Fundraising for 2019/2020: 12 Months Renewed - We are good until October 2020. Paypal Donation Link Here

Solar Power. Talk to me.

Everything else!

Moderators: Bakhtosh, EvilHomer3k

Post Reply
User avatar
RunningMn9
Posts: 22935
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:55 pm
Location: The Sword Coast
Contact:

Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by RunningMn9 » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:36 pm

I was informed to day that the great state of NJ has a rebate program for purchase and installation of Solar Power systems (and also has a law that forces power companies to allow me to sell excess power back to the grid). What I can't find out, is how much these systems actually cost.

Or how much I need. I found this:
PV Systems
PV systems (also known as solar-electric systems) are eligible for incentives paid incrementally, based on the size of the system installed (DC rating). Systems up to 1 MW in capacity are eligible, but incentives are paid only for the first 700 kilowatts (kW) of capacity. Payment amounts also vary by customer class. The rebate is reduced by 15% for owner-installed systems. Effective for applications received on or after March 15, 2006, approved projects installed by all public and nonprofit applicants are eligible for the following incentive levels:

* $5.15 per watt for the first 10 kW of system capacity
* $4.15 per watt for the next 30 kW of system capacity
* $3.50 per watt for the next 60 kW of system capacity
* $3.40 per watt for the next 600 kW of system capacity

Effective for applications received on or after March 15, 2006, approved projects installed by all private-sector applicants (residential, commercial and industrial) are eligible for the following incentive levels. Note that single-family rebate applications are limited to the first 10 kW of project capacity.

* $4.35 per watt for the first 10 kW of system capacity
* $3.20 per watt for the next 30 kW of system capacity
* $3.00 per watt for the next 60 kW of system capacity
* $2.80 per watt for the next 600 kW of system capacity

Significantly, effective for applications received on or after February 1, 2006, approved projects installed by residential, commercial and industrial applicants are eligible for an additional rebate of $0.25 per watt for PV modules manufactured in New Jersey. Furthermore, PV systems up to 10 kW in capacity participating in the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program also will receive an additional rebate of $0.25 per watt.*
Apparently if I play the system right - I can get a $5.35 per watt rebate. For a 10kW system, that's a $53,500 rebate.

How much do these damn things cost to install that they are giving away rebates like that?!?

One article I read by a guy in NJ alleged that the system costs $72,000 installed. A neighbor of mine has recently had a system installed. If I talked to my neighbors, he might be a good person to ask...

The article mentioned that he can make about $2400 per year selling energy back in the form of something called SRECs.

Any solar power people here?
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

User avatar
LordMortis
Posts: 61191
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:26 pm

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by LordMortis » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:44 pm

I'm sure it's all changed greatly since when I was growing up, but my parents went in for all that and what they got was expensive junk technology.

Also before you consider anything, consider how much you want to do with your southern exposure as that's where you will be pulling all of your solar energy from.

It's a bit late in the year, but the place to find out about this stuff and the vendors of the technology is to go to a home owners show in your area.

User avatar
LawBeefaroni
Forum Moderator
Posts: 46724
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: Urbs in Horto, where we only use the old smilies

Post by LawBeefaroni » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:48 pm

We're kind of looking into it too (partial solar, not off-the-grid style).

I think you're looking at at least $30K to start for a basic home setup. For a 10KW system last time I looked into it you're talking upwards of $75K.

EDIT:

Here's one formulafor calculating cost. Keep in mind new appliances, wiring, etc. aren't included.
" Hey OP, listen to my advice alright." -Tha General
"No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer." -Stigler's Law of Eponymy, discovered by Robert K. Merton

MYT

User avatar
Incendiary Lemon
Posts: 2954
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 6:33 am
Location: Middleburg, Virginia

Post by Incendiary Lemon » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:49 pm

Its worth it these days. One of my mates is big into Green Economy I'll see if he has something worthwhile to send on.

