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.