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  1. #1
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    Solar power recommendations for the home? Anyone use it?

    Just curious if anyone has a solar setup at their house. With this heat AC is running pretty much 24/7. Just wondering if I can reduce or even eliminate the bill with a good solar system.

    Anyone have any experience?

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    Sizing is everything. I have a 9.1 KW system on my home in LA county and it has been pretty cool. The incentives to put one in were good at the time of install in 2006. Southern California Edison nets out energy used-energy generated to determine usage. In my case the system is larg enough to generate a credit annually. While this sounds like a good deal, truth is my system is too large as the goal shoud be to zero out your energy needs. Of course I don't need 500 horsepower in my vehicle either, but....

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by yage202 Click here to enlarge
    Sizing is everything. I have a 9.1 KW system on my home in LA county and it has been pretty cool. The incentives to put one in were good at the time of install in 2006. Southern California Edison nets out energy used-energy generated to determine usage. In my case the system is larg enough to generate a credit annually. While this sounds like a good deal, truth is my system is too large as the goal shoud be to zero out your energy needs. Of course I don't need 500 horsepower in my vehicle either, but....
    Was hoping someone would respond.

    So, how large is a 9.1 kw system? I use a ton of electricity.

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    There are 48 SunPower SPR 215 modules and 2 SunPower SPR 5200 inverters. At the time these models were the most efficient that you could buy. A couple of limitations to consider are the amount of roof space or ground space that you have available facing the sun at the optimal tilt. Determining how much energy you want to offset is more art than science due to guessti/estimating household needs. If you have energy bills going back a few years, you can zero in on your consumption. Adding more family members (kids, parents, etc) as well as equipment affect this calc. Much as I don't see myself buying an EV, you could charge a plug-in EV at home and/or add battery storage to potentially get off the grid entirely.

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    yeah smart way would be to get lots of batteries to store your unused power and get of the gird fully, self sustainable houses are possible especially in California.
    You need to also consider you have to clean the panels so they can generate the most power, also there are a few companies that are working on pain that will generate power from the sun.

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    I looked into battery storage initially, but the space requirements and maintenance were a hassle where the house is located. The situation with SCE has also changed since my install. They now credit you with all of your energy generation where they used to only credit you up to the point where you zeroed out your bill. Another snippet of info is that you only pay your bill once a year. Last year I got a check from SCE.

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    What's my up front cost?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by yage202 Click here to enlarge
    I looked into battery storage initially, but the space requirements and maintenance were a hassle where the house is located. The situation with SCE has also changed since my install. They now credit you with all of your energy generation where they used to only credit you up to the point where you zeroed out your bill. Another snippet of info is that you only pay your bill once a year. Last year I got a check from SCE.
    In my county you get a 10k tax return if you install solar panels on the roof.
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    What's my up front cost?
    all depends how big the roof is, what panels you are buying and who is installing them. Panels get stronger and cheaper with every year. so id say 20-60 k

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    Sticky, one of my friends on another board or two has a complete solar panel system that I have seen. It can deliver 50kw on 50% sun. Think VERY large here. About 100 feet long and 10 feet wide times two. YES, he owns alot of property. It cost almost 100 large, but he no longer pays a penny on almost EVERY day.

    Two problems:

    1. You still will ALWAYS need service. WHY? 1. NO one would ever build a battery system to store enough juice, and 2. not everyday is sunny

    2. COST!!!

    Solar is a nice Green thing, but NOT very practical as of now do to panels only being about 25% efficent.

    I'll PM you some pics, as he is not a member here as of yet.

    PS: Did you know that the average windmill, not counting maintenance or repairs, takes 12 years to break even. Now think about solar, LOL

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    Please post the pictures of his setup.

    Also, many of the companies allow you to get the system up front at 0 cost and pay as you go.

