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Old 06-04-2022, 10:26 PM   #1
txbowhunter08
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Default School me on solar or wind energy

I’m fed up with my power company! My bill is always stupid high! I’m stuck with one company in rural area! My house is pretty energy efficient higher seer ac as well as all new appliance all lights leds Total remodel! New insulation and new double pane windows as well as 75 percent new insulation! Project was just completed and power company put out rates are being increased! With that said pros and cons of going solar or wind power! Im ready to pull the trigger if the long haul investment would be worth it!
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Old 06-04-2022, 10:33 PM   #2
RiverRat1
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I'm 99% sure there is no pro to either.

I'd be glad to be proven wrong though. I hate paying the electric bill also.


It's this simple. If one could buy either solar or wind turbine and it pay for itself and make the homeowner money, then it would be a no brainer and everyone would be doing it. But they can't prove jack squat. Just fill heads with a bunch of hope like one of those get rich infomercials and then say you didn't do it right.

Last edited by RiverRat1; 06-04-2022 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 06-05-2022, 06:25 AM   #3
BTLowry
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I think you might be able to install solar and decrease usage of traditional electricity but not just go full "off grid" with a full size house and all of the amenities that go with

But I will keep an eye on this and see
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Old 06-05-2022, 06:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BTLowry View Post
I think you might be able to install solar and decrease usage of traditional electricity but not just go full "off grid" with a full size house and all of the amenities that go with

But I will keep an eye on this and see
^^^^ This here is the key. You can add solar/wind and reduce your bill.

Things you need to now. Most solar companies will take you to the sack without buying you dinner. So you will need to find the right company.

Batteries are just to expensive and still not proven to be worth the investment. Full off grid won’t be worth it.

How much are you paying per kilo watt??

Can you change anything in your home to fuel it with something other than electricity?? I.e. stove, water heater, furnace, and or drier??

Lastly, do you have a large car port or barn?? I personally would not have solar panels installed over my home’s roof. A large car port or porch could partially shade your home. That would creat some saving of the cooling needs plus provide the structure to hold the panels.

Last edited by Pedernal; 06-05-2022 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 06-05-2022, 07:02 AM   #5
flywise
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Solar will never pay for itself and i doubt wind would either
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Old 06-05-2022, 07:49 AM   #6
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First thing I would do is solar hot water. Can reduce your hot water power usage to almost zero. And a typ electric tank heater is 20% of your electric bill on average. No batteries, it's a "passive" system and roi is about 5 years.

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Old 06-05-2022, 07:50 AM   #7
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Solar (without incentives) is a break even kind of thing (maybe).

We had looked at them for years, but the incentives weren't quite to the point where we could pull the trigger.

A couple years ago, we looked again and found that the incentives (in Illinois) were better and we would now only need to pay a bit more than 1/4 of the whole cost.

So we got solar panels and no regrets so far.

Total project cost was about $40,000. After all the rebates & everything, we're paying about $11,000 of that.

About the most important thing I learned through it all was this - Our solar panels are projected to make about $40,000 worth of electricity in their 30 year life span - and the cost was $40,000. With the rising cost of electricity, maybe we'll do even a little better than that.

But the bottom line is this - without the government subsidies, NOBODY is going to shell out $40k just to hopefully make $40k! Which leads right back to my 1st sentence.

I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure the math for wind power doesn't work out any better.
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Old 06-05-2022, 07:53 AM   #8
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I'm reading up on it, and still learning.

Here is one of the videos that had some good information


I do know two people that have solar install. What they both have said is it is nice not having the big bill surprise.

One is paying the solar panel company $150 per month and the grid power is costing him $35.

The other is paying $185 (bigger system and house) and is paying the grid $50. However, he's getting another panel added at no additional cost and thing the $50 for power company is going to come down.

As for wind power, haven't a clue. But do check out that video the guy has a lot of information worth listening to.

