ugly solar installation

Someone in a townhouse not far from here got solar panels, for free. The electric meter is in the front and that's why they ran 1.5 or 2" conduit up the front of the house to the roof, and put in a 3" long junction box where the conduit had to bend almost 90^ to go on the roof.
I think it's uggggly.
What should they have done differently, even if the homeowner had to pay?
Can conduit be painted and how long would it stay approximately the same color? Is there any conduit or useable alternative that is already colored? White? Brown? Mariner turquoise?
Even that wouldn't be very good but it's the easiest most obvious.
How is it properly done when put on a roof?
Down through the stack to the basement, I presume, and the electric connections and the solar control box (2 or 3 times the size of the meter) are put in the basement????
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On Tue 15 Aug 2017 02:49:41p, micky told us...

In two instances I have used gutter downspouts to conceal (contain) 220 volt cable that was then buried to feed our hot tub. I also used it to contain (conceal) the replacement freon lines running between the compressor and the condensor (the original had been buried in the poured concrete slab of the house). The downspouts were then painted the same color as the house and barely noticieable. Besides, downspouts look normal on a house wall, not like an ugly cable.
Since this insallation is already in place, painting the meter and control box could also be painted.
I'm sure there could have been better alternatives, but it's too late now.
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On Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 6:58:23 PM UTC-4, Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Plus the bigger problem is solar panels themselves are ugly. Put on the front of the house, where you can see them, they look terrible. Elon Musk has some new ones just coming out that look like shingles, but they are a lot more expensive so far.
You can paint PVC conduit, but it would certainly have been easier before it was put up.
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In alt.home.repair, on Tue, 15 Aug 2017 22:58:18 GMT, Wayne Boatwright

So you mean put the cable inside the downspout! I thought he just meant put the conduit in the corner between the downspout and tthe wall??

Was it an actual downspout with water in it when it rained?

Actually those two things look okay, and the meter isn't even visible from the street (though I painted mine, all but the glass, to match the house.

Right. They've been talking about this on our new neighborhood mailing list, and I pointed out how bad it looked and how it could have looked better. last I looked, this particular neighbor was on the miailing list, but if she is, so be it.
Then someone else posted as both the salesman and the 5-star reference for one of the companies. She said " I have [this brand of] panels and my elec. went from about 290 to $47.50 and with my XOOM elec&has my bill is about 22" This sounds very unlikely to me. I asked how big her array is and how many watts, and if I could go see her house.
I myself don't think solar panels are ugly, only that bloomin' pipe.
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On Tue 15 Aug 2017 07:28:30p, micky told us...

Yes, the cable was put inside the downspout.

It was not an actual downspout to carry water. It was a section of downspout bought specificaclly for this purpose. It didn't connect to anything.

If I were iclined to put solar panels on my roof, I would definitely ut them on the back side of the roof, as well as any associated equipment either mounted on the back wall or in the basement, if there is a basement.
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On Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 1:31:09 AM UTC-4, Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Incline? No pun intended, I assume. ;-)
The layout of your house may dictate where you install the panels. You may lose some production, depending on which way the rear roof faces as well as the slope.
My rear roof faces north so I'll lose production just from that. The trees won't help either.
This site contains a study done on north facing panels.
https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2016/06/much-less-efficient-north-facing-solar-modules/
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In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 16 Aug 2017 04:59:26 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

This is a great page, except for one mistake, as I read it. "The sun is overhead in the summer, when the array is most productive—so the arrays are nearly identical during the most crucial times"
He does say "nearly" but I still think it can be misleading to a lot of people. The sun is always above our heads, but it is never directly above our heads or north of the the line going straight up from our heads. That is, even on the longest day of the year, the sun is never farther north than the Tropic of Cancer, which goes through Mexico and along the northern coast of Cuba. So even Florida and Texas don't get direct sunlight, ever. There is always some angle. But the angle is less during the summer -- That's what makes it summer!
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On Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 11:44:36 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:

e:

ay lose some

ope.

es won't help either.

facing-solar-modules/

he

How much sun does the north side of a roof in your area get even in summer? It's not about summer just summer months, it's about how much sun falls on a given roof face during the entire year. South facing is best, sw is still very good. North, forget about it. I've never seen an array facing north, have you?

There are calculators that give you the exact data for a specific location. It's what the installers use.
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In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:35:56 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

Whatever Derby Dad's page said.

It depends on what you mean by "it". You appear to be talking about the annual solar input, but I was talking about "The sun is overhead in the summer".

I have. Did you read Dad's page. It's not such a bad idea,depending on the latitude and slope of the roof, and maybe there were other factors.

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On Wed 16 Aug 2017 02:04:07p, micky told us...

I was told by someone who has solar panels that here in Phoenix it doesn't mattter where on the roof you mount them, unless they are blocked by trees, etc. The sun is intense and constant most of the time.
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On Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 5:04:17 PM UTC-4, micky wrote:

Do people typically buy these systems based on it's output versus it's cost savings based on the summer only or on a whole typical year?