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    Just another thought, a PV system doesn't need full sunshine shine to start producing power. As long as available incident light exceeds the bandgap energy of the PV panels energy will be produced. Not at the maximum efficiency of the panels, but energy will start flowing, including cloudy days.

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    I prefer to grind up small cambodian children and use them as fuel for my gas turbine for alternative green energy.
    Some people live long, meaningful lives.

    Other people eat shit and die.

    I'm not racist, I hate everybody equally; especially fat people.


    Click here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
    I prefer to grind up small cambodian children and use them as fuel for my gas turbine for alternative green energy.
    Doesn't sound very cost effective.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    Doesn't sound very cost effective.
    Are you kidding me? A box of cambodian kids runs me $15.27, and they have a heat output rate of over 15,000 BTUs per kid (fatter ones are more), that's 10x cheaper than electricity I pay for today!! Holy smokes batman...
    Some people live long, meaningful lives.

    Other people eat shit and die.

    I'm not racist, I hate everybody equally; especially fat people.


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  15. #15
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
    Are you kidding me? A box of cambodian kids runs me $15.27, and they have a heat output rate of over 15,000 BTUs per kid (fatter ones are more), that's 10x cheaper than electricity I pay for today!! Holy smokes batman...
    There are no fat Cambodian children.

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  16. #16
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by yage202 Click here to enlarge
    Sizing is everything. I have a 9.1 KW system on my home in LA county and it has been pretty cool. The incentives to put one in were good at the time of install in 2006. Southern California Edison nets out energy used-energy generated to determine usage. In my case the system is larg enough to generate a credit annually. While this sounds like a good deal, truth is my system is too large as the goal shoud be to zero out your energy needs. Of course I don't need 500 horsepower in my vehicle either, but....
    Took a look at the energy usage numbers and its 2400 kwh a month. Is it just me or is that an absurd amount of electricity?

    Am I going to need some giant solar system?

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  17. #17
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by yage202 Click here to enlarge
    Sizing is everything. I have a 9.1 KW system on my home in LA county and it has been pretty cool. The incentives to put one in were good at the time of install in 2006. Southern California Edison nets out energy used-energy generated to determine usage. In my case the system is larg enough to generate a credit annually. While this sounds like a good deal, truth is my system is too large as the goal shoud be to zero out your energy needs. Of course I don't need 500 horsepower in my vehicle either, but....
    After some more research it appears I need a 16 KW system to zero out my electricity.

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    That is a S-load of energy usage. Is that your usage on average for the year? or the peak usage in a month? I had to go back a couple of years due to the house only being used infrequently through the year since 2010. The highest (peak) usage I had was just under 1600 KWh. This was for three people, a pool and spa (cycle daily). My wife and daughter are the most inefficient power users so there are no special conservation measures going, although the house, electronics and appliances were new in 2005.

    I would suggest an energy audit, used to be offered for free on occasion by SC Edison (I think your in SoCal). It should ID the major power sucks in your system. you would be surprise how much power your appliances and elec gear suck if they are more than 3-5 years old. When motors go bad on gear they can kill you usage but aren't obviously bad. Payback (rate of return on investment) is usually better with more efficient gear.

    If none of that is the issue let me know whether that power usage figure is peak or annual average. Your sizing should be based on the average (some months you use all the PV power + SCE power and some months you get credited for power production).

  19. #19
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by yage202 Click here to enlarge
    That is a S-load of energy usage. Is that your usage on average for the year? or the peak usage in a month?
    It's over the past few months, it's been hot.

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Couple of suggestions;

    Previously mentioned energy audit. The more efficient your home the smaller system you can get away with.

    Average your energy usage over at least 1 year and preferably several. The goal here is to design the system for average usage. One variable that is difficult to target is the changing climate in your area. If YoY average temps are climbing your usage will only go up. Choose the amount of energy you want to offset, then determine payback period you want to hit.

    One way to target a system design goal is to try to keep energy usage in the tier 1 or tier 2 cost structure, assuming Edison as your electricity provider.

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