Solar Power System Forums

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by JBumps, May 8, 2013.

  1. JBumps

    JBumps Member

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    PCers. I've been looking for some well recognized solar power forums to lurk and am not finding the volume of information I would have expected to see. I've long wanted to go the solar route and am lucky enough to be at the point where I am financially able to do so. While I've been looking at the possibility for some time, I'd like to better educate myself and leverage the experience of others.

    Given the talent on this forum and the fact that I figure this demographic is fairly likely to support the tech, I thought I'd reach out for suggestions here. Anyone with a recommendation for a forum or publication (I already receieve Home Power) or that has gone before me, please share?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. jacques1

    jacques1 New Member

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    Hi JBumps nice to meet you.
    This is the greatest forum to represent your view towards in the community.
    Best of luck.
     
  3. JMD

    JMD 2012 Prius 4 Solar Roof

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    Are you talking about Solar for the home?

    They require a Huge up front investment, or tricky financing. In any cases the electric bill is reduced or zeroed out but the payments on the products replaces it.

    In some cases it pencils out.
     
  4. JBumps

    JBumps Member

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    I am talking about a solar array for our home. We're looking at a 20-29 panel array on our south roof. Given the federal and state incentives, the numbers are encouraging, despite the low rate base here in West Virginia.

    When you add in the pending attempt by our utility to force the sale of an oudated and price inflated coal plant off of their books in the degregulated Ohio market and onto the books of their subsidiary in our regulated West Virginia market, there is only one place for prices to go.
     
  5. JMD

    JMD 2012 Prius 4 Solar Roof

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    My wife looked into it a few years ago. We have a 2,000 square foot house in with about 340 days of sunshine a year and no big shade trees. We have no pool or big energy consumptions. Our electric bill is under $100 a month. The lease on the equipment was about the same. We in invited the energy company to do a free audt and used there suggestions. We replaced the older appliances refrigerator, washer and dryer and TV to energy star appliances, changed all the light bulbs. They were about due for a replacement. We donated to charity the second frig that was in the garage. We had newer home so energy windows were also in. We lowered our bill by 20%. Our children are big energy wasters just getting them to shut the TV off in there rooms when they leave the house was a big improvement



    My neighbor has a bigger home with a pool he heats and runs the filter 24/7. His electric bills were over $300 a month, he went solar and knocked it to zero but has to pay the solar lease about $80. He saves about $200 a month. He also des not worry about keeping lights on. He sells his energy back to the grid and gets energy credits.

    Your 100% correct at the energy companies will raise prices. Pencil it out and see if it helps you save money. In many cases commercial projects pencil out, home projects you need to be using plenty of energy to make it worthwhile. Remember the equipment only last 15-20 years than you got to replace it
     
  6. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    My advice would be to talk to some local solar installers. Around here, PV are running about $3.50 per peak watt, installed. At that price, people around here are going to be cash positive from day one, with a home improvement loan. Treat installers like any other contractor: get references, check them, go look at their work.
     
  7. roflwaffle

    roflwaffle Member

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    Generally the only component with a warranty less than 25-30 years is the inverter. Even then it'll probably last much longer than the warranty period. If it didn't, companies would be going under left and right. SMA for example has a standard 10 year warranty, and extending that another ten years is roughly a quarter of the inverter's cost. Panels themselves almost universally have a warranty of ~25-30 years of at least 80% of their original rated output.
     
  8. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    ^^
    The latest Enphase microinverter, the M215 (now on my roof), has a 25 year warranty. I think their previous generation of microinverters have 15 year warranties.

    For a single point anecdote, I had a single 50W Siemens PV panel on my roof from 1994 until the reroofing project began a few weeks ago. Back down on the ground, I gave it a quick test in uncontrolled conditions, i.e. not necessarily close to the rated STC conditions. Just cold and propped up normal to the sun, with whatever minor haze the Puget Sound area had that day. Result: Voc was 98.5% of rating, Isc was 100%. Power was not tested, and I imagine that it could be down if the 'fill factor' degraded independently of Voc and Isc. But this result seemed impressive. Maybe it would have shrunk noticeably in a hot southern climate.
     
  9. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    For the best solar forum out there that I know of, I would venture here:

    Solar Electric Power Discussion Forum by Northern Arizona Wind & Sun - The Front Page

    PS to JMD, yo might find it interesting to visit the forum as well. While I applaud your efforts at energy conservtion, your post # 5 contains a fair bit of misinformation, including but not limited to your comment about he longevity of PV system components. For example, most PV modules are warranted for ~25 years, and have a much longer real life expectancy. I am currently using some panels that are better than 20 years old and they still put out rated output. Inverters typically need replacement every ten years or so (longer in many cases) but these represent a fairy small percentage of the total installed cost of a PV system.

    Bottom line, with current tax credits and utility incentives , most parts of the country have a pay back prior of 3-7 years. Without tax credit the payback time will run proportionally higher, but is still und the typical warrantee period of the hardware install.

    One mor point of misinformation, a typical grid tie PV system ceases working when the grid goes down because it is.a Basic safety feature of the grid tie inverter. For example if the inverter "can't see the grid" because it is down for what ever reason, the PV system will shut down. There are hybrid systems that include battery back up for power outage situations, but generally a fossil fuel generator is cheaper solution for rare outages. (batteries are expense and have a very finite life in PV service.


    Icarus
     
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