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Thread: Solar Panels

  1. #1
    Champ WWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond repute WWDog's Avatar
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    Solar Panels

    Has anybody out there had solar panels installed? I'm talking quotes to have them installed on my roof. The city owned electric company gives up to a 50% rebate which ends this year. The feds will give a 30% tax CREDIT. That reduces the cost to something manageable an yields a return on investment with the reduced power bills to between 7 and 10 years. This just looks like something to good to pass up. At this time I am weeding through the learning process on what even to base my decision on which company to have install them, what panels are best (output, warranties, reliability, etc.), inverters, etc.

    If you have gone through this or are knowledgeable on the subject, I would appreciate anything you might have to say about the equipment or the process of making the decision.
    WWDog
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    Super Moderator PawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond repute PawDawg's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panels

    I know nothing, but I have wondered if it devalues your home.

    I've noticed some who install them. install them on a separate structure on the property. Some have actually built sheds or metal buildings that have the panels installed on them.
    "eye fo an eye and toof fo a toof" - Idiot in Missouri

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    2011 Pick 'Em Champion johnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond reputejohnnylightnin has a reputation beyond repute johnnylightnin's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panels

    I only know one person who has done it and she said she regretted it. She said the cost was WAY more than what she was quoted and it took forever.

    They could've just had a bad company. Whoever you go with, get some references and talk with them first.

  4. #4
    Champ WWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond repute WWDog's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panels

    From what I have researched, so far I have deduced that reliability is the key variable. All those savings will not come about in the years to come if the system does not perform as the rosy sales pitch predicts. Therefore the most important aspect of the equipment is the warranty and the company standing by their warranties. Installation is also important but you will most likely see the results shortly after installation. The integrity of the system then lies heavily with the equipment after that. One company in particular has what many refer to as the top of the line equipment with the best warranties but the customer service is terrible or nonexistent. So your advice JL about references appears to be spot on. It is all about return on investment with a long period for that return. I'll continue with the interview process but will lean the most toward quality of the equipment in respect to reliability and confidence in the manufacturer with respect to backing their product. I have no qualms about pulling the plug entirely unless I can be positively reassured that the system will perform to specification for the long term. I will also insist on firm prices.
    WWDog
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  5. #5
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    Re: Solar Panels

    I have looked at it as well, and Louisiana offers the best incentives in the country. 50% federal rebate plue 30% state (on first $25K). The reliability is what I fear as well. My system would have a payback in 8.4 years (assuming electric rates don't rise). But 8 years is a long time for nothing to break. There will be maintenance costs, the trouble is figuring what those would be.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Tech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond reputeTech77 has a reputation beyond repute Tech77's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by splicer View Post
    I have looked at it as well, and Louisiana offers the best incentives in the country. 50% federal rebate plue 30% state (on first $25K). The reliability is what I fear as well. My system would have a payback in 8.4 years (assuming electric rates don't rise). But 8 years is a long time for nothing to break. There will be maintenance costs, the trouble is figuring what those would be.
    It's one of those head-scratching things our government does. If it takes 80 percent government subsidy to give a homeowner a payback period of 8-plus years, is it a smart thing for our government to be doing?
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    Re: Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Tech77 View Post
    It's one of those head-scratching things our government does. If it takes 80 percent government subsidy to give a homeowner a payback period of 8-plus years, is it a smart thing for our government to be doing?
    Very true, but why not take advantage of it while it's there. In my case the total subsidy would be around 52%. I'd get more money back from the fed, since Louisiana limits it's 50% to the first $25,000.

    My breakdown is:

    $56,000 total cost
    -$16,800 (30% Fed Rebate)
    -$12,500 (50% on first $25K state)
    =$26,700 out of my pocket after rebates.

    The gov't picks up $29,300.

    That's a big solar panel system, 19KW. It would replace 100% of my usage. We are focusing on energy reduction right now. Replacing incandescents and CFLs with LEDs. The bulbs look to repay themselves in 5-6 months, plus lower heat output means lower AC costs. Then we will be able to install a smaller solar panel system.

    BTW, I'm on the drilling side of the oilfield. It's in my best interest, short term, for lots of oil usage. But I do realize we need to get off of it, as much as possible. My rationale is that someone will be making that money, might as well be me.

  8. #8
    Champ WWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond reputeWWDog has a reputation beyond repute WWDog's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panels

    I have interviewed two installers so far. Each quoted for two different panels. The first is an LG panels, LG Neon 300X, which is a high efficiency system with Solar edge Inverters. Warranties are: panels 10 yr workmanship, 25 yr output (80% after 25 yrs), and 12 yr inverter. The second system uses Solar World with less output (280W) with same warranties and the same inverters with same warranties. The LG panels offset 80% of my energy usage while the Solar World offset 75%. The LG ROI is 7.5 yrs while the Solar World is 7 yrs. LG panels are built in Korea and the Solar World are built in built in US. Both proposals use 26 panels.

    The second installer systems are from Stion (STO-150) (150 W / panel) using thin film technology to offset 80%, Warranties the same as above but inverter is unspecified but 10 yr warranty. The second proposal from this installer is using Canadian Solar: 250 (250 W) with same warranties and unspecified inverter to offset 79%. ROI for the Stion is 7 yrs and 7.9 yrs for the Canadian Solar panels. Stion is built in Hattiesburg and the Canadian Solar is Chinese. The Stion proposal uses 46 panels while the Canadian Solar uses 30 panels.

    One other risk I have deduced is the power company's interaction with all this over the years. At present for net metering, the power you produce offsets one for one the power you use until you use more than is produced in any given month or under produce. If you over produce, the power company credits you with $0.016 / KW. If you under produce, you pay full price of $0.10. Your power bill always has a charge of $8.75 for whatever it is for. The rules have already changed once when over production yielded credits of what the ordinary price of production is. The same federal tax credit as mentioned above and the same power company rebate of up to 30% calculated on the power you produce (the formula takes into account the power of the panel and all the losses to the meter). The power company rebate goes away next year or whenever the money dries up. In its place is a plan for the power company to offer to build a solar panel system on your roof for either a reduced rate on power or a set check each month. I don't know the full details of that agreement but it appears to be not as beneficial to the customer as what is offered now.

    My fear is that there is risk in the agreement over the time to ROI and beyond making the economics of this not a good thing to do. I also read an article last night where a study was done on people with solar panels to see what systems had faults. Most of the users were not aware when they did have a fault to include total failure despite the fact that most had sophisticated monitoring systems. Almost all of these faults were easy and inexpensive fixes.

    It seems now to boil down to research to find which manufacturers will honor their warranties and hopefully finding any gotchas that might loom with the power company.

    I did find out that it is an easy fix to get power from your solar units when the commercial power is down. There are a lot of things I have learned so far some of which I question and some of which seems to be conflicting. Hopefully much of that will not be a factor but research is the only way of finding out. I don't know if the references provided will be of use or not since they are provided by the salesman.
    WWDog
    La Tech
    Region and hyphen free since 1894!
    Flagship of the University of Louisiana System

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