Solar panels

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  #1  
Old 03-28-10, 10:11 PM
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Solar panels

I was just wondering if there is a real benefit to installing solar panels on the roof of a residencial house. When i say benefit i mean purely financial (lets say next 5 years). I also wanted to know if you have PG&E is there a limit to the amount that they will pay you if you feed into the grid? If anyone is from the bay area... is it worth it? What type of package should you buy? Also what are things to watch out for? I honestly don't know much about solar energy from a consumer level. I really dont want to screwed in the deal
Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 03-29-10, 09:18 AM
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Hi helpneeded

You will find lots of info related with this issue in these pages

With the values they publish and your current bills, you can verify the cost / benefit comparison
 
  #3  
Old 04-07-10, 12:59 PM
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There are so many solar powered things out there. Yes, it is a financial decision, but it is an environmental one as well. We recently remodeled and got a solar attic fan. Have you seen those? So far, we love it.
 
  #4  
Old 04-07-10, 02:06 PM
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Solar panels from a solar panel USER

I bought what I consider a reasonable size (not huge) system.
It is a 5148 Watt system tied into the Energy grid.

Tech talk that is. What it means is: if you are using LESS energy than the solar system provides THEN the electric company credits your account and you pay less money to them. I live in Florida so I know how good this can be.

I have solar panels installed for 3 months and I am really surprised at the savings which are way more than I projected.

Keep 2 things in mind. It is expensive. You'd better be sure the people doing the job are certified for the job.
 

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  #5  
Old 04-24-10, 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by helpneeded View Post
I was just wondering if there is a real benefit to installing solar panels on the roof of a residencial house. When i say benefit i mean purely financial (lets say next 5 years). I also wanted to know if you have PG&E is there a limit to the amount that they will pay you if you feed into the grid? If anyone is from the bay area... is it worth it? What type of package should you buy? Also what are things to watch out for? I honestly don't know much about solar energy from a consumer level. I really dont want to screwed in the deal
Thanks

I'd be interested in info on this too. Is it worth the big expense?
 
  #6  
Old 05-08-10, 10:43 AM
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A great way to much electricity an array will produce is: PVWATTS v. 1
To look into various rebates check:
DSIRE: DSIRE Home
When you're calculating how much electricity is costing you now be sure to do the math AFTER fees and charges. My local electricity jumps from arount $.10 to $.16 per kwh.
 
  #7  
Old 05-09-10, 03:56 PM
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Watch your electric meter going BACKWARDS!!

Helpneeded,

Solar is expensive but you should look at what may happen in the future. Do you think your electric company will drop rates 10 years from now or even keep the current rates?

These solar panels are guaranteed for 25 years. There are no moving parts.

The federal govt will give you a 33% credit of the full cost including (shocking) tax & installation and maybe your state, too, has some rebates. Both require "certified installations"

I have had my system for three months and I am very happily surprised at my savings each month. Consider this a long term payback - not a quick one.

If you tie into the grid the electric company must pay for the electric you send at the same rate they charge you. It is fun to watch the meter going backwards. Shine SUN shine!!
 
  #8  
Old 05-23-10, 10:44 PM
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The Diy option.

Have you considered making the solar pannel yourself for a fraction of the retail cost. I have seen that there are many people now that can show you how to make these at home quite simply. It's a project I want to try my self soon. I'd be interested if some one could ad to this if they have made one at all...
 

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  #9  
Old 05-24-10, 08:41 AM
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Talking Diy solar

I thought it was a great idea to DIY & I paid about $50
to see the video of how to do it. That video convinced me to forget DIY.

I can tell you that you will NOT be able to "tie into the grid" with the home project. You must have certified technicians in order to do so.

You could try a project such as a small solar system for pond pumps or attic fans or lighting in your yard. This would be a stand alone system and I believe you must have a battery for this type of installation.

I chose to tie into the grid. However, even with the savings I am getting from the electric company and the federal rebate
of 33% of the cost it still will take over 10 years for the payback.

I still think it is worth it. We will have inflation in the next few years and the electric companies may also want more money so maybe that could very well decrease the payback time.
 
