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Thread: Solar panels, a realistic solution to charging?

  1. #21
    Member MarkR's Avatar
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    Photovoltaic panels make sense if your home has the right kind of sun exposure (southern is optimal). You can maximize the energy available to your car by minimizing the energy demands of your home. Solar hot water system usually have the quickest pay back time. Solar-assisted a/c systems are pricy, but can be hyper-efficient.

    The payback time for our purchased system was less than 5 years. The out-of-pocket cost for our 3,000 sq. ft. home for the PV panels was $11k after incentives, rebates, tax credits. We currently produce more energy than we use, but will have to reassess after the S arrives. It's MUCH cheaper with solar.
    "If this is the future, I'm not that worried." Jay Leno (after driving a Tesla)
    Deposit: Oct '09. 2nd Model S: 85, Red, Tan Leather, Obeche Matte, Tech, Pano, Active Air, Armor, 19"

  2. #22
    Member NuclearPowered's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkR View Post
    Photovoltaic panels make sense if your home has the right kind of sun exposure (southern is optimal). You can maximize the energy available to your car by minimizing the energy demands of your home. Solar hot water system usually have the quickest pay back time. Solar-assisted a/c systems are pricy, but can be hyper-efficient.

    The payback time for our purchased system was less than 5 years. The out-of-pocket cost for our 3,000 sq. ft. home for the PV panels was $11k after incentives, rebates, tax credits. We currently produce more energy than we use, but will have to reassess after the S arrives. It's MUCH cheaper with solar.
    Who installed your system?

    I had a similar experience. It costed me 8.5k to go full solar after rebates and tax credits. I haven't payed an electric bill over 20 dollars since. My system size is 5.28 kw, it makes about 32-35 kwh/day. Payback was 8.5 years, but that was conservative.

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2

  3. #23
    Senior Member SCW-Greg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkR View Post
    Photovoltaic panels make sense if your home has the right kind of sun exposure (southern is optimal). You can maximize the energy available to your car by minimizing the energy demands of your home. Solar hot water system usually have the quickest pay back time. Solar-assisted a/c systems are pricy, but can be hyper-efficient.

    The payback time for our purchased system was less than 5 years. The out-of-pocket cost for our 3,000 sq. ft. home for the PV panels was $11k after incentives, rebates, tax credits. We currently produce more energy than we use, but will have to reassess after the S arrives. It's MUCH cheaper with solar.
    Yeah, the numbers sound about right, though in Oregon we might need more panels to achieve 100% electrical neutrality. We're atop of 750' mountain, so we do get a bit more sun when there is fog and low clouds, etc on the valley floor. But a 5 to 6 year payback would be great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCW-Greg View Post
    Yeah... Funny, here in Oregon, the solar calculator says we get 4 hours of sun per day!
    PVWatts has the same estimate - that's for an ideally situated system tilted to the south. Solar insulation varies from less than 1.5 hours/day in December to just under 6.5 hours/day in July. As a rule of thumb for a system mounted on a south facing roof, it looks like you can estimate 1,000 kWh/year for each 1,000 W DC of solar panel in Portland. Here in sunny San Diego, one gets about 50% more energy per year - about 1,500 kWh/year.

  5. #25
    Burrito Founder brianman's Avatar
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    I wonder if someone has a cheap sensor you can install so you could measure the actual sun exposure numbers for your house for a year.

  6. #26
    S P3112 ~ X P6117 mulder1231's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkR View Post
    We currently produce more energy than we use, but will have to reassess after the S arrives.
    That's why I strongly recommend systems with micro-inverter technology. A micro-inverter is installed at each panel instead of having one large central inverter for all panels. It makes it very easy to expand your system when a few more panels are needed to support future EVs.

  7. #27
    V1538 Zextraterrestrial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianman View Post
    I wonder if someone has a cheap sensor you can install so you could measure the actual sun exposure numbers for your house for a year.
    PG&E has a lending libraryhttp://www.pge.com/mybusiness/edusaf...ex.jsp#results - I borrowed this http://www.solmetric.com/
    pretty easy to use

    you can get total insolation #'s for your area from weather databases (NOAA maybe, I think)
    the tool just looks at shading throughout the year


    ^
    microinverters are cool because you can hook up a hydro wind and solar all together very easily

  8. #28
    Senior Member SCW-Greg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drees View Post
    PVWatts has the same estimate - that's for an ideally situated system tilted to the south. Solar insulation varies from less than 1.5 hours/day in December to just under 6.5 hours/day in July. As a rule of thumb for a system mounted on a south facing roof, it looks like you can estimate 1,000 kWh/year for each 1,000 W DC of solar panel in Portland. Here in sunny San Diego, one gets about 50% more energy per year - about 1,500 kWh/year.
    Great posts here from everybody, thanks!

    I have an ideal roof facing almost due SouthEast, with a full hip roof giving me roof slope on every side, but primarily to capture ENE, E, ESE, and South sun. If needed I could even put some panels to capture some WSW, but not sure if I'd go that far. But I could get maximum capture on the sun from 7am to 7pm during peak hours in June/July.

  9. #29
    Senior Member SCW-Greg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulder1231 View Post
    That's why I strongly recommend systems with micro-inverter technology. A micro-inverter is installed at each panel instead of having one large central inverter for all panels. It makes it very easy to expand your system when a few more panels are needed to support future EVs.
    Good feedback. The SolarCity sales guy did mention that the inverters (they install) do tend to wear out in about 10 years time, to be aware of that future expense. I didn't ask what they cost to replace. It would also be interesting to know what the life span of a micro-inverter might be too. I like the idea of flexibility.

    He mentioned they also shop the panel manufacturers and can choose from a variety of technology, performance, and price ranges to suit geography and need best.

  10. #30
    S P3112 ~ X P6117 mulder1231's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCW-Greg View Post
    Good feedback. The SolarCity sales guy did mention that the inverters (they install) do tend to wear out in about 10 years time, to be aware of that future expense. I didn't ask what they cost to replace. It would also be interesting to know what the life span of a micro-inverter might be too. I like the idea of flexibility.

    He mentioned they also shop the panel manufacturers and can choose from a variety of technology, performance, and price ranges to suit geography and need best.
    I've read that they are pretty reliable. Enphase micro-inverters for example have a 25 year warranty. Also, in the event that one micro-inverter fails, it only affects a small portion of the total electricity output (only the one panel with the failing inverter). In the case of a failure of a more traditional central inverter unit, it will bring down the entire solar system.

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