Stoaty
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:37 pm

If you want to support solar, but don't find it to be practical for your situation, you may want to consider investing in solar installations. That's what I have done, since there isn't room to put solar on our condo roof:

https://joinmosaic.com/
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UBUYGAS
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:18 pm

That's a really cool idea. I should have thought of that!




Stoaty wrote:If you want to support solar, but don't find it to be practical for your situation, you may want to consider investing in solar installations. That's what I have done, since there isn't room to put solar on our condo roof:

https://joinmosaic.com/
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DNAinaGoodWay
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:17 am

You could bulldoze the house and rebuild a passive solar design with the roof orientated properly.

No?

You could put just enough panels on the back to cover the small usage you have.

But if you don't want them, you could tell your friends that you just don't want them.
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thankyouOB
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:01 am

of course it pencils out for you and it pencils out for the earth.

even if it doesnt fully pencil out over the near term, if you can afford it, why not?
it will pay off over time and it will make you feel good.

our bill was about $60 a month before the LEAF.
after credits and rebates it cost about 10k. where else can you get a 7% return on a 10k investment? and the cost of electricity will only go up.
(yes, i know, i cant cash in the solar at the end of the term for the original 10k.)



if it wont make you feel good, then never mind.
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johnrhansen
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:30 am

So how reliable are solar panels, inverters, etc these days? I would imagine you need to factor in replacement costs for these items as they break down and need replacing. Most of the people I see here talking about this are from areas that have more sun than we do in Seattle. I would be interested in installing something, but only if it pays. Otherwise that mosaic fund sounds like a lot better of an idea for my location.
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surfingslovak
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:37 am

johnrhansen wrote:Most of the people I see here talking about this are from areas that have more sun than we do in Seattle.

There has been a very active discussion about solar in the Seattle Nissan LEAF Owners group on Facebook. Below are couple of links that have been mentioned recently. I'm not the foremost expert on solar, but string inverters, which might be a bit more mature than micro inverters, had a track record of needed a replacement within the projected lifetime of a system (typically 20 years). From what I've gathered, the cost for these inverters has been going down and their reliability has been going up. It would be a good idea to have this component covered by warranty. I haven't head too many reports on panel failures, but again, I'm still relatively new to all this.

http://solarizewa.org/

http://shorelinesolar.org/

ImageImage
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Last edited by surfingslovak on Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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RegGuheert
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:00 am

johnrhansen wrote:So how reliable are solar panels, inverters, etc these days?
PV panels are extremely reliable and come with a 25-year warranty. I'm not sure anyone really knows how long they last. Microinverters also now come with a 25-year warranty, but their reliability is still being established. (You can see my other thread on Enphase microinverter reliability. I have yet to find a failure of the recent version, although its predecessor has many early failures in SOME installations.). Sting inverters are generally warranted for 10-years, but you can purchase a 25-year warranty.
johnrhansen wrote:I would imagine you need to factor in replacement costs for these items as they break down and need replacing.
If you go with a grid-tied system, you should be able to get very good reliability with a 25-year warranty. If you go off-grid with batteries, you need to plan for maintenance, repairs and replacements during the life of the PV panels.
johnrhansen wrote:Most of the people I see here talking about this are from areas that have more sun than we do in Seattle. I would be interested in installing something, but only if it pays. Otherwise that mosaic fund sounds like a lot better of an idea for my location.
Basically, the same cloudy climate and low-cost renewable electricity that make EVs so attractive in Seattle also make it harder for PV to pay for itself. My system (in VA) tends to produce about 50% more than similarly-sized systems in Seattle and systems in the desert tend to produce about 50% more than my system. If you combine that with the low cost of electricity in Seattle, you will find that it is a bit hard to make PV pay there. Yet many people install the systems anyway. Perhaps there are some incentives that QueenBee and others can tell you about.

I will also point out that Germany is the largest solar producer in the world and they have solar resources similar to those in Seattle, so it is certainly doable if you have the will.
RegGuheert
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surfingslovak
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:08 am

RegGuheert wrote:I will also point out that Germany is the largest solar producer in the world and they have solar resources similar to those in Seattle, so it is certainly doable if you have the will.

Yes. Here is some additional information, which was discussed in another thread:

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thankyouOB
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:10 pm

what size and price (sans federal 30% tax rebate) are you talking about here?
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QueenBee
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Re: What do I tell my friends?

Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:46 pm

RegGuheert wrote:
johnrhansen wrote:Most of the people I see here talking about this are from areas that have more sun than we do in Seattle. I would be interested in installing something, but only if it pays. Otherwise that mosaic fund sounds like a lot better of an idea for my location.
Basically, the same cloudy climate and low-cost renewable electricity that make EVs so attractive in Seattle also make it harder for PV to pay for itself. My system (in VA) tends to produce about 50% more than similarly-sized systems in Seattle and systems in the desert tend to produce about 50% more than my system. If you combine that with the low cost of electricity in Seattle, you will find that it is a bit hard to make PV pay there. Yet many people install the systems anyway. Perhaps there are some incentives that QueenBee and others can tell you about.

I will also point out that Germany is the largest solar producer in the world and they have solar resources similar to those in Seattle, so it is certainly doable if you have the will.


Yep, it's all about the Washington State production credit. This is a 15 cent to 54 cent per kilowatt hour production credit that expires June 2020, 15 cents for any solar and 54 cents for inverter and panels manufactured in WA. Our electricity rates are low but not cheap. Average is around 10 cents a kilowatt hour or so. Our dry summers combined with a cooler temps help make up for some cloudy/rainy weather but our winter production is low compared to summer.

Anyway, you've asked the right question. I haven't seen a quote in the last 12 months but depending on your shading and roof orientation/size you should be able to get a system that will break even in 7-8 years.

As RegGuheert said PV is now a mature technology and while it's not fair to say there is no maintenance cost it's pretty low, obviously contact us all in 20 years to get the real answer :)

If you are interested in getting a quote I highly recommend contacting Chris Herman of Winter Sun Design, http://wintersundesign.com/ He'll do a solar path analysis to determine your locations production and provide a wealth of information solar pv and green building. I've had him out twice to do solar path analysis's and both time he spent a few hours talking about things. He also put together the Edmonds Solar Coop which installed solar PV on the Edmonds community center through private funding from individuals, similar to Mosiac but in a coop fashion versus a commercial project.

If you have any questions or want to discuss things further let me know! AFAIC if you have the money (or if you don't there is really easy financing through Puget Sound Coop Credit Union specifically for solar/green remodels) and are confident you'll live in the house for say 10 years I think every homeowner in WA should be installing solar.

It's also hard to quantify but to me solar PV is also a hobby and the enjoyment I get out of knowing that I produce 100% of my home electricity usage from these panels is ever so gratifying.

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