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Whole Home Solar?? Who's done it residential like in the burbs.


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Been noticing an uptick in the solar ads and the solar guys are casing our neighborhood.  Had a neighbor that did it when Obama was pushing the tax breaks etc and they seem to like it.  Has anyone gone through the process with your local people (Solar contractors) and was/were the process/savings/piece of mind, worth it??   Thinking of starting the process.  

 

Thanks in advance.  

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I went solar about 1.5 yrs ago. Big cost, had to install new roof first (old was 23 yrs + old). No storage, battery costs didn't pencil out for our location. Solar install will pay of in 8 yrs. We put in 11 kWp, 36 panels. Enuff to charge future electric car. So currently we produce a fair bit more than consume, power co pays back at commercial rates, so being a solar power plant does not pay off. Size to your usage history. Went with the co with the best guarantees, had to replace first inverter after 5 mos, so that's worked well.

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As longy mentioned, first figure out the remaining life of your roof because you don't want to have to uninstall the solar to repair the roof inside of, say, 10 years.

Then, there's the basic decision of whether to buy your system outright and own it or whether to go with one of those packages where the solar company owns the equipment and just gives you a break on the power bill. 

Then figure out if storage makes sense (does your area suffer frequent, short outages, etc and/or do you want an off-grid capability).

Then figure out if you need/want any other electrical upgrades like a 220V outlet for a future car charger, a generator connection & cutoff switch, etc. All that can be rolled into the project and qualify for the Federal and state incentives.

We purchased 7KW of rooftop solar with microinverters back in 2015, right after a big remodel that included a new roof. The system just paid itself off six years later thanks to some very aggressive state power generation credit incentives. We generate about 50% more than we use and now that the power buyback credits have sunset, I plan to sop up my extra generation with an electric car. I plan to wait a year or two for all the new models to come out and to see what incentives get through congress but it's on the roadmap.

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Put up 10 PV panels about 7 years ago.  No battery—wasn’t a realistic option then.  We don’t get paid for the surplus we put into the grid, but we do “bank” the surplus and can draw on that bank in cloudy months.  With tax breaks, the system paid for itself in 5 years, so we’re now making money on the deal—we were paying a bit over $200 per month for electricity (seven years ago, and rates have gone way up since then); we now pay just the $26 per month connection fee.

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37 minutes ago, The great unwashed said:

Put up 10 PV panels about 7 years ago.  No battery—wasn’t a realistic option then.  We don’t get paid for the surplus we put into the grid, but we do “bank” the surplus and can draw on that bank in cloudy months.  With tax breaks, the system paid for itself in 5 years, so we’re now making money on the deal—we were paying a bit over $200 per month for electricity (seven years ago, and rates have gone way up since then); we now pay just the $26 per month connection fee.

About the same here. 8 years ago, bought it, $22k installed after rebates. Cheaper now, more efficient too. I looked into battery backup recently, numbers don’t work for just battery, would have to expand panels, different tech on the inverters, and my weird roof doesn’t have room for them on the SW side

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Definitely worth shopping around; look very carefully at the warranties. Go with a well-established company that will be around in 25yr if you want that warranty to be useful

And my shop has been waiting on Powerwalls since December last… Generac and Sunpower have systems nowadays but SunPower is not rated for near-water installation.

Dont get sold on peak system wattage. You want to look at panel efficiency and solar yield. A more efficient panel will produce more over the course of a day, that is to say

Lastly, talk with your local SunPower dealer. (Wink.)

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Done it couple of years ago.  6Kw 22 panels.  Produces 27 - 35Kw per day on average depending on the time of year.  Although some days during wet season it can be as little as 10Kw for the day with cloud. They produce 3 times our useage, but at the moment we still get a good feed in tariff for the excess.  Bought a used Nissan leaf EV for the wife but has not increased our useage by a measurable amount.

The leaf can feed back to the house if needed, but have only done to test it, have not needed it yet.  Car has 30Kw battery but @ 79% health remaining is good for about 24Kw. 

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93 panels no battery. We feed back in to the grid. Some months they pay us, some months we pay them ($5+-) Compared to our old electric bill ($220+-) It's working out. It'll be a little longer ROI than we had been led to believe by the solar co. but the resale value of the house went up by more than the installation price.

No battery back up because we already had a Propane 17kW generator, and the good back up batteries (Tesla Wall etc.) are very expensive.

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16 minutes ago, Mrleft8 said:

93 panels no battery. We feed back in to the grid. Some months they pay us, some months we pay them ($5+-) Compared to our old electric bill ($220+-) It's working out. It'll be a little longer ROI than we had been led to believe by the solar co. but the resale value of the house went up by more than the installation price.

No battery back up because we already had a Propane 17kW generator, and the good back up batteries (Tesla Wall etc.) are very expensive.

That's a lot of panels. Huge roof?  Are you roof or ground mount?