  #10  
Old 05-25-10, 06:22 AM
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You say "tie to the grid". Is there a way you can remove yourself from the grid all together, with either the pro or diy things? I may just be a hopeless romantic, but the Idea of my home being totally detached from "the Man" really apeals to me.
what/whoes kit/dvd did you use?
A waste of money or $50 well spent?
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 05-25-10 at 06:28 AM. Reason: Link removed. Advertising not allowed.
  #11  
Old 05-25-10, 07:39 AM
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Cool No GRID and NO MAN

mr_ned

You do NOT have to be "tied to the grid." You can do your own thing.

The link to doing it yourself is listed below:


Good luck to you. If you decide to make your own - let us all know how the project proceeds.


Sherrie
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 05-25-10 at 11:55 AM. Reason: Problem link
  #12  
Old 05-25-10, 07:49 AM
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Sherrie, you know over half the posts in this thread are spam and you post sure looks like spam. You need to be careful. Even a 100 posts doesn't protect you from being banned.
 
  #13  
Old 05-25-10, 08:16 AM
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Question spam?

Huh,

What makes my post look like spam?

This concerns me as I was only trying to help.


Sherrie
 
  #14  
Old 05-25-10, 11:21 AM
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What makes my post look like spam?
I'm not saying it is because the link is not working so I can't check it out and since you've been a member for so long, I'm sure it probably isn't, but a .com address as opposed to an .org address is sometimes a clue. i.e. ****.com would be a company trying to sell something, while an ****.org would be an organization trying to help and is usually non-profit.
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 05-25-10 at 11:57 AM.
  #15  
Old 05-25-10, 11:55 AM
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It is a site trying to sell things..and it doesn't really tell you anything unless you buy. It also has the annoying "are you sure you want to leave this page" and an automated "customer service agent" popup. There are free sites that probably have the same info.

That site should not be referenced in a DIY forum.
 
  #16  
Old 05-25-10, 11:59 AM
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OK, I just managed to get into the link you posted and if you were a first time poster, I'd be banning you right now.
It also gives several pop-up's when you try to leave the site.
IMO, that's a dangerous site and the link will not be allowed on this forum, so I've removed it. Be careful of the links you post.
 
  #17  
Old 05-25-10, 12:41 PM
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Thumbs up Thank you

I will probably never add a link again. I am surprised at what you found.

I have learned the "link" lesson.

Sherrie
 
  #18  
Old 05-25-10, 12:48 PM
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Adding links is ok...but better if they are informational or used as an example of a product that is available. If in doubt...leave it out. Thats what I use as a rule.
 
  #19  
Old 05-27-10, 04:47 AM
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As you can surmise diy.com has some of the most stringent and well-enforced rules regarding spamming and stealth advertising. You will note the links in your post have been removed; this is because the links/sites were not germane to the discussion and could be construed as spamming/advertising or attempting to drive traffic to an external site. I'm surprised an experienced mod from another site would include links in a first post as a new member; it's one of the flags here for spammers/advertisers.

Gunguy's Rule explains it pretty well.

As to the .org vs. .com question, although .org was originally intended for non-commercial use it can now be registered by anyone for anything which is too bad.
 

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  #20  
Old 05-27-10, 08:41 AM
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solar & wind vs perpetual devices

Quote: greenmaster
Now Magnetic power
takes a descent amount of money as well but I think a bit more cost effective then solar. How ever you have a perpetual devise that can run for months on end. Only requiring a few check ups to make sure everything is OK.

My thoughts:
Solar works exceptionally well in Florida and other very sunny places. For $45 a year the company monitors my system on the internet. I, too, can see daily production and/or problems.

Windmills work exceptionally well in very windy places.

Magnetic power - you stated it is a perpetual device that runs for months on end with few check ups. That means it really is NOT perpetual. In 200+ years nobody has been able to create a perpetual device.
 
  #21  
Old 05-27-10, 09:11 AM
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Just because something has not been done. Does not mean it is not possible. There are some device however tacky looking that do work. The trick is getting them to pump out more power. I really want to work on this myself but, I need money backing to do so.

Until then I will work on generating cash.

