Go SOLAR, Don't go rafting - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-02-2018   #1
 
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,119
Go SOLAR, Don't go rafting

We made a decision to have an 8.7 kW 26 panel installation put on our garage.

This instead of a quality raft and trailer purchase.

The costs are a push.

$16,000 Net Costs for the solar pays for itself in 11 years.
(there will be an additional $6,800 tied up an additional year waiting for a Federal Tax Refund.

Your state may still have a solar tax refund also. Oregon does not currently.

Ecologically solar kicks azz on rafting.

They'll give you the Estimated pounds of CO2, SO2 and NOX saved.

=========

Driving all over and shuttles means we are so special that we don't need to observe what we talk about to others.

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Old 05-02-2018   #2
 
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,119
Planning starts now

Planning is a necessity for solar.

Where to put a building and its orientation.

What trees to remove and replace with shorter fruit trees.

Save money by Stopping or greatly reduce flying on vacations. Also an ecological thought.

Saving more cash by getting out of the his and her SUV lifestyle.

- - -

If you're already there thank you.
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Old 05-02-2018   #3
Never enough free time
 
Red Lodge, Montana
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 321
Tell us more about the system.

Module type, inverters, monitoring system, racking, anything you would do different?
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Old 05-02-2018   #4
 
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Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,195
We spent 30k on a 4 kw, 20 panel system 8 years ago... I hope it pays off better for you than us... our panels are to flat and have to be shoveled daily in the winter and have too low of an angle of incidence to make much power in winter anyways. They're about rigt for summer, but we live on a gravel road and they get covered with dust... more cleaning daily. We did get about 7K in obama aid and tax breaks for a while... We are on a net metering system with an annual reset, but usually end up paying for some power in the dead of winter (140 year old log house).... I know there have been massive advancements since we got our system, but if I had to do it over again, I'd pencil numbers much more carefully and plan better on the install. We didn't do adjustable mounts as it added a lot of cost and the installer said it wouldn't help much... bull shit.

Before I moved out of that house I was going to mount the system on a sun tracking system, or at least a passive adjustable system... now it's my X's problem! Almost as happy to ditch them as her
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Old 05-02-2018   #5
Never enough free time
 
Red Lodge, Montana
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 321
Quote:
Originally Posted by elkhaven View Post
We spent 30k on a 4 kw, 20 panel system 8 years ago... I hope it pays off better for you than us... our panels are to flat and have to be shoveled daily in the winter and have too low of an angle of incidence to make much power in winter anyways. They're about rigt for summer, but we live on a gravel road and they get covered with dust... more cleaning daily. We did get about 7K in obama aid and tax breaks for a while... We are on a net metering system with an annual reset, but usually end up paying for some power in the dead of winter (140 year old log house).... I know there have been massive advancements since we got our system, but if I had to do it over again, I'd pencil numbers much more carefully and plan better on the install. We didn't do adjustable mounts as it added a lot of cost and the installer said it wouldn't help much... bull shit.

Before I moved out of that house I was going to mount the system on a sun tracking system, or at least a passive adjustable system... now it's my X's problem! Almost as happy to ditch them as her
Your story is way too common. I do solar for a living and poor designs and unrealistic promises are bad for the whole industry. I won't put solar on my own house because it won't pencil out where I live and with the roof space and orientation I have to work with. It literally will never work for my home at any realistic price unless a new breakthrough allows for solar paint or some other technology that always seems to be "just a few years from market." Yeah...fusion has been just a few years away for 60 years now.

I do utility scale power plants, mostly 20 MW and up (150 acres paved in glass), for a big multinational company and it drives me nuts that residential installers will promise the moon to make a sale and then folks who were trying to be environmentally conscious get stuck with a system that never pays for itself. They never tell you that the inverter(s) are only designed to last 10 years and you (or the current owner of the system) are going to be forking out another $2-3k in a couple of years.

That being said, your were over $7/kw installed and prices are well less than half of that now. For anyone waiting for prices to keep going down, they have pretty well bottomed out (unless your salesperson is doing a 200% markup on parts and pieces). Prices are actually likely to go up a bit since tariffs were put in place on Chinese modules. They had been dumping modules into the US and European markets at less than the manufacturing cost.

