1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Solar installed and producing!!

Post in 'The Green Room' started by mikeathens, Apr 10, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    After three days of work, the PV system is installed, connected to the grid, and producing power. This is a 4000 watt grid-tied system, estimated to produce an average 400 kWh/month. The system was installed using State of Ohio grant money combined with the remainder financed by my wife and I.

    24 X Sharp 167 Watt panels and Sunny Boy 4000 Watt inverter.

    Installation by Dovetail Solar and Wind. I had wanted to do this myself, but in order to be eligible for the state grant money, it had to be done by a certified installer (which I am not!).

    Attached Files:

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,168
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Wow, looks great - and should do the job for you!

    Ma. also has some good PV programs - they pay a certain amount per watt, and more if the solar PV is made here (Evergreen solar) and then even more if your house is not worth a lot and your income is below a certain amount.

    I think all told you can get up to $4 a watt.
  3. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    Unfortunately, the state discontinued the program as of (I believe) March 4. I got in just in time. By the way, the three amigos in the picture are of the guys who did the installation. The other dude, Drake, is the electrician. He just moved here from Colorado.
  4. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    659
    Loc:
    NJ
    Looks nice. NJ has some nice rebates but I don't qualify because I have too many trees blocking my southern exposure and trees not on my property or even my neighbors...

    I saw something on DHDT (Discovery HD theater channel) where they interviewed Larry Hagman (of the TV series Dallas fame) who has a ranch somewhere with 3 huge-ass solar arrays... said he was paying like $2800/mo in electric bills and the system would pay for itself in 10 years.... $2800x12 = $33,600 x 10 years = $336,000. Now that's a pretty expensive system. Said his main electric solar array did 6000kv/month or something like that and he had one just for his water pump (400ft aquifer) one for his house and another one which wasn't specified...

    Solar without the state rebates is not feasible for me and in any case, my electric bills are very low to begin with... something like $14-$22 a month. But for fun, I looked into it when I moved in.

    Jay
  5. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    212
    Loc:
    SE Iowa
    Mike, if you don't mind telling. What did the total cost of this come in at? How much was your rebate? I just got my electric bill and need to do something. The wife just won't get on board with all the energy saving things I want. She tries but gets frustrated turning on/off powerswithes, different lighting from CFL's, pulling the window shades at night during winter, opposite in summer, etc, etc. Dare I say she likes things convenient and figures the extra $50 bucks a month is worth it.
  6. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    Total system cost was around $32,000+, installed. We had a site visit, and shading/roof pitch/compass direction were determined. The system was designed around this, along with roof area. Turned out ours was nearly ideal - almost due south and 10/12 pitch roof.

    We got our quote and sent the application to the state. Our grant was around $14,XXX ($3.XX/Watt).

    We had to finance the entire amount, have it installed, and then state inspected. Once everyhting is done, we will get our check. The bank has committed to reducing our loan by the grant amount when it is deposited.

    Federal taxes for 2008 will get us a $2000 tax CREDIT (availabe nationwide).

    Our final out-of-pocket cost (not including financing, closing costs, ect.) will be in the $15,000+ range. Payback about 15 years assuming (I think) 2% rate increase /year. However, our power company faces deregulation, and the state is talking about re-regulation. Power company still say we'd be facing rate increases of at least 30% regardless, so we might be looking at quicker pay back period.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    53,608
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Awesome Mike. With the heatpump and solar you folks have taken that old place into the future. Wish that was my house but WA state only kicks in for rebates if the equipment is made in WA. Unfortunately, it may be years (if ever) that we will have good choices for made in WA panels. Then there is that redwood on the south side of the house ...
  8. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    212
    Loc:
    SE Iowa
    Mike, what are your electricity rates currently per KWH? I think ours is $0.125 for the first 250 kw's and then goes down to $0.095 per kw thereafter.
  9. mainemac

    mainemac Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Maine
    Mike

    You Rock

    Way to go
    I am so impressed that is great.


    BTW

    I am looking into a solar hot water system; need a site visit to make sure garage is not blocked
    by too many trees( if so cut em down thats next years fuel!!!!!)

    State kicks in 2500
    Feds take the same 2000 with the tax credit.
    Total cost 10000-2K -2.5K= 5,500 . Pay back I think 8-10? years.

    Not sure how much oil I burn to heat hot water for 2 preteens wife and myself but I gotta
    believe that once both kids are teenagers I will be needing a lot more hot water!!


    Again congrats and enjoy


    Tom
  10. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,572
    Loc:
    Newfields NH
    I'm jealous. Our house here in NH faces ESE and we are on the bottom of the north side of a steep forested hill. Not much sun from October thru February. May try to do solar hot water but wish we could o what you've done. Nice job!
  11. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    Thanks for all of the positive feedback. The electric industry is supposed to be "deregulated" at the end of '08, but Ohio legislature freaked out when they saw rates go up 70%+ in other states, so they're scrambling to "re-regulate".

    Currently, it's $79 for 650 kWh, but the actual rate is (I think) $0.067/kWh, with a bunch of other BS tacked on, sort of like the phone bill.

    Next project will be to ditch the propane on-demand water heater and replace it with solar.
  12. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    504
    Loc:
    Nelson BC
    That is a sweet setup.