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13 minutes ago, Mrleft8 said:

93 panels no battery. We feed back in to the grid. Some months they pay us, some months we pay them ($5+-) Compared to our old electric bill ($220+-) It's working out. It'll be a little longer ROI than we had been led to believe by the solar co. but the resale value of the house went up by more than the installation price.

No battery back up because we already had a Propane 17kW generator, and the good back up batteries (Tesla Wall etc.) are very expensive.

I agree - for backup power a generator is much more cost effective.

We installed 12KW of solar. We get peak productivity of 9.5KW and that generates about $28/day in the summer. We get about $8/day at the dead of winter. That cost me $18K after the tax break. Power walls would have cost $15K on top (they wanted to install 3 of those) - which I rejected because the generator was working fine. After chatting with the sales people it became clear that the storage arbitrage does not help you in California - the Power Walls are only for backup power; they don't provide any financial benefit. There are cheaper ways to get a good backup system that can last indefinitely in a long outage.

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26 minutes ago, dolphinmaster said:

That's a lot of panels. Huge roof?  Are you roof or ground mount?

Huge roof over the garage.

 I looked in to turning my fields in to a solar farm but Florida won't allow that unless you become a utility company w/ all it's attendant regulations and fees, and etc.

 

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After crunching the numbers six ways from Sunday it didn't make sense for us and would have taken at the least 25 years to realize on ROI which by that time the equipment we installed today would be obsolete if not obsolete in 10 years.  Yeah the electric bill would go down, but our bill averages $70.00 per month. Add in the increase in the property tax, the equipment maintenance, and putting on a new roof (wouldn't want to have to tear everything up in a couple if years to do so) it figures the saving to be about $35.00 per month predicated on today's rates.   I'll take the $30K plus for the upgrade and park that someplace we're it can make me the $70.00 plus a month to offset the electric bill.

 Opps forgot, there was a house down the street that sold for about the same price as the other homes without solar...  so, that argument goes out the window with the bath water.

 

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Thanks for all the info.  We have a mostly new roof, hail about 5 yrs ago, so that is not an issue.  Do you guys know what tax breaks are in the works this go around??  

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4 minutes ago, shaggy said:

Thanks for all the info.  We have a mostly new roof, hail about 5 yrs ago, so that is not an issue.  Do you guys know what tax breaks are in the works this go around??  

I believe for the feds it is 26% is done before 12/31/22 and 22% after 01/01/23 of the actual installation cost.

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26 minutes ago, Ventucky Red said:

After crunching the numbers six ways from Sunday it didn't make sense for us and would have taken at the least 25 years to realize on ROI which by that time the equipment we installed today would be obsolete if not obsolete in 10 years.  Yeah the electric bill would go down, but our bill averages $70.00 per month. Add in the increase in the property tax, the equipment maintenance, and putting on a new roof (wouldn't want to have to tear everything up in a couple if years to do so) it figures the saving to be about $35.00 per month predicated on today's rates.   I'll take the $30K plus for the upgrade and park that someplace we're it can make me the $70.00 plus a month to offset the electric bill.

 Opps forgot, there was a house down the street that sold for about the same price as the other homes without solar...  so, that argument goes out the window with the bath water.

 

yeah, at $70/month it won't make sense. We were paying 1st world prices of $250-300/month.

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9 hours ago, shaggy said:

Thanks for all the info.  We have a mostly new roof, hail about 5 yrs ago, so that is not an issue.  Do you guys know what tax breaks are in the works this go around??  

None.

At least around here.

 Duke Energy put the kybosh on all of that nonsense....:rolleyes:

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Oliver is a knucklehead, but a smart mf er all the same imho. In between all the 'zany' bits the crux of this piece is well covered; PACE is not a government program, it jacks your home taxes and, (most shocking) places a priority lien on your home hindering or possibly preventing resale with certain mortgage lenders. Unfuckingbelievable.

 Of course this crowd bought their solar outright,, but if you know someone considering this program advise to stay far away.

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12 hours ago, knot him said:

Oliver is a knucklehead, but a smart mf er all the same imho. In between all the 'zany' bits the crux of this piece is well covered; PACE is not a government program, it jacks your home taxes and, (most shocking) places a priority lien on your home hindering or possibly preventing resale with certain mortgage lenders. Unfuckingbelievable.

 Of course this crowd bought their solar outright,, but if you know someone considering this program advise to stay far away.

wow, thx...  Missed that one.  He is one of the only reasons WE STILL HAVE HBO. 

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On 9/27/2021 at 12:57 PM, shaggy said:

Been noticing an uptick in the solar ads and the solar guys are casing our neighborhood.  Had a neighbor that did it when Obama was pushing the tax breaks etc and they seem to like it.  Has anyone gone through the process with your local people (Solar contractors) and was/were the process/savings/piece of mind, worth it??   Thinking of starting the process.  

 

Thanks in advance.  

