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Solar installed and producing!!

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

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  1. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Weeelll, since you asked...

    It's not that they don't work at that temperature, they just don't provide enough heat, thus the reason for the electric backup. At very low temperatures, you may want to set it on emergency heat and give the heat pump a rest. It will cost you a little more in electricity, but you will get warm. If you bump the thermostat back when the stove is going, it will start the heat pump automatically if the stove goes out. It is possible to set up an outdoor thermostat to accomplish this automatically, but repeatedly starting a compressor when it is this cold isn't the best thing for it. York units used to do this, but most manufacturers will tell you to just let it run.

    The cooling cycle is just as energy efficient as a normal A/C. SOme would argue there is a ssmall loss in the reversing valve, but it isn't significant.

    Yes, ground source is very expensive to install, but is probably the most efficient way to condition a building in just about all circumstances. However, if you have made the investment in a wood stove, the air-air heat pump is a great compromise in cost/efficiency. They are great in the shoulder seasons when it is a little too much to fire up the stove.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled thread on solar panels...


    Chris

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  2. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    we just got our first electric bill reflecting a full billing cycle with our solar panels - $3 and some odd cents. Pretty sweet!!! Of course, we also just got the statement for our solar panel loan :gulp:
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Mike, what happens if you were constantly in the "black" for electricity production? Does the electric company write you a check? Or is it better to size the pv array to your actual use?
  4. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    The advice I was given was to size the system to produce your annual average, or a little less. The reason is that the power company only pays you half (or less) of what they sell the power for.

    I have "net metering", meaning that the company will bank excess usage on a rolling 12-month basis. In other words, if I produce an excess of say 500 kWh in June, I have through the following May to use that power. After that time, I get a credit on my bill at the reduced rate.
  5. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I want my BLACK METAL roof (aka,, massive solar gain :sick: ) covered in PV and collectors. But I didn't know the utility pays a heavy discount on your elec. If that's true shouldn't they be subsidizing these installs (as in pick up the 1/2 that NYS won't cover)? Think about it for them. They are getting free electric, with no maintenance or overhead.
  6. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Now let's think about this. The power company is in the business of making money, but they are letting you use their infinite sized battery, aka the transmission network, to store your power for free. After a year, rather than make you take the power off, they are buying your excess. Be glad they pay half, some power companies just keep it and pay nothing at the end of that year, and in California some folks are finding themselves paying MORE on a net metering plan (look up the E6 net metering plan) and generating 90 percent of their own power than they would if they were on the grid, ON TOP of the expense of buying all that equipment. And it's not like you aren't getting a benefit here, instead of having to buy, maintain and dispose of a large, expensive battery bank, you are using theirs and they are maintaining it. How much would enough batteries to hold the excess cost over the course of a year?

    Sounds to me like you have a pretty good deal here. You get almost free use of the power company grid, less work to do, less real estate taken, less environmental hazard, AND money back on excess power.
  7. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Telco?? Shouldn't you be working there in your utility office? Instead of surfing on Hearth.com??
  8. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    I am working. But that utility I work for is the phone company, not the power company.

    Did I offend with my defense of the power company? Thought this place was about the facts, not the agenda. :coolsmirk:
  9. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I didn't take it that way, but any one who comes out in defense of the utility company is suspect (big huge :cheese: here!) Kinda like someone coming to Exxon's defense.

    These net metering agreements aren't the result of the utilities generosity; it was made into law back in '05 and is probably the single biggest shot in the arm that the renewable energy biz needs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_metering

    You ARE using the grid as a battery, but subject to their rules and regulations. Most people would consider this a benefit, but the grid isn't necessarily everyone's cup of tea...

    Chris
  10. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    I don't know anything from experience on generation of my own electrical power, but "Telco" made sense to me, but then I'm the guy who tried to blame our government, not Exxon, for the run away cost of oil products. That got me a threshing on another thread.
  11. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Well, for the record I don't work, nor have I ever worked, for any power company. Been a telecom man my whole working life, but I've never been a "company man", an "industry man" or a "union man". Quite frankly, if it weren't for the money I'd be out of here and into a different industry so fast there would be a thunderclap caused by the air rushing in to the place I was standing at. I only work because I like to eat and I don't like being rained or snowed on at night.

