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Should I Progress through enough PV incentives to a PV system?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by pring7, Apr 14, 2011.

?

Would this be enough incentive for you?

  1. Yes, shine baby shine!

    100.0%
  2. No way, they couldn’t pay me enough to put panels on my roof!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. pring7

    pring7 Member

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    Well, I’m thinking about doing a little more than a 2 kw solar system and I just read yesterday that Progress energy is offering this incentive for NC customers. With this incentive along with the State and Federal ones (about 75% rebate total) I am thinking that this might be enough carrots to entice me into letting them put the ugly panels on the roof. I know somebody else recently did from this blog and I was wondering if this would be enough Kool-aid to convince you to do it. I haven’t done the math yet, but I am guessing that this would bring the payback to less than a decade and I am youngish (33) and probably staying in my home for at least 15-25 yrs Lord willing. I think that the total system cost would be between 15-22k, but I haven't got the actual estimate yet. I already have solar DHW and water heating for air heat from another great Progress incentive program, but I have much more due south facing rooftop.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    Carolinas SunSense Solar PV Program - Benefits

    With solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on your rooftop, you could be generating clean, renewable electricity – and incentives from Progress Energy.
    To qualify for this residential PV program, you must be a Progress Energy Carolinas (PEC) customer located in North Carolina and a homeowner. You must be the account holder, use the home as your primary residence and own the solar PV system ("System") installed on the home. Renters may not participate.
    If accepted into the program, you will receive an upfront rebate payment plus an ongoing monthly bill credit. To qualify, the proposed PV system must be rooftop-mounted and range in size from 2 kW AC to 10 kW AC. Systems must be installed by a licensed contractor, meet electric and safety standards and be capable of producing a minimum of 1,200 kWh/per kW AC annually.

    Participating customers must participate on PEC's TOU-D rate, Net-Meter Rider and Solar Rider for a minimum five-year period with an option to extend each year thereafter. Participants will receive a one-time upfront rebate of $1,000 per kW AC and a monthly bill credit based on the same system AC rating at $4.50 per kW.

    The program limit is 1 MW AC each year. PEC must receive and approve program applications prior to PV system installation or else the incentives cannot be provided. Click here to access the application.

    For additional program details, click here to review a list of FAQs. To contact Progress Energy Carolinas about this program, send an e-mail to PECHomeSolar@pgnmail.com.
    This program is part of Progress Energy's ongoing commitment to making renewable energy more accessible and affordable for our customers and communities.


    Legal disclaimer: All non-energy attributes of the System, including environmental attributes and/or the renewable energy certificates ("RECs") attributable to the amount of energy generated by the System, must be owned by the Applicant and will be provided to Progress Energy under the terms of the program.

    FAQ's and other details are here at their site:

    http://progress-energy.com/custservice/carres/efficiency/programs/solarpv/index.asp

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    Are you certain your cost is right? Up here in Pennsylvania up front costs are down to $5,000 or so per KW so your estimate seems high, although with such a small system you may need to pay a premium.

    Just an FYI, I'm sweatin' bullets right now, I installed 200KW and since 9/9, production is about 75% of what the projections showed.
  3. DaveH9

    DaveH9 Member

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    I would think that NC is a somewhat immature residential market and would expect that you would pay around 13,000 to 16,000 for 2 kw. In the Ashville or Raleigh region perhaps less. What are you paying per kWh? What is the history of rate increases? Are you on time of use rate now and what are the rates? Mandatory time of use usually results in good savings with solar but not always, depends on the rate structure and if you can reduce your load during peak beyond the solar reduction. The 30% federal tax credit may not last as long as we hoped, so it is wise to look at doing it. The rebate is AC, without running PV watts I would guess that would be about $800 a Kw. The 4.50 a Kw AC per month I believe works out to about .12 kWh. Some pretty good carrots.
  4. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    With a 200KW array I assume you're running a factory with it, or large business of some sort? Are maybe a neighborhood of 20 homes?

    I run my house and barn on a 6KW grid-tie system and I was not allowed to install anything larger - or incentives would not have been approved. Grid-tie and incentive regs here in New York only allow a system that is projected to make 110% of past annual useage.

