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Solar panels

Post  sanderson on 1/30/2015, 7:58 pm

Has, I decided to start a new topic under "everything Else". Are you considering solar panels?
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Re: Solar panels

Post  has55 on 1/31/2015, 12:04 pm

sanderson wrote:Has,  I decided to start a new topic under "everything Else".  Are you considering solar panels?
It one of the projects I been researching when I can squeeze it in. The idea seem workable, but I keep hitting a road block on the expense of using this idea to decrease or eliminate the electric bill. I live in texas, and constant light is not an issue. You are the first person that I spoken to who actually have this in operation. this is why my curiosity has resurged. How is it working and have you found a way or company that provides what needed at an affordable cost?
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Re: Solar panels

Post  sanderson on 1/31/2015, 1:35 pm

Has, I'm going to Sacramento this weekend so I will get back with you on Monday.
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Re: Solar panels

Post  plantoid on 1/31/2015, 4:09 pm

As you may or may not  know I'm in the UK and in South Wales living on the ( east ) side of a big hill @ 117 mtrs above sea level .

We have had 16 square metres worth solar photovoltaic ( SOLAR PV) generating panels put up on our bungalow roof ..it's not ideal as the roof faces slightly south of south of southwest but it does get some quality sun from 11.00 hrs in winter and about 0930hrs  in summer 

 Our setup puts power back into the electric grid via an inverter , we also consume much of our generated power in the day time through the use of time clocks and judicious use of the brain to turn things on whilst we are generating. 

 Our set up was installed on the 4 Feb last year ( 2014 ) and so far up to tonight produced 3391.33 kilowatts of electricity for the year which we get paid £0. 14.7 p per KW hr . which in theory  gave us a £ 498.53 ( which is about $ 750 USD ).  tax free return  and lots of free power for the year .

 When we generate if we consume in that period 50% of it is not counted by the special electronic power registering  meter in the actual generating figures that we export to the power company so we get that 50% of free power.

It can be a little annoying to try and stay with in the 50 % free consumption band. But now we are a year on in to it it is becoming second nature of knowing when things that consume current are put on , we have also replaced every single old fashioned incandescent light bulb with the latest yellow blob LED lights ..our power bill has dropped like a stone.

 The cost of replacing all the bulbs was  about £ 260 ( $ 390 USD.)  but it should now be just the occasional change of a failed unit every eight or more years instead of a dozen of so incandescent bulbs every year .
The old heavy current filament bulbs & fluorescent tube lights are being phased out here in the UK & the EU under carbon emission reduction schemes and are starting to get harder and harder to source .

Our 16 square metre scheme cost us about £3200 to have installed up & running .. ROI should equalize around year nine then we will be in good profit .
 
What caused us to go for the Solar PV system is that we had a decent lump of dosh  sitting in banks, financial institutes  etc getting a very low rate of interest & the prospect of it growing much was not there certainly not for the next 10 years or more .  Plus it may well enhance the value of the property should the right sort of buyer come along in the future if we ever decide to sell up and move to a much smaller place as the benefits of Solar PV become more acceptable and valuable .

 Here we are only allowed a set size generating capacity as a householder & at this size if the array is normally 16 sq mtrs we do not have to get any planning permissions or consents from anybody ( that upset the " Lady "  who lives next door to me  Laughing )

Some for my friends went a slightly different route , they got planning permission for a much bigger array &  had the systems top of the range rectifiers set to right smack bang on the 4 KWh generating limit.
 What this means is that as their array is much bigger than mine they will easily generate the maximum allowed 4KW hr. for many more hours per year .

 One of my friends with such a larger set up who lives 60 miles south of me in Somerset UK has generated almost double of my set up . He said the  extra six panels & better specification  of inverter will pay for them selves in three years .
He is also on one of the early much larger reward tariffs as he started his generating some eight years ago and is to get nearly £1 ($ 1.50 USD ) per KWh generated . 

Though to give a bit of a counter balance eight years ago his system cost four times mine .

