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Old 10-26-2019, 08:49 PM
~Black.Dog~ ~Black.Dog~ is offline
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I understand peoples motivations for going with grid-tie systems but would not take that route myself. It would drive me bonkers during a power outage to look at $20-30K in solar panels and then go in the house to light candles and lanterns.
As it is, I've got a few layers of generators of varying wattage and efficiency, stored fuel and a home built battery bank/solar setup.
The solar/batteries will run my radios, small chest freezer, some LED lights and recharge various flashlight batteries and a medical need battery.
Generators can handle periodic larger loads like well pump and water heater while the fuel lasts. I've half whimsically had the idea that I may be able to barter hot showers and a hot cup of coffee for gasoline that people siphon from their cars, mowers and stuff, lol.


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Old 10-26-2019, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ~Black.Dog~ View Post
I understand peoples motivations for going with grid-tie systems but would not take that route myself. It would drive me bonkers during a power outage to look at $20-30K in solar panels and then go in the house to light candles and lanterns.
As it is, I've got a few layers of generators of varying wattage and efficiency, stored fuel and a home built battery bank/solar setup.
The solar/batteries will run my radios, small chest freezer, some LED lights and recharge various flashlight batteries and a medical need battery.
Generators can handle periodic larger loads like well pump and water heater while the fuel lasts. I've half whimsically had the idea that I may be able to barter hot showers and a hot cup of coffee for gasoline that people siphon from their cars, mowers and stuff, lol.


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Old 10-26-2019, 10:26 PM
~Black.Dog~ ~Black.Dog~ is offline
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My only other exposure to grid-tie solar has not been positive so that colors my impression of it, I'm sure.
I have a useless stepson who lives life trying to get something for nothing. A local wealthy but scammy (he gets rich on other peoples money and then leaves his investors hanging when he bankrupts the business) businessman started a company that sells grid-tie systems nationwide. He got like 4 million in federal grants to start it. With some of that money he had a very functional website built and did serious nationwide marketing to drive people to it.
He hired drug addled losers like my stepson to do sales. They know nothing about solar. They just follow up the web leads with a very tin-man kind of sales pitch. The customer has already plugged in their location, square footage, electric bill info, financials and other data into the site. The site calculates the price of equipment, local and federal rebate and tax info, loan interest, etc and spits out the price. The kids then just have to talk customers into signing the financing paperwork and they are done. All site unseen and all farmed out to subcontractors that they have never met. There is no service after the sale since there is no one there who really knows the product or industry.
Pretty ingenious but pretty flimflammy as well. It's been very successful but I imagine lawsuits will eventually shut them down. I had heard of a few even shortly after they opened.
The business is set up in an old rundown building the guy owns and half the kids working for him live there. No showers. Drugs, drinking all the time, etc. He pays them as contractors so he has no payroll or tax expense. The kids, of course, are mostly not filing their taxes. Which will catch up to them. They think they are hot **** sales people rolling in tax free money. Most gets spent on drugs. After he burns them out, he screws them out of their commissions. Happened to my stepson but I have no sympathy for him. I warned him before he started because I already knew the guys reputation and the kind of people he was looking for.

After writing this, I did a quick web search and see that the business was liquidated under Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year. Par for the course for this guy. The solar market is ripe for these kind of outfits so the buyer must beware.
OP, I am not implying that this is the kind of place you dealt with. I'm sure you did your homework and knew it was legit.
Just warning people to be careful.

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Old 10-26-2019, 10:33 PM
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We are putting solar on this time around (grid tie) and a backup generator. It will all be paid for so we will be reducing our monthly expenses substantially. We may choose to add battery backup at a later date but we will have to see how much money we have to work with once the house is finished (hopefully by Christmas).
Im sure you know this, but it will take decades before PGE and SCE get your power grid stiched back together, and you can depend on them again.
Till then, pehaps for your life time, your power costs will be sky high.

Solar is a great investment for you. Actually moving out of state would be better, but solar is a great investment if you insist on staying.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:28 AM
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I am willing to bet this all started with Enron and Grey Davis screwing PGE on electric power rates.
Not much funding for 2 decades equals not much maintanence.
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:22 PM
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It's interesting to read about low interest, long term loans for extensive solar installations, but if one of these systems malfunctions, are the repairs covered by a warranty that lasts the length of the loan? It's not very likely that the loan is serviced by the company that did the installation, so it would seem that you'd still be making payments even if the system isn't working. Having subbed on some fairly large industrial electrical installations, it's not unusual for a customer to call me five years after the project is complete in an effort to chase down who is supposed to be servicing the warranty, and as often as not, the customer ends up either going our of pocket or being told by the primary contractor that each component's warranty has to be serviced by the component's manufacturer.
Most salesmen don't have a problem with floating the old "if anything breaks just give me a call" line, but how are these systems repaired and what kinds of warranties do the components come with? I can't remember ever seeing a complicated piece of power equipment like an inverter that came with a warranty that lasted more than a few years at most.
Any input would be appreciated.
The warranty for mine (panels) is both through the installer, and failing that, the manufacturer. It is 25-30 years, the loan is for 20. That is the major part of the array, and is covered.

The inverter comes with a warranty that is extendable, although I need to read more up on it, it's something like a $1500 piece of equipment, so not the end of the world if it were to break every 5-10 years in some minor way.
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:25 PM
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Would home insurance cover a grid tied solar installation? Might have to get it spelled out before relying on it. And if it increases your Premium than that is another cost to include in time to payout.

ETA: Rereading my posts in this Thread it might look like all that I am doing is trying to put down the idea of solar power. I hope that is not the impression that people take away from my comments. I am interested in alternative energy and follow the latest advances (and failures) that the industry has made. The one thing that does bother me is all too often real numbers are not used. Take for instance thinking you get a panels rated output. You really can't count on it. Not only is there the weather to keep in mind there is also losses in the system from panel to load to take into consideration.

