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Thread: Another Solar Thread

  1. #1

    Another Solar Thread

    For most of us with single family homes - is it even possible to install enough solar panels to bring the bill down to zero?
    Has anyone experienced this - and if you have, did you have to go to something else also - like gas heat?
    Geothermal? What did it?
    Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong". Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  2. #2
    Lowered our electric bill in the winters from $400-$500 a month to <$100 by installing a pellet stove instead of using the electric heat pump. Looking to update our AC units (17 years old) with new, more energy efficient/high SEER units. Every time I replace a light bulb I make sure its replaced with LED bulbs. We bought black out shades for the south side of our house to keep the sun out in the dead of the summer. When we replace the AC units I want to replace the thermostats with a Nest or similar "smart" device. Solar just doesn't seem to be beneficial yet. I like the idea but the 30 year payback on your investment isn't ideal.

  3. #3
    I bowl overhand itsbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamSpade View Post
    For most of us with single family homes - is it even possible to install enough solar panels to bring the bill down to zero?
    Has anyone experienced this - and if you have, did you have to go to something else also - like gas heat?
    Geothermal? What did it?
    We got our first "zero" bill last month.. with only 80% of panels that were suggested installed.

    We upgraded our HVAC to 21.5 SEER (from 10 SEER) and a gas back up furnace (no more emergency electric heat), and converted the entire house to LED lights, more for the preference of the lighting than the savings.

    We went with a gas tankless water heater a long time ago..

    SO we have a zero electric bill, but still have a gas bill to pay, though even that bill is minor.

    Zero meaning you can get your bill down to $15 - 20 a month.. even if you use NO electricity (after the solar difference is calculated) you still have to pay the fees and distribution charges.

    Forgot to add.. we did end up trimming and/or removing several trees to make our solar more efficient. More trees to come down as we continue to try to broaden the bell curve

    All told, last May 1267 kWh/ $180 used, this May, Zero/ $9.86 (distribution charges) with an additional credit of 150 kWh.
    Last edited by itsbob; 05-15-2017 at 09:06 AM.
    Nero played the fiddle, Obama danced the Tango.

    Quote Originally Posted by BadGirl
    Bob is the bestest lookin and smartest man I've ever met.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by SamSpade View Post
    For most of us with single family homes - is it even possible to install enough solar panels to bring the bill down to zero?
    It's tough to do..and very expensive...but possible. It's not just the panels..the large array of storage batteries, battery charge controller, and large inverter to make the AC, all run the cost way up. I priced out a hybrid system for our off-grid island club and it was going to cost over 30 grand for just the components. Was going to complete the installation our self. But that said...that's not a good example for a single-family home because the club power duty cycle (3 days use followed by 4 days of no power required) allows for lower storage capacity and lower panel output. I'd guess the cost for a typical family home would be at least double the estimate I came up with..perhaps even more.
    You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. -Frank Zappa

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by itsbob View Post
    We got our first "zero" bill last month.. with only 80% of panels that were suggested installed.

    We upgraded our HVAC to 21.5 SEER (from 10 SEER) and a gas back up furnace (no more emergency electric heat), and converted the entire house to LED lights, more for the preference of the lighting than the savings.

    We went with a gas tankless water heater a long time ago..

    SO we have a zero electric bill, but still have a gas bill to pay, though even that bill is minor.

    Zero meaning you can get your bill down to $15 - 20 a month.. even if you use NO electricity (after the solar difference is calculated) you still have to pay the fees and distribution charges.

    Forgot to add.. we did end up trimming and/or removing several trees to make our solar more efficient. More trees to come down as we continue to try to broaden the bell curve
    Well that's quite an accomplishment! How much does that large of an installation end up costing?
    You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. -Frank Zappa

  6. #6
    I bowl overhand itsbob's Avatar
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    After doing the math and with the 30% "rebate" our break even point is 8 years.

    We talked with Solar City and continuing to pay them for our electric with a $25 savings (on a 20 year lease) wasn't worth it, or the $72,000 in cash they wanted for us to buy the system wasn't feasible. After shopping around a LOT we ended on two companies in MD.. Paradise Energy Solutions, and 21st Century, financially it was a coin flip, but 21st Century seemed to do a better job at the site survey and actually looking at the house prior to install.

    I think we would have been happy with either company but went with 21st Century.. they completed the install in December and in January we did our taxes and got 30% of the cost back. That 30% is what got us to make the jump to Solar.

    Again, doing the math, Solar City you pay much more than a "normal" solar company buying the panels outright, and you lose the 30% rebate... Over the 20 year period I estimated your "lease" payments work out to 2 or 3 times the cash price going elsewhere..
    Last edited by itsbob; 05-15-2017 at 09:15 AM.
    Nero played the fiddle, Obama danced the Tango.

    Quote Originally Posted by BadGirl
    Bob is the bestest lookin and smartest man I've ever met.

  7. #7
    I bowl overhand itsbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilligan View Post
    Well that's quite an accomplishment! How much does that large of an installation end up costing?
    After the rebate about the same as your estimate, a little less than 30k.. NO batteries. 42 panels and Inverter, and install..
    Nero played the fiddle, Obama danced the Tango.

    Quote Originally Posted by BadGirl
    Bob is the bestest lookin and smartest man I've ever met.

  8. #8
    INGSOC GURPS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilligan View Post
    I'd guess the cost for a typical family home would be at least double the estimate I came up with..perhaps even more.

    I did 'back of the napkin' estimating a few yrs back ... $ 60k to get the house 'off the grid'
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
    - Robert J. Hanlon.

    “There is a deeply anti-democratic undercurrent to much of the criticism of the new president, borne aloft by an assumption that democracy is too important to be left to the voters.”

    And if a statue can oppress you, then I submit that you have greater issues. - A West.

  9. #9
    I bowl overhand itsbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GURPS View Post
    I did 'back of the napkin' estimating a few yrs back ... $ 60k to get the house 'off the grid'
    Minus 30%, brings that down to 40k..
    Nero played the fiddle, Obama danced the Tango.

    Quote Originally Posted by BadGirl
    Bob is the bestest lookin and smartest man I've ever met.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by itsbob View Post
    Minus 30%, brings that down to 40k..
    Who pays for repairs/battery replacements? Who pays to dismantle/re-install when you have to fix and/or replace your roof?
    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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