Those of you with solar...?

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

  1. ssupercoolss

    ssupercoolss Veteran Member

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    I would like see solar work, but i just cant get behind it yet, with leases and all the fees, and the fee fee they charge. My electric at both houses is so insignificant anyways. I am a huge fan of LED's. Put LED's in everything. i replaced like 25 metal halide bulbs and gutted the ballasts out of the fixtures in our shop, and i can tell you its so much cooler in the summer, and brighter. A friend of mine has a huge machine shop of sorts, and put panels on his roof years ago. Says he could never do it again with out the money the government was giving out to do it. I know in Jersey the Electric Company rents rooftops of customers of mine to put solar panels up.
     
  2. xten

    xten Veteran Member

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    Thank you!
     
  3. danbrennan

    danbrennan Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    This article popped up on a local news site, and since we were just discussing residential solar, I thought it was relevant. I live in Livingston County. $15K to $20K still strikes me as a lot of money, and unless one is going to live in the house for quite a number of years, I'm not sure one will get it back when they sell the house.

    https://www.livingstondaily.com/sto...-the-green-panel-renewable-energy/3638780002/

    "In March last year, Jim Burgess's electric bill was approximately $180. "

    "In October, he had a 24-panel solar array installed on his property by Brighton-based company The Green Panel that produces an average of 7,200 watts per hour of energy that he uses in his Brighton Township home. It cut his DTE Energy Co. electric bill in March this year to about $38."

    "For approximately $15,000 to $20,000, a resident can install a solar array on their property, said The Green Panel owner Adam Harris. That's down from approximately $30,000 on average when the company was founded in 2006."

    "The rural people get it. We find there’s a lot more traction in rural areas than urban areas," Harris said.

    "Jim Burgess pays $182 a month toward his $21,000 array. "

    "Until it's paid off, he'll get credit he can put toward his electric bill, he said. After its paid off, any excess power produced will be free."

    "In the township, any solar installations are treated as an accessory to a home, she said."

    ""We will continue to treat ground-mounted systems like accessory structures under the zoning ordinance and as long as they meet those standards," Schmitt said."
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  4. xten

    xten Veteran Member

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    "After its paid off, any excess power produced will be free."
    What does this mean? Say, if his bill is $100, and he puts $200 back in the grid after his system is paid off, he doesn't get a credit for that? I don't understand. My friend's brother installed solar himself, and they buy his excess. If the wording isn't ambiguous or I'm just not getting it, That's a rip.
     
  5. Todd80Z28

    Todd80Z28 Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    What you're referring to is "Net-metering," and the rules vary wildly state-to-state. I did some quick checking, and it would seem that DTE (their local electrical provider) lobbied strongly for reduced net-metering benefits, and was able to get it into law. So, what that could mean is that DTE must agree to a certain higher rate of net metering during an early period (or the loan period), which helps net the panel owner more bucks to pay the system back more quickly, and then drops the payback rate later. Also, if you check your bill, there's often a fuel/generation charge, and a separate distribution charge. Electrical companies don't want to pay anything of course, but they are pushing very hard to pay you the fuel/generation charge ONLY on the net- meaning you might only get 3-5c/kW-hr in return anyway.

    This is the lobbying power of electrical companies at work. They are able to legislate to their benefit.

    The ROI on most systems now, considering only the fed rebate and not state/local (if any), is often 10% or higher now- which implies payback in 7-8 years. That's a decent return in the stock market.
     
  6. Coadster32

    Coadster32 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Here in CT, the state was mandated to use "X" amount of renewable engery by the year "XX". If homeowners spend their own money on solar, and help "feed the grid", the power companies then have to spend almost nothing to meet those requirements. We are/were only allowed to put up 90% of our average projected usage of power on our roofs, so the power companies don't really pay us anything. Basically, what we make during the day during sunlit hours (or summer), we burn up at night, (or winter). It becomes a wash. And 10-15 years later, when your panels aren't generating the same amount of power, the power companies still will get paid from you.


    I agree that the "return" isn't bad at a 8-9 year break even point, but...the risk is all on you. One big storm comes and takes out your panels, and you can't recover.
     
  7. danbrennan

    danbrennan Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Todd found more than I currently know. I do know there was a lot of debate in the Michigan State legislature about net metering, about a year or two ago, but I forget how it turned out, I figured I'd dig into it if I got serious about a solar installation. Yes, my electric bill has separate charges for generation versus distribution(I think they're pretty closely divided 50/50, but I don't have an electric bill in front of me). I do remember DTE(and other power companies, and in other states) were pushing to buy back the electricity only up to the rate one pays for generation. Some of the early plans, like I think the one in California, required the power companies to buy back the electricity at the generation rate plus the distribution rate, which the power companies claimed was unfair, and forced non-solar customers to subsidize the distribution costs of the solar customers. But I think all states have amended that now to force the power companies to only buy back electricity at the generation rate.
     
  8. goofnrox

    goofnrox Veteran Member

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    I wondered why they started breaking out the distribution charges. Even you didn't get paid for any excess generated electricity you would still need to pay to maintain the grid. My most recent bill was roughly $46 actual electricity cost versus $30 distribution/system access fees. I'd imagine as more and more people start putting excess solar onto the grid those distribution and access fees will continue to rise.
     
  9. Todd80Z28

    Todd80Z28 Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    It really shouldn't be... homeowner's insurance should cover- most do, you may have to add the system cost to your coverage limits though. And truthfully, it would have to be a BIG BIG storm- any decent installation should cover 100-year wind events, and most panels are very resistant to even large hail damage.
     
  10. 8pack

    8pack Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    I could write a tome on this.....

    Leasing Is a rip off period. The contracts are completely in the favor of the leasing company. They give you some great up front incentives but once those fade you are paying pretty close to the same rates you would pay for your electricity anyway.

    The leasing companies own the panels, not you, therefore you can do no work on your roof or touch the panels without their permission or using their contractor. You break it, you own it at the full buyout price. If you mount them in the yard then the roof issue is not relevant.

    ADDED COMMENT: If your panels are grid dependent, which the leased panels are, they CANNOT be used as back up power in an emergency as they are tied directly to the grid and do not function independent of it. Although you can by the equipment reasonably to set that up, the leasing company won't let you touch the equipment. So the benefit of being "off grid" in an emergency doesn't exist.

    Buyout prices are crazy high.

    If you think you are going to sell your house and the panels are going to make it more appealing, think again. The buyer has to take over the lease and you have already taken all the incentives up front. A losing proposition for the buyer and it will almost always reduce your homes value not add to it.

    Now if you can afford to buy th panels up front, know you are not go8ng to be selling your house and will have enough time to ean back the up front investment then maybe it is right for you....just remember, a $30k up front investment with a 10 year payback would mean that same $30k would be worth $60k++ over that same 10 years if invested so that needs to go into your calculation.

    As stated early, eliminate those 100 watt bulbs and replace with LEDs and keep off vampire appliances and put your savings in an investment account every month. You will be surprised in 10 years what you have in the bank....
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019

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