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Old 02-07-2020, 01:21 PM
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Default Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

Our electric bill runs us about $400 per month, give or take. We have about 4600 SQ FT of finished living space including the basement. We also have the detached garage and 2 barns. We have a new heat pump with a gas furnace back-up. Propane tankless water heater and cooktop. Double wall oven is electric. Keep the thermostat set on 72/73 during the winter and 74/75 during the summer.

So now that you know the back story, we've been looking at going solar for a little over a year. We pulled the trigger back in December so we were still eligible for the 30% tax credit - yes, you are helping to pay for my solar panels We ended up going with a 16.96 KW system. It is a total of 53 panels at 320 watts each. While we are doing it, we are also doing a back-up generator. I purchased a 16 KW Generac. Total cost of everything is right at $62k less the 30% credit. We financed for 20 years at 3.99% and the panels are P&L warrantied for 25 years. Inverters are 10 years P&L. The expected ROI is 9.7 years.

So much for the boring stuff, now for some pictures. Here is the install of the panels on the detached garage and house.
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File Type: jpg Garage panels.jpg (62.5 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg House Panels.jpg (75.1 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg House Panels 2.jpg (92.3 KB, 50 views)
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

The first picture is the inverter that is mounted to the garage. It will actually backfeed through the wire that currently feeds the garage. At this point it is completely hooked up and ready to start working.

Second picture is the Inverter mounted to the house. It is only partially installed. Waiting on the generator to be hook up.

Third picture is the generator waiting to be hooked up. I poured the pad the day after Christmas and ordered the generator online. I have a friend that does HVAC installs (he did the new heat pump), I told him before Christmas that the generator would be there end up January/First of February and we would need it installed before the solar could be finished. Generator was deliverd the 27th. He has started a commercial job (for his step dad) and is saying that it'll be approx. 2 weeks before he can start. Ticked me off a bit, it isn't like he didn't know it was coming. The solar company had someone they knew and recommended. He is doing a site survey today and doing the install Monday - roughly the same price. I feel bad, but he knew the time frame.
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File Type: jpg Garage Inverter 2.jpg (35.4 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg House Inverter.jpg (57.8 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg Generator.jpg (127.7 KB, 49 views)
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

Not sure what is going on with the pictures. I rotated them all correctly before posting. This is their "natural" position though.
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

I was gonna say, they put your GENERAC in upside down.

Are you completely off the grid or is all this to save money on utilities or just just a backup?
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

I know the feeling we pay around 80 c per kwh here in the bush. I have got so fed up with a 600 dollar per month bill for 1500 sqf place that is totally un occupied half the day that I have embarked on an off grid project I bought 4 acers right across the city limits line, that means no taxes, than put in a pad and moved in an atco office trailer, bought batterys with about 500 ah of storage added an outbck inverter and solar controller I only have 3 3500 watt panels at mu disposal right now, but have 10 more coming. I have a toyo fuel burning heater and wood stove and even at the - 30 weather we have now we can sleep all night and be comfortable during the day with the small wood stove running one can strip down to swim suits in the place. the plan is to sell the money pit in town than build new out of pocket out of town. totally off grid. this all came about because while paying my utility bill an employee said I couldn't make my power for what they are selling it to me for. I called their bluff, now I proving it. I do have an old 8 k lister generator for the cloudy days. but the solar keeps up with the demand during the day and can also top off the batterys during the day and we run off batterys at night.
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

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Originally Posted by FrancSevin View Post
I was gonna say, they put your GENERAC in upside down.

Are you completely off the grid or is all this to save money on utilities or just just a backup?
We will still be grid tied. We are actually doing a Net Metering system. What that means is, any time we are producing more power than we are consuming, we will be selling it back to the power company. This system is designed to supply 66% of our power needs. Since we are not doing any batteries at this point, when we lose grid power, the solar panels are disconnected - thus we still lose power. That is why we decided to do the generator at the same time.
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:25 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

Congrats on your set up. Looks great!!! Good for you.

If we were younger, I would take the time to crunch some numbers to see if it was worth it in the long run to do this. At 71 years of age, I will not live long enough to celebrate the days these things start making me money versus the money invested to buy them and the lost interest of said money sitting in my annuities.