I have 6kW of solar on my roof. It's okay, but the people who make money on the solar are the ones with the big installs, not so much homeowners, at least not me, and likely not you. I have hail damage on my roof ... the solar folks have to remove all the solar from my roof so the roofers can reshingle. All of this paid for first by the insurance companies with costs passed to us.

A better investment in my opinion is a ground-sourced heat pump system for your home, and on a new build it should be a no-brainer. Yeah, not sexy like solar, but wonderfully efficient and clean.

This one is my favorite, they use refrigerant for the ground loops, which allows a single stage heat-exchange instead of two exchanges, and a three-inch bore instead of a six-inch bore, so the entire 45-degree angle borefield can fit under a small area and be drilled with a Bobcat rather than a full-sized rig  ... https://earthlinked.com/,

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Just toying with the thought of solar.  Looked (very) briefly at the TESLA solar tile roof.  The online calculator said it would be about $100K over the cost of a new shingle roof.  (which I will soon need)  Even if the electric bill goes from $200/mth to a credit of $200/mth, that is about 21 year break even at today's rates.  Could be a hedge against higher rates.  I'm sure standard panels are much less expensive.  

Any roof option will be a fight with the HOA.  One of the few specific items in the CCR is dimension shingles.  Everything else is pretty much left up to the Architectural design committee.  (no, let's not go down the HOA path here...)

Has anyone done or considered a ground based, tracking solar array?  I'm intrigued by Smartflower and could see that in our (south facing) back yard.  Might even be able to site it such that it acts as a sun shade umbrella for part of the patio.  Looked at the specs again today and see they list 2.50kWp output.  Compared to this discussion where typical is 6 or 7Kw seems a single SmartFlower is, at best, supplemental.  

 

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On 9/28/2021 at 10:02 AM, Ventucky Red said:

After crunching the numbers six ways from Sunday it didn't make sense for us and would have taken at the least 25 years to realize on ROI which by that time the equipment we installed today would be obsolete if not obsolete in 10 years.  Yeah the electric bill would go down, but our bill averages $70.00 per month. Add in the increase in the property tax, the equipment maintenance, and putting on a new roof (wouldn't want to have to tear everything up in a couple if years to do so) it figures the saving to be about $35.00 per month predicated on today's rates.   I'll take the $30K plus for the upgrade and park that someplace we're it can make me the $70.00 plus a month to offset the electric bill.

 Opps forgot, there was a house down the street that sold for about the same price as the other homes without solar...  so, that argument goes out the window with the bath water.

 

The wife and I looked at this about 15 years ago, and the economics just didn't make sense at the time. The payoff was looking to about 20 years, and coincidentally, the lifespan of the panels and inverter was said to about 20 years. I gather the panels and equipment are vastly superior today, so it might be time to look at it again.

And I have to agree about the home-value thing. It doesn't seem to make a difference around here.

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Our taxes didn't go up. Our insurance didn't go up. but the RE Agent said that we added  nearly 100K to the value of the property.

 No idea why he thought that, but if it comes time to sell, I'll be sure to point out the solar panels.

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It does indeed make a difference to the price of the property around here. Unless the panels/system are leased. Then that can kill a sale pretty quick. 

Don't lease solar. It's a ripoff. 

 

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3 hours ago, Remodel said:

The wife and I looked at this about 15 years ago, and the economics just didn't make sense at the time. The payoff was looking to about 20 years, and coincidentally, the lifespan of the panels and inverter was said to about 20 years. I gather the panels and equipment are vastly superior today, so it might be time to look at it again.

And I have to agree about the home-value thing. It doesn't seem to make a difference around here.

This got us to revisit this as well.   There is a new credit in CA where there is no increase on the property tax which is good even though this is a capitol improvement.    Check with a few of my real-estate friends on the value add to the property and there was a mixed bag.. some are saying younger buyers are going to be expecting and will pay more, others will look at it like a pool, it can be an asset or a liability, and some could care less.  But one did say if you do it, do central air along with it..  then it make sense.

I am about 17 years into a 20 year roof that may outlive the sell by date by a couple of years...  I'll dig back into when that time comes.  who knows where it will be then

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18 minutes ago, Ventucky Red said:

This got us to revisit this as well.   There is a new credit in CA where there is no increase on the property tax which is good even though this is a capitol improvement.    Check with a few of my real-estate friends on the value add to the property and there was a mixed bag.. some are saying younger buyers are going to be expecting and will pay more, others will look at it like a pool, it can be an asset or a liability, and some could care less.  But one did say if you do it, do central air along with it..  then it make sense.

I am about 17 years into a 20 year roof that may outlive the sell by date by a couple of years...  I'll dig back into when that time comes.  who knows where it will be then

Get a metal roof. Well worth the money (Mine was less expensive than FG "Architectural" roofing. Personally I like like the look of 3 tab, but it's not very cost effective.

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