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

Re: [Green Tech] Solar panels: doing the math...

Total out-of-pocket investment for me is $12.5k, so you have to work from that number (thank you tax payers!).

Anyway, last year I produced just shy of 7mWh. We pay 0.11/kWh here. Last year was also one of our wettest on record.

Soon as it dries up a bit and I cut the trees down I should reach 9-10mWh a year.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
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reply to ke4pym

It is interesting you mention that. In an ironic twist, I know the installer personally. I recognized him when he arrived. Worked with him many years ago, and was great at his job then. He came with great references anyway.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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reply to ke4pym

said by ke4pym:

The POCO here will not let you grid tie anything larger than 10kw. Might want to do your homework there.

Here's CL&P's take on this. If I am reading it correctly, you can grid tie systems bigger than 10kW... for an upgraded fee.

»www.cl-p.com/GeneratorInter/Gene···nection/

Am I correct?

ke4pym
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Charlotte, NC
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said by SwedishRider:

said by ke4pym:

The POCO here will not let you grid tie anything larger than 10kw. Might want to do your homework there.

Here's CL&P's take on this. If I am reading it correctly, you can grid tie systems bigger than 10kW... for an upgraded fee.

»www.cl-p.com/GeneratorInter/Gene···nection/

Am I correct?

I briefly skimmed over the documents and didn't see where it excluded +10kW to non-residental uses. If that's true, then you should be set. Your installer should know for certain. But you may want to follow up with the green generation folks at your POCO.


SwedishRider
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1 edit
reply to SwedishRider

Well folks, I'd like to poll the wisdom of the HI forum. I am very conflicted on this solar install. On the one hand, the payback time of 9-10 years seems a bit high. I've thought about financing the system and working out a time frame that is close to or a bit below my current monthly energy bill. That way, the system wouldn't be tying up cash for a decade, and long run, my electricity would end up being virtually no cost.

On the other hand is to decline the opportunity, keep paying my power bill, and move on. The tax credits are set to expire in 2016 unless renewed, so this opportunity may not be around in a couple of years. And there will be no roof repair or replacement issues if I install nothing as well. But to be fair, the roof is 4 years old with 25+ year shingles.

So... What would you all do?!?



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2

9-10 years payback seems quite reasonable to me.

The ability to keep the A/C at a more comfortable temp in the summer without stressing about a huge bill also is attractive.
--


ke4pym
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said by Cho Baka:

9-10 years payback seems quite reasonable to me.

The ability to keep the A/C at a more comfortable temp in the summer without stressing about a huge bill also is attractive.

Let me tell you, there's a lot of truth to the a/c running all day long for free (well, for me all day long means from about 9am until 3pm).

ke4pym
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Charlotte, NC
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1 edit
reply to SwedishRider

said by SwedishRider:

Well folks, I'd like to poll the wisdom of the HI forum. I am very conflicted on this solar install. On the one hand, the payback time of 9-10 years seems a bit high. I've thought about financing the system and working out a time frame that is close to or a bit below my current monthly energy bill. That way, the system wouldn't be tying up cash for a decade, and long run, my electricity would end up being virtually no cost.

On the other hand is to decline the opportunity, keep paying my power bill, and move on. The tax credits are set to expire in 2016 unless renewed, so this opportunity may not be around in a couple of years. And there will be no roof repair or replacement issues if I install nothing as well. But to be fair, the roof is 4 years old with 25+ year shingles.

So... What would you all do?!?

First, I would call some customer references and then at least 1 other installer (if there is one).

Then think about the decision. Careful on the thought "my electricity would end up being virtually no cost". Don't focus on that thought as a mental reason to do it. Because it isn't 100% exactly true and is open to change as solar catches on and the POCOs get grumpy about it. Also, mother nature can ruin your production values on a whim. Oh look, the Northeast hasn't been overly cloudy for the past 3 years. Let's make it look like Seattle. THAT will ruin your day.

The other thing from "my momma always says book": if your gut is telling you not to do it, don't.


SwedishRider
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Cho Baka See Profile- Thanks for the input.

ke4pym See Profile- You've hit on two concerns that are beyond my (or the installer's) control. CT is notorious for changing the rules of the game while the game is in progress. Nothing is stopping CL&P from asking for and getting a change to the way net metering is calculated. And that could have a profound impact on the payback time frame.

And while this winter hasn't been horrific, I looked up to my roof today... and saw a complete covering of snow somewhere between 6" and a foot. With cold temps continuing for the foreseeable future, I would be generating darn close to zero power. And typical winter snow here runs from December to early March. There are always exceptions, but there could be weeks and weeks of zero electrical production based on snow coverage- and given the roof's height, it would not be possible nor practical to use a soft roof rake to clean the panels.

Lots of variables that make the estimates just that- best case estimates.

