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Solar Panels on Roofs, are they worth it?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Rich, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    After you put up the panels, what did your electric bill drop to?

    Rich
     
  2. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    How's the wind where you live? No problems with that, either?

    Rich
     
  3. pfp

    pfp Whatever

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    Not installed yet but it's pretty simple here.

    $210/mo to the electric utility OR
    $10/mo to the electric utility and $110/mo for the solar lease.
    Zero down. zero maintenance, no more rate increases, save $90/mo
     
  4. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Different here in Jersey. I really gotta spend some time with a solar panel company rep who knows enough to answer my questions. I've got even more questions since I started this thread. For instance, your post is the first to mention a solar lease. No salesman has mentioned that.

    Rich
     
  5. trdrjeff

    trdrjeff Icon

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    Baseline is pretty ridiculously low too, and no adjustments between those that live on the coast and those inland where daytime temps can vary 20 degrees higher.

    I'd be curious how many KW others use around the country and what that translates to your bills (Another thread maybe!). Our electric bill ranges from $75-100 most of the year, but just using the A/C 15 days in the peak summer months can push it over $350 easily. Also we have no time of day rate changes.
     
  6. trdrjeff

    trdrjeff Icon

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    Rich, if there's no upfront cost to you I've been assuming you were referring to a solar lease?
     
  7. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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  8. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    We run the AC all summer long, wife and son have allergies. I notice my neighbors do the same thing. The last few years we have had brutal summers. We don't have much of a spring either, so summer for us ranges from May to October. I'm not sure I even want to look at our power bill.

    Rich
     
  9. RasputinAXP

    RasputinAXP Kwisatz Haderach of Cordcuttery

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    Yeah, looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    There's also tiered delivery pricing on the page above it.

    edit:
    if you don't have to, don't do it. I think JCP&L's rates are higher than ACE's right now.
     
  10. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Nobody has said anything about it. I know a few years ago I talked to a salesman and he offered us either a free install or pay for the install and get some kind of energy certificates. He also said nobody was interested in the certificates, so the solar company gets them if the install is free.

    Rich
     
  11. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Couldn't look at them if I wanted to now. We're in MD at the shore for the week. I'll look when I get home and let you know. We're on a yearly plan and pay the same amount (~ $500) each month. Most years we pay for more than we use and get money back or whatever they do.

    Did you ever get your AC straightened out?

    Rich
     
  12. DoyleS

    DoyleS Icon

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    El Dorado...
    Rich, My bill now is $50-$60 per month vs the $400/month. I run a pretty heavy load with Swimming pool, separate Hot Tub, Freezer, 2 additional refrigerators, large wine Cooler and an Air Conditioned shed held at 63 degrees for my winemaking. California has pretty punitive higher rates. Before Solar the top tier was at $0.50/kwh and the next tier below that was at $0.38/kwh so my goal was to get out of those tiers and the 4 kw system did that. I did a number of other things to cut my usage. I installed a variable speed DC pump on my pool which dropped it from a 13 amp pump at 240 volts to a 3 amp pump at 240 volts and I run at half the speed but run twice as long. I also installed LED lights to replace the canned lights in our family room. We tried the compact fluorescents but color temperature and lack of real dimming kicked them to the curb. I just got my second True Up bill from PG&E and it was $650 for the year so 2 years running I am right around $600-$700 annual electric. Wind is not problem here although the SunPower system uses a low profile mount that is very secure. There was no damage to the roof and a very clean installation. My roof faces West so not ideal but it produces very well in the summer which is when the highest usage is. I did look at leases but in my case, with the payback being less than 5 years, it made more sense buy it outright. If you have any shading issues or panels facing in different directions you should really look at using a system with the micro-inverters (Enphase) as mentioned earlier. With those systems all the panels are in parallel so they can each be generating different amounts of power. With a central inverter like I have, the panels are in series and the output is limited on each panel to the current in the lowest performing panel. Not a problem with no shading like I have and I would probably have another 5% performance with the micro-inverters but at the time I bought, it raised the cost of the system substantially. I think they are much more reasonable now and if I ever added to my system it would be with the micro-inverters.
     
  13. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Thanx for the info. Makes me want to do it.

    Rich
     
  14. DoyleS

    DoyleS Icon

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    El Dorado...
    Just beware, the first few months after you install it you will spend your time just looking at the display to see how much you are generating and you will follow your wife around the house turning off lights. LOL!
     
  15. trdrjeff

    trdrjeff Icon

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  16. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    As compulsive as I am, I'd probably be out there a lot more than a few months.... :lol:

    Rich
     
  17. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I did my due diligence and went thru the process of getting approved for solar panels on my roof. What I found out was quite a bit different than what I expected.

    Several years ago, at a kiosk in Costco, I listened to a salesman from some company list the options for having solar panels installed. One of the options was paying for the installation myself and receiving ~ $570 a month in "energy vouchers". Glad I didn't do that, the vouchers are now worth ~ $70.

    Now, the best plan I could get was installation at no cost to me and I'd have to pay ~ $87 a month to lease the equipment. After talking to a woman several times on the phone, I finally got a guy who knew exactly how the process works.

    He started to show me all kinds of charts explaining how the panels work and what equipment would be included in the installation. Told him I knew all that stuff and asked him to get to the financial part. Asked him how long it would take me to start seeing a drop in my electric bill (which is ~ $349 a month, far less than I thought it was). Six years. As soon as he told me that, I told him I wasn't interested. Done.

    Don't expect to be in this house for much longer than six years and didn't want to sell the house with a transferable lease for the panels. No other way to do it, once you have the installation you pay the lease fee for 20 years. Or the person who purchases my home pays for it.

    Rich
     
  18. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    You certainly did your due diligence. I was speaking to someone recently who looked into solar, and they had similar things to say. It doesn't help that commisioned salespeople cloud the issue... Just curious, had you went the voucher route years ago would your monthly reimbursement be the same, or would it have dropped to the ~$70 range?
     
  19. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Would have dropped to the $70 range. With the $570 vouchers, it didn't seem like a bad deal, but with no guarantee of that price not going lower, I lost interest. Glad I did, my wife would still be pounding on me.

    Rich
     
  20. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    I bet many folks made the mistake of going the voucher route not realizing that the price isn't "locked in." Had I made a mistake like that, my wife would have me buried in the back yard :lol:
     

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