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Solar Panels ?


muel
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So, I'm considering solar panels (photovoltaic with microinverters)  at my house.  Anybody have experience with any negative effects on their sound system?  Interference or noise?  Seems I recall @Edgar mentioning something about this a year or so ago.  Any problem that a power filter or nice sinewave producing power supply (or PS Audio's power plants) would correct?

 

The return on investment is looking really good to me and I have to do something about those growing electric bills which are averaging almost a 4 1/2% increase every year for the last 9 years I've been tracking.   

 

 

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Yeah, I'd still be on the grid... just producing enough to have no bill once or twice a year and lower bills the rest of the year.  I'm not planning on any batteries at this time.  I know I have noise now... just wondering how much worse it would be.  

 

Still no subs at my house... seems like it takes forever for me to make progress on "elective" projects.   

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I have a toy system to get ready for a cabin build.  I can't remember where you are, but the payback in the southeast is somewhere in the 20 year range, I.e. it doesn't pay to install them.  A few years ago our utility was paying 20 cents/kw-H, so at that rate you could make money.  Now it is the going rate at the meter, about 10 cents, and there's no way to make it work.  My cabin will be remote and solar is still over 2x what pulling grid power would be.  There is a DOE site that will calculate your $/kw-H.  For my site the solar generation cost was ~20 cents/kW-H. 

 

Passive solar, solar light pipes, solar water heating all are productive and displace electricity.  Have you converted to LED lights?  I just went through the economics of LED fluorescent tube replacements.  Here, they have a 36 month break-even point.  I'm probably not going to bother. 

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We have LED lights almost everywhere now.  My first try with those was a total waste as they quickly failed.  My more recent buys have been more reliable.  I have one fixture and 2 flood lights still with incandescent bulbs.  The incandescents are all over 22 years old now and counting.  

 

My cost for the panels now is less than half what it was 5 or so years ago when I looked.  Maybe it was longer... I have little sense of time anymore it seems.  A conservative estimate of the production per year and I should be able to pay for them in about 6.5 years but  with a 25 year warranty (assuming the company we choose sticks around) I should be OK.  Things happen so it could turn out to be a worse deal... roof leak and have to remove panels or company goes bust right before all the microinverters start to fail.  If the electric company never raises their rates (yeah right!) it could take almost 8 years for pay back.  It would be interesting to see if I have it better or worse than their predictions (which is really close to the NREL estimation)

Hmmm 

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7+ years with 40-some panels and one large inverter, not micro inverters. 

 

No Sonic issues. I run a Furman conditioner on my "nice" system. Nothing anywhere else.

 

I look forward to the electric bill, it makes me smile every month. January was $17, one of the more expensive months. Frequently I am putting back into the grid for a monthly credit. Note for our electricity company it costs about $9 a month just to be connected to the meter.....even if zero use.

 

Every house, every state, every solar company is different. US, state and local credits change over time. SRECs change. Pannel technology/cost changes. Meaning every situation is different. There is no way to generalize when your ROI will happen or if you should or should not install panels. For me 2003 and 2009 did not make sense. In 2012 it would have been stupid not to. I would never be without in my current house/situation.

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As others have stated, it all depends on what type of electrical utility system connection you have (or if you are talking about an off-grid system). If you are grid-tied, like many users, than the power you receive (and that your audio equipment will use) is the same power it has always been direct from the power company, so no change at all. The power that you generate via solar or wind is fed back to the utility company and not to your house. Grid-tied systems send the electricity to the utility company and they credit you for it at a very low rate which then is applied as a credit against your utility bill. For safety, a number of laws regulating this process of energy transfer for what is and is not allowed varies by state.

 

If you have an off-grid, dedicated system or a split system (where power is obtained from the utility company and you also have a battery based, secondary system that you can transfer on/off to specific circuits, on demand, then your choice of inverters, wiring and component parts will effect the results obtained. Which ever system you use, I recommend hooking up a high quality data logging system to one of the main outputs, under load, to measure and record the voltage output, current stability plus noise over a period of a few days (or more. A week is better) to get an idea of what types of problems are present. Once you know what needs improving, then changes can be made to address them by priority and save money overall by not investing in technology that does not address the actual problems. *DC to AC inverters are notoriously noisy so quality components are usually a good investment up front. High quality copper grounds and dedicated surge suppressors (circuit) are always a good idea too.

