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Old 09-25-2021, 07:34 PM   #41
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... Walking around my neighborhood, I saw quite a few very poor suboptimal installations, and the most recent one made me cringe. I thought about taking a photo to use as an example of the stupidest installations: 1/2 of the panels would see the clear sky for 2-3 hours each day, because they are shaded by trees in the morning and by the house/chimney in the afternoon. ...
And the way subsidies work in most places, they get a credit based on the cost of the installation.

That makes no sense. In theory, someone could get a tax credit for a system that never produced a single watt-hour of energy. Tax payers subsidize this? Ridiculous. In some areas, the subsidy is based on production. Isn't that the point? To encourage green production?

If the US subsidies were based on production, then the market would be forcing more efficient installations, and the waste that you saw would be much less common.

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Old 09-25-2021, 08:35 PM   #42
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And the way subsidies work in most places, they get a credit based on the cost of the installation.

That makes no sense. In theory, someone could get a tax credit for a system that never produced a single watt-hour of energy. Tax payers subsidize this? Ridiculous. In some areas, the subsidy is based on production. Isn't that the point? To encourage green production?

If the US subsidies were based on production, then the market would be forcing more efficient installations, and the waste that you saw would be much less common.

-ERD50
I tried to get my mom and dad to let me know if they were going to DO something significant (financially, house improvement, insurance, car purchase, etc. etc.) so that I could be certain they didn't get ripped off. BUT, one day I arrived at their house and there were workmen on the roof, installing a solar heater. I questioned mom and dad and they were all excited about some tax incentive involved. The thing did supply some warm air, but they eventually forgot how to make it work and in the 10 more years they lived there, I doubt they saved more than a few thousand BTUs. I could never figure the thing out, so it was as ERD50 suggested, the tax payers subsidizing an installation - not a benefit. Oh, last time I drove by the old house, someone had removed the unsightly device - wonder if THEY got a subsidy for neighborhood beautification? YMMV
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Old 09-25-2021, 09:42 PM   #43
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The Tesla roof is a good deal if you need a new roof, or if you are doing brand new construction. You get both a new roof and a solar system all in one. If you donít need a new roof, the panels will definitely pencil out better.



But if you are putting new panels on a 20 year old roof, it may be worth the investment. You donít want to put brand new panels on a roof that will need to be replaced a few years down the road, because you will have to uninstall everything and reinstall over the new roof.


Iím guessing the Tesla roof wouldnít work for us because we have a flat roof. Solar panels need a slight pitch to be most efficient.
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Old 09-25-2021, 10:01 PM   #44
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Iím guessing the Tesla roof wouldnít work for us because we have a flat roof. Solar panels need a slight pitch to be most efficient.
The Tesla roof wouldn't work but I have seen lots of solar installations on flat roofs where the panels are attached to a pitched frame.
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Old 09-25-2021, 11:25 PM   #45
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Removing and reinstalling solar panels is not a big deal, really. The problem is normal roofers do not know how to deal with it, and the solar guys will gouge you for an easy job.
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So, other than that... It's not a big deal.
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Old 09-25-2021, 11:30 PM   #46
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I’m guessing the Tesla roof wouldn’t work for us because we have a flat roof. Solar panels need a slight pitch to be most efficient.
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The Tesla roof wouldn't work but I have seen lots of solar installations on flat roofs where the panels are attached to a pitched frame.
The optimal pitch depends on the latitude, because the average sun angle varies with latitude. Usually, 20-30 degrees work.

A slope is also needed, so that rain will wash the dirt off.

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Old 09-25-2021, 11:43 PM   #47
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[QUOTE=NW-Bound;2668113]

A slope is also needed, so that rain will wash the dirt off.

Ha! That doesnít happen here in California.
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Old 09-26-2021, 01:43 AM   #48
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If the US subsidies were based on production, then the market would be forcing more efficient installations, and the waste that you saw would be much less common.

-ERD50
That is how it worked in the UK. Consumers got a 20 year contract which pays them a price/kWh for everything they produce and that price is linked to the wholesale price of electricity. All subsidies are gone now but my neighbor still has a contract and the amount he generates netted him £600 this past 12 months, plus he then has lower bills from lower consumption.

His installation cost him £6.5k 8 years ago. Our installation with batteries cost £7.5k ($10k) 2 years ago. No subsidies on installation costs.
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Old 09-26-2021, 05:19 AM   #49
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If the US subsidies were based on production, then the market would be forcing more efficient installations, and the waste that you saw would be much less common.

-ERD50

US subsidies are not stupid. Rather, they are cleverly designed to put the most money into pockets of the people who lobby hard for these laws.
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Old 09-26-2021, 05:30 AM   #50
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I put a system in 2 years ago and purchased it. Yes there is payback but there is also the 'feel good' factor which I think is underappreciated. We really enjoy the fact we are generating 95% of our own power and doing so with the sun.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:16 AM   #51
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US subsidies are not stupid. Rather, they are cleverly designed to put the most money into pockets of the people who lobby hard for these laws.
Unfortunately, that is true!

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Old 09-26-2021, 10:04 AM   #52
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There are other ways to harness solar power than solar cells. While in Turkey I saw solar water heaters on almost every building. One hotel I stayed at had at least three dozen of them on its roof. I quickly learned that the best time to take a hot shower was in the late afternoon or early evening. Plenty of hot water was available. Morning showers ? The boiler tried to keep up but the water was barely warm.
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Old 09-26-2021, 10:16 AM   #53
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And the way subsidies work in most places, they get a credit based on the cost of the installation.

That makes no sense. In theory, someone could get a tax credit for a system that never produced a single watt-hour of energy. Tax payers subsidize this? Ridiculous. In some areas, the subsidy is based on production. Isn't that the point? To encourage green production?

