DIY solar panel install

Page 2 of 2  

John Grabowski wrote:

You have completely discounted the value of "feeling good about saving the environment." While admittedly this is hard to quantify, contentment is often a high-priced item.
For those for whom intent trumps results, solar panels would be a good deal at twice the price.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Nobody can predict the future price of electricity. I can hardly think the price would come down. So that is another imponderable.
--
Best regards
Han
email address is invalid
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

*I also did not consider bragging rights. I am not familiar with the manufacturing process for solar panels, but I would think that the factory uses electricity (Solar?) and other utilities for lighting, heat, computers etc. Then there's the diesel trucks that deliver the panels to a warehouse and get unloaded by a forklift. Then a local gas or diesel powered truck delivers them to the end user. How many trees were cut down for the factory and warehouse to be built? How much wildlife was displaced to make room for the parking lots and driveways? How much fertilizer will be put down on the factory lawn and garden to make it look pretty?
My personal opinion is that the only way to really save the environment and live in harmony with it is to stop population growth. There are too many people living on this planet sucking the life out of it. Unfortunately our economic system depends on growth and expansion. We bank on that premise.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Why stop there? Why not kill everyone so that the Earth may once again be its own native, non-exploited, pollution free environment where all life lives in peaceful harmony with one another. It's a picture perfect utopia. Hell, even the microbes and various other parasites will stop being what they are once the evil human influence is gone.
No more ice ages.
No more mega volcanoes.
I bet the comets and large asteroids will steer clear of the Earth, too.
What bliss...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Not a bad idea. But all good ideas need testing. Let's start with lawyers, pols, CEO's, and investment bankers, and see what happens.
--
EA



It's a picture perfect utopia. Hell, even
> the microbes and various other parasites will stop being what they are
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John Grabowski wrote:

Nah, there aren't too many people.
If all the folks on earth were stacked up like cordwood, they would fit in a cubic mile.
If everybody on the planet migrated to the state of West Virginia, they would not exceed the population density of Hong Kong.
And who wants to "live in harmony" with nature?
In nature there are ants and other creepy things.
But, in a way, we are in harmony with nature. I can't name a single organism that voluntarily limits its growth by not reproducing.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
HeyBub wrote:

There lies our problem!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Clot wrote:

The human population WILL stabilize at some point- when the carrying capacity of our ecological niche is exceeded, either long-term through depletion of resources, or short-term due to some sort of choke point caused by weather or natural disaster. Humans have been expanding their available carrying capacity by use of technology, and by taking resources used by other species.
I recommend that humanity limit their numbers on their own, by reducing reproduction to no more than replacement rate. If we wait for mother nature to provide the genetic choke point via a massive die-off, it ain't gonna be pretty. See sub-Saharan Africa for a small preview. Imagine the whole planet like that, but with even less food and water.
--
aem sends...

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What about their SUVs? Etc.

The SUV thing again....
--
EA


>
>
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Existential Angst wrote:

No, the SUV promotes reproduction; I'm speaking as one who barely succeeded in having sex in the back of a VW bug. Many times.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 30 May 2010 14:10:21 -0400, "Existential Angst"

Exactly.
--
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree, they are not for everyone.>

With tax credits and incentives I think it already does make economic sense for an average homeowner.
Where will you install the panels?
That's critical. South facing is the best location. Next would be West or East with a 15 or 20% reduction in output.

I'm sure that's a possibility in some cases, but plenty of them are going up fully permitted and inspected on ordinary roofs.

That's a valid issue. Clearly they are best suited to a new roof, as the panels are generally warranteed for 25 years so the lifespans are in the same range, at least with a shingle roof.

Manufacturers recommend cleaning them off with a hose a couple times a year, if possible. If you don't the output will be reduced, but not by a huge amount.
>Will replacement

As long as you buy the panels from a major manufacturer that should not be a problem.
>Will you be living in your house long enough to realize a payback?

If the panels are installed on the back of the house or alternatively on a side not highly visible from the street, I don't think there is any question that it adds value to the house and you will likely get back most if not all of what the system cost. I'd certainly pay more for a house with solar, knowing I get close to free electric.
On the other hand, if you had to install them on the roof facing the street, I think they look like hell and at best it probably doesn't add value to the house and could decrease it. Also, mounting them on the ground can be an option in some cases.
>Since you plan to do the work

An interesting point, but I don't see that as a big issue. Just put a temporary cover on them. I think a bigger issue is getting the install done right, which involves a lot:
Making sure the panels are oriented optimally. Correctly sizing the system. Installing them so that you don't wind up with leaks Installing them so the warranty remains intact is critical and I would suspect many of the companies will require professional installation to honor the warranty. Complying with all the electric code issues in hooking up to the grid.
In short, I do a lot of my own work, but this is one thing I would not attempt to do myself.