    So far as my defense of the power company goes though, there is no disputing the fact that you have a choice between using the power grid to store power for almost nothing, and the potential to have the power company buy excess, or you can stay offgrid and spend as much as 10 grand in batteries for purchase, maintenance, storage and disposal. Folks have been focusing on what the power company gets without focusing on what they are getting out of the deal themselves.

    Now you wanna read something about why oil got so high so fast, check this link out. If what this page is saying is true, you only need to capitalize 6 percent of an oil futures contract to buy it, meaning the speculators who are bidding up oil to 130 bucks and beyond only have about 10 bucks invested per barrel. They are buying and selling the oil with a lot of borrowed money, and worse yet this market is no longer regulated due to a law signed by Bush in 2006. But further, if this article is correct, oil prices are a bubble which is about to pop much like the dot.com bubble did. If you want to get oil prices back down, require that 100 percent of the price be capitalized to buy and suddenly nobody will be speculating it out of sight like it is now.

    There is no real reason for oil to be as high as it is now, as crude inventories are high, usage is down, and the peak oil bubble is a myth perpetuated by the fact that the oil industry has NEVER tried to confirm more than 30 years of supply at any one time. Not to mention that oil is apparently produced by natural action of the Earth . If it really was all dead dinosaurs and plants, there hasn't been enough life on Earth since the beginning to account for the oil we've already burned, nor has there been any findings of "quasi-oil" anywhere. If oil came from dead plants and dinosaurs, then we should have found partially converted plants and animals at some point. On top of this, oil floats on water, yet we find oil both underneath water, and at levels tens of thousands of feet deeper than any fossil has ever been found. And, on top of all this, oil fields that have been pumped dry, and verified as being out of oil, are being found to be full again after 20 years or so pass. There are too many holes in the official story for me to buy it all. On the other hand, matter changes under heat and pressure when atoms change arrangement, so I can see how the Earth could produce petrochemicals as part of its normal operation.

    Whether oil is a renewable resource or not though, has no bearing on the need to cut pollution and consumption. Unclean burning of petrochemicals IS known to cause air pollution, asthma, ect, and based on THAT alone we should be trying to end dependence on it.
  12. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Thanks telco, for the tutorial and "educated" speculation, your word give me hope for the future. Perhaps the golden lining to this oil "shortage" is a WAKE UP CALL to update USA regulations and tax incentives (I'm not trying to simplify this to a specific recommendation) and to get better efficiency and diversity for satisfying our needs for energy.

    Still, it seems the technology to clean up emissions on coal and oil burning have a long way to go before we can "breath" a sigh of relief at the new found clean air.
  13. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    A couple of things:

    1. I had to pay a $100 net-metering "application fee".
    2. Net metering does nothing for you in the event of a power outage. I had the option of spending an additional $3000 for batteries, and I would STILL have been connected to the grid. The batteries provide you the added benefit of back-up power during outages. I decided that the extra hazardous waste and energy needed for the production of the batteries wasn't in my best interest (yes, I do know how much energy is required to produce solar panels and transport them to my site)
    3. I would like to be completely AEP-free, but I looked at it as many others do: I'm using the grid as a battery. HOWEVER, the agreement is that I get to bank power production on a rolling, 12-month basis. That's what I paid that F-ing $100 fee for. I think it ended up being a half-sheet of paper with a signature. They get their money one way or another.
  14. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Nice job Mike; thanks for the updates. We are sending our site plan application this weekend. Site should be no problem, I have a chain saw, and we are contacting two vendors for their pricing. Should be a 2.0kW or so. Did you get a solar tracker or roof mount? Again, great job and thanks for stepping up and doing your part.
    Ed
  15. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    Mike,

    That looks great and am glad to hear that it is doing so well. I have looked into it but unfortunately PA does not have the types of incentives that you have for solar. Have been looking into solar for sometime but the ROI of 15 years (by my calculations) is a little too long.

