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ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
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reply to jack b

Re: I've gone and done it ... solar install

said by jack b:

How does Duke "know" how much power you generate?

Say for example at a given point in time if you're burning 4KW and your production is 4KW, the utility meter sits idle.

The net meter will record inbound and outbound energy usage. If I'm using 4kW and producing 4kW there will be no energy used from the grid. So, nothing to record.


jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to ke4pym
How does Duke "know" how much power you generate?

Say for example at a given point in time if you're burning 4KW and your production is 4KW, the utility meter sits idle.

Is there any method of capturing your generation production ? (other than through the Enphase Enlighten website)

I find the production data listed on Enlighten is close to what my revenue meter registers on a monthly basis, but what they are reporting is consistently somewhat higher.

My SREC's are based on total generation regardless how much of it I used myself.
--
~Help Find a Cure for Cancer~
~Proud Member of Team Discovery ~


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to ke4pym
I feel bad. At 0.0532$/kWh, I'm very very left out of lifting the pro/con of switching to solar for myself.

BTW to amortize 13,000$ @ 3% (Basically, earning 3% on investment and getting the full investment back), you'd need to save about 62$ a month for 25 years.

After that, it's all savings! However, any maintenance/replacement expense during that 25 years will increase the amortization needed to make the money back.

I only see a "break even" at the end if even. I mean, roofs don't last 25 years. So to redo the roof, extra costs are incurred to remove and reinstall the panels.

ke4pym
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Charlotte, NC
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reply to jack b
said by jack b:

I also have my own revenue-grade meter for registering solar production separately, that is installed between the fused disconnect and my load center. I submit my meter readings monthly in order to create SREC's (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates) which I then sell at a quarterly auction.

In order for me to sell energy back to Duke, they have rights to my REC's. So, I don't have to manage that.


jack b
Gone Fishing
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join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
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reply to ke4pym
Interesting that the bi-directional "existing meter" listed in the diagram is shown as "customer owned"

My power company (NSTAR) installed a co-generation configured NET meter that will "record backwards" whenever I generate more power than is used onsite.

I also have my own revenue-grade meter for registering solar production separately, that is installed between the fused disconnect and my load center. I submit my meter readings monthly in order to create SREC's (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates) which I then sell at a quarterly auction.
--
~Help Find a Cure for Cancer~
~Proud Member of Team Discovery ~

ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
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reply to ke4pym
Documentation and fee $$$ was sent to my utility (Duke Energy). I've received conditional approval to connect my generation facility to the grid.

Here's the line diagram that was submitted to Duke - uploaded with permission from my installer. Sorry about the size. I wanted to take my account info out and only had Photoshop and couldn't figure out how to shrink the file size.


djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
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reply to fifty nine
said by fifty nine:

We have good reason to believe that energy prices will go up as they say. Aging power plants, coal plants going offline, the rise of China and India to compete for fossil fuel, more energy consumption including electric cars, and the fed printing more and more money are reasons to believe that rates will dramatically rise.

Right. You can count on a certain percentage just for inflation.

I think the only reason they would NOT skyrocket, would be solar's own doing - competition from solar. Depending on tier, we pay up to 3x as much per kWh as our neighbors in the city of Los Angeles (DWP). Edison claims these rates are implemented this way to "encourage conservation".

I can't see any good logical excuses why LADWP can service their customers in the same geographic region for far less than Edison. Edison charges these extortionate rates because they can.

There are already $0 down lease options that have competitive monthly fees, if those come down in price, Edison may tire of losing their business to the solar leasing companies. They just might have to respond with more reasonable pricing.
--
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Rethink Billable.


dogma
XYZ
Premium
join:2002-08-15
Boulder City, NV
kudos:1
reply to fifty nine

10 year energy inflation chart

20 year energy inflation chart
said by fifty nine:

We have good reason to believe that energy prices will go up as they say.

Cheap energy is no more. Time to generate your own, get used to conserving or be prepared to shell out more.

You are clearly correct as evidenced in the graphs above (I understand your passion, but no need to be abrasive about it).

Anyway, it's been about [eyeball estimate] 3.4% Year-over-Year for the past 10 years. I am still working up my NPV forecast but I would now like to mention in all fairness, Solar has a low ROI when viewed as a straight investment against something similar in risk like a CD (but a better ROI non the less) primarily because the principal [the Solar panels infrastructure] depreciates to zero over time in a strict financial sense. Whereas the principal [cash] of a CD as a lesser depreciation value.