If people are thinking that they can rely on something that is not reliable it becomes a problem. Making it more reliable and cost effective requires knowing the real world numbers and history. One very big issue in regards to electricity is it does not store. Take for instance the last 3 days at my home has experienced gray and rain all day. If I was feeding the grid I would be supplying nothing and requiring the grid to provide 100% of my needs. Not only me but everyone else that was in a grid tie situation. The utility company would be required to make up for all that loss of generated power. It does not matter that a few days later that the sun comes out.
My array is currently performing above all projections I had for it. When you are sizing a PV system, you take environmental data into account.
My home owner's insurance covers the array at stated value for another $100/year.
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ~Black.Dog~ View Post
My only other exposure to grid-tie solar has not been positive so that colors my impression of it, I'm sure.
I have a useless stepson who lives life trying to get something for nothing. A local wealthy but scammy (he gets rich on other peoples money and then leaves his investors hanging when he bankrupts the business) businessman started a company that sells grid-tie systems nationwide. He got like 4 million in federal grants to start it. With some of that money he had a very functional website built and did serious nationwide marketing to drive people to it.
He hired drug addled losers like my stepson to do sales. They know nothing about solar. They just follow up the web leads with a very tin-man kind of sales pitch. The customer has already plugged in their location, square footage, electric bill info, financials and other data into the site. The site calculates the price of equipment, local and federal rebate and tax info, loan interest, etc and spits out the price. The kids then just have to talk customers into signing the financing paperwork and they are done. All site unseen and all farmed out to subcontractors that they have never met. There is no service after the sale since there is no one there who really knows the product or industry.
Pretty ingenious but pretty flimflammy as well. It's been very successful but I imagine lawsuits will eventually shut them down. I had heard of a few even shortly after they opened.
The business is set up in an old rundown building the guy owns and half the kids working for him live there. No showers. Drugs, drinking all the time, etc. He pays them as contractors so he has no payroll or tax expense. The kids, of course, are mostly not filing their taxes. Which will catch up to them. They think they are hot **** sales people rolling in tax free money. Most gets spent on drugs. After he burns them out, he screws them out of their commissions. Happened to my stepson but I have no sympathy for him. I warned him before he started because I already knew the guys reputation and the kind of people he was looking for.

After writing this, I did a quick web search and see that the business was liquidated under Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year. Par for the course for this guy. The solar market is ripe for these kind of outfits so the buyer must beware.
OP, I am not implying that this is the kind of place you dealt with. I'm sure you did your homework and knew it was legit.
Just warning people to be careful.

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Absolutely! Be very careful. My install is very clean, and I and the power company inspector were very impressed.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:16 PM
williammandella williammandella is offline
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Absolutely! Be very careful. My install is very clean, and I and the power company inspector were very impressed.
Definitely do some research on the company that's doing the installation. They should be a business that exists other than on a website. Hopefully they don't just specialize in solar. They should be involved in industrial and residential systems that don't rely on which party is in power. Solar should be an add-on part of a larger business and not the basis of the business.
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Old 10-28-2019, 12:36 PM
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STEEPOE STEEPOE is offline
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Mine is only a grid tie-in that was setup on September 28, 2018.

At 105% right now with:
7,782.1 kWh used.
8,192.4 kWh from solar.
410.3 to grid for a whopping $48 in my pocket (actually it just goes to a credit to my account).
Shows 6.4 tons of CO2 emissions avoided (I'm a hero to the people).

A solid $120 month saved by making the change.
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Old 10-28-2019, 02:02 PM
MattB4 MattB4 is offline
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Mine is only a grid tie-in that was setup on September 28, 2018.

At 105% right now with:
7,782.1 kWh used.
8,192.4 kWh from solar.
410.3 to grid for a whopping $48 in my pocket (actually it just goes to a credit to my account).
Shows 6.4 tons of CO2 emissions avoided (I'm a hero to the people).

A solid $120 month saved by making the change.
Thanks for the real world numbers. What could help a bit is if you would be willing to mention how much your system cost in total, whether any is financed or leased and at what terms. With you having a years worth of data there is something to work from.

There is a handy loan calculator at https://www.calculator.net/personal-...alculator.html that will give a person an idea of what the total costs might be if financing. Leasing arrangements that some solar companies offer could be a entirely different thing. Those you do not own the system if my understanding is correct.
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Old 10-28-2019, 05:41 PM
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Thanks for the real world numbers. What could help a bit is if you would be willing to mention how much your system cost in total, whether any is financed or leased and at what terms. With you having a years worth of data there is something to work from.

There is a handy loan calculator at https://www.calculator.net/personal-...alculator.html that will give a person an idea of what the total costs might be if financing. Leasing arrangements that some solar companies offer could be a entirely different thing. Those you do not own the system if my understanding is correct.
-Solar setup: $20,762 (loan - paid in full in six months - otherwise it would have been an additional $4,743.28 in interest for seven and a half years) - 3.99% (if I didn't pay off it would have been $25,505.28).
-Radiant barrier in my attic for $2,150 (RB Foil was $450; Insulation Bags $640; 12 exterior vents replaced $240; and labor $820).
-Calked to all my windows etc. to help every bit I could (had the calk on hand so nothing extra there money wise).
-All the lights to change out in my home were provided by the solar company to change to the most effective style as part of the solar setup cost - already had efficient lighting so free lights out of the deal (yeah, I know they were not "free" but makes a guy feel good).

Both the solar and barrier received the tax credits so it was nearly $7,000 back from both combined. If one has the loan all of it would have gone to them but since mine was paid off prior to that I received it. It sounds like most of the solar loans are built that any tax credits go to pay the loan off.
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