Solar quote

Solar quote

PostBy: JD2020 On: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:28 pm

Hi,

What's everyone's opinion on this: I had a fellow come out to the house today from a reputable local solar installation company. SE PA is the area. I would love to lose the PECO bill, who wouldn't. I need a 10,000 KW system to replace my annual electric usage. To generate this I am looking at the following math:

$65,000 installation with 5 yr. warranty of system malfunction (but not hail damage, etc.)
$12,000 credits within 6 months of install from state.
$19,500 Fed. tax credit which I can use over 15 years (it rolls over).

Then, based upon current markets and billing patterns the projections are (not guaranteed):

Save $200 month on Peco bill= $2400 a year
Earn $4000 a year in renewable energy credits sold like commodities on exchanges.

If all this math holds true I would have a 6 year payback on the install, which is pretty good.

Here are the risks/problems I see:

1) I am self employed. I don't show much income every year and I have allot of writeoffs: I don't think the 30% fed tax credit is worth much to me.

2) I would have to get a rider on my insurance policy to cover hail damage/tree falls on the panels...that's not free.

3) I would have to front the $65,000 for awhile before any money comes back to me: there's an opportunity cost there (I'm in contracting/real estate, I could use the money for projects).

4) I don't know the energy credit market at all...I imagine there's political risk there...it may not pay in 3 years what it pays now.

5) Repairs: its hard enough finding good contractors to fix regular housing components...solar? Warranties aren't worth much in my experience.

I'm having a hard time with the sticker shock. I'd be interested in anyone's experience or opinions. Thanks,

Pete
JD2020
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: WNY On: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:38 pm

WOW!

6 year payback seems pretty quick, I have seen them TV with about a 10-15 year payback....seems too good to be true...
WNY
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: Duengeon master On: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:55 pm

I also heard of a 10-15 year payback when I inquired. the one thing I also understood is that the panels made today have a 20-25 year lifespan. Also they degrade over time so in 15-20 years the panels are not producing the wattage they did when they were new. I also use Peco and would love to tell them where to go. My system requirements would cost approx. $25,000 Good luck let us know how you made out.
Duengeon master
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: steamup On: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:18 pm

I would check out the renewable energy credit thing very carefully. It doesn't make sense that you could generate $4000 a year by not using $2400 of electric unless there was a convoluted law that forced some corporation to pay rediculious amounts for something.

Solar electric is the "Green" thing to do. You do it for the personal satisfaction of reducing your carbon footprint, not for quick economic payback.

Personally, I think the payback math is very optomistic.
steamup
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: tsb On: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:23 pm

Take $25,000 and buy coal. I think the renewable bubble is going to be
short lived. Physics is a bitch. I live in SE pa. Thinks about the problems.

Night time = 0 power.
Cloudy days ........ real cloudy days.
Snow , frost, leaves.

If you enjoy the warm fuzzy thought of your own power and the 25 gs is
not a problem go for it, but keep this in mind. We are all paying for your
warm fuzzy. It won't take long before people get tired of supporting and
expensive source of sunny days only power.

I have neighbors that have installed these systems. They get the warm fuzzy, but
not much usable power. Most people are not home during the peak power hours.
If you talk storage, then you really have a nightmare.

Tom
tsb
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: JD2020 On: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:10 pm

Hi Tom,

I agree with many of your points. The battery issue is a non-starter. Battery backup adds 50% more cost and they only have a 5-7 year life. These are typically used in non-grid applications.

The kw calculation takes into account the night/day hours and general weather over the year. So when I say a 10,000 kw system that means a system designed around those factors. The system would use "net metering" which means the utility provider (peco) would install a 2nd meter at my house for measuring output (a regular meter measures input, obviously). Over the billing cycle (monthly) the sum of the input and output meters would result in an average zero balance owed to peco. However, that's an average. If I have a cloudy month, take allot of hot showers, etc., then I would assuredly owe peco (net usage would exceed output). However, another month it might be sunny and I'm on vacation for two weeks using little electricity, I would have a credit.

