Adding Solar Panels Thoughts?

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Kraffty

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I'm seriously considering adding solar panels to the house. Until recently I've viewed it as a trade off offering no real monetary advantage to me. Either pay the electric company forever or pay a lease for 20 years, replace the system when it dies and repeat. I'm now considering a system that I'd buy outright. It's advertised to produce enough to zero out my Power company bill and earn a refund or credit. Payments of roughly 50.00 a month less than my current average electric bill or buy outright for slightly under 19,000.

I'd really appreciate everyones comments, pro and con, based on personal experiences using a solar system. We have an appt this afternoon and any suggestions on questions I should be asking would be great. This system does not include battery back up but is set up for it to be added later if we wanted. I also understand that without back up if we lose power you also lose your own solar power as a safety measure to the grid workers.

Look forward to hearing any thoughts, there have to be dozens of things I haven't considered asking.

Thanks all!
 

ibglowin

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Well after the fiasco grid failure this past Winter in TX they are installing them left and right there but I have read like you mentioned that if the power goes down you get no power during the day which makes PV useless during a outage. I was seriously thinking about adding them to our house (have a perfect south facing pitched roof) as well but now have serious concerns as I would want my system to power my house during an outage (even if only during the day). I know that the math only really works if you purchase your system outright. Not worth it to lease. Also make sure your roof is newer as once its installed you will have a real issue trying to put on a new roof with the panels on the roof. We have several on our street but they are not being installed rapidly that's for sure and I live in a perfect town for them to be installed left and right (lots of sun and lots of $$$).

So it seems like you would also need a generator if you don't have any battery backup system (which are really expensive).
 

Kraffty

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Thanks Mike, I had the same thought regarding a generator vs battery since my goal is not "off grid" or "survivalist". I don't think we've had more than 3 outages in the 2-1/2 years we've been here and none have lasted more than a couple of hours.
 

jswordy

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Mike, I'm watching this. The price of panels has fallen precipitously, and I am super-interested in what a $19,000 system runs like. I could install that for cash. Been interested a long time but the deal for me is that there are no incentives to do it in Tennessee. One thing you might want to consider about timing is whether there may be new federal incentives coming along should there be a further shift in power in DC (no puns intended, lol) in 2 years.

The primary reason I am interested is that we live on a farm with well water, so adding a system would make us reliant on only natural gas for heat, and even then we have a wood stove source and working electric radiant wall heaters installed a long time ago that we never use now, so we are choosing gas rather than needing it. I like to be as independent as I can.

I have studied a bit, and was thinking if I could go solar with a battery backup and a natural gas-fired backup generator, I'd never need power off the grid. For sure the electric company is gonna charge me a minimum fee just to be hooked up, but other than that, I'd be free.

This is the way of the future, I believe. In 30 years I think it will be very common to see homes with a system and also connected to the grid, and also there will be a robust retrofitting industry. All new homes will be solar/grid hybrids. That way, we don;t need a heavy duty grid, since it is auxiliary in nature. But man are the utilities gonna scream first.

You might enjoy reading this:

The only thing that is holding the USA back on this now is all the laws that favor the electrical grid. It's the same reason that every cell call must travel through a cable at some point in its journey, it's the law, and that has held back our cellular network development over countries that started with no phone grid.

Anyway... lol... I'm watching this for sure!
 

joeswine

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Ok, let me say as a HVAC contractor for 30 years in the New Jersey.
If your in a sun belt state then the answer is most definitely YES. the problem becomes when you go to sell.
if your thinking about a battery back up we've been down this road before and the problem with batteries , they can be dangerous and when they die?? they also require service yearly in most cases.
separate gas generator is the way to go as a back up if you can.
now if you look at the state of Florida in some parts the electric is cheaper to us then the gas <GO FIGURE>
In my part of the woods people have had problems with resale of there homes do to contracts with solar or people want the home but not the solar and what does happen if you have a roof leak??
the above is strange but very true. and do to the fact we have more BUT heating days then cooling days.
another foof for thought if they can't find a way of getting read of windmill propellers ,Batteries a how other problem.
 
