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Old 08-28-2012, 07:06 PM   #18
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now if we can figure out a similar process so we can generate our own fuel to feed our beasts and not pay the oil companies.. .
When you do, sign me up! Between gas and electric we are screwed in SoCal. I am beginning to think the weather isn't worth it anymore.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:55 PM   #19
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I think I was told the south facing parts of the roof net the most production from the systems for where I'm located. You aren't very far south of me so I'm assuming it will be the same for you.

The system I went with uses inverters on each panel, rather than using a large one mounted on the side of the house. If it wasn't for the long warranty, I wouldn't have gone that route, but with the monitor being able to see each panel's output and the company is "Guaranteeing" output, I didn't feel like I had anything to loose.
Inverters on each panel are call enphase. only one company making those yet. Get ac from panel on and if one panel becomes damage only lose production from the one. Only one manufacturer means high initial cost thoygh but in the right installation may still make great sense.

Oh yeah and sign me up for that gas thing
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:32 PM   #20
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well here is an update.

We installed a 20 panel system, that generates 4.0 kWH per hour at peak.. it's been working for just over a month, we average 18.0 kWH per day generation, lowest was 10.6 on an overcast day highest was 19.7.

Switched over to time of use and net metering, meaning the meter runs both directions, it runs forward for consumption, and backwards for generation. Southern Cal Edison pays us $0.25 kWH during peak, and charges us $0.19 kWH off-peak (but $0.25 during peak if you use more than we generate).

Since March when we moved in our electric bill has been between $300 and $480 / month.. Our baseline is only 10.2 kWH per day which breaks out to 0.42 kWH per hour or 4200 watts on standard tiered pricing it is $0.13 for 30% over base, $0.16 for 60% over base, $0.25 for 100% over base and $0.33 for 200% or more over base then you take into account 2 refridgerators @ approx 1200 (1.2kW) watts each, couple of fans @ 400 - 500 watts each to keep the house cool and a 4-ton HVAC @ 6,000 watts (6kW), not to mention radios, lights, wi-fi, clocks, security system/cameras, cable modem, garage door opener, electric ignited gas tankless water heater, hair dryers, blah blah blah.. 10.2 kWH is nothing, barely enough to get an 1800 sq ft. home with 3 people and 2 dogs thru about 1/3 of a day..

Well after 1 month of solar, my electric bill is $2.00 .. yes $2.00

Now we take into account the cost of the Solar, $20,000

subtract the $1,100 power company rebate
subtract the $8,600 federal tax rebate

Leaves me with an out of pocket cost for the solar of $10,300, which was financed on a HELOC loan for 10 years @ 2.99% with a monthly payment of $135

So technically my electric bill is $137 this month..


----


total payback on the system before I break even will be about 5 years considering an average annual electric bill of $3500.. and I plan on having this loan paid off by then.

after that I will be saving $3000+ a year in electrical utility fees.

I am also considering some wind turbines to offset the overcast/cloudy winter days, a nice 1.8kWH system is about $6,000, but I am going to wait a year and see if it is even needed.

My next project for this is some backup batteries so if/when power is out we will still be able to have lights in the house.. Using the solar to charge a couple of Optimas and run some 12 volt LEDs recessed lighting in the hallways and front rooms. Should be able to have light for 7-10 days that way with no power..

We have already have set up LPG backups for our tankless hot wanter heater and BBQ grills, in under 30 minutes I can convert them from CNG to LPG with manual ignition so we will have hot water and be able to cook in the event something happens and the CNG lines are cut off..
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:46 PM   #21
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Sounds good! I was all siged up to go to Votech school back in 1983 for solar and wind power. I was offered a job in Trinidad West Indies when I finished with Plumbing and Heating Votech and never went back to pursue that route. Before working with the railroad I did 20 years of construction of various types. Anything solar peaked my intrest. So many easy ideas out there for solar water heaters that can be made cheap and by yourself. Congrats on moving in the direction we need to follow. Get rid of our dependance on oil and it will only get cheaper for us to drive.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:56 PM   #22
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Congrats men, I can only imagine the feeling you get when you see youre $2 electric bill.