The array of government incentives at this time make the payback better than it has been. I agree that others ("the taxpayer") would be subsidizing these incentives. There are many government programs, tax code elements, etc., that I perhaps don't agree with or like. But one works with what is. Thanks,

Pete
JD2020
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:37 pm

steamup wrote:I would check out the renewable energy credit thing very carefully. It doesn't make sense that you could generate $4000 a year by not using $2400 of electric unless there was a convoluted law that forced some corporation to pay rediculious amounts for something.



I believe it has to do with the mandates, the power company has to make X amount of energy using renewable resources. By buying up his credits they can put it towards that percent. Everyone else pays higher electric rates to make up for the $4K he gets.
Richard S.
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: whistlenut On: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:03 pm

If you are self employed, the 'Tax Man' will be on you 'tighter than a new pair of BVD's', when you try to 'cash in'.
The sticker shock SHOULD scare you back to reality. Buy a new Prius if you want to feel 'Green', heck, modify the car to power a generator while you are home.....at least you will be in control and not the 'Snake Oil Salesmen' .

We have a retired ATT engineer , locally, who spent $395,000 to modify a home on top of a mountain to be totally solar (Heat and power) All radiant heat, and superb controls. Nice looking job. 20 Grundfos circulators of varing outputs......
PLC regulated.....

He also has 6-120 gallon propane fired hot water heaters to 'maintain' on the 'off' days. His propane usage was 2100 gallons WITH the solar. Nuff said!?!

We are once again coming up on 8 hrs of solar gain, 16 hrs of solar loss. You don't have to work for NASA to know the results of this issue. Save your money, plant a hundred hardwood trees and you should feel much 'Greener' for your efforts. My $.02.......... :roll: :shock: ;) :idea:
whistlenut
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: SMITTY On: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:07 am

$65K .... I'd have had a seizure on the spot! :eek2: :fear: Number too big to comprehend! :wacko:

The things I could do with that money. I could stockpile enough coal to last me 30+ years .... and then still have plenty left over to insulate my place .. which would then bump up the stockpile to 40 years ...

Motorcycles, ammo, barn roof, porch roof, driveway, muscle cars, ... .... :gee: I'd feel alot better about that than solar! ;)
SMITTY
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: samhill On: Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:18 am

Your right whistlenut, any solar engineer should tell you that its just like real estate value, location, location, location. It only makes power when the sun shines & a wind turbine only when the wind blows. I say GAS POWER, the cow poo generator near me is doing great, with no unforseen problems it will be a four to five year payoff. Plus the product that is left over is rich in nutrients & ready to be spread back onto the fields, win win senario for dairy farm country.
samhill
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: mozz On: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:26 pm

I'd like to know why your electric bill is now $200/month. Mine is less than $60. Unplug everything, all those battery chargers,cordless everything, tv's in rooms not being used, etc etc. Drawing 3 watts for 24h/day is like drawing 75 watts for a hour. Multiply that by how many things are plugged in. CFL's in every lamp socket. Bought some LED lights also night lights and reading lamps.
mozz
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: samhill On: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:25 pm

Just came back from the Middlefield, Ohio area & was surprised to see solar panels on a couple of the Amish farms. I asked a Amish gentleman about it & he told me that they got the OK to install them to recharge their batteries, they all use the cordless power tools now, talk about splitting hairs.
samhill
 
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Re: Solar quote

PostBy: robb On: Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:19 pm

My father-in-law owns a company that sells the batteries needed to store the extra power. He was telling me those things are very expensive, even at his price. I know a guy in Jersey that has $63,000 wrapped up in his solar system and his house is 3,500+ sq ft. He generates enough to sell it back as well. I have been considering doing enough solar to run my Heat/AC, water heater and well pump. Those seem to be the most expensive items to use with electricity...
robb
 
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