Those of you with solar...?

Discussion in 'The BS Topic' started by 76z28, May 6, 2019.

  1. Shizzle

    Shizzle Veteran Member

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    When my step worked for solar city, he said the leases were a joke, 10, 15, 20 yrs, the technology is obsolete before the lease was 5 yrs old.
     
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  2. GoldenOne7710

    GoldenOne7710 Equal Opportunity Offender Lifetime Gold Member

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    Where in the N GA mountains?
     
  3. ol' grouch

    ol' grouch Veteran Member

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    The company I work for has a solar power division. I was reading in some literature on sales that California is requiring solar power on some new construction. It's been a while and the only reason I was reading it is I'm in the roofing division and we make special roofing for use under the solar panels.

    My power bill, gas and electric, is usually under $200 a month. Very rarely over, and usually under. Granted, I shut things off when not in use and live alone. Still, I pay, at most, $2400 a year.
     
  4. dcozzi

    dcozzi Veteran Member

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    Here in AZ, where sun is very easy to come by, they are all chirping to the tune of "free".
    Nothing is free, APS will not buy back your electricity anymore, free means 15-20 year lease, warranty does not matter if the company no longer exists, the "savings" turns out to be about what I pay now to the power company and I do not want it screwed to my roof. If you want to sell the house, it has to include the solar or you have to pay off the balance of the lease.
    No thanks.
     
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  5. Todd80Z28

    Todd80Z28 Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    You're going to have to do local research. What works or doesn't work for any area other than yours won't matter much in the end.
    1. What are the electric rates in Bakersfield area? A casual search shows rates 30-40% above the national average, and if that's true, your payback is quicker.
    2. Any East Coast payback period will be vastly different than the SoCal desert, just based on solar irradiance. The sun will shine a lot more where you are than out here, 5kW worth of panels on the roof will produce more overall in your area than others.
    3. You get 30% Federal tax credit on the system. This is a dollar-for-dollar credit that reduces your tax bill, not a deduction.
    4. What are the CA state incentives? They've been generous in the past.
    5. What are the local incentives from the county, city, utility? These vary wildly from $0-to-decent sums.

    I would absolutely improve insulation if needed, swap out to LEDs all around (which are stupid cheap now), etc... A more efficient place reduces the need for such a large system- win-win. Keep in mind, you'll most certainly be grid-connected, so you'll have plenty of reserve if needed.

    As noted, I would not even consider a lease.
     
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  6. Todd80Z28

    Todd80Z28 Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Oh forgot to mention- have a buddy who lives 30-ish miles from here, he's put up ~6kW of panels thus far, and has done most of the work himself (must be inspected by a qualified electrician to satisfy code/work permit, of course). He says he pays no bill in the summer, pays some in the winter, but he heats with a heat pump, so his winter electric demands are higher than typical (I heat with natural gas, so my winter electric bill is pretty low). This is Northern VA, and winter can stay cloudy and gray for days on end, but he still generates some power so long as they aren't snow covered.
    He likes it, is waiting until he can get an electric car for cheaper to start using his own power to run the car, too.:)

    Bottom line- you ought to be able to get in around $3/watt after the fed tax credit, maybe lower if there are local incentives. DIY would be even lower, probably half that.
     
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  7. PalmbchZ28

    PalmbchZ28 Veteran Member Gold Member

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    Gilmer County
     
  8. GoldenOne7710

    GoldenOne7710 Equal Opportunity Offender Lifetime Gold Member

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    Ah, you're right in the middle of N GA. Elijay is a beautiful town...they all are up that way. I go to Blairsville and Dawsonville several times a week. Love the mountains.
     
  9. danbrennan

    danbrennan Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Something I've been thinking about - with the Tesla roof solar shingles, there can't be a tracking system to maximize power? So in northern climes, it would make more sense to set them up on a ground mount, and incorporate at least a single axis altitude tracker? I can't see reinforcing my roof to support a tracking system. This article claims a single axis tracker can boost output by 30-40%, depending latitude, I imagine. It seems to say the single axis trackers change azimuth, one needs a dual tracker to get altitude adjustments. Our house isn't all that far from the 45th parallel, so I'm guessing a tracker could help. They admit trackers are expensive.

    https://www.solarreviews.com/blog/are-solar-axis-trackers-worth-the-additional-investment
     
  10. Todd80Z28

    Todd80Z28 Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    That's the thing... panels are approaching $1/watt range, so there's less of an incentive to bother with the complexity of tracking systems. Face them south, low angle if your southern, higher angle if your northern, and collect away. A lot less to maintain.

    FWIW, I think the Tesla solar shingles are both genius and really stupid. I mean, who wouldn't want a roof that looks like a high quality, 50+ year roof with nothing tacked on, that generates power. HOWEVER-
    1. Holy crap, think of the insidious number of connections (failure points) between the tiles.
    2. Failures? That adds an order of magnitude of complexity to swapping out failures.
    I would only partake if they guaranteed performance for a LONG time, AND it came with a full-stop parts AND labor warranty for replacements. Like decades long. Otherwise, just do the panels. There are US companies doing them cleanly now, like Solaria for instance in all-black. I do wonder how they will hold up in hotter climates though- those panels must hit 160+F in the FL sun!
     

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