As far as Solar yes Florida would be a great place as Chicago could be a great place for generating wind power. Then there is still hydraulic power or even hydrogen power I have been studying a little bit.

The opportunity is there.

My personal belief is we already have the technology to make these devices. Its just the government is protecting the BIG POWER companies. Which means we have take matters in our own hands.

Now of course I do not know all of the ins and outs of alternative power but I do know it is a possibility to develop them.

I really wish the government would not be so greedy and wake up to all of the benefits of alternative power. Soon enough we will not have a choice.
 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 05-27-10 at 05:05 PM. Reason: Not necessary to quote entire previous post.
  #22  
Old 05-27-10, 12:47 PM
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Perpetual motion machines are a thing of fantasy. It's all about the laws of physics, blah, blah, blah, etc., etc.

ROI on solar and wind will depend on your state. Here, NJ, the state is pushing to have 20% of electricity supplied by alternative means. There are several programs in place to achieve this. When you have solar panels installed you can have it hooked into the grid. So during those times you are generating more than you are using, the excess goes to the grid and you generate SREC's (solar renewable energy credit). Those credits can then be sold on the SREC tracking system. Because the electric companies need to meet certain renewable energy requirements, they have to make a compliance payment if they don't. They can purchase SREC's from the system to enable them to qualify. In April, SREC's had an average price of $.57 per kwh. Not a bad price when I am paying $.14 per kwh for hydro and wind power.

That brings me to my next point. Alternative energy does not hurt large power companies. PSE&G is installing solar panels on their utility poles to help meet their obligations for green power and to provide a lower cost solution to periods of high demand like those very sunny and hot days in the summer. It's also very difficult and very costly to build new power plants that use fossil fuels. As it turns out, new wind power is cheaper than new coal power.

It's also in the interest of the energy companies to encourage efficiency because the cost of making major capital expansions of the energy networks is high. The longer they can use those power plants, pipelines, and transmission lines that have already been paid for, the higher their profit margin.

You can't install wind just anywhere. You have to study the area to know if there is enough wind to meet your need. I have a wind turbine being put up at the local sewer treatment plant and they are working on putting a solar farm here in my town. They also installed solar panels on top of the schools here as well.
 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 05-27-10 at 05:05 PM. Reason: Not necessary to quote entire previous post.
  #23  
Old 05-27-10, 02:16 PM
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Smile I'm always learning something

Drooplug you stated:
They can purchase SREC's from the system to enable them to qualify. In April, SREC's had an average price of $.57 per kwh. Not a bad price when I am paying $.14 per kwh for hydro and wind power.

Your post was really good because New Jersey is using solar.
I never would have guessed that would work for NJ because they don't have a lot of sun.

In Florida everytime the companies must produce more electricity (because they don't think ahead) they want major raises in rates. Of course that works. Who doesn't use electric?

I have only had my solar system for a short time - a few months. I know payback is long term and still have faith in payback & now I know how the electric companies are also really benefiting. It is a Win - Win.

Thanks for the post! Sherrie
 
  #24  
Old 05-27-10, 03:22 PM
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NJ is really pushing for alternative energy sources. I'm a bit surprised that happened because the state government is garbage and fails to get anything good done.

It seems every state has their own system as far as purchasing electricity back. I'm not 100% clear on how it all works in NJ. I think you may only be able to generate SREC's for the first 15 years. I'm not sure if there is also a fee paid for the electricity sent back to the grid. I doubt it, but I wonder because after 15 years, why even stay on the grid if you don't make any money.
 
  #25  
Old 05-27-10, 04:14 PM
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State Renewal Rebates are questionable

drooplug, thank you for your post.

I can tell you about Florida. 1st Florida was going to pay a BIG incentive for Solar in 2009. Of course they ran out of money provided to Florida by the Stupid Federal Government. Where did that money go? Not to me.

However, the FED PROVIDED A 33% CREDIT for solar. NICE, but still very expensive to install solar.

I have solar power so my electric company must decrease my bill by the same amount they charge me when I use their power. I love seeing their meter running backwards.

This is NOT a get rich thing. Maybe inflation or rate changes will convince people to think about this. Maybe some will care about the environment.

