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Pros/Cons for Solar Power

Old 07-13-2017, 11:38 AM
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Default Pros/Cons for Solar Power

I am clueless about solar power but we are starting to see a lot of houses around with the solar panels on their roof's last couple of years. In fact I think there are about 5-6 houses in our neighborhood that have changed over to solar power

I have had a few clients ask me about the energy tax credit associated with it as well

If numbers are correct I am hearing it sounds like they may save money but will take 15-20 yrs to break even barring no repairs

Anyone here switched over to solar and if so is it worth the outlay up front
Old 07-13-2017, 11:48 AM
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All I can say is my wife does analysis for putting solar (and wind) power on the grid for utility companies and between the high initial cost and infrastructure upgrades required, it almost never works out.

For residential they may be ok, but the long payback period still means for 95% of homeowners it is not a wise investment.

I'm not against solar, but it is not the solution to our energy problems at the moment.
Old 07-13-2017, 11:48 AM
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The economics are quite different for water and photovoltaic for electricity generation.

Both can work well given adequate space and sun exposure, and be economically feasible within certain parameters.

There is lots of good info available online, including state and federal tax credit info.
Old 07-13-2017, 11:54 AM
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Most of the payback formulas are based on some voodoo math. They assume electricity costs will increase like 10 % each year. So you will probably not be around at the break even point??
Old 07-13-2017, 11:59 AM
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We looked into it some years back and the math didn't seem to add up. With the cost of the equipment sitting on your roof and the transformers and such that required maintenance, we thought it was best to avoid it.

I do think you can make money at it but I also think you have a greater chance of not making money at it.
Old 07-13-2017, 12:01 PM
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Most of the solar going on residential houses are leases. That is even a worse deal than buying it outright. The leasing company gets all the rebates and SRECs
Old 07-13-2017, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by NCSUboater View Post
All I can say is my wife does analysis for putting solar (and wind) power on the grid for utility companies and between the high initial cost and infrastructure upgrades required, it almost never works out.

For residential they may be ok, but the long payback period still means for 95% of homeowners it is not a wise investment.

I'm not against solar, but it is not the solution to our energy problems at the moment.
sounds about right as they continue to put in these massive solar farms all over eastern NC. when you're the gubment spending someone else's money who gives a shit about what it costs or returns
Old 07-13-2017, 12:06 PM
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Check into tesla. They have new roof shingles available. Only in California this year but "coming soon to a theater near you". They apparently design & supply the whole system. They calculate how many solar shingles you need and the rest of the roof is simple look alike shingles. They apparently take roof size, house orientation, past utility bills, etc into their design. Check out their website. They have info on there. Their shingles have lifetime warranty. I would give this serious thought. But I need a new roof now... can't wait several years.
Old 07-13-2017, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by cfarmd View Post
sounds about right as they continue to put in these massive solar farms all over eastern NC. when you're the gubment spending someone else's money who gives a shit about what it costs or returns
Yep, and again this is all second hand, but as I understand it the only time it "works out" for the utilities is when the gubmens give them a grant or tax break to pay for it.

IE: when you and I pay for it.

Otherwise, the math doesn't work.
Old 07-13-2017, 12:12 PM
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cloudy days would be a con
Old 07-13-2017, 12:21 PM
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I had a guy show up at my door last year....promising the world to me with solar. I entertained him for a while, asked a bunch of questions and then declined to do anything with it.

Firstly, they reel people in by saying they will put everything on your house for free, you just pay for it monthly, a lease as was mentioned above. You basically just pay whichever solar company it is for electricity instead of whoever you get it from now.

I asked about what happens in winter when it is grey and cloudy out for months straight or when days are short in winter and what do you do at night....are there batteries that get charged?

He says, no there are no batteries yet, so you still need to keep your grid power connected and use that to some degree in winter and at night, etc.. They give you all this info on what energy costs are gonna rise to and then tell you that their cost will stay the same no matter what.

After 20yrs you own the equipment on the roof (right when it's all about to fall apart probably), but in the interim, if there is any issue with your roof, you need to pay them to come take the stuff down so a repair can be made to your roof. I also asked, well what if I sell my house in 10 years and the new owner wants the stuff off the house. He said you will have to pay off your lease and then we will come take it all down. But he assured me that having it would increase the value of my home and asked why any buyer would ever want to take it down....the lease can just transfer to them.

