How many of you have solar pannels?

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Dream of Freedom
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How many of you have solar pannels?

Post by Dream of Freedom » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:06 pm

With the plethora of ecologically minded people here and after reading that solar is becoming competitive with fossil fuels I was wondering how many of you had made the move to solar.

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Re: How many of you have solar pannels?

Post by jacob » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:52 pm

Not here. Economically, it doesn't make sense. Since we're using ~10% of the electricity of the average American household, the payoff time for even a small system is decades. It would make a lot more sense if our consumption was larger.

Add: IL/ComEd does have some kind of system where excess electricity can be sold back for credit. (This was the case last year when I looked into it---It wasn't the case a few years ago when I first looked into it.) Also, there's some kind of trading system in which the state will give you cash for providing green energy. This still seems to be at the stage of "if you're interested in this, please call this advisory number and talk to ...".

That said, a medium sized 2000W panel system is next on my wish list. I don't want to commit to batteries as that does not make sense at all because that's an ongoing expense as they need to be replaced <10 years---it's cheaper just to pay the grid fees and taxes. I consider the 2kW as a backup in case the local powersystem goes down during a 100year heatwave. This would allow us to run a small one-room A/C during daytime. Since we don't have children <5yo or old people >65yo in the house, it would be possible to simply suck it up. Having experienced [how 3+ weeks of constant mild heat exhaustion with no relief feels during] the 2003 European heatwave (that resulted in ~30,000 attributed overdeaths, primarily old people), I'm willing to buy that kind of "hardware insurance".

PS: The nearest house I'm aware of with PV installed is about 2 miles away. Solar is somewhat of a rarity around here.

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Re: How many of you have solar pannels?

Post by prognastat » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:07 pm

None here as there is no requirement here for the power company to buy back energy or even offer to trade energy delivered back to the grid at other times meaning you have to either see a lot of generation go to waste or make up a lot with grid power severely limiting the financial viability. It's still likely to eventually come out cheaper, but not in under 10 years.

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Re: How many of you have solar pannels?

Post by luxagraf » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:06 pm

Lived off 300W of solar with 220ah of batteries in an RV for two years, not sure if that's ecologically minded or not, but it did give me some perspective on solar. Solar is great, if you adjust your lifestyle to the point that you hardly use any energy. In an RV solar still makes sense because there really is no other choice, but after you make that adjustment, as Jacob points out, economically (the upfront investment), it probably won't make sense for most people in stick houses.

If you are looking to go from grid energy to solar without adjusting your lifestyle first. gods help you, you're in for some learning.

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Re: How many of you have solar pannels?

Post by ffj » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:29 pm

I've got a 300W system feeding 270 ah's of batteries. This is strictly a back-up system for power outages so I can run vital appliances ( refrigerator/freezer and basement sump pump ) and keep our phones charged. I also keep several flashlights constantly charged with the system. My system cost $2000 and is guaranteed for 25 years and I view it as an insurance policy, especially after my basement flooded after an outage several years ago.

I also have an invertor that I can use with a vehicle. So as long as I have a running vehicle I'll have power.


Re: How many of you have solar pannels?

Post by thegreatvoid » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:45 am

We have a very old photovoltaic system .

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Re: How many of you have solar pannels?

Post by McTrex » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:03 pm

We have a 5400WP installation on our roof, together with a 40 vacuum tube solar collector for hot sanitary water. Around us are quite a few roofs with solar panels, maybe 5-10% of the roofs. In the Netherlands, any solar power you generate is subtracted from your energy use throughout the year, although that’s about to end in 2020.

Lucky C
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Re: How many of you have solar pannels?

Post by Lucky C » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:22 am

Yes, Rhode Island had excellent solar incentives, so my rate of return is about 12% despite not doing any of the work myself. I have 12 panels installed by RGS Energy (highly recommended especially vs. SolarCity) that are metered separately. So I still get my regular electric bill but it's like I have my own little power plant that makes a profit. I got the 30% federal credit and get paid 38 cents per kWh by National Grid for what I produce, with both these benefits being phased out. About $11k installed after the credit, earning me about $1.4k per year. Although I consume more than I produce, I still get paid more than my electric bill since they pay out so much per kWh. This is a 15 year constant contract (I don't get paid more when electricity costs rise), after which I can just switch to net metering.

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Re: How many of you have solar pannels?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:09 pm

I have a portable 60 watt set that I use when I am off-grid along with a 23000mAh, 100W max battery bank. I think J.M. Greer hit it on the nose when he noted that it is best to reserve electricity for transmission of information. I would suggest that air circulation could be another appropriate use. Very little electricity is needed to just provide enough light and power a phone and/or radio and/or small computer and run a couple small fans.

Of course, there is currently no shortage of fire wood in Northern Michigan, so obvious choice for heating fuel.

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