HD also runs seminars with their local installers using BP panels. The seminar is about an hour and a good forum to get basic info and ask questions. Even better, I'd find some local folks who have had one installed for a year or more and ask them questions.

Could be true, but then for many people it's not an either/or situation.

If you do the actual numbers in NJ, which is one of the most solar friendly states and use reasonable assumptions, solar electric comes out a winner for the homeowner. However, that is only because of the subsidies from the govt, which the rest of us wind up paying.
A 6.5 Kwatt system runs about $48K installed. You get a fed tax credit of 30% which effectively knocks $14K off the price.. NJ also has a program than can kick in maybe another $7K, but the program is a real cluster f***. There isn't enough money, so every 4 months they take applications for new systems. You have to get the application approved BEFORE you can install the system. In May, they had thousands of apps the first day they were open to receive them and then within a day closed the window and stopped taking apps and you are left to start all over. The application is extensive and must include a signed contract with the installer, etc. How many times you or the installer want to try to play that game is questionable. So, for practical purposes, your probability of getting that one seems low.
However, the utilities have to meet a goal of getting to 20% renewable by 2020. So they are buying renewable energy credits from homeowners which count toward that goal. You get one for every 1000 KWH that your system generates, regardless of whether you use it or some or all of it goes into the grid. The value of the credits is set by auction/ trading based on how badly the electric companies need them. Currently they were going for about $550. At that price, the system gets you about $4k a year in cash, which is a major component in making it viable. That 6.5KW system will also reduce a $140 a month bill close to zero.
If you factor all that together, figure that you finance the system with a home equity loan that is tax deductible, depreciate it over 25 years, add in $500 a year in maintenance, etc, you can run the numbers, but IMO you come out way ahead.
One other interesting factor to consider, that you might not expect, is that in the case of a black out, you will still not have power to the house unless you also install a battery array. If the grid goes down, so does the system. I haven't heard a good technical explanation of why, but I believe it's due to the fact that the system needs something to balance it out. For example, if it were stand alone and a cloud came by, you could have a brownout situation which could damage devices in the house using the electricity.
As a disclaimer, I'm not an expert at any of this. All of the above is based on what I've learned so far looking into it myself.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

i just put in a 7.5kw system. i watched the installers pretty much all the time, and a very good handyman would be able to everything they did without too much problems. however, you have to have a wide breadth of knowledge, since it involves cutting a lot of holes into your roof, tying the new structure to the existing structure, calculating tilt/wind load/weight/etc issues, high voltage dc wiring, installation of the ac/dc converter, meeting all code for electricians and permitting/inspections by the city. furthermore, almost all the systems are grid-tied, so the power company has a say in who gets to install the backfeed wiring. they may not want to allow a diy to do this, so you'd have to check first with them.
in answer to some of the above specific questions:
- flat roof with a parapet hides the panels from the street completely - southwest facing house - after rebates, at my current usage, payback is 4.5 years. the power company has filed for a rate increase the last 3 years in a row and i presume will do so in the future if gas prices go up. this will make the payback date sooner. - my 7.5kw system cost about $44k, or $7.5k after rebates - currently in s arizona i can generate about 50kwh/day. this goes down as ambient temps go up. i cleaned them off a few days ago, and generation rate went up by 1.2kwh/day, which is pretty significant. they recommend cleaning at least once/month. - the installation part of the $44k was about $6k, so at most you're going to save 10-15% for diy, but you may pay more for the hardware as you'd not get the bulk discounts that the installer is getting - inverter warrantee is 10 yrs. panel warrantee is 25 yrs. i'm not sure your maintenance rate of 500/year is correct, at least for the first 10 years or so.
it's a no brainer with the massive rebates that are available if you can get onto the accepted list at the power company; it makes almost no sense if you don't get rebates, although i know of people who have installed systems before the rebates came into being a couple of years ago in my area. they are happy with their systems, but would have been a lot more happy with rebates.
regards, charlie phx, az
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

How did you calc a 4.5 year ROI?
--
EA




the power
> company has filed for a rate increase the last 3 years in a row and i
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This was helpful for me....
My favorite Renewable Energy project was easy after this : http://renewablesolarenergy.water101.net/index/?page_id 8
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.