 My system has a written paid up 20 year guarantee that it will produce 96 % of the calculated output , any less and it is a free repair including labour & parts as well as call out charges & is to be completed within four ( I think that's correct) working days .
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Re: Solar panels

Post  deriter on 1/31/2015, 5:02 pm

This stuff interests me, but one thing I have been wondering.  What is the life expectancy of these panels?  Do they last indefinitely if storms do not damage them?
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Re: Solar panels

Post  camprn on 1/31/2015, 5:17 pm

deriter wrote:This stuff interests me, but one thing I have been wondering.  What is the life expectancy of these panels?  Do they last indefinitely if storms do not damage them?
Quite a while. http://energyinformative.org/lifespan-solar-panels/

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Re: Solar panels

Post  plantoid on 1/31/2015, 7:05 pm

deriter wrote:This stuff interests me, but one thing I have been wondering.  What is the life expectancy of these panels?  Do they last indefinitely if storms do not damage them?

 The early panels were not as reliable as the latest ones are ,as I've said my panels and rectifier have a 20 year guarantee.There is a very long slow degradation in cell output .
 I did have the figures for my panels but binned them as I was happy with what I read , I can't remember them though .
On re reading the post and trying to edit what I've just put  I do seem to recall that 35 years was being bandied about for panel life some 12 years ago , so current life expectancy could well exceed that .

When I was a school kid back in 1962 our brand new school had an experimental photo voltaic system made up with one foot hand wired square panels to provide the science lab with all it's power and to keep the smoke & fire alarm systems lead acid  batteries fully charged .
I was told it was still going strong without any work 26 years later till they had to replace six of the small photo voltaic panels that had dropped to about a 60 % output . .

 In mid October 2014 the panels & inverter in my system  survived a lightening strike that whacked the local power supply lines which then took out our electric oven digital control  , my wife's main computer back up power supply & my wet room's underfloor heating system .. both heat cable & controls as well as killing all 21 of our 12 volt low voltage lounge lighting light bulbs.
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Re: Solar panels

Post  deriter on 1/31/2015, 9:37 pm

That surprises me.  I did not figure them to last that long.  Thanks for the information.
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Re: Solar panels

Post  has55 on 2/1/2015, 3:56 am

thank you palntoid. very helpful. thank you camprn
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Re: Solar panels

Post  toledobend on 2/1/2015, 6:19 am

For us Louisiana residents, state and federal incentives will pay $12,500.00 (state: 50% of $25,000.00 max system) and $7,500.00 (federal: 30%) of a $25,000.00 system.  With an estimated $100.00 per month savings on the $25,000.00 system (I think that buys you 40 panels), payback is in about 5 years.  Just 16 months ago, $25,000.00 would have bought you less than 30 panels.
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Re: Solar panels

Post  has55 on 2/1/2015, 7:12 am

toledobend wrote:For us Louisiana residents, state and federal incentives will pay $12,500.00 (state: 50% of $25,000.00 max system) and $7,500.00 (federal: 30%) of a $25,000.00 system.  With an estimated $100.00 per month savings on the $25,000.00 system (I think that buys you 40 panels), payback is in about 5 years.  Just 16 months ago, $25,000.00 would have bought you less than 30 panels.

toledobend, that seem to be a great deal.thank you.  is this price completely installed?
anyone in texas using solar?
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Re: Solar panels

Post  sanderson on 2/1/2015, 11:33 am

When I get home, I'll be able to share our California experience.  We are happy with it.
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Solar Panels 2

Post  countrynaturals on 7/14/2017, 12:29 pm

Hubby is concerned about the future and wants to install a solar backup electrical system as "disaster preparedness." As soon as he mentioned it, I realize that my greenhouse would be the perfect place for it. It has a sturdy, flat roof in direct sun for the panels, and we could clean out the front tool shed for the batteries. So, here's my question: Could we use that extra electricity to heat/cool/light the greenhouse when we aren't having a disaster? Do any of you have solar anything? I am clueless and need all the help I can get. (I'm putting this in the "dream" thread in case the price tag sends me into cardiac arrest.) Rolling Eyes
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Re: Solar panels

Post  sanderson on 7/15/2017, 12:59 pm

The best answer to your questions would be to contact a solar company. They take your electrical usage history and do the math. The flexibility to go off grid would be your cost, I'm sure.

We have solar panels, primarily to offset the cost of summer air conditioning. They are installed on the southern slope of the house roof. I don't know how many batteries it would take to store energy for X number of hours use for a house and/or green house, but the fluorescent lights for seedlings does not take much power.

