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Old 10-11-2012, 02:02 PM   #21
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I'm curious how the $2,100 average annual savings was calculated. Do you have the breakdown?

-ERD50
No, but I should have noted that it includes selling the Renewable Energy Credits(RECs) the System will generate each year. So, the system is estimated to produce 15,895 kwh annually which works out to be about $1,500 in savings, the remainder or about $600 is the estimate for the sale of 16 RECS per year.
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:09 PM   #22
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A few years ago my seasoned realtor described it as a non selling point with perhaps a minor negative. Problem was people didn't understand them entirely, or thought they'd require some kind of special maintenance they didn't know about. Given that the primary barrier to making a sale is uncertainty, confusion and doubt, I see her point.

But that was a few years ago. Perhaps people are more eager to buy a house with solar on it. I know the new construction builds around here that come with solar aren't selling any better than, or for higher prices than a non solar new home.
Yes, some people may not want to be bothered with solar. But I already have a pool with solar hot water heat, so those folks may not be interested in my place anyway. I guess I would not anticipate making a return on my investment if we were to sell within the next few years.
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:19 PM   #23
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Consider my panties bunched!

-ERD50
Go commando!

Well, top down solutions aren't my cup-o-tea either, but, in general I think solar is one good idea as a solution for cheaper, cleaner, domestically-produced energy, and we should encourage it, albeit wisely.

Perhaps a pay-at-the-pump meter scheme, such as the higher fuel taxes that are suggested as one way to improve auto mpg. If you live in a really energy-intensive home, you pay more and more, on a graduated scale. Then let the home owner decide which way to lower usage and/or improve efficiency, or not.
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:23 PM   #24
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Since the house is in Florida, what is the impact of the solar panels on Windstorm Insurance, and how well would the panels take a storm? Just like were I live the concern would be Hail, and how well panels would take it. (Of course at .09/kwh and no local subsidies it would take 30 years to pay back here)
They are rated to withstand 150 mph winds. My roof is not. They use a three rail system to provide extra strength required to achieve the wind rating. I'll have to ask my insurance company but likely may affect my regular home owners, not storm coverage.
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:07 PM   #25
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I am paying .18 a kWh up here in NH. Our utility costs are pretty high. That includes distribution charge, transmisison charge, cost recovery charge, and a few other charges.
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:09 PM   #26
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That includes distribution charge, transmisison charge, cost recovery charge, and a few other charges.
Including the charge charge...
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:09 PM   #27
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I am paying .18 a kWh up here in NH. Our utility costs are pretty high. That includes distribution charge, transmisison charge, cost recovery charge, and a few other charges.
Corrupt politicians' charge...
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:17 PM   #28
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Talk about hailstorms, solar panels are made with tempered glass that can withstand 1" hail blown at 50mph and squarely against them. So, rare and large hails can still damage them, but they say that it is somewhat rare.

Following is a link that shows very large hail the size of tangerines that did not break some of the panels: Solar Electric Power Discussion Forum by Northern Arizona Wind & Sun
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:46 PM   #29
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We suffered a huge hailstorm (more like 2" balls) in New Mexico. The solar panels had no problems. The insurance company found very minor damage on the roof and gave us $20K to replace it. We had a quote from a roofer who also installs panels, and we paid extra for a better roof. We had the original electrician come and uninstall the panels then reinstall them after the roof was done. The insurance company paid up an extra $1K or so for the electrician. All told, pretty good experience. The new roof cuts down the heat in the summer. No problem with leaks due to panels.

NM had a better rebate than they have now, but PNM gives us a credit for the electricity we generate as well as any extra we put back on the grid. So over the course of a year, they pay us about $800 or so in cash. Unfortunately our CPA says we have to declare that as taxable income...
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:29 PM   #30
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We've looked at solar. But it doesn't pencil out, yet, for us.
- We're 12 years into our roof... so that's an issue.
- We're a low usage household: no AC, no incandescent bulbs, rarely out of the 2nd tier of use so we're paying fairly low rates. (They tier the rates - baseline is cheapest... then it steps up.)

We're planning on getting a system when the following happens
- Next car will be a plug in... but both current cars are reliable, paid for, not in need of replacement. Plug in car will kick up our usage.
- When it's time to redo the roof.

