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Thread: Solar for the home

  1. #1

    Solar for the home

    And for me, specifically - Trinity Solar.

    I now know two households that have gone this way. They both say they love the way it's working for them.
    Over the last ten years, virtually every article I've read on the subject suggests that - at best - solar might allow you to pull even.
    That is, if you spill out twenty grand on equipment, over its life you'll save about that much if you're lucky.
    If you lease, by the time your lease is up, you won't have really saved a nickel.

    Who has done it, and done it for - A WHILE? We typically pay between 375-400 for electricity each month.
    Over the last ten years, I've replaced everything I can in the household with more efficient versions - I've even replaced the well,
    which was probably working overtime to squeeze a few drops out of the aquifer.

    Every analysis I've seen strongly suggests - solar won't help me much.
    Tell me I'm wrong.
    “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.".Daniel Webster

  2. #2
    Oldtimer Ken King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamSpade View Post
    And for me, specifically - Trinity Solar.

    I now know two households that have gone this way. They both say they love the way it's working for them.
    Over the last ten years, virtually every article I've read on the subject suggests that - at best - solar might allow you to pull even.
    That is, if you spill out twenty grand on equipment, over its life you'll save about that much if you're lucky.
    If you lease, by the time your lease is up, you won't have really saved a nickel.

    Who has done it, and done it for - A WHILE? We typically pay between 375-400 for electricity each month.
    Over the last ten years, I've replaced everything I can in the household with more efficient versions - I've even replaced the well,
    which was probably working overtime to squeeze a few drops out of the aquifer.

    Every analysis I've seen strongly suggests - solar won't help me much.
    Tell me I'm wrong.
    375 to 400 a month, you running a grow room?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken King View Post
    375 to 400 a month, you running a grow room?
    That is my average...
    Imagine how much better America would be if you would simply don a pair a pants before sitting down at your Playskool My First 'Puter.


    LibertyBeacon

  4. #4
    Oldtimer Ken King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwillia View Post
    That is my average...
    Crap, I feel bad when my bill is over 150, yearly average is just under 100 a month, electric heat, hot water, AC, household lights and small appliances. I do have a gas range that runs me about 10 a month.

  5. #5
    That seems like an excessive electric bill unless your house is electric everything. My bill has been about $140 for the past 3-4 months.

    Regardless, solar paybacks take a TON of time. 20+ years on average and the only thing that makes it more palatable are govt. incentives.
    Crybaby Cripplecrow Hanging on a Monkey's Toe Club

  6. #6
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    Solar equipment is getting pretty dang cheap, and usually now represents about 25-30% of the cost of installation. And with subsidies included some of the more solar friendly locations (with more sun, net metering, etc.) in the US can repay the total cost in under 5 years. I have friends and family in California that installed their systems 8-10 years ago (at almost 3 times todays rates) that are already in the positive.

    In Maryland things aren't quite so rosy. Labor is more expensive (less migrant labor doing roofing to push the cost down), the suns rays pass through more atmosphere and produce less energy, and you don't get hardly squat for generating more than you use.

    So, if you are ALREADY going to get a new roof, or are planning an array as part of new construction, and you size it generate below your nominal usage, and you qualify for the tax credits, it might be a good choice to purchase. Especially if you can pay for it without taking out a loan (certainly don't roll it into your mortgage and pay interest for 15-30 years).

    Now, my personal opinion, it might be beneficial to take advantage of one of these fly by night companies as long as you can get locked in on no yearly cost escalation (or very low, sub 2%). I believe some of the smaller outfits are operating at a huge loss and burning through venture capital with the hopes that their escalating rates will bring in larger future revenue as long as they can survive long enough to collect. I'm betting they wont, and when they are about to go out of business they may offer to sell you the solar installed on your house for firesale pricing.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris0nllyn View Post
    That seems like an excessive electric bill unless your house is electric everything.
    It's electric everything. 3300-3400 sq ft. Old brick home, hard to insulate.
    68 degree in winter, 78 in summer. Timers on everything. If it ain't turned off and needs to be, it turns itself off.

    The bill isn't the problem - what I want to know is if solar with be worth it.
    “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.".Daniel Webster

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris0nllyn View Post
    Regardless, solar paybacks take a TON of time. 20+ years on average and the only thing that makes it more palatable are govt. incentives.
    Even with zero subsidies and in unfriendly solar areas (like MD) it no longer takes 20+ years, it's about half of that. In places that get lots of sun, have friendly utilities, and if you can get the incentives its often 4-5 years. Your information is very out of date.

    Even so, I wouldn't do it around here. That said, I run my outbuildings off of panels I built (from tabbed cells), cheapo Chinese charge controllers, and golf cart batteries and the whole setup cost me less than running actual electrical to those buildings would have.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Clem72 View Post
    one of these fly by night companies as long as you can get locked in on no yearly cost escalation (or very low, sub 2%). I believe some of the smaller outfits are operating at a huge loss and burning through venture capital with the hopes that their escalating rates will bring in larger future revenue as long as they can survive long enough to collect.
    THAT is what I'm fearing, and that even if they fold, I'll still be on the hook for whoever cleans it up.
    Some of these companies basically have contracts saying, they can hike the fees if they want to, and you're technically buying electric from THEM, and they are selling electric from your roof to SMECO.

    Since equipment deteriorates over time - and they have the means to raise your rates - seems like a guarantee you'll get squeezed.
    “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.".Daniel Webster

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken King View Post
    Crap, I feel bad when my bill is over 150, yearly average is just under 100 a month, electric heat, hot water, AC, household lights and small appliances. I do have a gas range that runs me about 10 a month.
    I'm all electric. 1 full size freezer, 3 full size fridges, 2 heat pumps, 2 washers/dryers, 5 TVs, and a king-size waterbed being constantly heated to just the right temp. I don't question why my bill is higher then others. I also don't believe now is the time to jump into solar because all packages currently offered to homeowners now are designed to profit the middle-man company and the electric company pulling into their grid. I also don't trust losing the long term integrity of my roof resulting from installation. What burns me the most is that we are not allowed to bank power for outages or brownouts and there is no way in hell that long term the electric and solar companies will be letting houses get the upper hand. Agreements and regulations will continue to morph as needed to ensure profitability for all but the consumer.
    Imagine how much better America would be if you would simply don a pair a pants before sitting down at your Playskool My First 'Puter.


    LibertyBeacon

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