Here is another video worth checking out -

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Old 06-05-2022, 08:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txbowhunter08 View Post
I’m fed up with my power company! My bill is always stupid high! I’m stuck with one company in rural area! My house is pretty energy efficient higher seer ac as well as all new appliance all lights leds Total remodel! New insulation and new double pane windows as well as 75 percent new insulation! Project was just completed and power company put out rates are being increased! With that said pros and cons of going solar or wind power! Im ready to pull the trigger if the long haul investment would be worth it!
Lots of people have lots of opinions on solar and wind. I can only share my experience and knowledge. I'll try to state only facts below:

Fact: There aren't any companies that are going to install a solar system cheap enough for a short-term payback. Period. Labor and markups will crush you.

Fact: Unless your power company supports true "Net Billing" it will be even harder to recoup your investment.

Fact: The sales pitches and numbers the installation/sales companies make to sell you are highly optimistic. You'll never get those numbers. Most are selling 5kW systems. It's not enough to offset the cost -- not even close.

I installed my OWN system and it took forever. I did everything including all the electrical work. When I started the process my provider was a net billing provider. This means they total up used minus generated and then netted out. If I used more, they pay me. If I use less, I pay for the balance. They didn't like this so now they charge me for every electron I use (including those I generate!) and any overage goes back to them where they pay me about 1/2 what I pay them for the same electron. This simple little stroke of the pen increased my payback time on my solar by about 40%!

I put in 8kW on the ground with micro inverters. Though the system can theoretically output about 7200 watts peak in a best-case scenario, I'll never see that. I peak about 6533 due to losses from heat, sun angle, dust, and every other little thing that induces loss. I average about 40kWh every day over the month and about 1.1-1.2mWh per month. Some days I produce very little because of cloud cover and some days I crush it. Amazingly enough the extreme heat noticeably cuts output through losses due to very hot equipment.

I angled my panels to peak spring and fall and be a little less than peak summer and winter so that I get an "all-around" best overall output based on NREL solar data. I'm fortunate as I could align the angle and direction on ground where you are fixed by your roof angle and direction. This could cut your output by half if it isn't ideal.

Bottom line is the only way you can make this work is get the panels in bulk from a wholesaler and install it yourself. If you have net-billing you can probably get your payback in less than 10 years. If you pay someone you will never get there with today's technology level at about 21% efficiency. About the time you break even, it will be time to replace the system in 20-25 years.

Last edited by ken800; 06-05-2022 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:41 AM   #10
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Look at your annual taxes paid. Solar and wind doesn't come close to competing with out government funding and kickbacks. Aka our tax dollars. Then there is dependability and the truth on how green they truly are.
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:44 AM   #11
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tagged
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Old 06-05-2022, 09:38 AM   #12
kyle1974
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Default School me on solar or wind energy

If you Put solar panels on your house, it comes with a 20 year financing bill and if you ever stop paying for them they can put a lien on your house.

Added to that, how many 15 year old electronic devices does anyone have in their house? Why would you tie yourself to technology long term that will likely be outdated before it’s paid off?

Solar and wind are both supplemental. They will never be the primary energy source.

Last edited by kyle1974; 06-05-2022 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 06-05-2022, 09:45 AM   #13
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If you do decide to go solar make sure you buy your system upfront and don't get wrapped up in one of those leasing contracts. I've heard horror stories about those.

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Old 06-05-2022, 10:47 AM   #14
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i recently priced out a 6kw tesla system with batterys that could also work as a emergency power back up for my whole house. north of $50000 not including incentives.
payout was 25- 30 yrs. i'm sticking with conventional and a propane emergency generator
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Old 06-05-2022, 10:55 AM   #15
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i recently priced out a 6kw tesla system with batterys that could also work as a emergency power back up for my whole house. north of $50000 not including incentives.
payout was 25- 30 yrs. i'm sticking with conventional and a propane emergency generator
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Old 06-05-2022, 11:19 AM   #16
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I looked at solar a couple of years ago and it was going to cost me more for solar than my electric bill. Guess we are lucky in what we pay for electricity!
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Old 06-05-2022, 11:20 AM   #17
Preacher Man
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My take away was that if I had no maintenance costs, or any other hick ups, I might break even.

