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Solar Power. Talk to me.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:22 pm

Chile
Spot prices reached zero in parts of the country on 113 days through April, a number that’s on track to beat last year’s total of 192 days, according to Chile’s central grid operator. While that may be good for consumers, it’s bad news for companies that own power plants struggling to generate revenue and developers seeking financing for new facilities.

Chile’s increasing energy demand, pushed by booming mining production and economic growth, has helped spur development of 29 solar farms supplying the central grid, with another 15 planned. Further north, in the heart of the mining district, even more have been built. Now, economic growth is slowing as copper output stagnates amid a global glut, energy prices are slumping and those power plants are oversupplying regions that lack transmission lines to distribute the electricity elsewhere.
...
A key issue is that Chile has two main power networks, the central grid and the northern grid, which aren’t connected to each other. There are also areas within the grids that lack adequate transmission capacity.
...
The government is working to address this issue, with plans to build a 3,000-kilometer (1,865-mile) transmission line to link the the two grids by 2017. It’s also developing a 753-kilometer line to address congestion on the northern parts of the central grid, the region where power surpluses are driving prices to zero.
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:39 pm

stessier wrote:I'll probably have more questions after I get the quotes. I sent requests to three local companies. We shall see.
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by stessier » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:55 pm

I got the quotes and started looking into financing and that was when a work slow down hit. I'm looking at extreme household cost controls for the next 18 months at a minimum. At that point, I can start considering things again. I'm kind of bummed (not so much about work as about all the things I have to put off - I like new toys!).
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:39 pm

Figured that might be the case. Best of luck with work!

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Scuzz » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:25 pm

Probably 5-6 houses around us have solar panels on their roofs now installed by a solar company with guarantees of lower costs per unit. They require 20 year leases, so if you sell the house you have to have the new owner take over the lease, or you have to pay for it. After 20 years you can have the equipment removed.

We have thought about it, the savings could be considerable, but the 20 year thing kinda freaks us out. Also, while we would save in the summer I don't know that there would be much savings in the winter.

But it all comes at no cost to us, we just supply the platform for the panels.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:29 pm

Leases are cheaper up front but more expensive long term. Just a question of priorities (low upfront cost vs bigger chunk of change but higher payout long term).

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Scuzz » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:08 pm

Zaxxon wrote:Leases are cheaper up front but more expensive long term. Just a question of priorities (low upfront cost vs bigger chunk of change but higher payout long term).
In theory this contains no costs to us, either long or short term. Unless of course we sold the house and the buyer refused to take over the contract. That is my main concern as we would like to move in 5-10 years.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:26 pm

The 'cost' comes in lower savings vs having purchased outright. Over the life of the system, a lease has a lower payout. That's how the leasing company affords to make a profit by leasing a system to you and fronting the cost.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Scuzz » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:13 am

Zaxxon wrote:The 'cost' comes in lower savings vs having purchased outright. Over the life of the system, a lease has a lower payout. That's how the leasing company affords to make a profit by leasing a system to you and fronting the cost.
I would disagree with your terminology. If I am getting something for free that saves me money there is no cost to me regardless of the possibility of me going out and paying cash for something that over time would have a larger "savings". As one equals cash out of pocket and one doesn't.

There is an assumption you would pay for solar or could pay for solar in that argument.

actual savings > fantasy savings

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:16 am

It's an opportunity cost, just as paying up front carries its own opportunity costs.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by hitbyambulance » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:34 pm

the panels on the parents' house will theoretically be installed next month, so i'll get to see how they operate in December (when i visit again).

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by malchior » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:05 pm

Scuzz wrote:In theory this contains no costs to us, either long or short term. Unless of course we sold the house and the buyer refused to take over the contract. That is my main concern as we would like to move in 5-10 years.
i have only heard about these agreements in passing. This is no cost but you assign the overproduction credits back to the system owner, right? If so, do you have to agree not to increase your usage as well (to a ceiling)? I'm curious how these work since CA has a very aggressive solar initiative scheme in place even compared to much of the NE.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:08 pm

malchior wrote:
Scuzz wrote:In theory this contains no costs to us, either long or short term. Unless of course we sold the house and the buyer refused to take over the contract. That is my main concern as we would like to move in 5-10 years.
i have only heard about these agreements in passing. This is no cost but you assign the overproduction credits back to the system owner, right? If so, do you have to agree not to increase your usage as well (to a ceiling)? I'm curious how these work since CA has a very aggressive solar initiative scheme in place even compared to much of the NE.
SolarCity is far and away the largest lease/PPA provider. Here is their page on how they work.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by malchior » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:14 pm