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25 minutes ago, FMnoise said:

Grid-tied systems send the electricity to the utility company and they credit you for it at a very low rate

 

Not true. At least not true where I live. For me it is an exact 1 to 1 credit. Lots of people out there stating things as if they are fact which simply are not, because they heard it from "a guy" or that is how it is in their particular location. Like so many other Internet based conversation there is tons of misinformation, bias or simply ignorance to the truth. They believe it is true, they repeat it and others who don't bother to educate themselves do the same.

 

If I produce an excess 10KW today because it is sunny then tomorrow it is cloudy and I need an extra 10KW my net cost is zero. There is no reduced rate for electricity produced and put back into the grid. Once a year they reconcile my bill, it happens to come at a time when I am a net producer and they send me a small check. Typically 70-80 dollars. Over the course of the year I do dig into my pocket and actually pay electric bills from time to time.

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Where I live the elec co. credits me 1 for 1 for electricity produced vs. used as @rplace has stated. I have for the past 9 yrs produced more electricity than we use. So once a year the elec co. reconciles my account. They pay me per kWH the same that they pay other energy producers. It's a lot less than they charge their customers for energy used. I try to dream up ways to use more electricity.

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Not all areas provide a 1:1 exchange for electricity. IN a few places that I have lived, they did not offer that at all and paid a fraction of the charge back to you. Each state sets up this agreement with the various utility companies. It is negotiated between them and can also change in the future. If you live somewhere where a 1:1 exchange is provided to you, then you are very fortunate and the value obtained is certainly higher. The rate that is paid to energy producers (like homeowners with grid-tied systems) may be less than what YOU pay to the utility company for the same. As they say, you need to check with the utility companies in your own area to determine what rates are applicable for your situation.

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16 minutes ago, babadono said:

They pay me per kWH the same that they pay other energy producers. It's a lot less than they charge their customers for energy used

 

Ha, I did not want to get into the very nuisance of the details (because if you don't own them it is a bit much to bite off at first) but that is how mine works too. The small check I get every year is still at the consumer rate because I am not a net producer.  

 

I feel my solar company did me right because I said I want to produce 100% of the electricity I use. They said no you don't....I scratched my head. The explained in layman's terms that if you are a net producer you get the "real" cost of energy production not what they charge the consumer. You at that point are in essence any other power plant. They sized my system at 90% of current usage, saying it made sense to buy a little each year. They also said over time you would probably get more efficient appliances, etc. So if you buy panels with the sole intent of making money off of them you will most likely lose money. It just does not make financial sense to pay retail for panels and infrastructure then sell the excess power back at wholesale. Not the exact explanation but you get the idea.

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51 minutes ago, FMnoise said:

Grid-tied systems send the electricity to the utility company and they credit you for it at a very low rate

 

10 minutes ago, FMnoise said:

Not all areas provide a 1:1 exchange for electricity

 

Those are two very different statements.

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Rich, "Grid-tied systems send the electricity to the utility company and they credit you for it at a very low rate". *Should have stated "and they may..." for 100% accuracy.  Point is, it may not be the same rate. And yes, I have owned homes with grid-tied SOLAR systems.

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10 minutes ago, babadono said:

Mine was on new construction

 

Nice! Did  you plan the house around it?

 

When the sales guy gave way to the engineering crew to do the assessment on my house; they said they had never seen a house so perfectly set up for solar except for locations like CA/AZ. The said if we were to build it from scratch we might have changed the angel of the house a couple of degrees and the pitch of the roof slightly. Just dumb luck on my construction. Rear roof is one continuous plane too. A couple of years after I got my panels they changed the code saying there had to be a 3 foot perimeter all around the roof lines for firemen to access in case of fire. It later came out that it was successfully lobbying by the energy company to help limit the number of panels on roofs. Everyone's gotta do what they gotta do.

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