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Old 10-12-2012, 09:25 AM   #41
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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.


Do you have extra insulation

Our house had extra insulation, radiant barrier and sun blocking screens on the windows in the back... but, I think the best 'insulation' are all the tall pine trees that block most of the sun in the afternoon.

Our highest usage this year was just over 1600kWh... and we have it set at 76 most of the time... the humidity is bad if set higher....
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:26 AM   #42
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Haven't they already?

Not really.... they skew the buying decision a lot with the big rebates, but they are not mandatory (at least yet).....
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:29 AM   #43
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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.
When I was in Haifa for work-related travel, I observed that nearly all houses and buildings had water solar heaters. An Israeli engineer explained that construction permits mandated that a solar installation be included in any remodel or new construction.

I had solar water panels on my roof, until due to neglect they froze during a brief freeze one winter. I was mad at myself for allowing that to happen, so forced myself to fix them, which involved a lot of work. I bought a torch and learned to braze copper in the process (not solder, which every homeowner should learn to do), something a bit satisfying to a DIY'er.

Still have not put it back, after I had the tile roof repaired due to an unrelated leak. Need to find a better way for attachment to that tile roof than what the original installer did for the previous home owner.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:34 AM   #44
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My usage for the past year. The base used is pretty low, but the summer bills are another story...
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File Type: jpg elec usage.JPG (46.8 KB, 16 views)
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:47 AM   #45
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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.
The 'wisely' part seems to be the tough one. Look at the subsidies in the OP:

'Other People' are paying $27,820 to install solar panels on one person's house, so that one person can save $2,100/year. Is that wise? And since a lot of that money probably has to be upfront, this means that only well-to-do people can take advantage of this. Can't the well-to-do pay their own?

Environmentalists should be the ones most against these kinds of subsidies. If you want to promote 'green' energy, can't we get a lot more bang for our buck than dumping $27,820 on one person, and all that is accomplished is a single installation?


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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.
Having the price reflect the true costs (difficult to determine, but we could take a stab at it) does seem to be the best way to help reduce consumption. As I've said before, MPG is a poor measure. It does not account for car-pooling in a larger, but lesser MPG vehicle. No credit for reducing miles driven, etc. It seems that politicians have decided that raising prices is bad, but 'gift-giving' in the form of subsidies/rebates is good. So that's what we get.

I drive few miles. I want to make the choice of MPG versus any increased cost. The 'one-size-fits-all' crowd says MPG will save money, but probably only if you drive average or higher miles.

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Haven't they already?
Not quite sure what you were referring to, but if you are saying that the subsidies/rebates are 'forcing' people to put in solar, OK. I don't like that either, or forced building codes.

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Old 10-12-2012, 09:52 AM   #46
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Do you have extra insulation

Our house had extra insulation, radiant barrier and sun blocking screens on the windows in the back... but, I think the best 'insulation' are all the tall pine trees that block most of the sun in the afternoon.

Our highest usage this year was just over 1600kWh... and we have it set at 76 most of the time... the humidity is bad if set higher....
I have no big trees for shades as this is a typical city lot, and the house orientation does not allow for large trees that would be between my house and a neighbor's. The pool pump also helps the electric meter spin.

The original 2,200-sq.ft. house was built with 2x4. Not much I can do for the wall insulation, or for the vaulted ceilings that follow the roof line (no crawl space or attic). The 500-sq.ft. addition I put on was built with 2x6 and insulated reasonably well.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:56 AM   #47
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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?
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Haven't they already?
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Not quite sure what you were referring to, but if you are saying that the subsidies/rebates are 'forcing' people to put in solar, OK. I don't like that either, or forced building codes.
No, I'm saying they're already forcing the public to pay thru very heavy subsidization of solar in the OP's example...not much difference IMO.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:04 AM   #48
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During a congressional debate on an energy subsidy (not necessarily solar, forgot what it was), a congressman said that
"Adam Smith would be spinning so fast in his grave, that he would qualify as an alternative energy source".
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:48 AM   #49
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No, I'm saying they're already forcing the public to pay thru very heavy subsidization of solar in the OP's example...not much difference IMO.
True. I guess this is so 'hidden' from most people, they don't feel the pain directly.

I was tempted to write my utility to tell them I wanted to opt out of some of these programs. I had no interest in seeing part of my bill go towards some one else's solar installation. I'm sure I'd get a form letter response, not worth my 'energy' to write the letter.