Right and i believe what he is describing is something like the PPA option since CA has a Feed-in tariff in place comparable to say how Germany incentivizes them. In the NE i can get a lease like the right column which has a monthly cost. Scuzz seems to be indicating $0 which is probably only available in a regulatory region where a FIT is available. I was curious if this was the case and what restrictions they have.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Scuzz » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:10 pm

malchior wrote:
Scuzz wrote:In theory this contains no costs to us, either long or short term. Unless of course we sold the house and the buyer refused to take over the contract. That is my main concern as we would like to move in 5-10 years.
i have only heard about these agreements in passing. This is no cost but you assign the overproduction credits back to the system owner, right? If so, do you have to agree not to increase your usage as well (to a ceiling)? I'm curious how these work since CA has a very aggressive solar initiative scheme in place even compared to much of the NE.
We haven't seriously sat down and talked to them, but in talking to the people around us who have now gone this route (at least 4 houses) they all say the same thing. No cost. You let them install panels on your roof for 20 years and they guarantee you a set rate per unit. I think the guy told us $.165. Now California has a 2-3 tier system on pricing (this may have recently changed so if I am wrong somebody speak up) and as you use more you pay more. So you are locked into that rate for basically 20 years.

savings wise on power I don't see how you could lose.

My real concerns are more along these lines. What happens when we get our first good rain (probably in October) and you have a leak from their install. Will they come back and fix your roof? I have a mission tile roof. Also, what happens if you sell the house and the new owner doesn't want the panels, for whatever reason? And does that happen?

And yea....this is Solar City.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:16 pm

Scuzz wrote:My real concerns are more along these lines. What happens when we get our first good rain (probably in October) and you have a leak from their install. Will they come back and fix your roof? I have a mission tile roof. Also, what happens if you sell the house and the new owner doesn't want the panels, for whatever reason? And does that happen?
Again I'll refer to SolarCity since they're the largest, but the broad strokes should be the same for any provider in this category.

Yes, their work is warranted. (Similar situation when you buy a system from a smaller installer.) If you sell the home you either get the new owner to take over the lease, or you buy it out, or you move the system to your new home. This is the other point that led to us purchasing outright--we won't be in our home for 20 years and didn't want to worry over whether a lease would end up being a hassle when we moved.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by malchior » Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:42 pm

Ok so that is definitively PPA. And i took no cost to mean $0 as in you are just hosting. You are paying for your usage so you are talking no installation cost which is what Zaxxon was talking about. I was curious if this was some new option which it sounds like it isn't.

That said you could maybe ask a real estate agent if you know any about market impact. I suspect it'd be low in CA. I asked about it in NJ and it is generally seen as a neutral item with a lease being more of a lawyer headache.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by hitbyambulance » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:36 pm

my parents' house had the panels installed today:

Image

Image

Image

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:43 pm

Awesome. Here's hoping the power company approval is swift. For me it was tough to wait with working but powered-down panels.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by hitbyambulance » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:13 pm

dad tried out a 15 minute test (had to shut down because they haven't been inspected yet - that will happen next week) and wrote: "That short time they were on, they were outputting 3,210 watts - or about 25/27 amps, or power for 3 microwave ovens. This was at 11:00 am, full sun but not direct angle, for late Oct. Each of the 22 panels was putting out enough power to light up a 150 watt light bulb.
Quite decent I think."

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by hitbyambulance » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:38 pm

the panels were permanently activated as of this morning and seem to be working as expected. i'm trying to convince them to provide solar generation activity to pvoutput.org.

but here is the generation from the first day (times are in my timezone, PST - add two hours to get the actual CST values):

Image
Last edited by hitbyambulance on Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:39 pm

Awesome. Lazy RM9 stopped uploading sometime ago, so my panels could use some company on pvoutput.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by hitbyambulance » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:42 pm

it is really interesting seeing the effects of cloud cover

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by RunningMn9 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:05 pm

Zaxxon wrote:Awesome. Lazy RM9 stopped uploading sometime ago, so my panels could use some company on pvoutput.
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:34 am

My system is at about the 1000-day mark, so I thought I'd give an update for anyone interested...

Total generated: 15.75 MWh
Average/day: 15.796 kWh
System size: 4.2 kW
Max in a day: 30.328 kWh

We've got 2 full Jan-Dec years recorded now (2014 and 2017 are partial). 2016 outperformed 2015 which is due to more favorable weather--but we've seen no discernible signs of any degradation yet.

Home electricity use covered:
Through 7/2016 when we added our first plug-in vehicle (a PHEV): 55%
Through 1/2017 when we added our first full EV: 52.6%
Through this weekend: 51.5%

I'm guessing we'll stabilize around 40% as the days with vehicle charging take over the average. I'd have liked to have installed a bigger system to get this closer to 100%, but our roof wasn't ideal for a big system. The rest of our grid usage is sourced through our power company's WindSource program.