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Kraffty

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Jim, thanks, I've read of the town or community concept before but first time seeing an article about it actually happening.

Joe, I hadn't considered battery safety. The solar rep said, off the record, if we wanted battery backup we should investigate "after market" options based solely on the high cost of his companies product. I've also thought about the hang up of selling with a leased solar system, not that we plan on selling, but that's really the reason I'd only consider this if it was owned outright.

I'm leaning pretty heavily towards signing up this afternoon. It takes a couple of months with planning, permits, install. Right now we'd get approx $8,000 Fed Tax credit. I'd probably make the monthly payment for 48 months at which time our house is paid off, then apply that money over the next 6 months to pay off the panels. You have to believe that the Utility rates will continue to rise and the consideration of very low or no electric bill looks very attractive to us, especially as we get older and our income goes down a bit.
 

joeswine

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In the end they'll be no way to get around energy costs, companies no matter what there part are in it to make money nothing more.
You need to ask yourself one question
[ WHAT PRICE FOR ENERGY?
 

joeswine

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It's like wine judging, its all subjective to one's own needs.
Your in a Sunbelt state you really can't loose, go for it.
 

heatherd

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@Kraffty I have researched and designed them for some of my commercial projects and find them to be a great way to keep your power reliable, especially now that our weather is getting more and more extreme. I'd ask about the panels efficiency, life-span in terms of partial and total decay, where the panels are made, how you're storing energy, how your connecting to the grid in order to get your credits, whether the panels have to have a direct southern-facing exposure (some can face partially some not), replacement cost, and warranty.

The grid connection is a plus and a minus; you get credits but if everyone else needs your power you might not have enough. You'll want to really think through whether you want to be off-grid if your power is out for a week or more like recently happened in Texas to some of my friends - they had no power and no water, had to boil snow.

In terms of tax credits, there are federal, state, and local ones.
Federal: Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics | Department of Energy
State: Arizona Solar Incentives | Arizona Solar Rebates & Tax Credits (sunrun.com)

There are also solar roofs: Solar Roof | Tesla
Here's a list of some US-based manufacturers and their panel efficiencies: Which Solar Panels Are Made in the USA? (ecotality.com).
 
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joeswine

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Heres the catch 22 ,I understand what your saying.
My view, I'm letting you put solar panels on my roof and your charging me to rent them? I still have to pay you and sometimes the electric co.
Buying them outright is the answer now the electricity you don't use gets bought by the electric company in one way or the other, a win win , for you especially your in the right location with a back up generator if you'd like.
If iwould move to the southwest were you are i wouldn't give it a second thought.
 

Boatboy24

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Mike,

I'm sure it'll be much more than the 19k you're currently looking at, but just for grins, you can actually get an online estimate from Tesla just by putting in your address and your average electric bill. Not sure why they need your average bill, but it was an interesting exercise for me. But I'm not taking out a second mortgage on my house to put a Tesla roof on. At least now I know. 😂
 

ibglowin

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Without knowing your average electricity usage/bill you can't calculate net energy savings nor a payback time. By using an average $ amount they can still figure out savings and payback using an average KWH cost.

Not sure why they need your average bill, but it was an interesting exercise for me.
 

Boatboy24

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Without knowing your average electricity usage/bill you can't calculate net energy savings nor a payback time. By using an average $ amount they can still figure out savings and payback using an average KWH cost.
That's what I thought, but that information was not provided.

Edit: It was - had to dig a bit to get to it.

Edit/Edit: The price for the solar roof was very high. But the price for the Tesla solar panels actually wasn't bad - especially after the federal incentive. Much cheaper than buying one of their cars! Their website advertises the "lowest price in America".
 
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