User avatar
RunningMn9
Posts: 22935
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:55 pm
Location: The Sword Coast
Contact:

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:57 am

LawBeefaroni wrote:Here's one formulafor calculating cost. Keep in mind new appliances, wiring, etc. aren't included.
Hmmm...that seems like a good site that had the magic information. $9 per watt installed. And NJ can hook me up with $4.35 per watt in rebate. Which means that the installed system should run about $4.65 per watt (assuming I can't get that $9 per watt down...).

And it tells me how to calculate how much power I need, which allows me to calculate how much $$ I would save if the sun was providing my power needs. Luckily my house has clear exposure to the south with absolutely no shade.

Thanks for the link.
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

User avatar
Kraken
Posts: 34491
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:59 pm
Location: The Hub of the Universe
Contact:
Kraken’s avatar
Offline

Post by Kraken » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:13 am

Look into solar heat/hot water as well as electricity. Last I heard, heat storage systems were much more economical than electrical generation.

User avatar
LordMortis
Posts: 61191
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:26 pm

Post by LordMortis » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:19 am

RunningMn9 wrote:Luckily my house has clear exposure to the south with absolutely no shade.
That's the first, most important thing. Number two is do you want to change that exposure (and how it looks) with solar collectors?

User avatar
Smoove_B
Posts: 40118
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:58 am
Location: Kaer Morhen

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:34 am

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope
Good to hear you're looking into it. I hadn't completely given up on you.

User avatar
RunningMn9
Posts: 22935
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:55 pm
Location: The Sword Coast
Contact:

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:41 am

Smoove_B wrote:
We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope
Good to hear you're looking into it. I hadn't completely given up on you.
If I have to fork over $20,000, I can assure that I will stop looking into it. :)
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

User avatar
LordMortis
Posts: 61191
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:26 pm

Post by LordMortis » Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:46 pm

Smoove_B wrote:
We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope
What a horrible curse. Hope is a crappy, crappy thing. A much better toast might be: "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." How much more comforting is that? To have no hope. No worries. To accept. As opposed to looking at probababily. Knowing the odds are stacked against you. That everything in the cards, dice, and stars say you are going to eat a shit sandwich, but to go about thinking it's gonna be stacked ham, and then eating the shit sandwich anyway. Man, you suck.

User avatar
msteelers
Posts: 6323
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 9:30 pm
Location: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Contact:

Post by msteelers » Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:33 pm

So let me get this straight...using solar power you can get yourself off of the grid, or at least to a large degree. Financially you wont have to pay a power bill every month and in fact in some cases get paid for power you don't use? Is that how it works?

Do the solar panels charge some battery-like object that holds the charge? Can you go a couple days of little to no sun and still be ok, or are you going to lose power completely? Because if it can hold a charge for a reasonable amount of time, it seems like almost a no-brainer investment, especially with the prices of oil and energy going up (at least in my area). $20,000+ is really steep, even if it pays for itself relatively quickly, is it something you could get a second mortgage or something for, and pay it that way, or is that bad because now you have to pay interest on it?

I am ignorant to all this stuff, but I would like to be either in a house or on my way to owning a house within 5-10 years and want to know these things.

I guess my other question would be does it raise the value of the house at all? I would think so, but I don't know.

User avatar
Crabbs
Posts: 3580
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:49 am
Contact:

Post by Crabbs » Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:43 pm

And the newest rage ( very successful from my research) are Solar Roofing Tiles which look exactly like regular roofing tiles.