However, when viewed as a "specialized" hedge investment against inflation, the returns "should be" very good --assuming-- energy rates continue to rise based on historical trends. This is because the Solar owner has effectively fixed, or locked in his/her rates.

I will post my model based on this shortly.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to nunya
said by nunya:

Where they tricked you is the rate increases over 10 and 25 years. They are ridiculously overinflated "guesses".
Between 1980 and 2005, the average price per residential kWh in the US went from $.0536 to $.0945 - a whopping 4.09 cent increase over 25 years (76%).

Even using today's average rate of $.127 / kWh, that's only an increase of $.0734 / kWh in the last 31 years. Bear in mind that today's prices are artificially high due to government mandates.

We have good reason to believe that energy prices will go up as they say. Aging power plants, coal plants going offline, the rise of China and India to compete for fossil fuel, more energy consumption including electric cars, and the fed printing more and more money are reasons to believe that rates will dramatically rise.

If you're not preparing for serious rate hikes you're either ignorant of world conditions affecting the price of energy or you're old enough that you're going to die in a few years anyway and the price of energy in 20 years won't matter to you.

I'm not just pulling this out of my ass. Our co-op recently had to raise rates. They had a 10 year lock in on their pricing of open market power which they couldn't renew for 10 years. It's more like year to year now and the prices are pretty much guaranteed to increase regularly.

Cheap energy is no more. Time to generate your own, get used to conserving or be prepared to shell out more.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to ncbill
said by ncbill:

The only tax on my Duke bill is a 3% state sales tax.

Which gets us nowhere near 11 cents/kWh.

So both the simple payback & IRR calculations are even worse than everyone's already calculated.

All of which also ignore maintenance & repair costs - IIRC, somebody's going to have to get up on the roof to swap out a failed micro-inverter.

said by dogma:

From the best I can figure, Duke Energy in North Carolina charges
For the first 350 kWh used per month: 9.2899� per kWh (excluding taxes which probably kicks it up to around 11� per kWh)

I don't need charts, graphs estimates. I go by what's on my bill.

8/14 to 9/13 880 kWh, cost including all taxes and fees $101.53. Cost per kWh $0.115. That's the bottom line. Two figures, kWh used and total cost.

ncbill
Premium
join:2007-01-23
Winston Salem, NC
Reviews:
·AT&T Southeast
reply to dogma
The only tax on my Duke bill is a 3% state sales tax.

Which gets us nowhere near 11 cents/kWh.

So both the simple payback & IRR calculations are even worse than everyone's already calculated.

All of which also ignore maintenance & repair costs - IIRC, somebody's going to have to get up on the roof to swap out a failed micro-inverter.

said by dogma:

From the best I can figure, Duke Energy in North Carolina charges
For the first 350 kWh used per month: 9.2899¢ per kWh (excluding taxes which probably kicks it up to around 11¢ per kWh)



djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
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3 edits

1 recommendation

reply to Jack_in_VA
Click for full size

Usage data from Edison
said by Jack_in_VA:

said by djrobx:

said by nunya:

Where they tricked you is the rate increases over 10 and 25 years. They are ridiculously overinflated "guesses".
Between 1980 and 2005, the average price per residential kWh in the US went from $.0536 to $.0945 - a whopping 4.09 cent increase over 25 years (76%).

Even using today's average rate of $.127 / kWh, that's only an increase of $.0734 / kWh in the last 31 years. Bear in mind that today's prices are artificially high due to government mandates.

They didn't trick me. I already acknowledged this if you read my post completely. In my case, there could be no increase at all, and I'd still be making money.

Did I overlook it or did you not include your system capacity and how much power you use now?

Unless you know some new math or I'm calculating wrong you won't make any money until you pay your upfront money. Either the $26,600 or since you're getting a "rebate" of 10K the $16,600. After that balance is "0" then you can make money.

$14,600. I negotiated it down further.

