Solar Power

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The Annoyed Man
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Solar Power

#1

Post by The Annoyed Man » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:27 am

I’m thinking of adding some kind of solar power array to my home down the road, and I’m just beginning to do some research on it. Do any of you guys have it on yours, and if so, what has your experience been like?

A friend at church recently showed me the SmartFlower Solar system: http://smartflowersolar.com. The attractive features of this system are (A) a small footprint, (B) self-deploys and retracts to protect itself from weather, and (C) is available with battery storage. But it is also a fairly new product without the extensive track record of traditional solar panels, and the equipment cost and installation are not cheap. Therefore, when you amortize the installation cost over 20 years, the projected cost per watt of power over that 20 years is higher. That is balanced against the system’s ability to protect itself from things like hail and high winds, unlike a rooftop system. Also, it is just a lot more complicated than a traditional system by virtue of all of its moving parts. But for now, something like that is probably outside my price range anyway. So if I do something to my suburban home, it will likely be rooftop solar panels.

What about you guys?
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troglodyte
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Re: Solar Power

#2

Post by troglodyte » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:26 am

Reputable panels can be very hail resistant.

https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/ha ... vere-storm

I do dabble in solar on some small projects at work and home. Mainly for low wattage remote needs. I too am looking, casually, at installing solar. As a cheap DIYer I'd have to figure out how to do most of it myself.
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Re: Solar Power

#3

Post by strogg » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:26 am

I've done some thought on solar panels myself. I opted against it due to poor ROI. There are upsides and downsides that are hard to quantify, but at this point in time, there are far better places to put my money than into a solar system. YMMV, of course.

I actually would prefer a traditional rooftop system. Current rooftop panels are actually so much tougher than standard rooftop shingles that even in a big hailstorm, they act as armor so the likelihood of needing a roof replaced goes down. In fact, you may end up having cheaper homeowners insurance due to that fact alone. The only issue is that after a big hailstorm, inspectors will need to spend a little more time looking underneath the panels to make sure nothing got damaged.

Another upside of solar (especially with batteries) is that you are pretty much immune to power outages. While others will be battling with backup generators or UPSs, you'd be sitting at home wondering what others in your neighborhood are whining about.


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Re: Solar Power

#4

Post by Abraham » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:28 am

I use solar power to open and close one of my two gates.

When I had the unit installed (roughly 5/8 years ago...) I had them double up on 2 panels as only 1 was required, (according to them) but spoke to a guy with solar panel gate and he said 2 were far better than 1.

He only has 1 panel and said if a few days elapse with out sun his battery depletes, so get 2. I did.


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Re: Solar Power

#5

Post by WTR » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:00 am

My neighbor put his farm totally on solar. Cost- 60,000.00 dollars. With Fed and State rebates ( now expired) cost to him- 29,000.00. He has a farm house, workers single wide trailer, shop and one hay barn. Also, locally, the Electric Co. was going to charge folks who utilized solar power. That proposal met sting opposition and has been tabled for the time being. Electric companies are greedy little bastards.


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Re: Solar Power

#6

Post by jason812 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:06 am

I have looked into this as a way to get off the grid. From what I have discovered, if you want to get off the grid, solar, wind, and batteries are needed. To run a normal home, expect to spend $100k. On top of that, you have to replace and maintain the batteries and if you want the best performance, you have to change a lot of habits and possibly electric devices in your home. Unfortunately it's not as easy as put up some panels and turn the electric meter off. For wind, expect to put up a 30ft diameter windmill on at least a 100ft tower if you want anything out of it. I doubt many jurisdictions will let you do that but I have the luxury of being in the middle of nowhere.

Of course if it were just you and not your family, you could get this done a lot cheaper, I know I could as I could do without certain luxuries in life.

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Re: Solar Power

#7

Post by AndyC » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:58 am

I love the idea of solar and actually have one of those RAVpower 4-panel foldable sets for cellphone/tablet charging, but I can't justify the costs for a house.
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The Annoyed Man
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Re: Solar Power

#8

Post by The Annoyed Man » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:12 am

jason812 wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:06 am
I have looked into this as a way to get off the grid. From what I have discovered, if you want to get off the grid, solar, wind, and batteries are needed. To run a normal home, expect to spend $100k. On top of that, you have to replace and maintain the batteries and if you want the best performance, you have to change a lot of habits and possibly electric devices in your home. Unfortunately it's not as easy as put up some panels and turn the electric meter off. For wind, expect to put up a 30ft diameter windmill on at least a 100ft tower if you want anything out of it. I doubt many jurisdictions will let you do that but I have the luxury of being in the middle of nowhere.