We pay $240 a month for the panels. During hours of low use, we sell to PGE. During hours of high use we buy electricity from them. At this time, while the solar panels are new-ish, we zero out on the electrical use.

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Re: Solar panels

Post  countrynaturals on 7/16/2017, 10:38 am

sanderson wrote:We pay $240 a month for the panels.  During hours of low use, we sell to PGE.  During hours of high use we buy electricity from them.  At this time, while the solar panels are new-ish, we zero out on the electrical use.  
Sounds good to me. Is the $240 a month some kind of rent or is that pmts to purchase? (Shows how little I know about the subject. Embarassed )
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Re: Solar panels

Post  sanderson on 7/17/2017, 3:19 am

It's a payment. We put X down and have payments. One thing to consider is at the end of use, the disposal costs will be unknown.

https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/SolarPanels/index.cfm

https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/SolarPanels/upload/SolarPanelFAQs.pdf

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Solar Panels

Post  countrynaturals on 7/17/2017, 11:27 am

sanderson wrote:It's a payment.  We put X down and have payments.  One thing to consider is at the end of use, the disposal costs will be unknown.

https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/SolarPanels/index.cfm

https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/SolarPanels/upload/SolarPanelFAQs.pdf
Good info. Thanks. So, how long do they last? Will they have to be replaced in our lifetime? Maybe we should lease them and let someone else worry about disposal. Is that an option? geek
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Re: Solar panels

Post  sanderson on 7/17/2017, 3:17 pm

I think 20-25 years. ?? The effectiveness decreases with time. They have to be washed periodically to stay most effective. This spring, with all the glorious rain we had, the cloudiness reduced the production. A trade-off. Very Happy

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Re: Solar panels

Post  plantoid on 7/17/2017, 5:11 pm

sanderson wrote:I think 20-25 years.  ??  The effectiveness decreases with time.  They have to be washed periodically to stay most effective.  This spring, with all the glorious rain we had, the cloudiness reduced the production.  A trade-off. Very Happy


 Most panels under 5 years old are /should be treated with a chemical coating that actually breaks up dirt into tiny balls which wash off when it rains  or if you give them a good wetting with a hose pipe spray so long as it's not when it's in baking hot sunshine .. do it at dusk instead if there is strong sun .

 We have kept a log of units produced at the end of every month & compare it with those of internet friends across the same latitude in the UK using the same website . It's a rough way of seeing how you are comparing to them thus checking your panels are working well .
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Re: Solar panels

Post  has55 on 7/18/2017, 2:35 am

sanderson wrote:I think 20-25 years.  ??  The effectiveness decreases with time.  They have to be washed periodically to stay most effective.  This spring, with all the glorious rain we had, the cloudiness reduced the production.  A trade-off. Very Happy
I didn't know you could but solar panels on a payment plan. I thought it was all cash up front. Good to know.
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solar panels

Post  kauairosina on 7/18/2017, 3:49 am

We have two large arrays of solar panels, one on the roof of the larger house, one in a field below.  We power four Nissan leafs with them as well as our house and hot tub usage.  We have found our electric bill has gone down measurably and we pay less for the electric for our cars than we did for the gas for our previous vehicles. 

Yes, we got substantial credits at first which certainly helped.
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Re: Solar panels

Post  sanderson on 7/18/2017, 3:58 am

I can only speak to California with it's $5,000 rebate for installing solar. The company gets that if you make payments. The best thing would be to contact a couple of TX companies.

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Re: Solar panels

Post  has55 on 7/18/2017, 11:06 am

sanderson wrote:I can only speak to California with it's $5,000 rebate for installing solar.  The company gets that if you make payments.  The best thing would be to contact a couple of TX companies.
thank you
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Re: Solar panels

Post  countrynaturals on 7/18/2017, 12:19 pm

sanderson wrote:I can only speak to California with it's $5,000 rebate for installing solar.  The company gets that if you make payments.  The best thing would be to contact a couple of TX companies.
Good to know, Sanderson. Thanks. thanks
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Re: Solar panels

Post  sanderson on 7/18/2017, 3:14 pm

Well, it looks like the rebates have expired except for a few small utility companies. You will need to contact a solar company to find out current facts.

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