I figure we'll be ready in about 10 years.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:04 PM   #31
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Dang, what do they fuel those power plants with, gold?
Natural gas, since nothing else meets the emissions requirements, and although I live in a fairly dense suburban neighborhood adjacent to Sacramento suburbia, I'm on the edge of a rural county and get to pay extra for running all the wire to people who chose to live in the woods, but don't have to pay extra for the pleasure. Oh, and Pacific Gas and Electric sucks.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:23 PM   #32
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Natural gas, since nothing else meets the emissions requirements, and although I live in a fairly dense suburban neighborhood adjacent to Sacramento suburbia, I'm on the edge of a rural county and get to pay extra for running all the wire to people who chose to live in the woods, but don't have to pay extra for the pleasure. Oh, and Pacific Gas and Electric sucks.
Of course you have electric rates set there by the Peoples Utility Commission of California, which encourages conservation by tiering rates. In most central states the rates are flat in co-oops with no incentives, the goal being to give the lowest cost to all members.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:28 PM   #33
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In most central states the rates are flat in co-oops with no incentives, the goal being to give the lowest cost to all members.
And if someone wants service to the house they are building out in the sticks, they have to pay to have the lines run, not everyone else in the co-op.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:45 PM   #34
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It very much depends on how far in the sticks one is, a mile from the nearest service yes, but if service is a few hundred feet away then it is a different matter. One local coop gives a 2k credit, which might amount to a new pole. The local municipal utility says it will pay for the first 1200 feet of line extension.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:54 PM   #35
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I think we do both, which is also common in CA, we charge extra for new power installs in rural areas, and then also charge higher rates.

I'm sure there is some triple dipping going on, I just don't know what it is and don't want to think about it. I'm about $5 away in additional taxes to want to flee this state for one where they won't waste my money.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:57 PM   #36
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We are working with a PV company to install a 9.7 KW PV system on our home.Anybody else considering solar? Anybody with solar have any suggestions for anything they wish they would have done differently with the install?
Damn that's a big system. Have you looked into installing solar water heating, EnergyStar appliances, and other ways to reduce your energy use? They're usually cheaper than buying extra kilowatts and they have a fast payback.

In addition to doing your own calculations on a website, you might also want to visit someone in your neighborhood who has a system. Some PV companies do solar open houses, or you could just leave a note in the homeowner's mailbox. Chances are pretty high that you'll get a proud PV owner who'll be happy to show off their system and help you decide what you want for yours.

Most of your payback depends on this FPL rebate. It'd be a good idea to have your own "Plan B" for when the contractor calls back to tell you that you're not getting as much rebate as you expected.

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They are rated to withstand 150 mph winds. My roof is not. They use a three rail system to provide extra strength required to achieve the wind rating. I'll have to ask my insurance company but likely may affect my regular home owners, not storm coverage.
You may want to get a second opinion on that third rail from someone who's not selling hardware to you. I think all of the installations around here are two rails.

Unless you're mounting your panels on a pergola, that 150mph wind is not going to be blowing straight up against the entire panel from underneath. Even then...

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I am curious to know if solar panels mounted on a roof will increase the expense of roof replacement. Or the incidents of roof leaks. Any statistics on that?
There's a certain amount of labor to remove & reinstall an array, so it depends on who does the labor-- you on your own, or the PV installer, or paying the roofer. We've installed/removed/reinstalled our array on our own, and it's not rocket science. If you drill a hole in the wrong place then you patch it and try again in the right place. You may not be as experienced as a roofer, but you'll be a lot more cautious & careful.

The array mount starts with bolts & flashings sticking out of the roof beams. Once the array and the rails are removed, the roofers can work around the bolts and reinstall the flashings. Or you can remove all the hardware and start over when the roofers leave.

PV mounts & flashings have made a lot of progress in the last decade. Once they're installed they're no more likely to leak than anything else sticking up through the roof (like a sewage vent). Even if you stuck a mount through the ceiling (for a conversation starter?) the flashing would divert rainwater away from it.

If your array is installed by a roofer then it's warrantied against leaks. We've had far more leaks from other parts of the roofer's work than from anything we did on our own PV array.

I wonder if a PV array offers enough shade/cover to make a roof last longer, but I haven't seen any stats on that. All our roof damage has come from the wind chewing on ridges & peaks, not from the PV array.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:50 PM   #37
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Not only that we are an internet traffic hog, we are also an electric energy hog.

Our lowest monthly consumption is 1286 kWh in April, and the highest is 3364 kWhr in August. It's hot here, folks! I only set my thermostat at 78F.

Before people here crucify me, I need to hear from other SW dwellers, who will come to my defense.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:03 AM   #38
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Before people here crucify me, I need to hear from other SW dwellers, who will come to my defense.
I'll bet you mean SW Mainland dwellers...
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:05 AM   #39
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Over here in Australia, almost all houses have at least solar water heaters and definitely any new gubmint or oldie houses have them at construction.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:15 AM   #40
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I can't see any good reason to force these on the public. That has the unintended consequence of slowing progress. Why bother putting R&D into making them better/cheaper, when you have a captive audience buying them at the current prices?
Haven't they already?
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Breakdown for 9660 KW system

Gross PV Cost: $3.6/W $34,776
FPL Rebate $2/W -$19,320
Fed Inc Tax Credit 30% -$10,432
inc tax on rebate + $3,864
Discount on Pre Pay $.2/w - $1,932

Net Investment $6,956
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