jake14mw
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:53 pm
Delivery Date: 13 Nov 2017
Location: Connecticut, USA

Where to start? Thinking of Solar here in CT

Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:31 pm

Hi all,

I am a new Leaf owner. I bought a 2014 SL simply for economic reasons. I figured that the car would almost pay for itself by using it as much as we could rather than using our older 20 mpg ICE vehicles.

When I started looking into the cost savings, I only then realized that here in Connecticut, we pay the highest electricity rates in the continental US. I think it's 19 cents/kwh. So then I got to thinking that this was lessening my benefit of an electric car. If my electric rates are that high, wouldn't solar make sense? I don't know the first thing about solar. I looked into it a little, and then realized that solar wouldn't help the car charging, since the charging would be done at night.

So, my questions are basic.

1) Where is the best place to start educating myself about solar?
2) In my very limited research, it seems that for the excess electricity that is generated during the day, there is a choice between storing it in batteries, or "selling" it back to the power company. I guess making this decision is greatly affected by the local power company's rules about how it does this?
3) I don't have cash laying around to spend on it. So, I guess the choices are leasing or taking out a loan? It seems as if it is done right, even paying interest on a loan, the payments might be less than the power savings?
4) In my backyard, I have a hill that slopes up quickly to woods in the back on a rather steep angle that seems to be a good angle and faces south. This would be about an 80' run to my panel. Does this make me a good candidate for a free standing mount rather than roof mount?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

WetEV
Posts: 2328
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 8:25 am
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Location: Near Seattle, WA

Re: Where to start? Thinking of Solar here in CT

Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:51 pm

jake14mw wrote:I only then realized that here in Connecticut, we pay the highest electricity rates in the continental US. I think it's 19 cents/kwh.


To compare electric rates and gasoline, multiply the cost of the kWh by about 10. So you are paying about $1.90 for an equivalent gallon.

https://energy.gov/articles/egallon-how ... lectricity
WetEV
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Most everything around here is wet during the rainy season. And the rainy season is long.
2012 Leaf SL Red (Totaled)
2014 Leaf SL Red

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RegGuheert
Posts: 6327
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: Where to start? Thinking of Solar here in CT

Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:45 pm

jake14mw wrote:If my electric rates are that high, wouldn't solar make sense?
Yes, it would.
jake14mw wrote:I looked into it a little, and then realized that solar wouldn't help the car charging, since the charging would be done at night.
In reality, you are correct. However, net metering allows you to only pay for the net amount of electricity which you use, so you can use the electricity you generate anytime you like.

Here's the thing: If you think of your LEAF as the "new" or "additional" load, then you really don't fuel it with solar until all of your other electricity needs have been met. Of course you could think of it as the "first" load, so then the solar fuels your vehicle before the other loads. It all depends on your point of view. If you provide enough electricity to fuel ALL your loads, including the EV, then you will save the most by installing solar.
jake14mw wrote:1) Where is the best place to start educating myself about solar?
There are likely some LEAFers here who are in CT, so they might be able to help. I cannot think of anyone, but there are certainly others here from New England.
jake14mw wrote:2) In my very limited research, it seems that for the excess electricity that is generated during the day, there is a choice between storing it in batteries, or "selling" it back to the power company. I guess making this decision is greatly affected by the local power company's rules about how it does this?
It's not the local power company that sets the rules. It is the state that you live in. I believe that CT has laws which are very favorable to the homeowner. You can do an internet search for "CT net metering laws" and you should find what you need.
jake14mw wrote:3) I don't have cash laying around to spend on it. So, I guess the choices are leasing or taking out a loan? It seems as if it is done right, even paying interest on a loan, the payments might be less than the power savings?
There are other options. Do you have a friend or relative who knows how to do electrical work? I have helped several friends and relatives to purchase new equipment with warranties on eBay for much less than normal prices. If you use microinverters, then you can install the system a little at a time. Just plan for the entire project, get your mounts and wiring done first and then add panels and inverters as you can afford them. If you are very frugal and can do the work yourself or with a friend, you can add a 250W panel and inverter for about $200 total (after the wiring and mounts are in place). At $0.19/kWh, that pair will pay for itself in about three years.
jake14mw wrote:4) In my backyard, I have a hill that slopes up quickly to woods in the back on a rather steep angle that seems to be a good angle and faces south. This would be about an 80' run to my panel. Does this make me a good candidate for a free standing mount rather than roof mount?
It might, particularly if it is *directly* north of your house (so that morning and evening shadows do not hit it).

Good luck with your planning!
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

jake14mw
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:53 pm
Delivery Date: 13 Nov 2017
Location: Connecticut, USA

Re: Where to start? Thinking of Solar here in CT

Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:45 pm

Thank you for the information. Just as one additional piece of info, my electric bill averages about $200 per month.

joeriv
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:33 pm
Location: Fairfield County CT

Re: Where to start? Thinking of Solar here in CT

Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:28 pm

Some basic math might help:

Assume you drive 10,000 mi/yr, avg efficiency 4.5 mi/kwhr, $0.19 / kwhhr

So if my math is correct:

(10,000 mi/yr / 4.5 mi/kwhr) * $0.19 /kwhr = $422.22 annual electricity cost. The actual cost wil be somewhat higher due to charger inefficiency, so round up to $500/yr.

IMHO I don"t see a compelling need to go solar.
2017 Leaf S with QC, JUN mfg date

jake14mw
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:53 pm
Delivery Date: 13 Nov 2017
Location: Connecticut, USA

Re: Where to start? Thinking of Solar here in CT

Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:52 am

Let me clarify, getting the Leaf just got me thinking of solar, it's not the reason to go solar. Going solar has to make sense financially overall for my energy needs.

joeriv
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:33 pm
Location: Fairfield County CT

Re: Where to start? Thinking of Solar here in CT

Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:05 am

Go here to figure out if it makes sense for you:

https://www.solar-estimate.org/
2017 Leaf S with QC, JUN mfg date

goldbrick
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Aug 2017
Leaf Number: 311806
Location: Colorado front range

Re: Where to start? Thinking of Solar here in CT

Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:31 pm

I'm looking into solar as well and have found a lot of good info here: https://www.wholesalesolar.com/
This should get you started and then you can web search any terms or concepts you don't understand.

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