Going Green(er)

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Putting in a 6.44kw solar electric system through solarcity.com on a 20 year lease. I'll let you know next year if it's all that's advertised - although to this point, they seem abnormally professional.
Details to follow after install and turn-on and a years experience.
PS: I probably don't have 20 years, but who cares...
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Good on you! Keep us updated if you don't mind.
--
www.ewoodshop.com

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"Doug Winterburn" wrote:

-------------------------------- Good on ya.
Please keep us posted.
Lew
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On 6/8/2011 9:35 PM, Doug Winterburn wrote:

Lets hope you enjoy seeing the limit of the lease come and go.
I am curious. Does that company maintain the equipment through out the lease, are you liable for repairs as they are needed? Does the lease guarantee a minimum level of performance?
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On 06/09/2011 04:36 AM, Leon wrote:

Yes, if you lease rather than purchase, they maintain. I didn't see any reason to even think about purchase because of that.
And yes, they guarantee a minimum level of performance. They examine your last years usage and size the system to at least reduce your cost. If not, they will reimburse the difference at year end by 10 cents/kw. You can opt to increase the capacity beyond this for a larger lease.
Also, you can buy down the lease. The first option is zero down and a 3.5% annual increase in the lease payment. I chose to put down a couple of grand to eliminate the annual increase and to buy a whole house energy checkup ($99 but normally $400 through APS). You can go all the way and buy down the entire lease so you have zero monthly and they still maintain for 20 years. In my case, that would have been just shy of $10,000 - which I think was a bargain compared to about $17,000 for purchase.
They also provide any necessary repairs and insure the installation including any possible roof problems. The lease also include removal of the equipment and restoration of the roof after 20 years.
They also install a special meter that will run backwards if you produce more than you use. Any excess is "banked" in the grid and credited to your account.
They monitor to make sure things are OK, so a high speed internet connection is required. I can also monitor the system from anywhere.
And finally, they will host a "Solar Party" at you residence for friends and neighbors. If any sign up, you get $400 for each. If this works out, it'll be party time next year.
I haven't been of a peak/off-peak plan, but will definitely go on the noon to 7pm on peak program and watch my usage. This particular design should cover my on peak usage. Current rates here in AZ are about $0.06 off peak and $0.24 on peak through APS.
Honest, I don't work for them :-)
Check their site - I haven't found any negative reviews, but a lot of positive ones.
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Doug Winterburn wrote:

i have a 7.7kw system, installed 5/10 in the same area. you should still use your power during off-peak, as they pay you more for the onpeak generated power. i'm on the 9am-9pm peak, and last year i had a surplus that they credited me on the 1/11 bill. the first year savings was ~$1500, and i generated about 14.5mwh. peak generation is april/may, lowest is dec/jan.
if you can, get them to install it on frames that can vary the tilt of the panels. that will get you more generation during winter months if you can tilt them more, and summer you tilt them less.
you'll want to wash the panels once/month for peak generation.
i have my system computer monitored, so have full graphs. if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
regards, charlie cave creek, az
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Are you all electric or do you also have NG. I have a gas furnace and water heater as well as the BBQ. House is 1850 sq ft. APS on-peak is noon to 7pm M-F.
BTW, anyone having problems with astraweb not showing posts? I see your reply on google groups, but not on my astraweb account where I originally posted.
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Doug wrote:

no NG in my area. i have a buried 500 gallon propane tank for hot water, heating, drier, fireplaces. house is 2700sqft. aps doesn't offer the 9am-9pm M-F peak rate anymore, but in comparing with another solar house on a noon-7pm, i have much larger savings. depends upon how strictly you can control your on-peak demand. my wife retired recently, so is home most days, so the a/c bill went up. for some reason she doesn't like it when the setback thermostat kicks in and raises the temps into the 80s during the summer days.
i run an 8kw kiln off peak most times, so have heavy demand loads at times.
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I had problems with the rec.w on astraweb for a few days. I unsibscribed and resubscribed. Seems to have done away with the problems, but time will tell. MY XNews would say in the summary so many unread posts in this NG, and then there were none when I opened the newsgroup. Seemed to be limited to rec.woodworking.
--
Best regards
Han
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"Doug Winterburn" wrote:

------------------------ If you check out their site, they post a list of open jobs and locations.
Quite impressive and covers a broad spectrum of opportunities.
Lew
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On 6/9/2011 8:42 AM, Doug Winterburn wrote:

Thank you for the run down Doug. Sounds like an interesting investment.
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On Thu, 09 Jun 2011 06:42:49 -0700, Doug Winterburn

Grok that. How does it affect the price? Ideally, there will be zero maintenance, or do they come out and wax the panels on occasion? Got tree droppings on your roof?

That's a great savings. Does it still qualify you for a tax writeoff?

<g>
We're about 6 cents/kwh. Dunno about off/on peak prices.