I have personal experience with panels impacting a roofs ability to function as intended. If I were to put in solar power, I wouldn't put panels on my house. They'd be on the ground in an open field.

The technology just isn't there yet for me.
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Old 06-05-2022, 11:20 AM   #18
bbbuck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken800 View Post
Lots of people have lots of opinions on solar and wind. I can only share my experience and knowledge. I'll try to state only facts below:

Fact: There aren't any companies that are going to install a solar system cheap enough for a short-term payback. Period. Labor and markups will crush you.

Fact: Unless your power company supports true "Net Billing" it will be even harder to recoup your investment.

Fact: The sales pitches and numbers the installation/sales companies make to sell you are highly optimistic. You'll never get those numbers. Most are selling 5kW systems. It's not enough to offset the cost -- not even close.

I installed my OWN system and it took forever. I did everything including all the electrical work. When I started the process my provider was a net billing provider. This means they total up used minus generated and then netted out. If I used more, they pay me. If I use less, I pay for the balance. They didn't like this so now they charge me for every electron I use (including those I generate!) and any overage goes back to them where they pay me about 1/2 what I pay them for the same electron. This simple little stroke of the pen increased my payback time on my solar by about 40%!

I put in 8kW on the ground with micro inverters. Though the system can theoretically output about 7200 watts peak in a best-case scenario, I'll never see that. I peak about 6533 due to losses from heat, sun angle, dust, and every other little thing that induces loss. I average about 40kWh every day over the month and about 1.1-1.2mWh per month. Some days I produce very little because of cloud cover and some days I crush it. Amazingly enough the extreme heat noticeably cuts output through losses due to very hot equipment.

I angled my panels to peak spring and fall and be a little less than peak summer and winter so that I get an "all-around" best overall output based on NREL solar data. I'm fortunate as I could align the angle and direction on ground where you are fixed by your roof angle and direction. This could cut your output by half if it isn't ideal.

Bottom line is the only way you can make this work is get the panels in bulk from a wholesaler and install it yourself. If you have net-billing you can probably get your payback in less than 10 years. If you pay someone you will never get there with today's technology level at about 21% efficiency. About the time you break even, it will be time to replace the system in 20-25 years.
Bingo. I recently looked into this myself and you speak the truth.
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Old 06-05-2022, 11:27 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mission408 View Post
First thing I would do is solar hot water. Can reduce your hot water power usage to almost zero. And a typ electric tank heater is 20% of your electric bill on average. No batteries, it's a "passive" system and roi is about 5 years.

Sent from my SM-G998U using Tapatalk
If you have a traditional tank water heater, you can also add a time clock.
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Old 06-05-2022, 11:39 AM   #20
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I knew I wouldn’t be able to go off grid, and I’ll have to check on my rate! I know there is a added charge from the blackouts from the snow storm! Where I live half the county is with one power company and the other is swepco! Our last last house being a lot older and on swepco bill was always reasonable! Then our new house being fully updated and everything energy efficient our bill is still 100 dollars more then what we ever paid on the last house! Our last billing cycle we were out of town for 10 days and it still wasn’t cheaper then our highest bill at the other house!
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Old 06-05-2022, 11:42 AM   #21
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i know this is off subject, but have you thought about going to gas/propane appliances where you can? we live a good ways out in the sticks and we are running gas stove/oven, water heater, clothes dryer and furnace. i bought a 500 gal tank when we built house in 2009-- we top it off twice a year for $300-$500.
2400 sq ft house -- electric bill of course is high june-mid sept. maybe $350-$400 at highest. oct thru april it can be as low as $125-$200
just a suggestion, and i havent checked propane prices lately either.
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Old 06-05-2022, 11:48 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txbowhunter08 View Post
I knew I wouldn’t be able to go off grid, and I’ll have to check on my rate! I know there is a added charge from the blackouts from the snow storm! Where I live half the county is with one power company and the other is swepco! Our last last house being a lot older and on swepco bill was always reasonable! Then our new house being fully updated and everything energy efficient our bill is still 100 dollars more then what we ever paid on the last house! Our last billing cycle we were out of town for 10 days and it still wasn’t cheaper then our highest bill at the other house!

