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Solar Electric Assist--- NOT working
Old 03-13-2017, 01:19 PM   #1
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Solar Electric Assist--- NOT working

At least in Somerset PA. ------ BTW Find the solar panels in the photo of the development with all houses having solar panels. And this has been a very low snow amount winter around here.

High electric bills shocking Somerset development residents | News | tribdem.com
"Flyers advertising the development blare in bold capital letters: “ALL UNITS HAVE SOLAR PANELS FOR BETTER ENERGY EFFICIENCY!”
In January 2015, during the permitting phase of the project, developers told The Tribune-Democrat that a resident of a three-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot home in Highland Hills would likely pay around $16 a month for electric service."

"Little, who moved into the development last November, was charged $250.06 in December for consuming 1,765 kilowatt-hours of energy, her bill indicates. (Most of this total comes from Penelec’s distribution charge and price to compare default service, since, according to the list of charges on Little’s bill, Penelec isn’t providing her electricity itself.)
With a $177.39 account balance left over from the previous month’s bill and $1.73 in late payment charges, she was instructed to pay $429.18 by Jan. 3.
In January, Little consumed 2,544 kilowatt-hours and was charged $340.81; in February, she was billed $275.90 for 1,902 kilowatt-hours.
According to U.S. Energy Information Administration data from 2015, residential electric customers in Pennsylvania consume an average of 855 kilowatt-hours per month – less than half the amount of energy Little’s house has ever consumed in any single month – and pay average monthly bills of $116.62."


OTOH at my camp, totally off grid, solar works pretty good. All my panels are mounted vertically

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Old 03-13-2017, 02:42 PM   #2
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The houses look like a row of gray tombstones. And not a tree to be seen. Never mind the disappearing solar panels - I would die of depression if I had to drive down that street every day.
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:02 PM   #3
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My solar panels work great - I average 40% of my usage provided by solar each month, in line with estimates.
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:13 PM   #4
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I had been following a large local solar installation, their data is available online. Last winter, I noticed the panels had produced almost no power for over a week. I thought there was a problem with the system. I contacted the site admin, they didn't know, but mentioned that weather reports showed we had snow recently. Yep, those panels are at ~20 degree angle (to capture more summer sun during the longer days), and the snow falls and stays on them for a week or longer, with near zero output.

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Old 03-13-2017, 03:13 PM   #5
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It seems like the apartments have heat pumps and they are kicking into resistance heating mode because the heat pumps are inadequate for the ambient temperatures.
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:13 PM   #6
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The houses look like a row of gray tombstones. And not a tree to be seen. ....
The trees would block the solar panels. -ERD50
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:25 PM   #7
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...large local solar installation... the snow falls and stays on them for a week or longer, with near zero output.
Is it feasible to go out and scrape the snow off? I can see it's hard with those homes in the photo.

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It seems like the apartments have heat pumps and they are kicking into resistance heating mode because the heat pumps are inadequate for the ambient temperatures.
+1

No reason having the ineffective panels makes it worse. Unless they are using electricity trying to heat and melt the snow as some guy proposed doing for solar-panels embedded in the road.
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I had been following a large local solar installation, their data is available online. Last winter, I noticed the panels had produced almost no power for over a week. I thought there was a problem with the system. I contacted the site admin, they didn't know, but mentioned that weather reports showed we had snow recently. Yep, those panels are at ~20 degree angle (to capture more summer sun during the longer days), and the snow falls and stays on them for a week or longer, with near zero output.

-ERD50
So, too much work for admin. to leave their toasty offices and coffee and grab a couple of brooms

Never saw it coming....huh??
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:38 PM   #9
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The trees would block the solar panels. -ERD50
You want trees too?

Well, these homes are new. Else, would have some trees or brushes, I am sure.

Walking around my neighborhood, I envy some of them with a big backyard. I would be able to erect my own solar array, have the optimal orientation and no shading. In fact, I can use the panels for shade from the broiling southwest sun. I could lay in a hammock in the shade of the panels, swinging and sipping pina colada.
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:48 PM   #10
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Is it feasible to go out and scrape the snow off? ...
I'm tempted to ask, I'd bet the people in charge don't even know that the snow was blocking the panels. When I asked about the drop originally, I only got an answer from the monitoring site, nothing from the people actually involved with the physical installation. This is a government run operation (school district), and if I get started, I'll probably get too political for the mods comfort, so I'll leave it there, but I guess I'll just say that I think they'd be more on top of it if it was their own money invested in those panels. I think they were more interested in the PR, and using "other people's money" (federal grants - as if that money doesn't come from the taxpayers) to pay for the panels.