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Old 10-12-2012, 11:48 AM   #50
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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.
Yep, PG&E worked mighty hard to avoid paying me a $600 energy rebate for duct sealing ~5 years ago. I kicked out the installer and brought someone else in to finish the job, but the original guy didn't do the rebate paperwork they were required to do, so PG&E said "sure, our rebate process doesn't say the homeowner has to do the paperwork...and in fact they can't, but we're not going to pay anyhow".

I made 20 calls to everyone in that company. I'm sure that in the aggregate they spent more denying me the rebate than it would have cost to pay it.

They stuffed me on an energy star dishwasher rebate as well.

So make sure someone puts in writing that you're going to get that big rebate, and who will make it right for you if the utility fails to come through. If your utility is PG&E, be very, very careful.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:51 PM   #51
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.........
I made 20 calls to everyone in that company. I'm sure that in the aggregate they spent more denying me the rebate than it would have cost to pay it.

They stuffed me on an energy star dishwasher rebate as well.

...........
So, how long did you have the meter jumped ?
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:25 PM   #52
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So make sure someone puts in writing that you're going to get that big rebate, and who will make it right for you if the utility fails to come through. If your utility is PG&E, be very, very careful.
Its in writing that the contractor will compensate me for any failure on their part that denies me the FPL rebate after I get approved etc. I'll check but I haven't heard any issues with once FPL accepts you in the rebate program, failing to pay it.
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:40 PM   #53
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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.


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...

.
Most of our appliances are energy star, not so with pool and lawn irrigation pumps, will look into replacing those. We talked to a couple who had same contractor do same size install on their place. Good feedback from them, they are happy with the product and contractor. They actually had install w/three rails and even more under the roof support installed to withstand even higher wind speed. We are not being charged extra for the three rail system. Yes, if the rebate falls through, we likely will wait til next year. PV prices dropped by about a $1/watt installed in the last year so will likely be even less expensive, unless the federal tax credit is eliminated. Our house is over 2900 sq ft. The size of the system we are considering is about right, we considered a slightly smaller system, but figured we'd try to max our monthly cost reduction.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:13 AM   #54
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Its in writing that the contractor will compensate me for any failure on their part that denies me the FPL rebate after I get approved etc. I'll check but I haven't heard any issues with once FPL accepts you in the rebate program, failing to pay it.
Yep, but thats what happened. I'd have had to serve PG&E in San Francisco and the contractor in another town, try to get a small claims case going against both, and I was up to my eyeballs in a six figure remodeling job. The reason for the failure was primarily the contractors, but PG&E should have made an exception for the case, since the contractor was on their list of approved people, I had the paperwork that the work was performed, etc.

My takeaway from two refusals to pay was either PG&E shouldn't be trusted, or one should make certain they're getting rebates before they include them in the price of a deal, and be prepared to make a court case about it.

Now, for 10 or 15k, I'd be heading to court...
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:37 AM   #55
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Never had a pool pump or a lawn irrigation pump. Hopefully you can check your electric bills against a few websites to make sure that the contractor has sized you correctly.

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We are not being charged extra for the three rail system.
I'll bet the contractor is also not going to charge less for a two-rail system...
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:34 AM   #56
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We got our FPL approval for the rebate program. We will be moving forward with signing the contract etc in the next few days.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:33 AM   #57
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Hope this goes well for you.
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:21 PM   #58
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Well, we wrote our first check for the installation, the balance will be due after the final inspection by the city. The contractor is actually going to replace our existing 6 yr old solar heat system for our pool and give us a new one with a 10 yr warranty. He has to move it to a SW facing portion of the roof in order to put the solar PV panels on the SE facing portion. Our existing 12 panels won't fit, thus the new 8 ft ones. To compensate for lost efficiency, he is going to increase the # of panels and provide more sq foootage of panel.

The entire project is scheduled to be completed during the first week of December.
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:53 PM   #59
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The entire project is scheduled to be completed during the first week of December.
Right under the tax-credit wire!
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:09 PM   #60
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Anyone have any info on buy vs lease solar? My buddy paid his leasing costs of $6000 up front and reduced his electric bill by $100 a month. I won't be selling my house, ever, so don't have to worry about complications. The leasing company guarantees his return, monitors it, and will make any needed repairs. Lease duration 20 years with the option of buying it at that time.

I have the $6K sitting around and love the idea of making a 20% return on my money. Anything wrong with my math?
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