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"solar panels" Topic

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947 hits since 13 Feb 2012
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Karpathian Inactive Member13 Feb 2012 7:22 p.m. PST

On the roof.

What do you need to look out for before you go down this road?

Ron W DuBray Inactive Member13 Feb 2012 7:46 p.m. PST

pro install, there is a lot more needed then just the panels

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian13 Feb 2012 8:36 p.m. PST

What directions does your roof face?

pphalen Inactive Member13 Feb 2012 9:05 p.m. PST

Does your utility support Net monitoring (allows you to sell power back)

Are you going to try to store power (more expensive) or just consume as you go.

Look to see what rebates your state offers, as well as national ones.

Find out if there are an additional credits.

In NJ, there are SRECs, which used to be worth about $6 USD-800/KW, but have gone down considerable because the demand is low (and frankly they are traded like commodities)

britishlinescarlet2 Inactive Member14 Feb 2012 12:13 a.m. PST

How long are you going to live there? Will you get your initial investment back?

streetline Inactive Member14 Feb 2012 6:36 a.m. PST

Where are you? A lot of the advice you'll get, ie get a 17th edition board, might not carry much weight in Karpathia.

zippyfusenet Inactive Member14 Feb 2012 6:41 a.m. PST

Do you get hailstorms where you live? Snow cover? Other damaging weather? Facing towards the sun is good, and no over-hanging trees or other shade.

We had a solar heating unit (not a solar panel, much simpler) on the roof of a house in Ohio for a while. It provided some auxiliary heat during the day, sometimes. But when the kids went to school and the wife got a job, no one was at home to enjoy it during the day. It was installed by professionals. It trapped enough moisture that we got wood rot and carpenter ants in the roof. We removed the unit and paid for expensive roof repairs.

Not really worth the trouble. Educational, though. A quick, practical course in green-power economics.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP14 Feb 2012 8:16 a.m. PST

Also get the local weather folks to give you an idea of
the average number of cloudy days in your area.

Zippy's point on family is good, too. If there's no
one home during the bulk of the day, you might want a
store-for-later option on the power generated by the

Klebert L Hall Inactive Member14 Feb 2012 8:48 a.m. PST

They (PV) can be worthwhile, though the initial investment is high, and the return on investment is slow.

It is not a simple thing to set up, either.

streetline Inactive Member14 Feb 2012 8:53 a.m. PST

If you're in the UK or a similar feed in style arrangement, it won't matter who's in when. And cloudy days aren't a show stopper either.

Cold Steel Inactive Member14 Feb 2012 10:38 a.m. PST

Do a rock solid cost/benefit analysis and don't forget the details like home owner's insurance. I have gone through the same drill and always come up with an ROI longer than the projected life of the panels.

Bob in Edmonton14 Feb 2012 2:06 p.m. PST

Roof facing, angle of the roof, degree of shading by surrounding buildings and trees, number of sunny days, need to store versus ability to hook into existing grid, if grid-tie in will the power company buy excess from you when you're not using it, cost of unit, expected return.

We're considering this. Sunny climate but northern. We have a south facing roof with 45 degree angle (ideal), some shading (not ideal). The cost for our set up will be about $24,000 USD (about half what it cost four years ago). With a grid tie in, it should pay for itself over the life of the unit.

pphalen Inactive Member15 Feb 2012 7:31 a.m. PST

When you calculate the payback period, make sure you really know how much electricity you use, and what the rate is.

I've seen some sites that make some fairly outrageous assumptions regarding electricity use (or I am way, way below average). They also assume that the cost of electricity will double in a 10 year span, which helps the payback case.

Bob in Edmonton15 Feb 2012 7:41 a.m. PST

Yes, pphalen is quite right about needing an accurate count--our consumption is also way lower than the average home (which means we need a slightly smaller rig to become energy neutral(ish) over the year.

My guy is estimating a 3% annual increase in electricity costs over the next 20 years. I think that is conservative which should help the ROI but if he is high (in price!), then a conservative estimate helps mitigate the risk.

Karpathian Inactive Member16 Feb 2012 3:40 a.m. PST

Carpathia has long, cold summers followed by even longer hot winters.

Or maybe the state-run calendar industry misprinted the months again.

Karpathian Inactive Member19 Feb 2012 4:19 p.m. PST

I must thank you all for your responses.

I've found that excess power can be returned to the grid for credit. That not all panels are of the same quality. That the weather here makes solar viable. That I'd need to cut down some trees.

I'm still waiting word from my insurance company re: replacing panels that are storm damaged.

stenicplus Inactive Member02 Mar 2012 5:57 a.m. PST

Where are you based? In the UK from the 3rd Match you'll get a reduce feed-in tariff which will add 25% to 35% to the payback period.

Also, in the UK you do not get an export meter unless you are genetating lots, instead they pay you a nominal price based up an assumed % not used.

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