We added the system for cleaner-energy rather than financial reasons, but for the curious: depending on whose estimate you agree with on value added to the home by a solar PV system, we'll hit break-even sometime this summer. If you don't believe the system adds much to the house, we've got a few more years left to earn the cost back.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by stessier » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:03 am

Cool update - thanks!

Ever think of adding some solar batteries so you can charge off them overnight?
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:10 am

stessier wrote:Cool update - thanks!

Ever think of adding some solar batteries so you can charge off them overnight?
With a system our size, there'd be little point--we cover only ~40% of our usage going forward, so there would be very few nights where we would have any excess solar production that we could put into a battery and use at night.

This is something I've got in the back of my mind if we ever end up moving to a different home. Solar suitability will be on our list when house hunting, and I hope to get into a home that can handle more like a 15-20 kW system. I would really like to be in a situation at that point where both vehicles are full EVs and we're able to get around 100% total energy usage covered by the system. Not sure exactly what that'd take as it'll depend on a bunch of variables, but ballparking using our current situation of about 1.3 EVs and our current home size having a 4.2 kW system cover ~40%, that'd mean in our current home we'd need around a 10.5 kW system for 100% coverage. Make that 2.0 EVs and a bit bigger home and 15 kW is the floor of where I think we'd need to be.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by em2nought » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:29 pm

Waiting for the tide to bring me a sail.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:43 pm

Nice. On a similar note this is cool:

Sustainable City, Dubai

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Wed May 10, 2017 3:11 pm

Tesla's solar roof is now up for order. It ain't cheap, but after tax credits and energy production, it may be less than free.

That up-front cost is a killer, though.

I don't know how this will play out, but the the idea of a one-stop project to replace your roof with one that will last the lifetime of the home, generate energy for 30+ years (realistically for the life of the home, but with some drop-off in power levels over time), and includes Powerwall(s) for storing your excess daytime solar for use at night sure is intriguing.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Enough » Wed May 10, 2017 6:52 pm

Zaxxon wrote:Tesla's solar roof is now up for order. It ain't cheap, but after tax credits and energy production, it may be less than free.

That up-front cost is a killer, though.

I don't know how this will play out, but the the idea of a one-stop project to replace your roof with one that will last the lifetime of the home, generate energy for 30+ years (realistically for the life of the home, but with some drop-off in power levels over time), and includes Powerwall(s) for storing your excess daytime solar for use at night sure is intriguing.
I wonder if our current roof were to be taken out by hail (a real possibility in the Front Range as we saw this week) if the insurance would be cool with using the coverage towards a solar roof?
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Wed May 10, 2017 6:59 pm

I don't see why not. Should get a premium reduction for the longer life, too.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by em2nought » Wed May 10, 2017 9:55 pm

Zaxxon wrote:Tesla's solar roof is now up for order. It ain't cheap, but after tax credits and energy production, it may be less than free.

That up-front cost is a killer, though.

I don't know how this will play out, but the the idea of a one-stop project to replace your roof with one that will last the lifetime of the home, generate energy for 30+ years (realistically for the life of the home, but with some drop-off in power levels over time), and includes Powerwall(s) for storing your excess daytime solar for use at night sure is intriguing.
Those tiles look great, almost makes me wish I had a house that needs a new roof. From the video, I guess they're designed to stand up to hail, I wonder about hurricane?
Waiting for the tide to bring me a sail.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Paingod » Thu May 11, 2017 7:20 am

em2nought wrote:I wonder about hurricane?
I imagine the tiles will still look pretty good scattered around a 6-block radius. :wink:
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by Zaxxon » Thu May 11, 2017 7:33 am

Specs include wind rating.Image

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by em2nought » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:18 am

Waiting for the tide to bring me a sail.

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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by em2nought » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:26 am

Liters of light have turned solar
https://www.yahoo.com/news/plastic-bott ... 23158.html

Being the cheapskate that I am, I might have to make some of these. :wink:
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by em2nought » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:05 pm

em2nought wrote:Liters of light now work at night with an LED and a solar cell.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/plastic-bott ... 23158.html

Being the cheapskate that I am, I might have to make some of these. :wink:
Made the original statement more better. :doh:
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by em2nought » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:42 pm

Fat lot of good solar panels do you in Florida after a hurricane https://conservativetribune.com/irma-vi ... 2017-09-21
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Re: Solar Power. Talk to me.

Post by stessier » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:21 pm

The Trade Commission agrees that foreign solar panels are hurting the domestic panel makers. They now have until November to recommend a plan to Trump to fix it. The panel makers are asking for a $0.40-0.78/watt tariff. Domestic installers say this will kill the industry and make them shed 80k jobs (out of 258k). Panel makers say it will save their jobs (~35k) and allow them to hire up to an additional 115k - which the installers say is just an insane statement.

Trump has already stated he doesn't like the US/China trade imbalance, so the installers are just hoping for a very small tariff - but it doesn't look good.
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