Volt3939
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:10 pm

One thing I did not see mentioned, particular to the Bay Area.

We get a lot of morning fog certain times of the year, like right now for instance. If you have to put panels facing east and west, the west facing panels will produce more on those days when the "marine layer" burns off about at noon than your east facing ones will. Solar City recently did a split install across the street, and they put more east panels in then they did west. I suppose it would make the two sides produce about the same over a normal (foggy) summer day, but I think the overall output would be smaller...
'11 Volt and '14 Spark (with QC) in SJ, CA

QueenBee
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Leaf Number: 2062
Location: Bellevue (Seattle), WA

Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:34 pm

Volt3939 wrote:One thing I did not see mentioned, particular to the Bay Area.

We get a lot of morning fog certain times of the year, like right now for instance. If you have to put panels facing east and west, the west facing panels will produce more on those days when the "marine layer" burns off about at noon than your east facing ones will. Solar City recently did a split install across the street, and they put more east panels in then they did west. I suppose it would make the two sides produce about the same over a normal (foggy) summer day, but I think the overall output would be smaller...


If Mark at Mother Nature Solar is listening to this thread: Do you consider that when designing in the Bay Area? Any quantifiable results? Seems like an interesting strategy that would be substantial enough to consider.

BTW: Highly recommend anyone in the Bay Area get quotes from Mark as well. On more than one occasion he's kindly offered his expert advice when I was installing my system. His pricing is always way ahead of the curve. Although last time I talked to him he was scheduled months and months out.

GRA
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Location: East side of San Francisco Bay

Re: What do I tell my friends?

Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:44 pm

QueenBee wrote:
Volt3939 wrote:One thing I did not see mentioned, particular to the Bay Area.

We get a lot of morning fog certain times of the year, like right now for instance. If you have to put panels facing east and west, the west facing panels will produce more on those days when the "marine layer" burns off about at noon than your east facing ones will. Solar City recently did a split install across the street, and they put more east panels in then they did west. I suppose it would make the two sides produce about the same over a normal (foggy) summer day, but I think the overall output would be smaller...


If Mark at Mother Nature Solar is listening to this thread: Do you consider that when designing in the Bay Area? Any quantifiable results? Seems like an interesting strategy that would be substantial enough to consider.

BTW: Highly recommend anyone in the Bay Area get quotes from Mark as well. On more than one occasion he's kindly offered his expert advice when I was installing my system. His pricing is always way ahead of the curve. Although last time I talked to him he was scheduled months and months out.

Can't speak for Mark, but I know 20 years ago when I was designing systems I used to do this. "Night and morning fog coast and bayside, clearing around the bay by midday" is sort of the generic summertime forecast here. Even if you're 30 degrees off due south you're only going to lose a few %. BTW, you can also do a quick general assessment yourself using NREL's calculator:

http://www.nrel.gov/rredc/pvwatts/site_specific.html
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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Rat
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:02 am

There are obviously a lot of differences of opinion here, but all of the responses have been helpful, so thank you. FWIW, as a Leaf owner I feel my green credentials are just fine without solar. From this chart you can see that my electric usage is about 60% from clean or renewable sources, and for the Leaf charging, which takes place at night, probably even a higher percentage, since I suspect PG&E doesn't burn as much gas when demand is low, whereas the wind continues to blow and the rivers continue to flow:

Image

klapauzius
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Location: Seattle, Wa

Re: What do I tell my friends?

Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:29 am

Are there any incentives paid for solar production where you live?

The 54 cents/kWH WA production incentive will make this a "0" $ investment for me (not truly Zero, as I am loosing the interest on the money I paid upfront), as I am not only saving $400 annually on electricity but also get paid ~ $2000 (tax free) each year until 2020 for my production. The incentive payment was the deciding factor for me.

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drees
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:45 pm

Rat wrote:I suspect PG&E doesn't burn as much gas when demand is low, whereas the wind continues to blow and the rivers continue to flow

One quick look at the California ISO Renewables Watch quickly reveals that while wind does tend to blow hard at night and thermal electricity resources are at their lowest percentage at night (primarily due to whatever renewables always run along with nuclear and a minimum amount of hydro), they definitely ramp hydro up and down depending on demand - looks to me to be a factor of 2-3x between min/max hydro production.
'11 LEAF SL Powered By 3.24 kW Enphase Solar PV

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UBUYGAS
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:09 pm

So, what did you wind up telling your friends?




Rat wrote:I don't have solar at my house. As an EV owner I'm all for it in theory and appreciate its clean contribution to the grid, but I don't think it makes financial sense for me. Recently we reroofed and several of our friends (who have solar) urged us to put in solar at that time. We didn't. I had several reasons, but my friends didn't seem to buy them. I don't know much about solar so maybe people on this thread can tell me if my reasons were legit or just rationalizing.

Reason 1: our electric bill is already low. Even with 100% of my Leaf charging done at home it's only about $60/mo in the summer and maybe $80-90 in the winter. I've read that solar doesn't make financial sense unless you're paying at least $100/mo or more for electricity. I do expect to continue living in the house for 20 years or more (if I've inherited my father's longevity genes). Also, construction costs here are more expensive than most places and I am not willing or capable of doing any of the work myself.

Reason 2: Our house is situated with N-S the long way. The southern end is hipped, but not very big. Most of the roof area faces either due east or due west, getting most direct sunlight when the sun is low. To get maximum coverage a large percent of the panels would have to face the street.

Reason 3: I think solar panels are ugly. I don't want them on the front of the house (see reason 2).

Reason 4: We have a lot of trees around our house. This one may be a copout. We do have large elms in front and back and our next door neighbor has a very tall pine in his back yard, but these are all situated far enough from the house so they don't cast shadows on the roof except in the early morning sand at sunset. We used to have a very big liquid ambar overhanging the southern exposure of the roof, but we had to take it out because it was dropping limbs dangerously and roots and fruits were both problems, too.

Anyway, the real reason for us is #1, which I consider dispositive of the question, but my friends seem more receptive to #4, despite its dubious underpinnings. So what's the consensus here about the financial breakeven point - does $100/mo sound right? What about the house's orientation? Does that make a difference?
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