Two things you need to look at. I know you say this house is newer and energy efficient and all that, but you need to look at your actual usage on this house vs the old house and the energy rate you’re being charged. Energy rates are up significantly. NG was bouncing around historic lows for 6-7 years, now it’s trading at $9 and energy rates reflect that as the cost of natural gas directly affects the cost to generate power in this state.


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Old 06-05-2022, 05:56 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KX500 View Post
Solar (without incentives) is a break even kind of thing (maybe).

We had looked at them for years, but the incentives weren't quite to the point where we could pull the trigger.

A couple years ago, we looked again and found that the incentives (in Illinois) were better and we would now only need to pay a bit more than 1/4 of the whole cost.

So we got solar panels and no regrets so far.

Total project cost was about $40,000. After all the rebates & everything, we're paying about $11,000 of that.

About the most important thing I learned through it all was this - Our solar panels are projected to make about $40,000 worth of electricity in their 30 year life span - and the cost was $40,000. With the rising cost of electricity, maybe we'll do even a little better than that.

But the bottom line is this - without the government subsidies, NOBODY is going to shell out $40k just to hopefully make $40k! Which leads right back to my 1st sentence.

I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure the math for wind power doesn't work out any better.
But you paid out 11k hoping to recoup 11k. How much have you saved over the last two years since you got them? And did you pay off the 11k or is it through a loan?

This is the real life valuable data that needs to be shared. Please give specifics. Do you still pay electric or totally off grid now?
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:02 PM   #24
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You cannot buy anything to compete with your local energy company at this time. JMO
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:29 PM   #25
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Have you seen energy prices? Oil, natural gas, every yhing is up. Why would you expect the cost of electricity to not go up? How is that the electric companies fault?

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Old 06-05-2022, 08:49 PM   #26
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Never pay for themselves.
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Old 06-05-2022, 09:26 PM   #27
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Have you seen energy prices? Oil, natural gas, every yhing is up. Why would you expect the cost of electricity to not go up? How is that the electric companies fault?

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Funny how that works….. sabotage the energy commodity markets…….all of the sudden renewable/alternative energy sources look more favorable.


It’s almost like it was planned……..
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Old 06-05-2022, 09:35 PM   #28
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Pay back on solar is terrible lol. Many other upgrades with better pay back.
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Old 06-06-2022, 06:57 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Greenheadless View Post
Funny how that works….. sabotage the energy commodity markets…….all of the sudden renewable/alternative energy sources look more favorable.


It’s almost like it was planned……..

When you leave a billion dollars worth of military equipment in Afghanistan as a welcoming present for the Chinese so they can start mining lithium, yeah… almost like it was planned.
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Old 06-06-2022, 07:13 AM   #30
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Pay back on solar is terrible lol. Many other upgrades with better pay back.
This what I would think in my simple world. Especially after the technology in home upgrades these days. I really didn’t pay much attention until we had our last house we live in now with spray foam, led lighting, window technology etc. and our low electric bills.
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Old 06-06-2022, 07:21 AM   #31
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Go off the grid, people did it for years.
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:10 AM   #32
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OP, add more information. Is the stove and water heater electric? Those are huge consumers of electricity. How cold do you keep your AC? Do you have any shade on your house? Do you have solar screens on your windows? Do you have kids? Do you have a TV on all day? LED tv's produce a ton of heat, and those LED lights produce a lot as well, it's just that it happens behind the light, unlike an incandescent which the whole bulb gets hot. Computers/monitors running all day?