Solar is a good technology and it works, but it is not for everyone in every location. People are always hitting me up for advice, which I freely give, because I do solar for a living but don't sell anything. I had a good friend who was building a cabin and he really really really wanted to do solar. When I showed him the real math he begrudgingly called the local electric co-op and got regular electric service installed in his place.

I've got another friend building a place where it is somewhat prohibitive to bring in a mile of utility line and he knows that he is paying a premium to be off grid (battery replacements, inverter replacements, keeping a backup generator on standby, less in home conveniences, etc.) He wants to do it anyway and is willing to pay. You don't need a New Mercedes SUV when a used F-150 will do, but it's your money

He is going into with his eyes open and good for him.

OK, public service announcement over.

SYOTR
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Old 05-02-2018   #6
 
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by BilloutWest View Post

Save money by Stopping or greatly reduce flying on vacations. Also an ecological thought.

Saving more cash by getting out of the his and her SUV lifestyle.

.
Best thing you and I can do for this world is not having kids.

I've done my part. You?

I'm sitting here getting some new tires on Chevy Suburban right now. The other ones were perfectly good but not what I wanted.

Does that piss you off?

Hope so. Preachy asshat.
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Old 05-02-2018   #7
 
Jackson County, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 60
I installed a 5.5kW system this past January. Panels are SunPower brand. 345w per panel, each with its own micro inverter so shade on one panel doesn’t drag the rest down.

Total cost was roughly 22k. We were able to qualify for an Energy Trust refund of about 1k, federal tax credit of about 6k (applicable next year), and another 6k in state tax credit (applicable over 4 years starting this year), so total cost will be about 9k out of pocket. I figure ROI will be 7-8 years give or take.

Installing them in January gave us a good baseline of worst case productivity, which still dropped our power us by about 25% over last year. The panels, inverters, and all installation has a 25 year warranty.

I have set up net metering with the power company that resets once a year. Doubtful I’ll ever cover all my power needs through the panels on a monthly basis but i have had a few days where I’ve produced more than I’ve used and fed that back to the grid.

So far I’m totally happy with it.
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Old 05-02-2018   #8
 
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,119
What I would do different is build the garage same basic location but larger and with a better pitch meant for solar.

More panels and with greater production for each.


This means that the earlier post by the person who doesn't have a home ready to go is always going to be a concern. The roof of our mid-1960's house offers virtually nothing.

So we had to build from scratch and because I had no vision on how costs would be doable I simply filed this all away under dream on and didn't get a pro visit prior to building.

Because of that we came up short but certainly OK.

My main advice would be to start thinking and planning for any possibilities now even though its not in the budget.

It'll be in September before we can start to give something approaching a quality evaluation.

Be ready to wait.
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Old 05-02-2018   #9
 
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,119
What we wanted going in was German tech but made in the USA.
Hillsboro Oregon had that and seemed ready to go.

We got talked into LG (South Korea) because of more power for the cost.

Sunlight Solar out of Bend Oregon and elsewhere instate did a nice job on their on-site presentation and we were honestly surprised by the costs being far more reasonable than we had envisioned.
They did offer the Hillsboro product but we greedily went with cost/productio versus buying local.

The Sunlight Solar offer for LG was:

Customer Price of $27,300.
less Federal Investment Tax Credit of $6870 that will be recovered with next years tax return.

less another $4,400 from an Energy Trust Rebate.

That takes us down to $16,030 net costs.

With our electrical usage we are looking a payback in 11 years.

10 year warranty on labor.

26 LG335N1C-A5 panels producing 8710kWatts
(https://www.solaris-shop.com/lg-neon...SAAEgLAhvD_BwE)

The panels and inverter have either a 12 or 25 year warranty (??)

The inverter is by Solar Edge ; SE7600H-US w/ P320 Optimizers


=======

(We have taken advantage of energy trust and tax breaks on an on-demand Natural Gas hot water heater and filling the attic with 16 inches of blown in insulation. Plus when remodeling we have blown in foam insulation. So this an on-going work.)
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Old 05-02-2018   #10
 
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griz View Post
Best thing you and I can do for this world is not having kids.

I've done my part. You?

I'm sitting here getting some new tires on Chevy Suburban right now. The other ones were perfectly good but not what I wanted.

Does that piss you off?

Hope so. Preachy asshat.
If you don't push dropping fossil fuels not at all.
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