I looked into this about 5 years ago to "go off the grid" with my clinic and was looking at $40K + to do it. I would be very, very suprised if you can do it for under $20K.
'The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.'
- Bertrand Russell -

Wii # 2042 8377 5645 6582

The Rainbow's Reward

Olivia's Big Adventure

User avatar
Enough
Posts: 14148
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:05 pm
Location: Serendipity
Contact:

Post by Enough » Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:47 pm

My sister's house is completely off the grid so she can't sell power back, but she has had great luck with solar. Getting used cells was significantly cheaper for her, but you end up having to use more of them as they are not as high-powered as the newer ones. Also world demand is extremely high so the cost is of course going up. And the polysilicon supply is tight (OMG Peak Silicon!!11). And in Cali don't count on selling your excess solar power back to the utilities.
My blog (mostly photos): Fort Ephemera - My Flickr Photostream

“You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either.” ―Galen Rowell

User avatar
LawBeefaroni
Forum Moderator
Posts: 46724
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: Urbs in Horto, where we only use the old smilies

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:58 pm

msteelers wrote: So let me get this straight...using solar power you can get yourself off of the grid, or at least to a large degree. Financially you wont have to pay a power bill every month and in fact in some cases get paid for power you don't use? Is that how it works?
If you're truly off the grid, you can't sell power back. But yes, that's the general idea. Don't expect to make any real income selling back, it's more of a formality and you probably won't see much money. From what I've read.
msteelers wrote: Do the solar panels charge some battery-like object that holds the charge? Can you go a couple days of little to no sun and still be ok, or are you going to lose power completely? Because if it can hold a charge for a reasonable amount of time, it seems like almost a no-brainer investment, especially with the prices of oil and energy going up (at least in my area). $20,000+ is really steep, even if it pays for itself relatively quickly, is it something you could get a second mortgage or something for, and pay it that way, or is that bad because now you have to pay interest on it?
A good setup will have batteries so you have power during the evening and low-sun days. How much capacity those batteries have varies, the more capacity, the more expensive.

$20K probably won't cut it.
msteelers wrote:
I am ignorant to all this stuff, but I would like to be either in a house or on my way to owning a house within 5-10 years and want to know these things.

I guess my other question would be does it raise the value of the house at all? I would think so, but I don't know.
It does raise the value of the house. Substantially.
" Hey OP, listen to my advice alright." -Tha General
"No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer." -Stigler's Law of Eponymy, discovered by Robert K. Merton

MYT

User avatar
Enough
Posts: 14148
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:05 pm
Location: Serendipity
Contact:

Post by Enough » Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:00 pm

With buying used my sister didn't spend anywhere near $20k. Of course they installed it and pieced together used parts from all over to pull it off. They also built their own house. She's handy that way.
My blog (mostly photos): Fort Ephemera - My Flickr Photostream

“You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either.” ―Galen Rowell

User avatar
LawBeefaroni
Forum Moderator
Posts: 46724
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: Urbs in Horto, where we only use the old smilies

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:02 pm

Enough wrote:With buying used my sister didn't spend anywhere near $20k. Of course they installed it and pieced together used parts from all over to pull it off. They also built their own house. She's handy that way.
I'm guessing her KWH usage is relatively low.
" Hey OP, listen to my advice alright." -Tha General
"No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer." -Stigler's Law of Eponymy, discovered by Robert K. Merton

MYT

User avatar
Enough
Posts: 14148
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:05 pm
Location: Serendipity
Contact:

Post by Enough » Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:05 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Enough wrote:With buying used my sister didn't spend anywhere near $20k. Of course they installed it and pieced together used parts from all over to pull it off. They also built their own house. She's handy that way.
I'm guessing her KWH usage is relatively low.
Yeah, it's not huge but it spikes into that territory occasionaly. Like running a welder, having all the lights on, the water pump cranking, etc. with no issues. They did run out of juice one time since she's been solar, fittingly it was on the Winter Solstice. They have very low power lighting and fixtures which helps also.

Now if I ever wanted to go solar I would have to figure out how to accomodate my wife's electric kiln. I'm thinking, "Honey, how do you like the idea of a gas kiln?" :lol:
My blog (mostly photos): Fort Ephemera - My Flickr Photostream

“You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either.” ―Galen Rowell

User avatar
LordMortis
Posts: 61191
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:26 pm

Post by LordMortis » Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:14 pm

If all I'm getting is electric then 20k is obscene. I don't know what the tax break is, but I average less than $100 a month for electric. The ROI is almost in terms of decades.