Unless, of course I live to at least 97 years old.
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

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Originally Posted by jwstewar View Post
We will still be grid tied. We are actually doing a Net Metering system. What that means is, any time we are producing more power than we are consuming, we will be selling it back to the power company. This system is designed to supply 66% of our power needs. Since we are not doing any batteries at this point, when we lose grid power, the solar panels are disconnected - thus we still lose power. That is why we decided to do the generator at the same time.
our town wont do net metering they stick another meter on and meter what you put back in and buy it back at fifteen cents a kwh , and bandjoe thinks he is getting gouged. at that rate it would take for ever to get a pay back.
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Old 02-12-2020, 12:39 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

We got the generator hooked up on Monday. That pretty much means we won't have any power outages now for the next 3 to 5 years :).

They are supposed to come back Friday and finishing hooking the solar up. Then a 3rd party inspector will have to sign off before it can be submitted to AEP. They will then have 10 days to change the meter so that we can actually turn them on. So probably still a couple of weeks away. Not far from what they originally said of the first of March.
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:58 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

Great looking job. Congratulations. This subject fascinated me a long time back when I wanted to take the house off-grid. I was interested to see that your ROI was 9.7 years. When I looked at it, it was around 14 or 15 years but that was with a battery back-up system. Before 14 years the batteries, inverters and possibly some of the panels would need replaced so that you never quite got to a break-even point. It's good to see that the economics of it have changed.

After years of procrastination though I am going to install a back-up generator this year. It'll probably be the same 16 kW Generac that you installed.
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowtrac Nome View Post
our town wont do net metering they stick another meter on and meter what you put back in and buy it back at fifteen cents a kwh , and bandjoe thinks he is getting gouged. at that rate it would take for ever to get a pay back.
When did I ever say I was getting gouged on solar?

My home is 100% off grid solar, relying on batteries, and a multitude of generators from 2800 watts gasoline, to 35kw propane if I ever need them.

I'm the biggest solar proponent you'll ever meet.
But I'd be damned if I had to be grid tied and lost my home power because the grid did.
That's the stupidest thing I ever heard of.
Why bother?
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

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Originally Posted by EastTexFrank View Post
Great looking job. Congratulations. This subject fascinated me a long time back when I wanted to take the house off-grid. I was interested to see that your ROI was 9.7 years. When I looked at it, it was around 14 or 15 years but that was with a battery back-up system. Before 14 years the batteries, inverters and possibly some of the panels would need replaced so that you never quite got to a break-even point. It's good to see that the economics of it have changed.

After years of procrastination though I am going to install a back-up generator this year. It'll probably be the same 16 kW Generac that you installed.
I ordered the generator online from a place called AP Electric. Free shipping and liftgate service. "No sales tax" from them for Ohio. Also if you ordered between January 20th and March 1st, Generac included a 10 year warranty. I think I got the generator and transfer switch for $4247. That was about the best deal I could find. I ordered on a Wednesday night. It was there Monday afternoon. Dayton Freight called me on a Friday to set the appointment up. Had I not requested the call first, it probably would have been delivered on Friday.
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

Thanks Jim. I've started to do some research but still have a long way to go. I'd like to get it done by late spring though.
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

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Originally Posted by Bannedjoe View Post
When did I ever say I was getting gouged on solar?

My home is 100% off grid solar, relying on batteries, and a multitude of generators from 2800 watts gasoline, to 35kw propane if I ever need them.

I'm the biggest solar proponent you'll ever meet.
But I'd be damned if I had to be grid tied and lost my home power because the grid did.
That's the stupidest thing I ever heard of.
Why bother?
talking about the ford overhaul your mechanics mark up.
if you can get net metering that's a good deal I however hear that other utility's around the country are starting to change to 2 meters to and they buy back at whole sale but charge you retail.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Oh no...I'm a tree hugger

They didn't make it Friday to finish hooking the solar up. I gave them a little hell over that one. They finally made it yesterday. Everything is now hooked up. Pictures have been taken and sent off to an inspector (don't even get me started on that racket). Now we wait on AEP to come swap the meter before we can turn it on.
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