Now, how about a Chevy Volt?
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:59 PM   #23
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Congrats men, I can only imagine the feeling you get when you see youre $2 electric bill.

Now, how about a Chevy Volt?

Wife has a Camry Hybrid.. I have already been informed that her next car will be a Tesla Model S if they ever get them into full production..
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:53 PM   #24
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Wife has a Camry Hybrid.. I have already been informed that her next car will be a Tesla Model S if they ever get them into full production..
Wait until the summer and you are producing far new kwh and you will basically pay for the rest of the year plus....

Oh the beauty of solar panels!

Btw my master thesis was based on the adoption rate of photovoltaic panels
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:59 PM   #25
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I wonder how all of the numbers would work out with the subsidies? In other words, without the govt taking my money and giving it to you to pay for the panels, would you still do it and what would the payback look like then?
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:40 PM   #26
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I wonder how all of the numbers would work out with the subsidies? In other words, without the govt taking my money and giving it to you to pay for the panels, would you still do it and what would the payback look like then?

I had a 20K budget for it, so yes I would have still done it, but the payback would been 10 years @ $270 a month instead of $135 a month..

either way still better off than the $400 or so I have been paying monthly for electric most of this year, plus with the approved 12% hike that goes into affect for us Jan 1, I would be close to $450 a month..

As it stands I will not be affected by the rate hike.


I allocated $20K for this, would have been done with or without the gov't rebates, the rebates will actually just be rolled directly into the principle of my HELOC loan so I can pay it off in 5 years instead of 10.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:50 AM   #27
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If those solar panels can't be affected by an electro-magnetic pulse (the type that will knock out the power grid to an entire country...)...then you should get those panels...
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:11 PM   #28
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If those solar panels can't be affected by an electro-magnetic pulse (the type that will knock out the power grid to an entire country...)...then you should get those panels...

the panels themselves will probably not be affected by EMP, it would be the inverters connected to them that are, seeing as they are electronic circuit board based devices.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:38 PM   #29
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the panels themselves will probably not be affected by EMP, it would be the inverters connected to them that are, seeing as they are electronic circuit board based devices.
We already have the technology to block emps. The military is just hoarding it. Think about it, how would satellites still be operational if we didn't?
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:01 PM   #30
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We already have the technology to block emps. The military is just hoarding it. Think about it, how would satellites still be operational if we didn't?

a faraday cage will completely shield and block emp, no military hoarding there, you can build one yourself, the problem is that it would also completely block the solar panels making them useless.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:44 PM   #31
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We already have the technology to block emps. The military is just hoarding it. Think about it, how would satellites still be operational if we didn't?
...

You do know we lose satellites every year due to emp pulses.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:22 PM   #32
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bump..


my electric bill came in today.. -$66.89 yup I made $66.89 more than I used.. gotta love SoCal.. March was a good sun month.. Since Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb put me @ $120 balance (only pay yearly now) this months reduced me to $54 balance.. and so far for the 2 days of my new cycle I am @ a -$28, so I should have some good credit this month.


Since the loan on the panels is $128/mo technically that is my electric bill, but if this system can generate an equal credit in the month I break even.. Free power.

Have to say I am very pleased with my decision to put the panels on my home.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:38 PM   #33
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I hope that I have that kind of return.....I just signed up to get a 25KW system on our house...Electric bill averages $330 monthly to $600 in the summer. We have a 5 ton and an 8 ton Geothermal unit....4330 sq feet......1800 sq feet garage....The system cost $75,000 minus $50,000 utility company rebate..plus 30% tax credit that can carry over until at least 2016....so it could be free if you owe taxes at the end of the year. I was able to get the cost lowered to out of pocket of $15,000 plus any tax credit I might be able to use. Then there is also SERC that can play a roll in helping. I hope that it will be installed before summer hits!
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:45 AM   #34
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I'm about to pull the trigger on a solar package for my Arizona home as well! My neighbors has had his for about 6 months and averages $15 a month and that's with a pool ! He credits reducing bill to switching all lights to LEDs and to smart power strips that that conserve energy and his smart thermostats to switch. AC / heat on at set periods.

He predicts his first summer with the system the meter will be going backwards !

Our homes are almost identical in size around 4400 sq ft !
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