User avatar
Crabbs
Posts: 3580
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:49 am
Contact:

Post by Crabbs » Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:21 pm

LordMortis wrote:If all I'm getting is electric then 20k is obscene. I don't know what the tax break is, but I average less than $100 a month for electric. The ROI is almost in terms of decades.
This is quite true. At this point it if you are not in a full sunshine state it is much more a statement of belief rather than an monetary investment.
'The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.'
- Bertrand Russell -

Wii # 2042 8377 5645 6582

The Rainbow's Reward

Olivia's Big Adventure

User avatar
msteelers
Posts: 6323
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 9:30 pm
Location: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Contact:

Post by msteelers » Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:18 pm

LordMortis wrote:If all I'm getting is electric then 20k is obscene. I don't know what the tax break is, but I average less than $100 a month for electric. The ROI is almost in terms of decades.
Our rates seem to be incredible here in Florida...especially during the summer months where we have to run the A/C non-stop (and it's set at 78).

My electricity for my apartment is almost always over $100, and my friends apartment that has bad weather stripping and what not is over $200 in the summer (we don't go there, he can't run A/C because of the electricity sometimes so it gets too hot).

I would also think that the value it adds to your house would be included in the ROI...but I certainly wouldn't shell out $20,000+ to cut out a bill that is less than $100/month.

User avatar
Odin
Posts: 20728
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY

Post by Odin » Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:28 am

RunningMn9 wrote:
Smoove_B wrote:
We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope
Good to hear you're looking into it. I hadn't completely given up on you.
If I have to fork over $20,000, I can assure that I will stop looking into it. :)
I looked into this very very seriously about a year ago. The initial buy-in is about $24k for near-total electricity replacement (ie. you can operate without buying any power from the power company, and maybe even sell some back). With rebates and tax credits and such, it was actually going to be more like $14k. What it didn't get me for that price was any sort of battery set-up that would allow me to totally disconnect from the grid and, for instance, have power day and night even during an extended electical outage (such as after a big storm where lines were down for a couple of days). That was going to add an additional $6-8K to the cost, for a total of around $30K before rebates, or $20K after the various incentives were in place.

I talked to my wife about it, and we decided that we just can't be sure whether we're definitely going to be living here long enough to recoup that cost at a few cents per kwh. We couldn't be sure that a solar-powered house would definitely recoup the value if we were to sell it (though logic says it very well could) because there are no similar houses around to compare it to (ie. you can't argue that it will recoup 150% of the purchase cost based on some set of statistics, as the available sample is statistically insignificant). And ultimately we just decided that we didn't have that money to spend, as we're still trying to catch up after my 2-year unemployment some 15 months after it ended.

It's still on the list of things to look at, and I'd definitely expect to add it in if I were building a house and could add it up front to be paid for over 20 years through the mortgage.

Sith

User avatar
RunningMn9
Posts: 22935
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:55 pm
Location: The Sword Coast
Contact:

Post by RunningMn9 » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:15 am

In NJ, the law says that the power companies have to allow "net metering". Basically when the solar panels produce more power than my house needs, that excess power goes upstream, and the meter on the house will basically run backwards. When the panels cannot produce enough energy to satisfy my needs, I draw power from the grid, and the meter runs forward. At the end of the month, I pay the net difference (I don't know whether they pay me if it's a net negative, or if it carries over to the next month, or whatever).

It turns out thought that NJ is the best state in the union if you are going to buy one of these systems. They're rebates are insane.

Let's say that my power needs dictate a 7kW system. Installed, the cost of that is approximately $63,000 (no batteries). The State of NJ picks up $34,000 of that. And the federal government gives you a tax credit equal to 30% of the balance that I would pay (30% of $29,000), capped at $2,000.

So it would cost me about $27,000 for the system. If I had to ballpark it, I pay about $250 per month for electricity averaged over the year. It would take 9 years to make it a positive investment, assuming that it gets me 100% off the grid, which seems unlikely.

