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The cost of solar power

Post in 'The Green Room' started by begreen, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I was just being a little snide. :)

    I'm ALL for it. I would LOVE to be electrically independent. I got the room and ability. It is simply a matter economics at this point. It will get better. New tech is popping up all the time. Better production methods and higher conversion factors are also being addressed at this time. I am just waiting for it to be a "no brainer".

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I was surprised to find out that Illinois is the #1 nuclear power generating state. 48% generated by nukes.

    If I lived out there I would definitely invest in a combo of wind and solar. Seems like Illinois has some pretty nice solar incentives. There's even a nice rebate (on top of the Fed credit) plus NET metering. Could be that if costs gets cheaper the line for the rebate allocation is too far out. Right now 2010 is all allocated. Got to get on the 2011 list.

    I'd expect that the numbers would make sense as IL gets more sunshine than we do. What does the back of the napkin calculation come out for Illinois right now for say a 3KW system? I'm getting about 14yrs using this calculator: http://www.findsolar.com/index.php?page=rightforme
  3. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Jags, with your ability, it may already be a no-brainer if you stop waiting for thin film prices to lower and look into diy solar thermal-electric instead of photovoltaic. I think you get more bang for your buck that way.
  4. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I used the caculator and too pricey for me, wont live long enough to make it worth my while, I could build a small wind turbine and be money ahead.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    BG - thats probably pretty close for a 3kw system. I get 14-16 with operational costs.

    Edit: but a 3kw will not provide enough for my full electrical needs. I need to be over double that at current consumption for 100% replacement. And conservation???? Yeah, when the kids are gone maybe, but not a day before. I stand more chance of fighting a horny, rabid, water buffalo.
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Dune - with the average cost of Polycrystalline silicon cell type panels a 175 watt panel is $800-$1000 bucks. As you know (with your background) they simply don't average 175 watts (it is very typical to use an 80% value of output). It will take 20 or more of these panels to make a 3kw array. Again - about $20,000 in initial outlay.

    At current electric prices - thats a full 15 years of buying electricity.
  7. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I did the math for me here last year. We have net metering now available, but on much less generous terms. We can bank power, and transfer power to a relative in the same distrubution network. We can not sell power. We do have better state incentive though,
    $1.50/installed k/h upto 5K. In spite of all, the only way I could do it were if I could install it myself, which I can't. Major hurdle for me and I am sure a great many others, who would act now, if not already. Realize also that rates here are very high, so the payback would be fast. Their are investor groups forming, to take advantage of, oops, I mean help those like me that could use it but can't really aford it, but that further dilutes the savings. (if I were not already installing a co-gen system, I would feel differently)
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Is it possible to find a local electrician that is willing to supervise/permit and be on hand for the inspection for a reasonable fee?
  9. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Right. I am with you on that. For me, here, installed, 5Kw runs over fortyK and with incentives, etc. still means 20K out of my pocket.

    Yes, I get some back as credit, but still write a check for twenty. I am better off doing something on my own, of my own construction and finance. I chose 100% bio-diesel, water cooled 25KW generator instead of solar thermal-electric, but I investigated it. Note, I am not talking about photovoltaic panels.

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/15/0124253
    http://www.thebackshed.com/Windmill/forum1/forum_posts.asp?TID=951
  10. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Yes. It is possible for a licensed electrician to get certified imediately and pay the fee. I wish my brother was an electrician instead of a plumber.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The calculator shows a 14.6yr payback for a 4.5KW system installed just south of Chicago. As far as getting the kids to conserve, do they get an allowance? Take waste out of it if they do. My boys are grown, and still need some reminders, but they are pretty good. If they are going to survive in the future, learning to conserve and live within one's means could be one of the better lessons you can pass on to them.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Have you checked current pricing? Look at the 216w Sharps for instance.
    http://www.affordable-solar.com/solar.panels.htm
    http://www.ecodirect.com/Sharp-Solar-Panels-s/210.htm
    http://www.firemountainsolar.com/
  13. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    Jags- if you have enough kids, or they are strong enough.....a few hours a day on the "Conan Generator" may just be what you need. BTW, 6000 sq ft of roof is not a house, its a compound.
  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    A 21 yr old girl with a 3 and 2 year old. No allowance. Just a lot of eye rolling. ABSOLUTELY NO understanding of how the world turns. I got there "too late" if ya know what I mean.
  15. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Pricey no matter what way you slice and dice it.
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Naaa, just a couple of my sheds. A 40x60 and a 52x74. I didn't even count the couple of small ones OR the house.

    You can clearly see the small one (white) and the big one is behind the tree and in the background. This is looking at the backside of the sheds.

    Attached Files:

  17. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    did you call that a shed? round here thats either a barn or a warehouse/factory. I hope you have BIG hobbies and not just piles of old windows (seems a popular thing to collect in New England).
  18. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    The sheds in farm country are much bigger than sheds in crab country.
  19. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    4 tractors, plow jeep, big generator, yard sprayers, 2 trailers, various wood and building materials, packard parts and engines, a couple of toy cars, shop (both metal and wood), 4 garden tractors, log splitter,general storage, etc. lots of other stuff. But I ain't one of them pile guys. I hate seeing piles, thats why I have to have sqft. EVERYTHING is operational and easily accessible. It gets used or it goes.
  20. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I guess I am one of "those guys" but as I get older I am trying to get better so my daughters do not have to sort through it after I'm in the ground.
  21. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I understand, but there really isn't alot of "junk" left. Basically anything in the buildings could be rolled out to the side of the road with a "For Sale" sign and be very marketable. And I'm only 41 so hopefully I have a while left to play with the stuff.


    Full disclosure: this was one of the original "family farms" it has been in my family since 1896. I went through the "junk" stage about 7 years ago (when I bought it) and kept the gems.
  22. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Good for you. Is it still a working farm?
  23. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    FYI for New Hampshire folks looking at Solar, you do not need an electricians license to design and install a PV system to qualifiy for a rebate. The building inspector still needs to sign off on the installations so they could require it in their jurisdiction but in most towns the homeowner can do their own electrical on their own home. The installation does need to meet the applicable version of the electrical code but there are a lot or resources on the web.

    One very useful (but a tad bit technical) is http://www.altestore.com/store/media/pdfs/photovoltaic_NEC_code_practices2005.pdf

    The NH rebate program is pretty complex so make sure you read it and understand it before proceeding. They now require a preapproval process to ensure that a person doesnt build a solar system where its not going to work well.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Nope - not in my family's name anyhow. The land was sold to two LONG time neighbors. We had boys out from Chicago that wanted to buy it, but my father told them to go pound sand (even though they were offering quite a bit more cash).
  25. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Good for you, too much of the land is going to large corporations keeping the little guy out of it.

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