Of course if it were just you and not your family, you could get this done a lot cheaper, I know I could as I could do without certain luxuries in life.
That was a point made by one of the solar companies websites that I read......that for most modern suburban homes, you’re not going to be able to generate enough power to get completely off grid without significantly changing your lifestyle. I like my air conditioning, TV, and my wifi and computing devices. Of course, like most people my age (mid-60s), I remember a time when most homes DIDN’T have all of those things. I didn’t even have air conditioning until I was in my late 30s or early 40s. If I had to, I could adapt to consuming less power. I’d just have to get used to being less comfortable again.

Another consideration..... in the pre-A/C days, homes were designed to be ventilated by means of certain window designs to keep the inside livable in the heat. These days, homes are practically hermetically sealed .... which saves energy for cooling/heating, but makes them more difficult to establish a cooling airflow. My current house was built in 1993 - well within the window of hermetically sealed homes.

Also, happy wife, happy life; and I’m pretty sure my wife would not want to live without A/C and heat :mrgreen: So in all probability, I won’t be energy independent .... at least as long as I live in this house. But, I most certainly CAN lower my energy bill. So it all boils down to ROI like strogg mentioned. That is still to be determined.
Give me Liberty, or I'll get up and get it myself.—Hookalakah Meshobbab
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The Annoyed Man
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Re: Solar Power

#9

Post by The Annoyed Man » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:13 am

AndyC wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:58 am
I love the idea of solar and actually have one of those RAVpower 4-panel foldable sets for cellphone/tablet charging, but I can't justify the costs for a house.
I have one of those too. But it strikes me that if you’re going to build a house, that might be a good time to have solar installed, as it would be a relatively small uptick in the price of the finished home.
Give me Liberty, or I'll get up and get it myself.—Hookalakah Meshobbab
I don't carry because of the odds, I carry because of the stakes.—The Annoyed Boy

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comp73
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Re: Solar Power

#10

Post by comp73 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:17 am

What about these?

https://www.tesla.com/solarroof

They come with a lifetime warranty and if you time it right, you might even get your homeowner's insurance to partially pay for them.
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Re: Solar Power

#11

Post by Abraham » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:23 am

Still crappy ROI.

Depending on sun, wind, methane gas, crop circles and prayer won't grant you energy.


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Re: Solar Power

#12

Post by rotor » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:25 am

Since California is requiring it in all new houses that automatically takes it off the interest list. None of these alternate energy sources can make it on their own without some kind of tax break. We will eventually have an alternate someday and it is called fusion. Will not be here in my lifetime though.


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Re: Solar Power

#13

Post by Abraham » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:38 am

cali has new houses?

I'd like to know how many live in absolute squalor though others would still build a new home, nearby...

Is this the definition of denial or insanity?

Or has "A Clockwork Orange" come to fruition?

Madness...

I'm surprised even the fru-fru entertainment class still lives there...


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Re: Solar Power

#14

Post by WTR » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:42 pm

jason812 wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:06 am
I have looked into this as a way to get off the grid. From what I have discovered, if you want to get off the grid, solar, wind, and batteries are needed. To run a normal home, expect to spend $100k. On top of that, you have to replace and maintain the batteries and if you want the best performance, you have to change a lot of habits and possibly electric devices in your home. Unfortunately it's not as easy as put up some panels and turn the electric meter off. For wind, expect to put up a 30ft diameter windmill on at least a 100ft tower if you want anything out of it. I doubt many jurisdictions will let you do that but I have the luxury of being in the middle of nowhere.

Of course if it were just you and not your family, you could get this done a lot cheaper, I know I could as I could do without certain luxuries in life.

My neighbor is completely off the grid and only utilizes solar..... no wind. He also has a small (12x20) building dedicated to housing batteries and inverters. As I said he powers his complete (base farm) about 90 acres and the total cost was in the $60,000.00 range.

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Re: Solar Power

#15

Post by Daddio-on-patio » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:18 pm

Great topic. Several homes in my area (NE Tarrant Co) have had roof top panels installed over the last year or two. I am not keen on talking to sales folk about a product I am not familiar with. Hoping a site member that has opted in to the hybrid electrical option could chime in on start up cost, electric plan choice, etc.
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