Oh well.
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

User avatar
Odin
Posts: 20728
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY

Post by Odin » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:24 am

RunningMn9 wrote:It turns out thought that NJ is the best state in the union if you are going to buy one of these systems. They're rebates are insane.

It would take 9 years to make it a positive investment, assuming that it gets me 100% off the grid, which seems unlikely.

Oh well.
Yup, yup and pretty much my reaction. NY would have been almost identical in terms of how much I'd have actually paid versus the list price, although the list price I'd ballparked was a LOT less than you were looking at (not sure if that's because I needed less power or it just costs less to do here). It was going to take me 5-6 years to pay for itself in savings and what little net differece I might have sold back to the power company (remember that you might be selling to them all day, but then buying back at night when you're home and it's dark out - the amount of "leftover" power that you generated and didn't use could be fairly modest), which just made it hard to justify the up-front outlay of cash. Granted, on year 7 when it turns to pure profit, that's going to be pretty nice, which is why I'm still considering it when I feel like I know I'll be in a house for the long haul.

Sith

User avatar
LordMortis
Posts: 61191
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:26 pm

Post by LordMortis » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:30 am

RunningMn9 wrote:In NJ, the law says that the power companies have to allow "net metering". Basically when the solar panels produce more power than my house needs, that excess power goes upstream, and the meter on the house will basically run backwards. When the panels cannot produce enough energy to satisfy my needs, I draw power from the grid, and the meter runs forward. At the end of the month, I pay the net difference (I don't know whether they pay me if it's a net negative, or if it carries over to the next month, or whatever).

It turns out thought that NJ is the best state in the union if you are going to buy one of these systems. They're rebates are insane.

Let's say that my power needs dictate a 7kW system. Installed, the cost of that is approximately $63,000 (no batteries). The State of NJ picks up $34,000 of that. And the federal government gives you a tax credit equal to 30% of the balance that I would pay (30% of $29,000), capped at $2,000.

So it would cost me about $27,000 for the system. If I had to ballpark it, I pay about $250 per month for electricity averaged over the year. It would take 9 years to make it a positive investment, assuming that it gets me 100% off the grid, which seems unlikely.

Oh well.
The further problem is at 9 years of ROI $27,000, even in at 5% a year, makes your comparative ROI more like 18 years.

User avatar
The Preacher
Forum Moderator
Posts: 13034
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:57 am

Post by The Preacher » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:42 am

LordMortis wrote:
RunningMn9 wrote:In NJ, the law says that the power companies have to allow "net metering". Basically when the solar panels produce more power than my house needs, that excess power goes upstream, and the meter on the house will basically run backwards. When the panels cannot produce enough energy to satisfy my needs, I draw power from the grid, and the meter runs forward. At the end of the month, I pay the net difference (I don't know whether they pay me if it's a net negative, or if it carries over to the next month, or whatever).

It turns out thought that NJ is the best state in the union if you are going to buy one of these systems. They're rebates are insane.

Let's say that my power needs dictate a 7kW system. Installed, the cost of that is approximately $63,000 (no batteries). The State of NJ picks up $34,000 of that. And the federal government gives you a tax credit equal to 30% of the balance that I would pay (30% of $29,000), capped at $2,000.

So it would cost me about $27,000 for the system. If I had to ballpark it, I pay about $250 per month for electricity averaged over the year. It would take 9 years to make it a positive investment, assuming that it gets me 100% off the grid, which seems unlikely.

Oh well.
The further problem is at 9 years of ROI $27,000, even in at 5% a year, makes your comparative ROI more like 18 years.
Well, if you're going to bring in time values, you should factor in the inflationary price increases from your power company and might even include a "demand-based" cost increases as well.
You do not take from this universe. It grants you what it will.

User avatar
thaynes
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:51 pm
Location: The path I walk is in the wrong direction

Post by thaynes » Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:55 pm

When considering the ROI of the investment I would also consider that the resale value of your house goes up by slightly more than the cost of the system.