I hope we hear from others that care.
 
  #26  
Old 05-29-10, 12:36 AM
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For the last few weeks I've been toying with the idea of a stand-alone solar battery charger to power my LED night lights along with the Internet (Verizon FiOS), router and VoIP telephone. I have calculated the load on the Internet and telephone equipment to be slightly more than 40 watts continuous. I have checked out a 45 watt solar panel array and charge controller at Harbor Freight (currently $200 on sale) and then a minimum of a 60 ampere-hour deep cycle battery would add about $100 to the package.

So with an investment of about $300 I could be using solar power to interact on this forum. Unfortunately the sun only shines during the daylight hours where I live and using a 50% fudge factor for the total daily output on the solar panels I figured I would be able to generate only about 17% of the required power to keep my equipment up and running 24/7.

Even the 50% total output figure may be overly optimistic considering my geographical location. Couple that with an electrical utility rate of just over 8 cents per kilowatt hour and it is easy to see that small DIY solar is just not practical, at least in my area.

Now I suppose I could upsize and use professional equipment and installation but even then the payback would be measured in decades with a high up-front cost. Honestly, I don't think solar makes a whole lot of sense unless you have a lot of sunlight and that leaves me out.
 
  #27  
Old 05-29-10, 07:55 AM
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Smile Don't give up energy efficiency

Furd,

You are correct about sunshine. Florida is perfect for solar.

Since the Federal Government (which is bankrupt) gave a 33% tax credit in 2009 and the same credit is also is available in 2010 for selected energy producing equipment - that helped decrease the payback time.

Another reason to look at any type of energy efficiency is due to the fact there will be inflation and higher costs for electricity and everything else in less than a decade.

Look at what your electric cost 10 years ago. I'll bet it increased with the associated TAXES. If it didn't then I want to move to your state.

Just be careful who you deal with. I did a lot of looking before finding the right company. I am 100% pleased with my installation and savings.
 
  #28  
Old 05-30-10, 12:47 PM
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Why can't someone with DIY solar panels "tie into the grid"

Not talking about legality at all.

Moreover couldn't someone make and install their own solar panels and then pay an electrician to install an inverter and tie that into the grid.
 
  #29  
Old 05-30-10, 02:55 PM
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Sure. Who said they couldn't?
 
  #30  
Old 05-30-10, 04:13 PM
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Question No expert here

Who are you,

Answer
I'm nobody.

My answers are based on Florida regulations. That is all I know and those regulations are important to everyone that installs solar in Florida.

Florida is hard on the vendors but it makes it easier for people like me to get a great installation. It is still up to you to find the right vendor in your state.

Each state is different and make their own rules.

I will say that you can try anything you like but I don't think any ELECTRIC COMPANY in ANY STATE will allow you to "tie into the Grid" without certified installers.

I may be wrong but if I am wrong tell me what state allows this.
 
  #31  
Old 05-30-10, 04:13 PM
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edit: you posted while I was posting this... Ultimatley I don't care about legality of having a certified installer. I can learn what I need to learn to do things properly and legally (other than the certified part) and won't make a move till I do so...



several posts down:

"I can tell you that you will NOT be able to "tie into the grid" with the home project. You must have certified technicians in order to do so. "

From what I have read so far most of the safety aspects are related to the design and function of the inverter and having a basic understanding of electrical principles.

I plan to build a ~10KW system and tie it into the grid, the panels being by far the biggest expense can be made for less than 50 cents per watt.

I would like to find small legal for use in ca full phase inverters intended for use with grid tied power and use several smaller inverters to make the system modular.

I just started thinking about it and am not far into the planning yet.
 
  #32  
Old 05-31-10, 07:42 AM
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Red face Almost banned!

Who are you,

I wish I had the talent to build my own system. However, I wanted this done in my lifetime so I had it done.

re: inverters - I don't know full phase from unfull phase but
I do know that the inverters I have in Florida are installed in California as I can go to my inverter site & view all their installations in the country. I looked at Calif, AZ and Florida to see how they compared.

They have a wonderful site which I will be willing to share with you as long as I don't get in trouble HERE on DIY. I almost got banned because of a "bad" link I provided.