When you use the stove, do you run the fan above it to get the heat out of the house? This was a big issue in our house, where my wife would cook all afternoon, and it would go up 6-10 degrees because she never turned the fan on. Once we started using the fan, the house would stay right at its set point, even when 100 plus outside.

After working on solar installations in a past life, I would never install one, nor would I want the eye sore of either solar panels or a wind fan. If you are suffering power outages, I would consider a battery bank or a home generator.
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:26 AM   #33
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Just curious. What is your sq footage and what is your elec bill running per month?
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:35 AM   #34
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they're not common, but I am starting to see a few down here on the coast. I wonder how those panels fair in a hurricane? it seems like it would put a lot of added stress on the roof.

I've also wondered if insurance companies will still cover your house/roof in case of a total failure of the roof?
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:55 AM   #35
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A proper solar setup with battery bank is at best a way to offset some of your energy costs, and provide a partial solution for power outage (a generator is needed, too, as a backup for the batteries). Unless subsidies change dramatically, and battery costs come down dramatically, it just doesn't make sense economically. Even though energy prices are increasing substantially, at anything less than about $0.50/kWh you're behind, due to the lifespan of the panels and the batteries. I've looked at getting a setup numerous times, and the math just doesn't work. Just about the time you have them paid for under a financing deal, you have to replace them due to wear and efficiency losses, and then the whole cycle starts over.
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Old 06-06-2022, 09:15 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle1974 View Post
they're not common, but I am starting to see a few down here on the coast. I wonder how those panels fair in a hurricane? it seems like it would put a lot of added stress on the roof.

I've also wondered if insurance companies will still cover your house/roof in case of a total failure of the roof?
Thunderstorms can and will rip them off the racking and send them flying. I’m sure a hurricane won’t have any issues removing them either.
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Old 06-06-2022, 10:15 AM   #37
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For current conditions, to get a payoff you need to be able to buy the system (aka cash). However, that is IF electricity rates don't rise. I'd bet that electricity goes thru the roof in next 10 years.

Those that are afraid of putting on roof are not using engineered systems. Your current roof is sized for 'live' loads (a guy or guys walking on your roof) and another layer of roofing material. That is why the solar panel can be put on the roof and not cause structural issues. If there are structural issues, it is due to a poorly constructed (not to par) roof. Which an inspection should be able to uncover. And if they are engineered correctly they can withstand a hurricane. An engineered system looks at the wind and the snow accumulations. We don't have to worry about the snow too much in Texas.
Hail - maybe not as much.

The system can be sized with realistic expected losses including hot days as well. And if not already, net metering will turn out as you selling excess at wholesale (same as every other producer) and buying at retail. You should be able to plan for that as well.

Not every house is a good candidate for solar. Gotta look at orientation and shading and expected shading (those trees you planted a year ago grow).
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Old 06-06-2022, 10:49 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by dfkoon View Post
For current conditions, to get a payoff you need to be able to buy the system (aka cash). However, that is IF electricity rates don't rise. I'd bet that electricity goes thru the roof in next 10 years.

Those that are afraid of putting on roof are not using engineered systems. Your current roof is sized for 'live' loads (a guy or guys walking on your roof) and another layer of roofing material. That is why the solar panel can be put on the roof and not cause structural issues. If there are structural issues, it is due to a poorly constructed (not to par) roof. Which an inspection should be able to uncover. And if they are engineered correctly they can withstand a hurricane. An engineered system looks at the wind and the snow accumulations. We don't have to worry about the snow too much in Texas.
Hail - maybe not as much.

The system can be sized with realistic expected losses including hot days as well. And if not already, net metering will turn out as you selling excess at wholesale (same as every other producer) and buying at retail. You should be able to plan for that as well.