In Las Vegas we installed about 2.4kW system for 25,000. I resale price was up about 40k over comps for our house.

So even in the short term solar or NetZero can pay off.
-Terry

User avatar
RunningMn9
Posts: 22935
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:55 pm
Location: The Sword Coast
Contact:

Post by RunningMn9 » Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:04 pm

thaynes wrote:In Las Vegas we installed about 2.4kW system for 25,000. I resale price was up about 40k over comps for our house.
I would like to believe that, but you really can't count on that.

Maybe I should really take a look at how much electricity I actually use, as that has such a big impact on the system. Sith - I am using the earlier quoted number at $9 per watt installed. Maybe that number is wrong here in the NE? I don't know.
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

User avatar
RunningMn9
Posts: 22935
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:55 pm
Location: The Sword Coast
Contact:

Post by RunningMn9 » Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:33 pm

Holy underpants. I pulled out my May electric bill to run some numbers. Over the past year, I used 23,317 KWH. They say to take that number and divide by 12 and then 30. ~65.

Take that number and divide by the number of full sun hours per day you get on a yearly average. They use 5. I have no idea. 65/5 = 13,000 watts. Take that number and multiply by 1.15.

~15,000 watts. At $9 per watt, that's $135,000. NJ will pick up $48,500 of that. That leaves $86,500 for me to pay?

Goodnight Moon.

I am one electricity consuming sum bitch apparently. Good Lord.
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

User avatar
The Meal
Posts: 26536
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:33 pm
Location: 2005 Stanley Cup Champion
the_meal’s avatar
Loading…

Post by The Meal » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:20 pm

Don't worry, they're about to double the effeciency of solar in the fairly-near future. Prices *gotta* come down at that point.

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060603/bob8.asp

~Neal

User avatar
Zaxxon
Forum Moderator
Posts: 21939
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:11 am
Location: Surrounded by Mountains

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Fri May 16, 2014 4:34 pm

<thread necromancy>

We're about to have some panels installed on our roof. It was fun reading over this thread and comparing the rebates and installed cost/W from 2006 with those of 2014. Summary: rebates are way down, per-panel production is up, and costs are way down.

Our system will be fairly small--4.2kW, and that will cover a bit under half of our annual usage. Net installed cost/watt after 30% federal rebate will be less than $2.50, and the installer is tossing in some value-adds for us like a NEMA 14-50 plug in the garage for a future EV and an exhaust fan/roof vent install for a bathroom that currently has none. Deducting lowball costs of that work brings our 'solar-only' net cost down to $2.20/W. We'll also see a small check from our power provider each month who will purchase SRECs based on our production.

What helped push us over the edge to doing it was a recent Colorado Energy Office study of actual home sales in our area that put a somewhat believable, quantified $ amount on home value increase from adding solar. I had seen reports of $5,900/kW which I found ludicrous (that would instantly pay for a decent-sized system twice over at current prices). The CEO study pegged it at a more believable $1,400-$2,600/kW. I talked to our realtor who confirmed that she's seeing increases in that range.

Even conservatively assuming a home value impact near the low end of that range, our break-even period will be about 3 years. If we include time value of money placed in a CD, break-even is about 4 years. Payback over 20 years should be > $25k, about equal to a 7% annual return if we instead invested the money. If we were confident that we'd be in this house for 10 years or more, we might have gone for a more expensive system that would have covered more of our usage. That could have boosted 20-year payback to around $41k, but it's a bigger risk if we sell early and the home value doesn't increase as much as we expect.

If any of you are intrigued by solar, you may want to look into it again. Our cost/W are higher than they could be due to our roofing material, small system size and multiple roof faces. An 'ideal' home with comp shingle roofing, facing South-ish, with one face big enough to contain a single array could easily see < $2/W costs.

Have any of you gone solar lately?