I could put up a 5kWish system to pick up some of the summer A/C slack, not looking to completely replace my power source. Payback would be much shorter, and then I wouldn't feel too concerned with low production months. I'm sure from April to October, those panels would produce just fine.



SwedishRider
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reply to ke4pym

The other thought I had was to size the system at thirty 327 watt panels to max out just under 10kW, which maximizes the state rebate and shaves quite a bit of unsubsidized cost off the price (and much time off the payback).

Then, if I need to supplement during peak usage, so be it, but a good chunk of my power will be home generated at the best price possible.


ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC

Snow melts really quick from the panels. I've only had 1 "major" snow fall (that looks to be changing mid-week) and it was a heavy snow. Within a day, the panels were clear. But keep out from under them. You get a sno-vah-lanche going on.



SwedishRider
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Decision made. I can't make the numbers work, even after trying a few different wattage scenarios. Payback time remains stubbornly high around 9 years, and neither FHA Powersaver loans nor Sunpower's loans can get me to within a few dollars of breakeven with my current average monthly bill. I'd be eating a higher total cost month after month for years in the hopes that one day (at least nine years in the future) power would become less expensive. Way too many variables along the way as well. And so, I'll close the book on this one...

But you know, I learned a lot along the way, and researched this concept to its conclusion, so I don't view any of it as a waste of time. Maybe some day the math will work... but unfortunately not today.

Thanks for all your input everyone!


sparky007

join:2011-08-25
Avondale, AZ
Reviews:
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reply to SwedishRider

Just one question... Who's going to reimburse you when a hail storm smashes your solar panels?? Home owners insurance??

I've seen hail the size baseballs..


Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

said by sparky007:

Just one question... Who's going to reimburse you when a hail storm smashes your solar panels?? Home owners insurance??

I've seen hail the size baseballs..

What about someone crashing their car through your house and collapsing the roof which damages the panels? You know while we're tossing out a million to 1 odds stuff that might happen.
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


cowboyro
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join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
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said by Critsmcgee:

said by sparky007:

Just one question... Who's going to reimburse you when a hail storm smashes your solar panels?? Home owners insurance??

I've seen hail the size baseballs..

What about someone crashing their car through your house and collapsing the roof which damages the panels? You know while we're tossing out a million to 1 odds stuff that might happen.

Hail is a real danger, I have seen large chunks of hail falling - and I am in OP's area.


SwedishRider
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I am not 100% sure on this with respect to hail damage, but when I called my insurance agent, the panels would be covered under my policy, and I am pretty sure hail damage was included in that coverage.


ke4pym
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reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

Hail is a real danger, I have seen large chunks of hail falling - and I am in OP's area.

Not a problem.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6v2lDa8Hos

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
Reviews:
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3 edits

1 recommendation

reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

said by Critsmcgee:

said by sparky007:

Just one question... Who's going to reimburse you when a hail storm smashes your solar panels?? Home owners insurance??

I've seen hail the size baseballs..

What about someone crashing their car through your house and collapsing the roof which damages the panels? You know while we're tossing out a million to 1 odds stuff that might happen.

Hail is a real danger, I have seen large chunks of hail falling - and I am in OP's area.

And you can count it on 1 hand how many times it's happened in such force and size that would damage a solar panel in the last 20 years. I've got family in your area as well. I'm in Danbury a dozen times a year for family events.

And for good measure NOAA data for the last 13 years. Severe hail once!
»www.erh.noaa.gov/okx/stormtotals.html

And that video ke4pym posted is gold.
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


cowboyro
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Shelton, CT
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said by Critsmcgee:

And for good measure NOAA data for the last 13 years. Severe hail once!

It's been more than once. Probably it depends on their own definition of "severe" or the people who report it.
And while a brand new panel may take it, will one that has been stressed by few years of heat/cold cycles be as lucky?
Taking one hit in a controlled test is one thing, taking hundreds or thousands of hits is different.

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

3 recommendations

said by cowboyro:

said by Critsmcgee:

And for good measure NOAA data for the last 13 years. Severe hail once!

It's been more than once. Probably it depends on their own definition of "severe" or the people who report it.
And while a brand new panel may take it, will one that has been stressed by few years of heat/cold cycles be as lucky?
Taking one hit in a controlled test is one thing, taking hundreds or thousands of hits is different.

Anything at or over .75 inches is 'severe'. Nothing under that would cause 'severe' damage. Do you have any facts you'd like to share with us on this or just your opinion vs our facts?

Can you imagine if you were right? People's windows, siding, roof shingles, etc. would all be damaged as well with the hail required to hurt panels. That would be a monster hail storm!

How would a 5 or 10 year old item be any different then a new one? Do your windows get weaker over time? Then why would solar panels? You really think they don't test panels in thermal cycle tests? You don't offer and back a warranty without doing your homework contrary to popular belief.

