesting topic in solar energy. Have you ever heard about material called PCBM? Check http://mstnano.com/products/pcbm/ for example. Having a very light and flexible solar panel seems really handy.
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MichaelCarter259
Average Member

USA
65 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2018 :  9:12:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit MichaelCarter259's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The price of good quality solar panels is now so affordable, it is possible to get a return on your money in 3-5 years.Solar panel prices are at a record low, with an average-sized 5kW solar system with good quality panels now costing as little around $5,500 fully installed, generating around 20 kWh a day (averaged out across the year).If we assume you are paying 30c per kWh, you can expect to save you over $2,000 every year on your power bills if you use all of the solar power as it is generated.

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