    Erik
  16. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    My payback period was something like 15+ years (based on something like 10% annual rate increase and inverter replacement at 10 years). That takes into account the state grant and $2000 federal tax credit. I don't even want to know what it would be without incentives.

    In all, it is more expensive power than coal for sure. In fact, at least double cost. I guess I could have bought "carbon offset credits" :roll: like a certain ex-vice president that I won't mention. It was one of those decisions that doesn't make sense financially. But, the wife said "if we're gonna' talk the talk, we had better walk the walk." Hearing her say that sold me on it right away, because she was 100% right. I hope that we can inspire others to take the plunge, too!
  17. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    Based on your system overall cost what percentage was the installation?
  18. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    Cost of installation/design was just under 12% of the total cost. I had originally wanted to do it myself, but after seeing these guys battle wasps on a two story, hot-as-hell 10/12 pitch roof for 9 hours a day, I now consider it money well spent.
  19. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Money just became more worthwhile, at least it would if you lived in the Tulsa area. AEP just raised rates about 21 percent starting this month by passing on a fuel surcharge. Sez in there that by state law AEP can't charge more for fuel than they actually spend on it, ie no profit off fuel surcharges, but AEP sez their natural gas costs have gone up 40 percent. New rate hikes are just in time for the summer air conditioning season. I'm SOO glad I just spent 800 bucks adding insulation to my roof last summer. I was hoping to see lower utility bills this summer, guess I'll just have to be happy with no net change in outlay for electricity. We already keep the house between 78 and 82 in the summertime, any hotter than that and the cat starts panting all day. Guess the next step will be to build a shade for the air conditioner. May as well give it every advantage it can get, like not making it try to push air past a cabinet that's already been superheated by the sun. :down:

    Crap, can't do that, the HOA Nazis would wait till I was done, then start whining about it and threaten hundred dollar a day sanctions till I removed it, just like they tried with my TV antenna.
  20. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Well, in NY the TELEPHONE COMPANIES pass on hikes by getting their property taxes lowered. Seems they think that while land and residences had been rapidly appreciating, the TELEPHONE COMPANY thinks their property has declined in value. Depreciation they say. "Cept most of their poles and lines are never replaced until someone hits a pole with a car. Oh, and of course their base material - COPPER - has anyone seen what those prices have done over the past couple of years?

    So excuse me all to hell when I say the utilities should pay for the installation when they are basically getting 'free' electric.

    Yup, I know you may not work for one of the sheister telephone companies here in NY.
  21. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Wow, such venom! I'm not a decision maker, all I do is work on circuits. I have zero input in how the company handles asset depreciation. So no, no excuse bub. I may as well be yelling at you about how New York elected Hillary Clinton to office, when her husband is directly responsible for 9/11, when as a New Yorker you only have one vote and may not have voted for her. Ever wonder how Bubba got the federal budget into the black?
  22. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Well, ISeeDeadBTUs it appears you don't own any AT&T;stock, or you'd know damn well it has depreciated. And unless I misunderstood what going on since 1984, and I don't mean the George Orwell novel, you've had an ever increasing choice on where you buy your telephone service. Hope you're enjoying some of the lousy cable telephone packages.
  23. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    You guys are gonna get my nice, informative thread dumped into the ash can!
  24. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    You have a great and much needed thread going on solar and it's really important for those of us that are thinking along the same lines. It seems that anytime the mention of going green comes up the issue of $$ payback comes up. Yet when spending on vehicles, boats or even furniture pay back is almost never mentioned. Our way of only thinking $$$ and not what is good for our little planet and our neighbours is not always in the forefront. Your thread helps us get a real life view, a practical view on what we can achieve if we so desire. Many thanks Mike.
    Ed
  25. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Yes, back to solar energy...it is often on my mind, and that's why I started reading this thread...and started commenting on extraneous side topics, sorry.

    As I may have said, every time I turn on the garden hose that is laying out in the sun I am reminded of my idea of installing out on the sunny side of the house a simple black pipe line/loop on the water feed to my hot water heater. Of course, it would have to be drained when freezing weather comes...there you go, I'm back to the subject, albeit not electricity generation.
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