Some people just want to invent negatives where there isn't one. There are clear positives and negatives but this isn't a negative as much as some people would like it to be. I'd suggest we move on to something more productive.
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


cowboyro
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said by Critsmcgee:

How would a 5 or 10 year old item be any different then a new one? Do your windows get weaker over time? Then why would solar panels? You really think they don't test panels in thermal cycle tests? You don't offer and back a warranty without doing your homework contrary to popular belief.

Thermal stress fatigue weakens the resistance. Panels are not a pane of glass, they are a sandwich of different materials with different thermal expansion coefficients. Yes, they are very strong and will take a lot of abuse from mother nature. But even a once-in-ten-years event is enough during the 20+ years of expected operation.
Don't take my word for it, google yourself and you'll see countless images of destruction.

25696122

join:2013-12-20

said by cowboyro:

said by Critsmcgee:

How would a 5 or 10 year old item be any different then a new one? Do your windows get weaker over time? Then why would solar panels? You really think they don't test panels in thermal cycle tests? You don't offer and back a warranty without doing your homework contrary to popular belief.

Thermal stress fatigue weakens the resistance. Panels are not a pane of glass, they are a sandwich of different materials with different thermal expansion coefficients. Yes, they are very strong and will take a lot of abuse from mother nature. But even a once-in-ten-years event is enough during the 20+ years of expected operation.
Don't take my word for it, google yourself and you'll see countless images of destruction.

So nothing to back it up but a claim to search Google? Ok, back to lerking for me.

ke4pym
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reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

said by Critsmcgee:

How would a 5 or 10 year old item be any different then a new one? Do your windows get weaker over time? Then why would solar panels? You really think they don't test panels in thermal cycle tests? You don't offer and back a warranty without doing your homework contrary to popular belief.

Thermal stress fatigue weakens the resistance. Panels are not a pane of glass, they are a sandwich of different materials with different thermal expansion coefficients. Yes, they are very strong and will take a lot of abuse from mother nature. But even a once-in-ten-years event is enough during the 20+ years of expected operation.
Don't take my word for it, google yourself and you'll see countless images of destruction.

FUD.

This is why you have insurance policies. Do you worry about leaving your car out in the driveway when a hail storm comes? Probably not nearly as much as you appear to be worrying about hail hitting a solar panel. It's a non-issue. Move on.


cowboyro
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1 recommendation

said by ke4pym:

Do you worry about leaving your car out in the driveway when a hail storm comes?

Yes. That's why I keep it in the garage. And get a discount on the insurance for it.

ke4pym
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Charlotte, NC
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said by cowboyro:

said by ke4pym:

Do you worry about leaving your car out in the driveway when a hail storm comes?

Yes. That's why I keep it in the garage. And get a discount on the insurance for it.

Fine. Wal*Mart parking lot, 6 Flags, whatever. Again, you probably don't worry about it as much as you're "worrying" about it being a problem for the panels.


Jack_in_VA
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North, VA
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reply to ke4pym

Yes I worry about it. If damaged by a hail storm the Insurance only pays what the present value of the vehicle is at that time. Not nearly enough to replace it with a similar vehicle.

A few years ago a hailstorm devastated a Toyota dealer near me. It took them several years to unload those vehicles at a bargain price although I fail to see why anyone would want a car with numerous dents.


Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
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said by Jack_in_VA:

Yes I worry about it. If damaged by a hail storm the Insurance only pays what the present value of the vehicle is at that time. Not nearly enough to replace it with a similar vehicle.

A few years ago a hailstorm devastated a Toyota dealer near me. It took them several years to unload those vehicles at a bargain price although I fail to see why anyone would want a car with numerous dents.

You need to get the full value replacement coverage if you worry about that. There's always an insurance GIMMICK for anything you want to BUY piece of mind with.
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


Jack_in_VA
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North, VA
kudos:1

If your vehicle is totaled you do get full value for it. The value that the model and year is worth at the time of loss.



Cho Baka
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reply to Jack_in_VA

said by Jack_in_VA:

YI fail to see why anyone would want a car with numerous dents.

Sign me up. My daily driver is 18 years old - I'm not scared by dents.
--

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
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reply to Jack_in_VA

said by Jack_in_VA:

If your vehicle is totaled you do get full value for it. The value that the model and year is worth at the time of loss.

Not with the proper coverage. Many many types of insurance not just straight auto to consider as most people do. There is a replacement cost option, GAP insurance, or even a model year newer on standard auto policies for example. They make money on insurance so it benefits them to offer you anything you want to make you sleep better at night. If you can dream it they will write it for a price.

"...this coverage option works differently. Losses are paid without considering depreciation in the value of the car. The only exceptions involve cars that are damaged by fire or theft, which are covered for actual cash value. Regardless, your only cost would be your policy deductible."
»www.pennnationalinsurance.com/po···Cov.aspx
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who