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Solar Panel Discussion...


Schu

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Our public utility has a solar farm, with panels for rent. Right now they are all rented. The utility does all the maintenance/replacement. Renters get money back or off their bill depending on power generated.

 

Since they started the program they've generated over 10 gigawatts.

 

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The solar industry, (and I wish I could afford a solar installation, but read the fine print below)  is rife with scams.

 

The current one is "net metering". Door to door salespeople (we had 10 last year) try to convince you that "net metering" is part of solar, and they will try to sell you solar as well. Their real product is a third party metering system between you and your power company at about $10/month, and the purported benefit is that it helps you to sell power back to the power company. What they don't tell you is that these are two separate purchases (metering and panels) , and too many people have wound up with this third party metering at $10 a month doing nothing. 

 

So after the first 6 visits, I'd see strangers coming to the door, and I'd say "Solar Panels?" If they said "Yes" I

I'd say "No thank you, we already had X this year and some from your company." Felt sorry for them. 

 

As we were recovering from Hurricane Michael, I listened a spiel about solar panels (not net metering) The upfront cost to take the house off grid was $54K, which I didn't have. The salesman told me that a $1,000,000 liability policy was required by FL law to start the installation. And yep, that's true. The power company wants that to protect themselves and enrich their friends. And, OBTW, your insurance company may raise your rates for fear of the panels flying off and taking the roof with them in a storm. 

 

If I had the resources I'd buy a whole-house battery system. More wind-resistant than solar, and no pernicious insurance racket. 

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On 4/23/2023 at 4:05 PM, boom3 said:

The solar industry, (and I wish I could afford a solar installation, but read the fine print below)  is rife with scams.

 

The current one is "net metering". Door to door salespeople (we had 10 last year) try to convince you that "net metering" is part of solar, and they will try to sell you solar as well. Their real product is a third party metering system between you and your power company at about $10/month, and the purported benefit is that it helps you to sell power back to the power company. What they don't tell you is that these are two separate purchases (metering and panels) , and too many people have wound up with this third party metering at $10 a month doing nothing. 

 

So after the first 6 visits, I'd see strangers coming to the door, and I'd say "Solar Panels?" If they said "Yes" I

I'd say "No thank you, we already had X this year and some from your company." Felt sorry for them. 

 

As we were recovering from Hurricane Michael, I listened a spiel about solar panels (not net metering) The upfront cost to take the house off grid was $54K, which I didn't have. The salesman told me that a $1,000,000 liability policy was required by FL law to start the installation. And yep, that's true. The power company wants that to protect themselves and enrich their friends. And, OBTW, your insurance company may raise your rates for fear of the panels flying off and taking the roof with them in a storm. 

 

If I had the resources I'd buy a whole-house battery system. More wind-resistant than solar, and no pernicious insurance racket. 

I hate batteries of all shapes and kinds.

JJK

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1 hour ago, geezin' said:

Why?

They go dead at the wrong times. Electric tow motors have to be constantly recharged when they get to about 75% because every operating function slows down.  I had three cell phones I had to throw away because the batteries could not be replaced. My computer bios batteries are costing a fortune. If I don't drive my car every day the computer/antitheft system drains the battery down to zero. The batteries in my BP meter and oxygen sensor go bad on a regular basis. The batteries in the thermostat for the house have to be replaced once a year. The batteries in the CO/Smoke alarms don't last long either. The batteries on leaf blowers, chain saws, drills, (you need a bushel basket of spares) last long enough for old people only because they get tired very quickly. If you want to do serious work you need an air compressor or gas.

JJK

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Schu, that sounds horrendously expensive and the panels' lifespan is 20 years. 

 

I wish i'd seen this earlier.  I have a small system (240 panel watts) I built to teach myself how to build and operate PV systems.  I may use one on a mountain cabin.  One trick is to use Li batteries.  You can use a larger %-age of their capacity without causing damage. 

 

At least in the SE US, electricity is cheap enough PVs can't compete unless you have a remote location with high cost to pull in grid power.  If you do it yourself, the right way (no batteries, thus no back-up power), you can make PVs pay for themselves. 

 

I designed my system to power its inverter and loads for 3 days without sun and that was good for most years.  However, in the last 12 months, I have had at least 2 episodes when I got no appreciable PV generation for 4 and 5 days.  The reason I have LiFePO4 batteries is because one of those events happened when I was out of town and my PbSO4 batteries were pulled so low they were damaged.  I have even had to put an AC charger on the Li batteries twice to keep the voltage from going too low. 

 

I have enjoyed building and upgrading my PV system and I love the idea that I have some power, no matter what happens, but the cost and poor, but improving, PV efficiency prevent it from being ready for prime time.  I would do it all over again, knowing what I learned, but as a hobby.  I now have a light over a work bench (1st objective) and can power 3 battery chargers, 3 lights, a receiver and speakers and two 2-way radios, all at once, for a while. 

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  • 4 months later...
On 9/12/2023 at 3:14 PM, JJkizak said:

The last two electric bills were negative.

And shortly there after they returned from a two month vacation to a 95 degree house? Seriously though, cooking big meals on 240v stove, drying clothes with 240v dryer, hot water heater on 240v and running the air conditioning far exceed what that solar panel system could manage. Just cooling an 8000 sq ft house to 72 degrees F. in the South East USA would keep it FAR from negative.

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2 hours ago, JL Sargent said:

And shortly there after they returned from a two month vacation to a 95 degree house? Seriously though, cooking big meals on 240v stove, drying clothes with 240v dryer, hot water heater on 240v and running the air conditioning far exceed what that solar panel system could manage. Just cooling an 8000 sq ft house to 72 degrees F. in the South East USA would keep it FAR from negative.

I'm not so sure it's that far off.  I toured a house being lived in with good insulation and solar panels in the DFW area and it was comfortable.  I was looking into the builder as a possible builder at the time.  On the other hand, I'm keeping our house this summer at 75 and 72 sounds way too extreme.  Personally, I would go warmer than 75 but the wife, well, you know what swmbo means.

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Our house gets up to about 75 by the time we get home in the afternoon, and we turn it down to 68 to sleep. It's only down to about 72 by the time we turn out the lights. Our current bill, due tomorrow, is $135. I would be ok with 72 at night...

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