    When it comes to solar installer "experts", I had four estimates and proposals before I designed my own system. All four greatly over-estimated what production would be. All over-projected by 20-30%. Luckily, I did not take their "expert" advice. I did it my way, and for three years now have made an overage of 6%.
  5. DaveH9

    DaveH9 Member

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    mbcijim
    did your installer give you a projected monthly breakdown of production? If they gave you only a yearly projection it may be close. Try taking the avg of your 2 equinox months actual production Kwh and multiply by 12. should be close estimate to annual. Depending on your azimuth and tilt. Did you get buried in snow last winter?
  6. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    I'm not the guy you asked, but here's what happened here in central NY. The State incentive programs require annual estimates for electric production. Never monthly.
    One big problem in areas with mountains is the micro-climate. 20 miles one direction or another can make a big difference in annual sun. My specific local area is much darker then the City of Cobleskill that is only 15 miles away. Same for the city of Oneonta that is 20 miles distant the other direction.

    None of the State certified installers took that into account even thought I had monitored sunlight here for the past 10 years. My projection was dead-on and all the installers that came here were way off. All said I only need a 3.6 KW system to make my 110% per year. My system also works when the grid is down, and most do not.
  7. pring7

    pring7 Member

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    Wow, nobody responded initially, so I thought this would be an unanswered thread. Let me first say I thank you for all of your inputs. I would like to get as much feedback as possible before I decide whether to make the solar investment.

    Mbcijim: My estimate IS a little high. I think that the over the phone estimate was probably no more than 14 thousand for a 2k system. I’m a little OCD though, so if there are a funny number of panels on the roof I may end up with a little more than a 2kw system just to make it “look†right to me. The requirement is a minimum 2k system for Progress though.

    DaveH9: IMO we do have a very immature market and here is a link with the rate info and TOU schedule: http://www.progress-energy.com/aboutenergy/rates/NCScheduleR-TOUD.pdf

    Rates have not changed much if at all in the last 5 years. Duke and Progress have hooked up, so I’ve heard that there may be rate changes, but some have said that they could get worse and some have said that they may actually improve.

    The Progress rates here are not terrible, so really that makes the decision tougher. Especially after nights like last night with high winds, 105 tornado reports across the state, and possible golf ball sized hail in the area. I guess homeowners insurance would cover solar panels, or would I need a waiver on my policy?
    The way I read the rebate it should be a straight $2000 for a 2kw system plus $9 per month for 5 yrs. You read that differently though, so now I am wondering.

    Jdemaris: If I do a system, I would like it to have the capability that yours has to be “off†the grid. I think that I will have to wait for the 5 year incentive to be over though. One perk is that NC is one of those states that allows you to sell RECs.
  8. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    Yes I had a monthly breakdown of production. Can't think of the name of the software... So far I checked the angle facing south (had a surveyor out) that is correct. I have to start watching as summer solstice approaches, but I think they may have put the rows too close to one another. The top panel of row 1 was shading the bottom panel of row 2, and so on at 11:00AM in early March.
  9. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    This is a commercial system hooked up to a factory. If you'd like to see an aerial go to http://mbcdevelopment.com/past.asp
  10. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    Firemedic, one thing to consider is why roof mount? You're already almost guaranteeing the wrong angle. When you need a new roof your adding take off and reinstall the panels to the project.

    My father had the second rubber roofing installation license in Pennsylvania (circa 1978 or so). He's literally installed over ten million square feet of rubber in his career.
    When we were doing our 3/4 acre (200KW) system, he was adamant he didn't want it on top of a rubber roof. I don't pretend to understand roofing but I do know good advice when I hear it.

    If you have any room at all I'd advise ground mount.
  11. pring7

    pring7 Member

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    For the Progress rebate the system has to be roof mounted. I think that my pitch and aspect are good for a system too. It might not be the ideal angle, but it seems to be pretty good. My evacuated tubes do really well, but I know that they aren't as finicky as the PV panels.

    I have an Aunt and Uncle in Montana that have two ground units that track the sun and they are neat, but for the purpose of taking advantage of the rebates I would like to do a roof system. My house is only 4 years old and the roof should hold up for a while before it needs changing. It's definitely a point to consider though. Have people had panel installations wear out their roof prematurely?
  12. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    There is no ONE perfect angle anyway. Solarization changes summer to winter. One good average setting is usually used in the Northeast. Expensive tracking systems gain little in this part of the country.

    On a roof-mount system, adjustable racks can be used so the panels have the correct angle without having to match the roof pitch.

    Here in NY, there is no mandate for "home roof mounting." Any roof qualifies, regardless if on the house, barn, four foot high rack, etc. In my case, I built a new barn to "kill two birds with one stone." I designed the south-facing roof with the exact pitch required. It also houses a small motorhome, four farm tractors and two bull dozers, plus my backup battery bank, PTO generator, etc.