Not every house is a good candidate for solar. Gotta look at orientation and shading and expected shading (those trees you planted a year ago grow).
I can only speak for myself, but I am not afraid of the weight, the systems are light. The issue is the holes you have to put in your roof. At some point, they will leak. And when they do, The ins company is going to see the panels and say go pound sand, fix it yourself.
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Old 06-06-2022, 11:03 AM   #39
dfkoon
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I can only speak for myself, but I am not afraid of the weight, the systems are light. The issue is the holes you have to put in your roof. At some point, they will leak. And when they do, The ins company is going to see the panels and say go pound sand, fix it yourself.
They have systems that have integrated flashing to prevent leaks. I have 2 heater vents, 7 plumbing and a skylight that have never leaked in the 27 years I've owned my house. Because they were properly flashed. Same concept. It is a matter of being done right vs. not.
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Old 06-06-2022, 03:55 PM   #40
ccbrown50
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Neither technology is efficient enough at this time. They are both great for certain applications but not powering your whole home on a daily basis.
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Old 06-06-2022, 04:10 PM   #41
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There isn't a break even possibility and there isn't a profit.

School over. Sorry.

Similar to believing a instant water heater will save you money.

They are both a convenience or luxury.
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Old 06-06-2022, 04:25 PM   #42
WItoTX
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Originally Posted by dfkoon View Post
They have systems that have integrated flashing to prevent leaks. I have 2 heater vents, 7 plumbing and a skylight that have never leaked in the 27 years I've owned my house. Because they were properly flashed. Same concept. It is a matter of being done right vs. not.
Maybe. But when the home builder no longer warranties your roof, and the insurance company says it's your fault, no amount of calling the people who installed the panels and telling them "you didn't install the flashing right" is going to get your leak fixed.
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Old 06-06-2022, 05:13 PM   #43
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Old 06-06-2022, 06:55 PM   #44
Mission408
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Originally Posted by WItoTX View Post
I can only speak for myself, but I am not afraid of the weight, the systems are light. The issue is the holes you have to put in your roof. At some point, they will leak. And when they do, The ins company is going to see the panels and say go pound sand, fix it yourself.
Just finished a roof last Friday. Said roof had water solar on it. Insurance paid to r&r the solar system. They didn't pay enough so I send them a supplement for the actual coat of r&r. They paid it no questions asked. Pretty standard for us.

Sent from my SM-G998U using Tapatalk
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Old 06-07-2022, 05:35 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by KX500 View Post
"Solar (without incentives) is a break even kind of thing (maybe).

We had looked at them for years, but the incentives weren't quite to the point where we could pull the trigger.

A couple years ago, we looked again and found that the incentives (in Illinois) were better and we would now only need to pay a bit more than 1/4 of the whole cost.

So we got solar panels and no regrets so far.

Total project cost was about $40,000. After all the rebates & everything, we're paying about $11,000 of that.

About the most important thing I learned through it all was this - Our solar panels are projected to make about $40,000 worth of electricity in their 30 year life span - and the cost was $40,000. With the rising cost of electricity, maybe we'll do even a little better than that.

But the bottom line is this - without the government subsidies, NOBODY is going to shell out $40k just to hopefully make $40k! Which leads right back to my 1st sentence.

I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure the math for wind power doesn't work out any better.
But you paid out 11k hoping to recoup 11k. How much have you saved over the last two years since you got them? And did you pay off the 11k or is it through a loan?

This is the real life valuable data that needs to be shared. Please give specifics. Do you still pay electric or totally off grid now?"



Our solar panels have made about $3500 worth of electricity in a little less than 2 years. That isn't too bad - if they can do this for 20 years that's $35000. I feel pretty good about investing $11000.

Off the grid - no, that was never the goal.
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Old 06-08-2022, 10:28 AM   #46
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After 2 yrs the solar panels degenerate to about 80% effective and continue declining. The 1st 2 years will be the best. Keep climbing up there and cleaning them several times a year.

They will not last 30 yrs. If you get 20, you did well.
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