If the US subsidies were based on production, then the market would be forcing more efficient installations, and the waste that you saw would be much less common.

-ERD50

I don’t really understand the reasoning linking the subsidies to incentivizing poor installs. If your system is poorly designed or in a bad area for generating power, you’ll have to upsize the system to see the output you need. The subsidies only cover a fraction of the cost. You’ll spend a lot more out of pocket to get the output you need.

Maybe there are unscrupulous dealers out there that aren’t honest about output? We’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the two installers we worked with. We got multiple bids on each project and all were very similar in terms of cost and layout/production estimates.

We ended up going with one of the largest installers in our area who also did commercial systems. A little more expensive, but when we had an issue with our battery they had the leverage to fight back with LG.

ETA, maybe you’re saying that the subsidies enable solar to be cost effective in locations it might otherwise not be? I think that’s the point of the subsidies though?? We pay $.30-.54/kWh, so it was a pretty easy decision. Still, the tax credit was nice.
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Old 09-26-2021, 10:22 AM   #54
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Maybe there are unscrupulous dealers out there that aren’t honest about output?
Ummm... Is that the same as asking if there are dishonest used car salesmen?

PS. The equipment they install is all brandname and UL-listed. There's no problem with the hardware. The problem is that they would not inform a home owner that his roof orientation is wrong, or that he should chop down a beloved tree else don't bother with solar. These are factors that cause a system to perform poorly.
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Old 09-26-2021, 11:09 AM   #55
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Ummm... Is that the same as asking if there are dishonest used car salesmen?

PS. The equipment they install is all brandname and UL-listed. There's no problem with the hardware. The problem is that they would not inform a home owner that his roof orientation is wrong, or that he should chop down a beloved tree else don't bother with solar. These are factors that cause a system to perform poorly.
Wow, that hasnít been our experience with solar installers at all! I mean, once itís installed youíll know exactly what each panel is putting out, so lying seems very short sighted.

We have a very disjointed roofline with some areas better angled than others and some getting more afternoon sun vs morning, depending on the time of year. That was all clearly explained, along with the expected output of the system and degradation over time. Weíre currently significantly outperforming their initial calculations, which is great as weíve added some energy hogs to our home.

The one area I ignored in their calculations was payback period as they built in significant rate increases in power over time. Turns out their estimates were closer than mine!

Maybe itís an issue of competition here. There are so many options in SoCA that someone who was misquoting systems isnít going to last very long.
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Old 09-26-2021, 11:29 AM   #56
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Wow, that hasn’t been our experience with solar installers at all! I mean, once it’s installed you’ll know exactly what each panel is putting out, so lying seems very short sighted...
Very true.

About the badly situated system that I saw, it is possible that the installer explained to the homeowner that some of the panels are in a shaded spot that will result in severely shortened hours of operation, yet the homeowner still insisted that the system be installed.

That still does not explain why more panels could not be mounted on the cleared sections of the roof, where there's space. There are 3 sub-arrays on 3 different roof sections, and the one with the most panels is the shaded one. I could not understand it.

But one thing is true. Solar installation business does not seem to do well here. The world that is spread around among my neighbors is that residential systems do not pay. The unscrupulous installers messed it up for everyone.
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Old 09-26-2021, 12:28 PM   #57
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Sorry, I don't do that anymore. Last time I was up on a roof was to replace the cap on my fireplace after it blew off. I was in my 50s. I told myself then that I'd never do THAT again. Now I'm in my 70s, there's no way I'd get up on a roof for hours at a time, hefting PV cells around, carrying them down and back up a ladder, etc. I'm sure there are some here who still do DIY, but I'm not one of them. My labor would be cheap, I suppose, but one fall and I could be dead or worse. Not my idea of saving money or even my idea of retirement. Thanks, but no thanks! YMMV
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Old 09-26-2021, 12:52 PM   #58
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There are other ways to harness solar power than solar cells. While in Turkey I saw solar water heaters on almost every building. One hotel I stayed at had at least three dozen of them on its roof. I quickly learned that the best time to take a hot shower was in the late afternoon or early evening. Plenty of hot water was available. Morning showers ? The boiler tried to keep up but the water was barely warm.
Solar hot water has been a viable technique for (SWAG, here) 100 years. My dad built his own system for his business 65 years ago. He took a 30 gallon tank from an old hot water heater, painted it flat black, plumbed it into the hot water feed line and built a miniature greenhouse around it. He used aluminum foil to build a reflector system to take fuller advantage of the sun all day long. I wonder why the emphasis has been on electricity production which is (finally and apparently) viable in many locations. In probably 2/3 of the USA, solar hot water would be a snap and it would be inexpensive to install. I've seen thousands of such installations throughout the south and many in Hawaii. YMMV
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Old 09-26-2021, 01:42 PM   #59
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Sorry, I don't do that anymore... Thanks, but no thanks! YMMV
I was just joking.

The danger of working on the roof, particularly the 2nd story roof, is why I prefer to have ground-mounted arrays. You can still get hurt if you are careless, but the hazard is less.
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Old 09-26-2021, 01:50 PM   #60
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Today is an overcast day. It's rare, but it does happen in the Valley of the Sun.

My 7.8-kW array is putting out a measly 1 kW. It's still enough to run the fridge, the pool pump, and the intermittent kitchen appliances (the battery provides the buffer for the high intermittent load).

The water heater is back on the grid. My wife just ran a washer load. The electric rate is 7c all day during the weekend.

The outside temperature is 80F. The ACs barely run. It's all good.

In the next few days, the sky will clear. I will have more power than I use, again. It's because the high temperature will be below 100F. That's nothing for the ACs to handle. They are variable-speed, and will run at an idle speed.
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