User avatar
Scuzz
Posts: 9345
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:31 pm
Location: The Arm Pit of California

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Scuzz » Fri May 16, 2014 6:13 pm

The only place I could put solar panels would be on my tile roof. And the idea of having guys climbing all over my tile roof and drilling holes into my roof is just to much for. I could see having to replace half the tiles by the time they were done.

User avatar
Zaxxon
Forum Moderator
Posts: 21939
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:11 am
Location: Surrounded by Mountains

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Fri May 16, 2014 6:14 pm

Spanish or concrete?

User avatar
Scuzz
Posts: 9345
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:31 pm
Location: The Arm Pit of California

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Scuzz » Fri May 16, 2014 6:17 pm

Spanish I think. We had a very careful chimney sweep who broke some, and we have been told anyone walking on them would break some. I know the solar guys would have to repair everything but I would still be paranoid until after the first rainy season, assuming we ever have one again.

Another thing is my roof would basically require putting the panels on a west facing front side of the house. The back would receive too much shade.

User avatar
Zaxxon
Forum Moderator
Posts: 21939
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:11 am
Location: Surrounded by Mountains

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Fri May 16, 2014 6:18 pm

Yeah, we have concrete and each installer I got a bid from said that they take more time and sometimes breakage occurs. But they also said 'at least it's not Spanish.' Every one of them.

malchior
Posts: 9068
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by malchior » Fri May 16, 2014 6:53 pm

I work for a company that sells these systems - the most sensible option is to lease them unless you don't care about the long ROI and risks around system failure/etc. Generally speaking they guarantee you an electric rate (much cheaper than on the grid) and pocket the rebates. They also are on the hook to maintain the system. That doesn't mean that you won't have to come out of pocket but it will be significantly less risk to the homeowner. Some will even allow you to pocket the power sold back to the grid but obviously the details matter contract to contract.

User avatar
Scuzz
Posts: 9345
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:31 pm
Location: The Arm Pit of California

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Scuzz » Fri May 16, 2014 7:01 pm

You work for a company that sells the systems and yet you recommend leasing?

malchior
Posts: 9068
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by malchior » Fri May 16, 2014 9:48 pm

It is a small part of the business - but yes we sell and lease systems to customers. I sat through a couple of meetings about the residential solar business and the business case is that the value of leasing is pretty compelling versus an all-owned system for both parties. There are several big players in the market Solarcity probably being the biggest player in the space but there are plenty of good vendors doing installs. The good thing is that panel prices have been falling pretty fast over the last 4-5 years so the value is compelling no matter what route someone goes. The interesting part of the lease is the locked in power rate - of course you get the same thing in an owned system as well with the possibility of increasing revenue as wholesale rates inevitably increase over time.

User avatar
Zaxxon
Forum Moderator
Posts: 21939
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:11 am
Location: Surrounded by Mountains

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Fri May 16, 2014 9:53 pm

FWIW, we did the math and in our case, leasing was significantly less financially sound than buying. I do see the value in certain scenarios, though.

malchior
Posts: 9068
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by malchior » Fri May 16, 2014 10:13 pm

Zaxxon wrote:FWIW, we did the math and in our case, leasing was significantly less financially sound than buying. I do see the value in certain scenarios, though.
Definitely - I've got a special deal (as an employee) and I'm still wrestling with what to go with. It is hard to valuate the incentives + the SREC market in NJ went to hell over the last 2 years which makes it less awesome to own. Downside is no ownership and potential hassles in a sale of the home / upside is managed system, they carry the insurance on the system, and they guarantee the electric rate with a performance guarantee on top. It is not straightforward at all.

User avatar
Octavious
Posts: 16882
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 2:50 pm

Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Octavious » Sat May 17, 2014 8:02 am

Somehow Adisa's dad got involved with a German solar panel company. They are trying to get Adisa to work with them as well lol. I'd get 10 percent if you bought from them!
Capitalism tries for a delicate balance: It attempts to work things out so that everyone gets just enough stuff to keep them from getting violent and trying to take other people’s stuff.

Shameless plug for my website: www.nettphoto.com

Post Reply