I used their calculator and could save $60/yr! I'm only paying $35-40 on a normal month for electricity. (I took Earth Day to heart back in 1971.)
-- Never underestimate the innate animosity of inanimate objects. --anon
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They get the tax write off as well as the credits from the powers that be for (my) share of their total green power generation. If the power supplier doesn't do their share of green, they get fined/taxed or whatever. When your supplier advertises some percentage of green power generation, that includes your part of green-ness.
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On 06/09/2011 04:36 AM, Leon wrote:

Yes, if you lease rather than purchase, they maintain. I didn't see any reason to even think about purchase because of that.
And yes, they guarantee a minimum level of performance. They examine your last years usage and size the system to at least reduce your cost. If not, they will reimburse the difference at year end by 10 cents/kw. You can opt to increase the capacity beyond this for a larger lease.
Also, you can buy down the lease. The first option is zero down and a 3.5% annual increase in the lease payment. I chose to put down a couple of grand to eliminate the annual increase and to buy a whole house energy checkup ($99 but normally $400 through APS). You can go all the way and buy down the entire lease so you have zero monthly and they still maintain for 20 years. In my case, that would have been just shy of $10,000 - which I think was a bargain compared to about $17,000 for purchase.
They also provide any necessary repairs and insure the installation including any possible roof problems. The lease also include removal of the equipment and restoration of the roof after 20 years.
They also install a special meter that will run backwards if you produce more than you use. Any excess is "banked" in the grid and credited to your account.
They monitor to make sure things are OK, so a high speed internet connection is required. I can also monitor the system from anywhere.
And finally, they will host a "Solar Party" at you residence for friends and neighbors. If any sign up, you get $400 for each. If this works out, it'll be party time next year.
I haven't been of a peak/off-peak plan, but will definitely go on the noon to 7pm on peak program and watch my usage. This particular design should cover my on peak usage. Current rates here in AZ are about $0.06 off peak and $0.24 on peak through APS.
Honest, I don't work for them :-)
Check their site - I haven't found any negative reviews, but a lot of positive ones.
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This is VERY cool.
So much variability in days/hours of sunshine, from place to place, availability (or lack thereof) of tax incentives/subsidies, and the cost of the energy that you buy ... that ... where I've lived ... I couldn't make the payback pencil (usually about seven years after the predicted end-of-life of the equipment).
While I'll pay SOME incremental costs for SOME things for SOME reasons ... I just couldn't get good with the PV setup for our house.
So .... whatever pieces of the calculus added up to make it worth YOUR while ... I just think that's great, and -- like others -- will look forward to keeping current with your progress updates !
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On 06/09/2011 11:06 AM, Neil Brooks wrote:

The main reason I signed up for this was economic, and secondarily for the feel good factor. If it doesn't work out, the feel good factor will evaporate.
I suspect solar power for residences has now reached the break even point, particularly in the desert southwest. If I felt it wasn' at least a break even proposition, I would have opted out.
Unfortunately, this may not make sense for the more northern/rainy climes. Also, if there appears any reasonable alternative to transportation fuel, I'll give that a try. Ain't here yet though, regardless of Lew's hopes and wishes. I can only afford one run around vehicle, and electric won't even get me to see my grandkids 50 miles away - one way, and I can't afford the extension cord. Also, electric (batteries) at this point should make anyone loose their feel good factor in an instant.
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"Doug Winterburn" wrote:

---------------------------------- Current electric vehicle and battery technology has just scratched the surface, there is still a long way to go.
Present technology is pretty much limited to high density population centers.
My guess is that the old 90/10 game applies.
At present, converting over the road trucks and buses from diesel to natural gas offers the fastest way to reduce demand for imported oil in the short term.
Natural gas is available, reduces the particulate pollution, leaves a smaller carbon foot print as well as reducing operating costs.
SFWIW, Los Angeles has just completed converting the public bus fleet from diesel to N/G.
BTW, it took almost 20 years to complete the conversation.
If you have ever been in city traffic, trapped behind a diesel powered bus on a warm day, you gain a whole new appreciation for N/G powered buses.
As for heating in Northern climes with solar power, where is Morris when you need him?
Lew
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On 6/9/2011 10:10 PM, Lew Hodgett wrote:

All the while screaming, ranting and throwing hissy fits against drilling, and pipelines ruining the environment.
--
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Last update: 4/15/2010
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But, Karl, there isn't anything contradictory about that, IMNSHO. Natural gas is a good, albeit fossil, fuel - clean, easily gotten, easily transportable. Just like nuclear has some problems that technology and human engineering needs to take care off (pun), drilling and transporting NG needs to be done responsibly.
--
Best regards
Han
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They must not have read this: http://waste360.com/mag/waste_trucks_fueling_diesel
And California got into the super tight spot of natural gas power plants just AFTER it went through a shortage of natural gas via the pipeline the year before. I was astounded to read that as I was moving out of the state.
But the new sulfur-free diesel isn't without problems. They changed from overt, visible, large particulate release to fine, lung-damaging particulates.
And, as with all alternative fuels, it's far less efficient at 60%. They now spend more miles driving back to the fueling station, too.
As I've said before, I hate the ecoterrorists!
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer
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