This is a large installation on flat roofs. I think the snow could be shoveled/scraped off. But it would take time and there'd be risk of damaging the panels. And in winter, you don't get much power anyhow, so probably not worth it for a week of somewhat increased power, even if it could be done with reasonable care and effort.

But it makes me think that having a simple, manual adjustment of the angle a couple times a year would be worthwhile. Setting to a much steeper angle in winter not only improves the amount of sunlight captured, but the snow wouldn't build up as easily, and any that did would melt/slide/blow off much faster.


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Old 03-13-2017, 03:54 PM   #11
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...This is a large installation on flat roofs. I think the snow could be shoveled/scraped off. But it would take time and there'd be risk of damaging the panels. And in winter, you don't get much power anyhow, so probably not worth it for a week of somewhat increased power, even if it could be done with reasonable care and effort
That may very well be the case. People may not think panels require a bit of maintenance, but they do. And any labor would need its cost paid for, and there's no budget for it.

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But it makes me think that having a simple, manual adjustment of the angle a couple times a year would be worthwhile. Setting to a much steeper angle in winter not only improves the amount of sunlight captured, but the snow wouldn't build up as easily, and any that did would melt/slide/blow off much faster...
I wonder if any large installation has the panel angle adjustable.

If I had my own dream solar installation in my backyard, I would of course make the installation tiltable, as it would give me something to play with. A retiree needs something to do, to tinker with.
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Old 03-13-2017, 04:10 PM   #12
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My guess is that the houses are crappily ]poorly insulated, have lots of air leaks, cheaply built, residents trying to keep warm run electric backup heating (as previously mentioned) without understanding how heat pump and their backup systems work...

BTW, by the lamp post shadow, hope the photo was not taken at noon time

And I don't feel like taking a 60 mile round trip to have a closer look. Agree with the dreary look comments, I would never live there. Rather live in a tepee.
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Old 03-13-2017, 04:43 PM   #13
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My system works great!

This will be my first month of negative (banking energy) electric bill. Lotta sun and no AC. True up coming in August, my first annual solar true up and I'm looking forward to it.

One of the best financial moves I've made in my life.
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Old 03-13-2017, 04:50 PM   #14
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...

One of the best financial moves I've made in my life.
You're welcome!

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Old 03-13-2017, 04:50 PM   #15
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The houses look like a row of gray tombstones. And not a tree to be seen. Never mind the disappearing solar panels - I would die of depression if I had to drive down that street every day.
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... Agree with the dreary look comments, I would never live there. Rather live in a tepee.
Aww, you guys are just too mean. The homes are new, and it's in the winter. They moved in in November 2016, not time to plant anything.

Comes spring, there will be pretty flowers, green leaves and all that good stuff.

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Old 03-13-2017, 04:51 PM   #16
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My system works great!............
I think the solar panels in the OP are just a distraction. The real issue is why the electrical consumption is over twice what is anticipated. Gotta be electrical heating to suck up that much juice.
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Old 03-13-2017, 04:53 PM   #17
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When some of the panels first came out it seems Ed Begley had some installed...

Then Bill Nye moved in and a rivalry started....

I saw one segment where Ed was on his roof with a mop cleaning his off to get more power...


Ed Begley, Bill Nye wage friendly eco war - ABC News
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Old 03-13-2017, 05:00 PM   #18
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I think the solar panels in the OP are just a distraction. The real issue is why the electrical consumption is over twice what is anticipated. Gotta be electrical heating to suck up that much juice.
Yep.
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Old 03-13-2017, 05:35 PM   #19
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Aww, you guys are just too mean. The homes are new, and it's in the winter. They moved in in November 2016, not time to plant anything.

Comes spring, there will be pretty flowers, green leaves and all that good stuff.

Agree there will be.... Just not in that neighborhood.
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Old 03-13-2017, 05:36 PM   #20
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Why not? Please elucidate.
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