So someone let me know if I am allowed to give their NAME on this site. Thank you.
 
  #33  
Old 05-31-10, 08:22 AM
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Why don't you pm it to him, TT.
 
  #34  
Old 05-31-10, 05:50 PM
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Thumbs up Thank you The_tow_guy

who are you,

I had to be sure I could share this with you and found out I could. Now I don't have to send you a private message.

This is the comany that let's me see how my panels work through their inverters.

Their site provides a lot of information about how this works.

What I like is the company keeps each panel from degrading another panel when there is shade or something else causing the panel to degrade temporarily. See what you think and let me know because I am always learning.

I just added 2.x to my 5 watt system . Can't go over 10 watts in Florida or they consider it commercial. I also had too many skylights to add more to that side of the house.
 

Last edited by pmgca; 05-31-10 at 07:59 PM. Reason: Links and commercial references are not allowed, no exceptions
  #35  
Old 06-01-10, 10:35 AM
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I had to be sure I could share this with you and found out I could. Now I don't have to send you a private message.
From who? Generally speaking, non famous websites are not allowed.
 
  #36  
Old 06-01-10, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by TTASHA View Post
Furd,
You are correct about sunshine. Florida is perfect for solar.
Since the Federal Government (which is bankrupt) gave a 33% tax credit in 2009 and the same credit is also is available in 2010 for selected energy producing equipment - that helped decrease the payback time.
Another reason to look at any type of energy efficiency is due to the fact there will be inflation and higher costs for electricity and everything else in less than a decade
Having a fairly small tax obligation (I'm retired) a tax credit does me no good. I'm not interested in going for a grid-connected system because I'm not that far above the minimum charge consumption so running the meter backwards won't help either.

Nor do I want to sink 20 grand in the system, I just want to play with it a bit to cut some of my 24/7 standby losses.
 

Last edited by pmgca; 06-02-10 at 04:43 AM. Reason: Not necessary to quote entire previous post
  #37  
Old 06-02-10, 05:38 AM
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That would be me, Shade; what I pm'd her was:

"No problems doing that via pm and generally speaking it's not necessarily improper to do it right in the forum since it would be information in direct response to the topic at hand and was not to a site you have a financial interest in."

Not uncommon to reference a website with additional information in response to a question as long as the intent is not to profit from use of the reference. Having not seen the link/site in question I'll defer to your judgement as to the appropriateness. I stand corrected if policy is much more stringent than I have been following (probably have to ban myself ).

 
  #38  
Old 06-02-10, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by TTASHA View Post
Who are you,



I will say that you can try anything you like but I don't think any ELECTRIC COMPANY in ANY STATE will allow you to "tie into the Grid" without certified installers.

I may be wrong but if I am wrong tell me what state allows this.
Tennessee, for one. I installed my own system and I am not a "certified" solar installer, nor did the question ever come up with my power company or anybody else. I got my electrical permit, the inspector did the inspection, required me to change couple things ( one additional AC disconnect I had not installed ), and that was it. By the way, last month's electric bill was MINUS 26 cents.

AND for all: Anyone that thinks they can build their own panels at some fantastic savings to commercially built panels AND get any meaningful production out of them, simply doesn't have a clue......not gonna happen, I don't care how many 49 buck booklets out there on the internet say you can.

The good news is equipment prices are dropping all the time. The first 12 panels I put on my system cost me about 800 bucks each. A year later, I was able to buy another 6 of the same panel for slightly under 700, and I see them around now for 600.

My system ( which is a grid tie with battery backup )

18-175watt Solarworld panels, mounted on two home built single axis powered trackers, 2 MX60's, 24v bank of Absolyte 2v AGM GNP II cells 1200amp/hr, 2-GTFX2524 2500w Outbacks producing 120/240 AC, Trimetric monitor

 
  #39  
Old 06-03-10, 10:16 AM
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By the way....just got this month's bill

Minus $4.20......lot better than last month, which was only minus 26 cents.

 
  #40  
Old 06-04-10, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by JustAndy View Post
...mounted on two home built single axis powered trackers...
Do you have any photos of the trackers you built?
 
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