Obviously I'm talking about making money over the 25 year warranted lifespan of the system, not day 1 of ownership. I shouldn't need to clarify that. I'm using 25 years because that's the panel warranty and the duration of the analysis I posted. The panels themselves could last longer. The inverter will need to be replaced sometime during this lifetime, but with any luck they'll be cheaper by the time that's needed. It looks like I can buy a new one for $2500 online now.

As I already stated, the amount of savings per year is a very complicated calculation. You need to look at Edison's tiers (which vary from 15 cents up to 32 cents when you include the distribution charges), then subtract whatever total grid usage plus what the solar generated during that month from the top tiers and work your way backwards.

I have included the 1st year estimates here for illustration, but they drastically under-estimate the actual savings because I was rarely home that year (and we already got a nice rate hike in Tier 4/5, bite me Edison!). The system generates about 10% more than what was estimated (around 900kwh in August. The total output since November 17 is 8652kwh according to the inverter. It has another month and a half to go and it's already over the yearly estimate shown), and I'm using far more electricity than they used to generate these estimates.

I've also included the usage chart form Edison. It includes the YoY comparison of Septemer 2011 and September 2012. I actually used more electricity AFTER adding the solar panels than I did the previous year! That's because I work from home now, and it's been a brutally hot summer. The Aug and Sept bills would have been absolute whoppers without the solar.
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Rethink Billable.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to djrobx
said by djrobx:

said by nunya:

Where they tricked you is the rate increases over 10 and 25 years. They are ridiculously overinflated "guesses".
Between 1980 and 2005, the average price per residential kWh in the US went from $.0536 to $.0945 - a whopping 4.09 cent increase over 25 years (76%).

Even using today's average rate of $.127 / kWh, that's only an increase of $.0734 / kWh in the last 31 years. Bear in mind that today's prices are artificially high due to government mandates.

They didn't trick me. I already acknowledged this if you read my post completely. In my case, there could be no increase at all, and I'd still be making money.

Did I overlook it or did you not include your system capacity and how much power you use now?

Unless you know some new math or I'm calculating wrong you won't make any money until you pay your upfront money. Either the $26,600 or since you're getting a "rebate" of 10K the $16,600. After that balance is "0" then you can make money.


djrobx
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Valencia, CA
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Reviews:
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reply to nunya
said by nunya:

Where they tricked you is the rate increases over 10 and 25 years. They are ridiculously overinflated "guesses".
Between 1980 and 2005, the average price per residential kWh in the US went from $.0536 to $.0945 - a whopping 4.09 cent increase over 25 years (76%).

Even using today's average rate of $.127 / kWh, that's only an increase of $.0734 / kWh in the last 31 years. Bear in mind that today's prices are artificially high due to government mandates.

They didn't trick me. I already acknowledged this if you read my post completely. In my case, there could be no increase at all, and I'd still be making money.
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.


nunya
LXI 483
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join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
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reply to djrobx
Where they tricked you is the rate increases over 10 and 25 years. They are ridiculously overinflated "guesses".
Between 1980 and 2005, the average price per residential kWh in the US went from $.0536 to $.0945 - a whopping 4.09 cent increase over 25 years (76%).

Even using today's average rate of $.127 / kWh, that's only an increase of $.0734 / kWh in the last 31 years. Bear in mind that today's prices are artificially high due to government mandates.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3
reply to cowboyro
said by cowboyro:

Realistically, how many electronic devices have you seen to last 25 years in harsh environments?

Would you consider civil aircraft and urban transit vehicles harsh environments? I do, and I've personally seen a significant number of 25+ year old electronic assemblies perform flawlessly and continue to operate at their original specification.

A better question would be, is anything built in the last 10-15 years realistically going to last that long? Ha!


djrobx
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Valencia, CA
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reply to Jack_in_VA
Click for full size
The solar company's analysis
Click for full size
SCE average rate history
said by Jack_in_VA:

You are providing absolutely no information that we can judge your system other than the $26K before incentives and projected savings over 25 years. What was your final cost? How much power were you using? What are the specs for your system?

$100K savings over 25 years? That's saving $4,000/year or $333/mo. Just how much power do you use per year? OP has a 7K/yr system and his yearly production is worth $720.

True enough, since you're interested, I provided the analysis provided by the solar company. You're forgetting to include the yearly rate hikes by the power company. Note that the final price does not include an extra $2,000 off that I was able to negotiate.

