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I can't believe I just bought a $38,000 (before massive subsidies) solar system!

Post in 'The Green Room' started by tradergordo, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Lifespan and parts costs. Brakes should last much longer with regenerative braking. No oil or coolant changes, no plugs, injectors, to plug or foul. No belts, fuel pumps, coils, etc to replace. Over the life of the car this should make a significant difference in the cost of ownership I would think.

    PS: TG, thanks for the update. Now I really have solar envy.

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  2. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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  3. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    Be green, you totally have a point on the electric car. That is why I always wondered why a chevy electric car cost 37k. Should cost less than a gas car. You forgot the no pollution controls.
  4. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    As an automotive tech, I think electric cars should be way more durable & long lived than gasser's. The problems though I think are going to come in materials not resistant to rust/corrosion, especially in the "rust belt" states. If the manufacturer's will address these issues, a 20 year old elec. car should be like buying a 5-8 year old used gas car with 150,000 miles on it. I'm betting they won't do it though. They need to sell new units too badly to make the quality for the long haul. A C
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The Chevy Volt is not a pure electric car. It is an electric car with a very sophisticated generator backup system that greatly increases its cost, but also greatly increases its range and utility.
  6. Mr. Kelly

    Mr. Kelly Member

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    Hey Trader...

    How is that system working out for you, now that you're nearly a year in?

    Plus, your installation company was a PA one? The warranty on the equipment was mostly from the manufacturers, correct?

    Any problems or concerns, thus far?

    Hope all is going well.
  7. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    There have been a few interesting developments. First, the SREC market in PA has completely cratered, so that part of the income stream from solar for Pennsylvania is pretty much gone for now (you never know when the politicians will re-jigger things). But for me anyway, the investment still makes sense from a pure economics perspective, even without SRECs it will pay for itself over 10 years. After that its pure profit for many years (or decades) to come. The price of electricity has already been hiked twice since I signed up for the solar system, this just makes my benefit even better.

    As for the system itself, it has been performing beautifully, producing more than 100% of my electric demand. So far the panels have produced over 9 megawatts of power. My utility company (Peco) reimburses me at the retail rate for any surplus, so I pretty much have no utility bill whatsoever anymore.

    Sort of unrelated (any PECO customer can sign up for it) I also signed up for their "Smart AC Saver" program where they can shut down my AC if they need to to keep the grid from crashing during peak demand - this supposedly triggered 2 times over the summer but I only noticed once, and they pay me $150 a year for this. So with the solar surplus and the AC saver credits, and the woodstove, my total bill (which includes natural gas) has been zero (since April 2011 my grand total utility bill (gas + electric) have shown "total amount due = 0").

    Warranty is from the equipment manufacturers, everything is covered for 20 years.

    For what its worth, I'm not sure my results are typical. I have a roof that faces 10 degrees east of dead solar south and gets full sun all day. I know a few other people that have solar systems on less than perfect roofs and they don't see the same results as me, also I pretty much bought the biggest system I could fit on my roof which makes a difference (I figured if the government was payin', I might as well go all in).

    For do-it-yourselfers out there who happen to have land, building your own ground based solar system is more attractive now than ever. Chinese panels are so dirt cheap that the US government is looking into putting tarrifs on them (so called "anti-dumping" legislation) - yes leave it to our government to prevent things from getting too affordable! But at any rate, you can import these inexpensive, high quality panels yourself direct from China (SuntechPower is the leader but there are other quality manufacturers including eging), and build your own ground based system for the lowest total cost ever available, you also get a 30% federal tax credit.

    -Gordo

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