Solar panels-practical???

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During the congressional debates there was a lot of talk about alternative energy sources. They discussed wind power and roof mounted solar panels. Where I live, the roof is covered with a foot (or more) of snow during most of the winter. Solar panels would be useless.
---MIKE---

>> (44 15' N - Elevation 1580')
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On Sun, 12 Nov 2006 15:09:58 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (---MIKE---) wrote:

Sounds like if you invested $10,000 in panels, you could use the $3 you save per month in electrity, to buy a roof rake. :)
j/k
tom @ www.BlankHelp.com

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Some friends of mine claim they basically pay nothing for their electricity. This is in NW Washington State. I believe they said they paid about $16,000 for their system. They are careful about their usage it seemed.
Bob
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wrote:

I don't know the life expectancy of panels, but having a house with only $100/month electric bill, it would take me 13 years for 100% payback with a $0 monthly bill. So would I be robing Peter{electric company} to pay Paul {solar panel installer}?
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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Excellent point: How long DO solar electric panels last??
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Mr. P.V.\'d (formerly Droll Troll), Yonkers, NY
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"Proctologically Violated" wrote:

Quite a long time. I believe most of the major manufacturers of PVs have something around 25 year warrantees. If they warranty them for 25 years I'd expect real world life with modest care in an average environment to be 40 years or better.
Pete C.
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wrote:

When they actually get 25 years of experience with the current technology I would believe that. I also doubt the warranty covers anything but total failure. Your problem is these things start losing efficiency over time so your 10kw array may only be giving you 3 or 4 kw after a while. The warranty doesn't do anything for a lightning strike, hail or a wind blown debris.
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What a frightening thought: golf-ball sized hail over solar collectors!!!
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Mr. P.V.\'d (formerly Droll Troll), Yonkers, NY
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The warranty I looked at specifically indicated the amount of power production guaranteed at the 25 yr mark. I think it was something like 80% of rated capacity.
As for experience, they do indeed have in excess of 25 years of real world experience since the basic technology hasn't really changed much at all. The accelerated testing chambers they use also do a good job.
Pete C.
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More than careful methinks. Going off-grid with solar electric means that they have to be _extremely_ miserly with electric power. Things like 12V lighting systems, propane powered fridges, etc.
You can't go off grid if you're into standard consumer appliances.
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Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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They are not off-grid. They do have two meters, and net billing.
Bob
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My question would then be, if they're actually living in this place full time, do they get a _real_ reduction in monthly electrical bills once you factor in maintenance? Completely ignoring amortization of the PV cells, the amount of power you can feed back from even a large investment in PV is quite small.
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Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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They told me that over the course of a year, their production about equals their usage, so they pay nothing for the electricity. I'm sure there is a base charge, but didn't ask about that.
Bob
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That's quite remarkable. Do you have any idea of what the output of the thing was?
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Chris Lewis,

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No idea. The panel area was maybe 10 x 10 feet if I remember correctly. And they are probably very conservative in their use.
Bob
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Also, some utilities pay a really good rate for electricity you produce.
Bob
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---MIKE--- wrote:

Somebody did it locally - we have much less snow - and discussions indicated a payback period of 20+ years. Don't think that counted maintenance or putting the money in the bank and collecting interest. I think it is a stupid idea to install solar panels today but strongly recommend all environmentalists get them to start the ball rolling ;) Frank
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If you use photovoltaic shingles, instead of special-purpose panels, you get to subtract that cost of re-reroofing from your capital expense. http://www.oksolar.com/roof /
And somewhere I saw solar panels that stood in for the entire roof-decking, but I can't find them now.
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There are different types of solar panels. One type converts sunlight to electricity, at whatever efficiency--I think they're up to 15-20% now?
The other type simply captures the sun's heat, w/ much higher efficiency (theoretically near-100%) using stuff like "selective surfaces", which get super-hot in the sun. These, being hot, would not be affected by snow, and could proly provide most of your winter heat--assuming enough sun.
The ideal array would then be some *ratio* of solar electric to solar heat square footage, which would vary with latitude--mostly solar electric in the south, mostly solar heat in the north.
HD is now hawking solar electric panels, $25K-50K installed.
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Mr. P.V.\'d (formerly Droll Troll), Yonkers, NY
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My BIL had a set of panels like that 15 years ago. Worked pretty good, then they broke and the company he got them from was out of business. I chose not to question him about it any further, so I don't know why someone else couldn't have fixed them.
Much of the world gets their hot water from solar heaters. Except us of course, cause we're rich.
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