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Old 09-23-2014, 06:45 AM   #1
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Would solar power pay off?


Hey folks. I live in northern Arkansas and own a home with a non-shaded, south-facing roof. I'm considering some sort of grid-tie set-up to save some money on my electric bill. Can someone point me in the right direction as far as the best place to purchase a Kit at the best price? How long am I looking at as far as my return on investment? Is it even worth it? Thanks in advance!


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Old 09-23-2014, 11:30 AM   #2
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Would solar power pay off?


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Originally Posted by Queef View Post
How long am I looking at as far as my return on investment? Is it even worth it?


Try this calculator.

http://solarsimplified.org/solar-res...-solar-savings

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Old 09-23-2014, 12:40 PM   #3
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Would solar power pay off?


Here is a kit source.
https://www.anapode.com/products/500...Module_Kit_DIY

If you don't have experience in running 240V circuits, you may still want an electricians help with it.
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Old 09-23-2014, 01:05 PM   #4
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Would solar power pay off?


If you have the room and resources to go big, then it may pay off in the long run. Grid-tied is expensive and fraught with huge amounts of paperwork initially. Are there any gov't programs to subsidize a grid-tie in your area? They are usually the turning point between profitability and outright loss.

Make sure you learn your solar insolation factors and plan for yearly average sun hours on the panels. That average insolation will be the key determinant in your cost-recovery schedule.

In this neck of the woods, the payback time for subsidized grid-tie is 17-22 years. Worth investing in if you will be in the same house at payback time. Yes you will see immediate and possibly big deductions in your grid usage, but it usually takes a while to regain $20,000 in install costs.
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Old 09-23-2014, 01:16 PM   #5
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Would solar power pay off?


They only pay off, if your local electric supplier is not charging you for having them. I found that in my area, they are very restrictive in what they classify as solar electric panels.
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:26 PM   #6
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Would solar power pay off?


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I found that in my area, they are very restrictive in what they classify as solar electric panels.
Would you expand on that, please ? Is it simply a list of what they consider to be approved panels, or something else ?
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Old 09-25-2014, 12:37 PM   #7
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Would solar power pay off?


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Originally Posted by ChantryOntario View Post
If you have the room and resources to go big, then it may pay off in the long run. Grid-tied is expensive and fraught with huge amounts of paperwork initially. Are there any gov't programs to subsidize a grid-tie in your area? They are usually the turning point between profitability and outright loss.

Make sure you learn your solar insolation factors and plan for yearly average sun hours on the panels. That average insolation will be the key determinant in your cost-recovery schedule.

In this neck of the woods, the payback time for subsidized grid-tie is 17-22 years. Worth investing in if you will be in the same house at payback time. Yes you will see immediate and possibly big deductions in your grid usage, but it usually takes a while to regain $20,000 in install costs.
I would be leery if the payoff is long as the panels themselves may die before then. It is new technology and if they lose strength or get damaged before the payoff then what is the point. I was watching This Old House hour and they mentioned that these panels have a lifespan.

If they can guarantee 20 years life then maybe. I don't think there is 20 years experience yet to prove this technology.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:28 PM   #8
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Would solar power pay off?


The typical warranty on PV panels is 80% of minimum peak power at 20 years. I've seen one warranty that is 87% at 25 years.

PV for off grid use has been around since the 1970's that I know of. In 1978 PURPA mandated that utilities allow small scale interconnection (grid tie). We also got the Energy Tax Law (later repealed under Reagan) which provided the first tax credits for solar.

Cost of PV has been a problem for the industry. As the cost started coming down, the industry has grown. As it fell further there was even more growth.

Cost is still a major hurdle. Without subsidies, the industry would be a fraction of what it is. But the good new is that the costs should continue to drop as the entire PV industry grows.

It doesn't surprise me that your exposure to the industry is shorter. Most of the early years of the industry were in the sunny southwest of the US.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:30 PM   #9
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Would solar power pay off?


If your panels are roof mounted. They will help save some money in the summer on your cooling bill. Around here, in order to get a ROI in a reasonable amount of time, you need to generate at least 1 megawatt a year.
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Old 09-26-2014, 06:20 AM   #10
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Would solar power pay off?


Thanks to everyone for the replies. I'm not so sure I'm interested with an ROI in the 17-22 year range. It seems I could invest that $10,000+ in other areas with a better return. We will see...


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Old 09-29-2014, 08:48 AM   #11
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Would solar power pay off?


$10,000 would buy a fair chunk of insulation/window upgrades. Insulation can pay back in 5 years if you go from none to great......
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Old 10-02-2014, 05:25 PM   #12
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Would solar power pay off?


Conserving energy is always cheaper than generation.

If you spend the money on conservation first, it reduces the power bill all year long.

Then if you still want solar to further reduce your costs, your solar installation can be smaller (less expensive) than it would be without the conservation measures.

Many of the conservation measures also qualify for energy rebates.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:36 AM   #13
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Would solar power pay off?


diy it with battery bank (48vdc is best) and some quality true-sine inverters.

also, depends on what you want the solar for. i plan to do some solar, but i will wire in solar outlets for my washer & dryer (gas dryer), microwave, and some other things. i also plan to use the DC voltage for some lighting in and outside my home. i will not do grid tied, this usually means you need lots of panels to make it worth the effort.

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