    Now if I only got more than two hours of sun in the winter...
  13. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    483 kWh after four weeks of production (exactly 28 days). I have seen a high of 28 kWh in one day, and a low of 9 kWh in one day. We have had some pretty cloudy skies lately, so I'm curious what those consecutive long, sunny summer days will bring. I'm hoping for a high monthly production of 650+ kWh (average 21 kWh/day).

    Here's another picture, highliting the glory of the panels...we are currently about 100 kWh "in the bank" for this period.

    Attached Files:

  14. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    That would almost completely get me off the grid...my highest bills are rarely over 600kwh, normally under 450 in the spring and fall (when we're not running the heat or cooling).

    I like the fact that you basicaly just covered one whole side of the roof, looks alot cleaner that way. Do you have a cleaning and maintenance schedule? I've always thought that a well applied coat of Rain-X or similar product would be a good idea for solar panels to trya nd keep them as clear as possible.
  15. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    I asked the same question to the "expert". No maintenance. Just let it hum through the days. I suppose a little pollin or dust might affect efficiency in the fraction of a percent range, but not enough for me to risk my life. The rain seems to do a good enough job.
  16. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    Interesting. The rain around here is pretty dirty so I was just curious. Since you have a meter you can check regularly it shoud be easy enough to determine if you're running at peak efficiency or not and if a regular cleaning helps improve it.
  17. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,046
    Loc:
    New Jersey USA
    I may have overlooked, this is already a long thread and most I could say has been said...but:
    You look to be far out of town, any neighbors? A 100 acre (estimate) farm about 15 miles from me put up a large array about 100 feet back from the country road passing by it, and at that point there is a neighbor/home. They complained about having to look at the array... this must have been an array like Hagman's many $100K investment. I'd think a roof mounted should never be a source of neighbor complaints.
    I assume you heat with wood, did you say heat pump somewhere in the thread? I have a geothermal unit and it is efficient enough that a few hundred KWH per month would be a lot of heating or cooling, still your array isn't enough to handle my electrical load, averages over 1000 KWH per month..somewhere near 1,600 KWH during heating season.

    I love the idea of solar power, the one idea that keeps coming up in my mind, especially when I turn on the garden hose on a sunny day and have hot water flowing out until the length of hose if emptied. A simple solar black pipe run along the South side of my house as the feed line to my electric water heater would be a big help, not sure my wife would accept that running along the house behind her perennial flower garden. I believe this type (with a real collector on the roof) of hot water boost is required in places like Israel..and other sunny energy starved (oh, that's us too these days) countries.
  18. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    I live in a community where many (not all, by any means) people strive to live in a community as sustainable as possible. Athens has a local farmer's market that (at least I am told) has been studied by people across the country. I have an 85 acre farm, and there's really no way to see my array other than from the road, except if you are on my property "illegally". Otherwise, it seems to be kind of a tourist attraction. we heat with wood, but I had a heat pump installed about 2 years ago for my daughter. My wife and I didn't mind coming home to a 50 degree house, but I thought it was somewhat unfair to my baby. It is rarely used, except on the coldest days when it drops below the 63 degree set-point. My favorite new feature is the air conditioner!!! Summer days in Ohio suck, to say the least. I can't seem to fall asleep when the nighttime temp is 75 and relative humidity is in the 80% range. That's my splurge. There are tons of designs and manufacturers out there for solar thermal. Do a search. That's my next project.
  19. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,099
    Loc:
    Burbs of B'more, MD, Hon!
    See! Some people actually like heat pumps! I was beginning to think I was the only one here...

    Chris
  20. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,046
    Loc:
    New Jersey USA
    I've been on a heat pump for 20 years, and it has been geothermal for the last 15 years. We like it, especially since the cost of oil has gone up 400% in that time and the cost of electricity hasn't even doubled...I'd guess electricity had gone up 50% in the last 20 years. The unit I have is two speeds, and it runs (computer/processor controlled) to maximize efficiency. This causes it to run for long periods in low speed, the most efficient, and it is super quiet at that speed, forced air of course.

    But, this is one of the reasons we like supplemental wood heat, a nice hot to the touch warm spot on a cold winter's night.
  21. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    504
    Loc:
    Nelson BC
    Hate to steal the thread here but I have a heat pump question.
    I know that below -12 to -15C they don't work anymore and the electric furnace part kicks in. But can you over ride this and just heat with your wood stove instead? My neighbour has a heat pump but no wood stove and is telling me you can't do this.

    This concerns me as we get maybe two to three weeks of -12C to -18C weather where I am at.

    Also, is the 'central air' part of the heat pump in summer as efficient as central air?
  22. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    776
    Loc:
    Middlefield, Ma
    Try this http://www.greenbuildingtalk.com/Forums/tabid/53/Default.aspx., for some great info on the forum.
    Ed
  23. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    504
    Loc:
    Nelson BC
    thanks for the link, will check it out. Was going to post these questions in a few weeks, but since it was being discussed...
  24. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,046
    Loc:
    New Jersey USA
    I have had a geothermal hp for about 15 years, and as it uses a ground loop it works fine when the air temp is real low, or real hot for air conditioning. To you point, when I have the insert running I turn the thermostat way down and the hp stays off for hours. Same could be done with an air-to-air heat pump...but maybe that's not your operational question, d.n.f.
  25. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    504
    Loc:
    Nelson BC
    yeah air source. The upfront cost of geo seems too expensive although I live right on a huge lake so I guess it could be done.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page