I just read it now. Let's start with this:
How much worse are north-facing solar modules?
"We start with a typical residential system in Charlotte, North Carolina. We designed and modeled the system in HelioScope, our sales and design software platform. With a 2/12 pitched roof...."
So, they don't start with a "typical residential system", unless 2/12 roofs are typical in NC. Are they typical in MD? They aren't typical here, 6/12 would be typical. Then they say that if it were a shallow pitched roof of 1/12. WTF? 2/12 is already shallow. If it's close to flat, then orientation doesn't matter. Finally they start to get to reality, 4/12 is 29% less efficient when facing north. I'm not going to bother with the calculator to find out how bad it gets when you reach 6/12 pitch, but from the shallow 2/12 roof to a 4/12 roof the efficiency loss doubled, so draw your own conclusions on what happens as you get closer to a typical roof. Even at 4/12 you're 29% worse off and that's in NC, if you go further north it gets worse too. The economics already need subsidies to make them practical and that's for a normal install. If you want to put one on a typical roof that faces north, you can but the economics get much worse. That is why I don't see them on north facing roofs here.
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In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:52:33 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

Let me say again, I wasn't talking about annual output or how people decide whether to buy solar panels or not. >
I was talking about "The sun is overhead in the summer". If you want to call it thread drift or OT, feel free.

Now you are talking about roof pitch when I was asking your question about whether I had seen an array facing north. As I said, I have seen it and it's not such a bad idea, depending on atleast 3 factors.
If you want to change the subject, fine, but I think you should make clear that you're not relating your new topic with my topic.
But since you've changed the subject, yes, there are 2/12 roofs here.
Probably some 1/12 roofs but I don't remember any in particular.

The smae article points out that if the roof is oriented NNE/SSW the difference is not as great and with NE/SW it's is a lot less. But it doesn't really matter because I'm not getting cells any time soon.
If I ever decide to get solar cells, I'll do or get the calculations. That's why I bookmarked Dad's page.
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On Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 9:50:04 PM UTC-4, micky wrote:

I am relating it to your topic. You said someone in your neighborhood got solar panels installed. That was the topic. Seems to me that system, the economics of it, whether it's wise to install or not depends on using it year round, not just during the summer. You apparently then swallowed that article about north facing roofs not affecting performance much without realizing they start off with a very misleading analysis, they use a 2/12 roof and then say that it gets even better with a low pitch roof, 1/12? 2/12 is already a low pitch roof, the lowest code allows for shingles, but then they want to sell solar systems, so they probably aren't the most objective, eh?
The problem is that solar is only feasible for most people because it's being subsidized, it has a long payback period and when you further cripple it by putting it on a north facing roof, it gets worse, a lot worse if it's a typical 4/12 to 6/12 roof instead of a nearly flat roof in the example.

On homes here, a 2/12 roof isn't common, I've never seen a 1/12 roof. And where I have seen a 2/12 kind of roof, it's been as just one smaller part of an overall structure, like part of a contemporary house design. I have one roof plane close to that on mine, over the garage, but it's not big enough for a typical array either.
If you want to put a solar array facing north and understand the economics, that's fine. I'm just saying if you read that article where they claim to use a "typical" installation and then use a 2/12 roof and talk about a 1/12 roof, to show that the output only takes a 16% hit, it's very misleading. Eventually they do say that a more typical 4/12 roof takes a 29% hit, which is why you don't typically see them on the north side of homes. It changes the economics significantly.
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In alt.home.repair, on Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:15:04 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

No, I read that, and before you brought it up.

I don't remember the details anymore.

I said I'd seen it on north roofs, but those same people probably had cells on the south roof too.

I don't think they called 2/12 typical.
"We start with a typical residential system in Charlotte, North Carolina" I took that to mean the system itself was typical, and this wasn't related to where it was installed.
"The tilt of the roof matters a great deal. If this same system was on a shallow 1/12-pitched roof (with a tilt of 4.8°), then the south-facing
--- this doesn't mean there are such houses, just that this shows how tilt matters.
array would produce 1,315 kWh/kWp, while the north-facing array would produce 1,205—a difference of just 8%! If the roof were steeper (say, 4/12), then the north-facing array would be 29% worse.
The orientation of the house also matters. The above examples are for a house facing perfectly north-south. But if the house is facing south-southwest (30° off of perfectly south), then the equator-facing roof is only 14% better. And if the roof is 60° off south, then the equator-facing roof is only 8% better."
I might be able to do the math but with difficulty. Since I'm not getting solar, I stipped reading.

Of course.

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On 08/16/2017 06:52 PM, trader_4 wrote:

Don't know about other people but for me the return I get on money invested with Vanguard is greater than a return I would get from any solar system. Solar is just not there yet.
That said I think we need to take the money taxpayers waste on welfare democrats and reroute it into solar R&D.
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In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 16 Aug 2017 05:31:00 GMT, Wayne Boatwright

That would be okay. It's probably what he meant.
I'm sure you didn't have a 3" right angle connection that was hanging in mid-air by a few inches.

I wonder if she got both the front and the back. I can see the front, but that side points north east. The south west side would be better, plus, because we're on a hill, you can't even see the roof on the back of the house.
Another neighbor put a light on the side of his house and instead of running elecricty to the attic and then through the wall to the light, they ran aluminum conduit from the porch light 20 feet sideways and 20 feet up. It sure looks ugly.
Other houses I've seen put in floodlights and instead of running cable in the bedroom wall up one foot from a indoor receptacle and out, they run conduit from the porch light outside the wall and it looks ugly too.
I don't think they know anything about construction and it doesn't even occur to them how to do it right.
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On 08/16/2017 12:31 AM, Wayne Boatwright wrote:
[snip]

Even if the sun shines on the front a lot more than it shines on the back.
[snip]
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On 8/16/2017 5:57 PM, Sam E wrote:

It would be of some benefit but the payback will be longer and monthly contribution less. Wayne is in Phoenix so they get a lot of sun anyway. Comes down to the numbers, I guess.
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On 08/15/2017 10:28 PM, micky wrote:

Agreed! I'd penetrate the roof (like a plumbing vent) with PVC electrical conduit and place the controls in a basement/utility room.
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