    It is odd though that the wiring-code requirements are different for a home if using a"roof mount" or "wall mount." The wall mount is less restricitive and also eliminates any re-roofing problems later.
  13. DaveH9

    DaveH9 Member

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    You may be able to solve that type of shading issue by 2 methods. One is to lower the tilt, there should not be a panel shading another any time of the year imho. Method two is to add a optimizer like tigo energy or solar magic. I imagine that you are using a central commercial inverter?

    Do you have a peak charge? if so lowering the tilt might be beneficial in the summer and help your shading.
  14. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    What's an optimizer? I have 13 inverters that are all commercial.

    Lowering the tilt, unfortunately, means a $20k-$50k bill. I may have to fix it, I just don't know yet. We are talking 3/4 of an acre of panels, not a residential system. No easy fixes.
  15. DaveH9

    DaveH9 Member

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    An optimizer will help boost performance of a string that is compromised by shading. When one module of a string is shaded, even partially, the voltage of the whole string is effected.
    The old fashioned Christmas light syndrome. Optimizers can switch off the affected module(s) and allow the rest of the string to produce optimally. Are the modules mounted portrait or landscape.?
  16. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    Interesting, I'll have to speak with my installer about that.

    They are installed 4 atop each other in landscape. I don't know how many long, but long, probably 100-125' across.
  17. DaveH9

    DaveH9 Member

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    another option might be to convert how the strings are wired. You might be able to string the bottom shaded rows together to the same inverters, (if that is not how it is wired now). Long shot, but worth looking at.
  18. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    Thanks I'm going to look into it.
  19. pring7

    pring7 Member

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    Are there systems for residential roofs that will automatically adjust to the ideal angle? If so, is it worth the (probably) additional expense?
    I like the idea of putting a barn up by the creek with solar panels. I had thought about one day building a 2 story barn/boat house with a gambrel roof down by our creek. Something like this:

    Attached Files:

  20. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    The best solution would be to put the back of that building facing due south and build one of the roof pitches at the correct angle. Then you don't have to worry about any system. FYI, that's a SMALL roof. PV's need room. They aren't small.
  21. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    I don't know squat about rubber roofs, but I know as much about shingles as any Julio. DON'T install PV on top of shingles.

    A recent Home Power magazine has a photo of a nice new PV install on shingles that have been scuffed to death by the installer traffic, bad idea. At least now they have a properly flashed anchor point, it was only a few years ago that standard practice was to put a lag bolt through the roof with a dab of silicone?!?!

    Lots of solar systems are removed by roofers and never reinstalled. I've had people say that of course a $$$ system would be put back up when the shingles are replaced, but a future homeowner may not want to spend $$ to reinstall a $$$ system when the system will only produce $ worth of electricity before it needs to be moved again.
  22. DaveH9

    DaveH9 Member

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    The angle is not such a big deal these days, the best practice on a sloped roof is to keep it parallel to the roof. If you tilt them, them you may have to reinforce the structure due to increased stress from wind load. The front of that building not so good, with those dormers.
  23. pring7

    pring7 Member

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    The back would be the dormer side and the other side would be the south side.
  24. DaveH9

    DaveH9 Member

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    Get some fast jack or quick mount pv flashing, and you will never get leaks on the penetrations.

    The tou is good for you. Our peak starts at noon, yours starts at 10 am. Think you could cool your home enough before 10 am and just throttle the ac down on solar until 9pm? The evac tubes are absorbing heat that normally would heat your attic and the pv will do the same. Do you mechanically cool your attic?

    Looks like your electric company wants to claim the recs. Did I read that right? If so That's not very nice of them, even though NC recs aren't worth that much as far as I've heard.

    Any way, it still looks good, considering that you will increase your home value, enjoy solar electricity, and save money.
  25. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    Just curious about your statement. From what I've seen, nothing has changed much in the past 20 years when it comes to the technology. In fact, with the panels themselves, little of high consequence has changed in the past 50 years. The needs of solarization are the same.

    About some other comments on this thread about adding systems to allow bypass to shaded panels? I'm not sure what the alledged problem is. A good installation with good panels will have bypass and blocking diodes. These stop current backflow, and allow current to pass through shaded panels in strings. It's a pretty simple solution that I assume has become pretty-much standard. Without the bypass diodes, shaded panels can overheat in darkened areas.

    With my setup, I "killed two birds with one stone." I built a new barn to keep tractors and dozers in, and built a special angle south-facing roof just for the solar panels. It's about 500 feet from my house. Inverters are in the barn, so the run to the house is 220 AC, not DC. Panels are wired up for 48 VDC.

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