Not willing to deal with any hassle or have another utility to deal with, I told him it doesn't sound like it adds anything but a hassle, so I wasn't interested. Seemed to me after all was said and done, you'd either be paying the same or maybe a slight bit less, but the process takes 6-8 months to complete, so after all that you get the same thing.....electricity for the same cost. Pass...no thanks.
Old 07-13-2017, 12:45 PM
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Power storage and cost are the big problems.

Eve if they get the efficiency where it needs to be (it isn't right now) storage and initial cost are prohibitive.
Old 07-13-2017, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Back-in-Black View Post
Check into tesla. They have new roof shingles available. Only in California this year but "coming soon to a theater near you". They apparently design & supply the whole system. They calculate how many solar shingles you need and the rest of the roof is simple look alike shingles. They apparently take roof size, house orientation, past utility bills, etc into their design. Check out their website. They have info on there. Their shingles have lifetime warranty. I would give this serious thought. But I need a new roof now... can't wait several years.
Eventually this will be the way residential solar will work out but the problem now comes down to cost. At $20 plus bucks a sq ft the math is a long way from working out unless electricity is extremely expensive.
Old 07-13-2017, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchk View Post
Eventually this will be the way residential solar will work out but the problem now comes down to cost. At $20 plus bucks a sq ft the math is a long way from working out unless electricity is extremely expensive.
Yes $$$$ for their shingles but how many solar ones do you actually need? Didn't see price info for the look alikes on their site. But if I had a few years to to wait I'd be calling them to get a quote. Would be a nice alternative to a gen set for hurricanes also. With a lifetime warranty on the shingles that's also a plus. My new asphalt shingle roof is going to cost somewhere around $12K and will only last 20 years...
Old 07-13-2017, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Back-in-Black View Post
Yes $$$$ for their shingles but how many solar ones do you actually need? Didn't see price info for the look alikes on their site. But if I had a few years to to wait I'd be calling them to get a quote. Would be a nice alternative to a gen set for hurricanes also. With a lifetime warranty on the shingles that's also a plus. My new asphalt shingle roof is going to cost somewhere around $12K and will only last 20 years...
I would not look at them as an alternative to a genset for hurricanes, unless you plan on getting a lot of batteries for storage as well.
Old 07-13-2017, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Back-in-Black View Post
Yes $$$$ for their shingles but how many solar ones do you actually need? Didn't see price info for the look alikes on their site. But if I had a few years to to wait I'd be calling them to get a quote. Would be a nice alternative to a gen set for hurricanes also. With a lifetime warranty on the shingles that's also a plus. My new asphalt shingle roof is going to cost somewhere around $12K and will only last 20 years...
Well the price quotes include the mix of solar/vs like alikes and are still around 20 per sq ft. If they get the rpice point down 50% I'd definitely consider it but that will be a few years.
Old 07-13-2017, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by N2theblue View Post
I would not look at them as an alternative to a genset for hurricanes, unless you plan on getting a lot of batteries for storage as well.
correct. there are lithium battery banks capable of storing a significant amount of kwh in a much smaller and lightweight package, but they still require maintenance, inverters, etc. I looked at this as a small scale "solar" generator but it's a lot of equipment and PITA when an inverter generator can be had for nearly the small $, it's quite, efficient, and clean
Old 07-13-2017, 01:31 PM
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Only way residential wins on solar is if they got in on the rebuild Northwest Florida money. They paid for a butt load of the installation and the tax credits helped on top of that.
Old 07-13-2017, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by WaterEnjoyer View Post
Most of the solar going on residential houses are leases. That is even a worse deal than buying it outright. The leasing company gets all the rebates and SRECs

correct and many if not all record a UCC on the property title. It casues issues sometimes when going for a mortgage. I have denied double digit mortgages where the solar company lease language did not fit Fnma
Old 07-13-2017, 03:32 PM
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7 year payback in Phoenix where it is Sunny, no clouds, 300 days a year. 30% tax credit goes to someone, in my case to me because I bought it. I would never install it in Michigan. Not enough Sun, to much snow.

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