Now, I think their figure of 7.5% of yearly electricity rate increases is too aggressive, but where I live it's not unconscionable. I've posted a chart someone put together with SCE's average per-kwh rates. I live in an inland suburb, where it is nearly impossible for us to keep our usage below Tier 3 (tiers 1 & 2 are at a more reasonable 15c-ish per kWh). Our solar system neatly removes the most costly (and least cost-regulated) electricity.

That said, I use significantly more power than the data for which this projection was used. That year we had a mild summer, and the data for September was incorrect because I only lived here for a partial month. I now work from home. Because of Edison's punitive tiering, the more electricity I use, the higher the effective savings.

This year the system can save up to $300/month or so. The actual amount of savings depends on what tier the produced electricity would have been in, had I not had the solar system.

--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.

ke4pym
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join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
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reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

It's the ones around the cells you will have to address. Are you planning on just replacing those and leaving the shingles under the cells? Even if it is touted as being a 30 year roof we all know how that works out.

On the main back roof of the house, no shingles will be (should be) exposed. The garage/bonus room, well, that's another story. The north facing roof will have no panels on it. If money were no object, I'd put them there, though. Just to honk off my HOA - cause they can't do anything about it and stuff.


tmh

@verizon.net
reply to ke4pym
said by ke4pym:

Thought I'd document my journey to getting solar energy panels installed on my home.

Congratulations! I wanted to put one on mine for some time but couldn't justify the cost. Generation cost here is currently 7 cents/KWh for windpower sourced energy, I don't recall the total cost, but transmission is around the same.

At that price, it was more cost effective to put the money toward an 18 SEER HVAC (up from a 12 year old unit) and switch from electric to gas hot water.

Still, if cost continues to come down, I plan to revisit this question.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to ke4pym
said by ke4pym:

said by Jack_in_VA:

It will be sooner than that. Your roof will need replacing before then and the panels will have to be removed. 25 years is a stretch for a shingled roof.

Just put a brand new, 30 year roof on last Tuesday. See you in 24 years, 6 months

The shingles under the panels outta last a WHOLE lot longer since the sun will never shine on them.

It's the ones around the cells you will have to address. Are you planning on just replacing those and leaving the shingles under the cells? Even if it is touted as being a 30 year roof we all know how that works out.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
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Reviews:
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reply to fifty nine
said by fifty nine:

said by nunya:

But, back to the solar situation. I stand by my assertion that it rarely is cost effective to use solar panels in residential situations. It just isn't cost effective yet. That's why we have to *pay* people to do it. If the technology were ready for mainstream, we wouldn't have to pay people to buy a product.

Also, much pollution is produced in the manufacture of solar panels. A lot. Solar is a "dirty green" solution, much like CFL lamps.

There are incentives because the up front cost is high and most Americans prefer to pay over time instead of saving up and paying cash. This is why solar leases are becoming so popular.

There are incentives because it is not a viable expenditure. Whether paying up front or on time pay. The only way most people will install solar is if they can get someone else to bear at least 2/3 of the cost.

As for it being "worth it" a 7kw system here in New Jersey according to PVWatts can produce $875/year worth of energy. This is taking into account seasons and weather.

The same system in Houston, TX would produce $929 worth of energy using the same rate, or less than $100 difference.

OP's 7kW system cost $30K without incentives so in New Jersey at $875/yr break even will be in 34.29 years, in Houston in 32.29 years. Meanwhile the person with the cells actually gets no savings during the years it takes to pay off the initial investment. With a payback that long one really can't say it's worth it.

So the myth of solar being "not worth it" for more northerly places is, well, just a myth. Solar works quite well up here and they are popping up all over. In some areas there are solar panels on every electric pole.

It is not a myth. Just because it mechanically and electrically works doesn't make it viable.


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to fifty nine
said by fifty nine:

said by cowboyro:

said by fifty nine:

That's true. I'm against all tax credits/deductions too.

Make it 10% of all income for everybody, period. I'll gladly give up my home mortgage deduction and pay a slightly higher tax rate.

Do a calculation of how much your rate would be for the IRS to collect the same amount from everyone. You'll change your mind instantly... guaranteed...

I'm talking about a flat rate, not a flat amount.

Me too.
2009 all individual returns = ~$5,091bil, generated tax $953bil
That's 20% give or take. Half of the $953bil was generated by those with $200k+ income.
Guess who would benefit most from such a change....

ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
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reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

It will be sooner than that. Your roof will need replacing before then and the panels will have to be removed. 25 years is a stretch for a shingled roof.

Just put a brand new, 30 year roof on last Tuesday. See you in 24 years, 6 months

The shingles under the panels outta last a WHOLE lot longer since the sun will never shine on them.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to nunya
said by nunya:

But, back to the solar situation. I stand by my assertion that it rarely is cost effective to use solar panels in residential situations. It just isn't cost effective yet. That's why we have to *pay* people to do it. If the technology were ready for mainstream, we wouldn't have to pay people to buy a product.

Also, much pollution is produced in the manufacture of solar panels. A lot. Solar is a "dirty green" solution, much like CFL lamps.

There are incentives because the up front cost is high and most Americans prefer to pay over time instead of saving up and paying cash. This is why solar leases are becoming so popular.

As for it being "worth it" a 7kw system here in New Jersey according to PVWatts can produce $875/year worth of energy. This is taking into account seasons and weather.

The same system in Houston, TX would produce $929 worth of energy using the same rate, or less than $100 difference.

You can calculate for your location:
»gisatnrel.nrel.gov/PVWatts_Viewe ··· dex.html

So the myth of solar being "not worth it" for more northerly places is, well, just a myth. Solar works quite well up here and they are popping up all over. In some areas there are solar panels on every electric pole.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to cowboyro
said by cowboyro:

said by fifty nine:

That's true. I'm against all tax credits/deductions too.

Make it 10% of all income for everybody, period. I'll gladly give up my home mortgage deduction and pay a slightly higher tax rate.

Do a calculation of how much your rate would be for the IRS to collect the same amount from everyone. You'll change your mind instantly... guaranteed...

I'm talking about a flat rate, not a flat amount.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to ke4pym
said by ke4pym:

said by cowboyro:

However things will fail. Panels will have to be replaced, inverters will have to be replaced. The warranty is worth nothing if the company is out of business. Realistically, how many electronic devices have you seen to last 25 years in harsh environments?

I'll get back to you in 24 years, 6 months.

It will be sooner than that. Your roof will need replacing before then and the panels will have to be removed. 25 years is a stretch for a shingled roof.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to I_H8_Spam
said by I_H8_Spam:

If your pushing to grid, what happens in a local blackout? Does the system automatically disconnect to avoid energizing lines being repaired?

Any grid tied inverter pretty much has to shut down instantly when there's no grid power. That's a pre-requisite for interconnection and standard on all grid tied inverters.

How do the panels deal with snow, do you have to roofrake or does the panel contain a warmer or is the solar heating enough?

I've seen a local baptist church with solar and I've never seen snow stick to their panels. Our electric cooperative also has over 100kw of solar at its offices. I've never seen snow sticking to the panels.

ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
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reply to cowboyro
said by cowboyro:

However things will fail. Panels will have to be replaced, inverters will have to be replaced. The warranty is worth nothing if the company is out of business. Realistically, how many electronic devices have you seen to last 25 years in harsh environments?

I'll get back to you in 24 years, 6 months.


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to itguy05
said by itguy05:

quote:
A.) ke4pym See Profile makes the up front $13K investment. Since the panels have a 25 year (300 Months) lifespan, it would take him the $43/Month to recoup the initial investment over that period. The investment itself performs. However, the
You should leave the depreciation scam out of it. After 25 years, the panels will not magically stop working. Nor will they automatically be replaced, and also will have some (albeit small) value left. They may be worth $0 in the "accounting sense" but in the real world they wills till have some value.

However things will fail. Panels will have to be replaced, inverters will have to be replaced. The warranty is worth nothing if the company is out of business. Realistically, how many electronic devices have you seen to last 25 years in harsh environments?

itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
reply to dogma
quote:
A.) ke4pym See Profile makes the up front $13K investment. Since the panels have a 25 year (300 Months) lifespan, it would take him the $43/Month to recoup the initial investment over that period. The investment itself performs. However, the
You should leave the depreciation scam out of it. After 25 years, the panels will not magically stop working. Nor will they automatically be replaced, and also will have some (albeit small) value left. They may be worth $0 in the "accounting sense" but in the real world they wills till have some value.