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(Topic ID: 274621)

Solar power advice thread.

By rai

78 days ago

Topic Stats

  • 14 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 54 days ago by sataneatscheese
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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    #1 78 days ago

    I’m moving to my hopefully forever house in Windermere Florida. Wanted to get some advice and first hand experience what do I need to consider regarding solar panels for money savings.

    #2 78 days ago

    I'll be following this thread.

    We are about to do a shingle replacement at our place and I'm considering having solar installed after the shingles are replaced.

    #4 78 days ago

    I've done some research in this area.. I run a hydro garden off solar (not that it makes me an expert) but I've experimented with it.

    1. Solar output is rarely 100%. On a good sunny day it's probably 90%, but on a cloudy rainy day it can be 20%. Also most panels are built in a grid of smaller cells. If a piece of cloud say blocks a single cell (but the rest aren't), it can kill off that whole row and reduce your output.
    2. Battery capacity and cycle recharge varies. AGM cells can go down to about 40% of rated capacity, recharge cycle of 500. Lithium ion cells can go down to about 20% capacity, have a recharge cycle of about 3,000. The more you keep the cell charged (IE don't run it down), the more cycles you will get out of them.
    3. If someone offers you free solar installation, know that they are probably fronting the cost, reclaiming money for when you exceed your load (selling power back), and that typically you will simply be paying them (say half). The other 50% is helping pay for the equipment, and typically they will keep you in a contract for 20 years.
    4. If you decide to go the DIY route, know that solar panels are super cheap (less than a dollar per watt), it's the storage that's expensive. I have a friend in northern california that has a 30 solar panel array, a very small battery bank, an inverter. What he does is runs off pure solar (with the battery buffering the power) during the day, and then when the sun goes down (and the batteries drain in about an hour), there's an auto switch that says "Hey, I'm out of juice" and it kicks his whole house system back over to the grid (this happens in about 10ms so computers won't reset). Obviously even being on the grid at night is cheaper because the demand is lower. Even if you wanted to go "off grid", most areas won't allow you to. They require at a minimum for you to be hooked up and pay the $20 hookup fee.

    If you have the land, mount solar on the ground on a stand. You can troubleshoot easier, clean (or buff) the panels so it maximizes light capture. This is obviously much more difficult to do on a roof. Also if you have a leak (or need the roof replaced), uninstalling panels can be a big pain (both the mounting and the wiring).

    #5 78 days ago

    Outback solar has a discussion group . Go there for experienced opinions . Also think solar like a wood barrel. The barrel staves need to be equal or energy wasted . Balance of load , storage , PV input wattage needs to be considered in design phase . Total storage seasonal with load variances. PV input varies with seasonal changes sun angle .

    Battery bank if use AGM no hydrogen gas consideration . Lead acid battery outgas hydrogen and needs correct venting as is explosive. Filling lead acid battery periodic maintenance. Access to fill with distilled water part design consideration.

    Turnkey contractor should be considered unless you are advanced DIY willing to do research and document your work . The building inspector could be a issue unless you can prove all design and installation done to electrical code requirement.

    Caution on all aspects warranted. Shane

    #6 78 days ago

    Separate story off the Outback forum . DIY system . Poster cavalier at least seemed to me reading his posts . Why read the manual when you can just wing it not good practice for battery life . Depth discharge = set wrong early death .

    Also reduce loads cheaper than increasing supply . Even I will admit LED your pins good idea even if spoils the aesthetics ; )


    #7 78 days ago

    B+ Please speak English.

    #8 78 days ago

    If you go with a contract with a solar installation company, it may make the sale of your house more difficult. The contract will run with the property, not the ownership.

    #9 78 days ago

    Electricity is already pretty cheap in Florida. A large solar install will jack up your home insurance rates. I don't think the efficiencies are there yet for it to make sense here.

    #10 78 days ago

    Why does solar raise insurance rates?

    #11 78 days ago
    Quoted from Madmax541:

    Why does solar raise insurance rates?

    Done wrong, they can cause fires.'s%20solar,from%20more%20than%20240%20stores.

    #12 78 days ago

    Nice in concept, but not worth the trouble IMO for the minimal net benefit. Get dual pane windows, all LED lights, good air conditioner and lots of insulation.

    3 weeks later
    #13 55 days ago
    Quoted from John_I:

    Nice in concept, but not worth the trouble IMO for the minimal net benefit. Get dual pane windows, all LED lights, good air conditioner and lots of insulation.

    I agree from an energy standpoint - more cost effective to reduce your usage than install solar. I would add reduce the number of energy vampires you have around the house which can add 10% or more to your energy bill.

    However, from an emergency power perspective, a small solar array can charge your cell phone, keep your deep freeze from thawing out, run the fridge and your radio/tv when the power goes out.

    #14 54 days ago

    Do not, under any circumstances, lease a solar system. Let's rewind to 2016. I am house hunting. My wife and I find a perfect house, it has solar panels. As we are going to close on the house we learn the house is leasing the solar roof. This means that we wouldn't own the panels. On top of that, we were obligated to pay the solar roofing company at a rate almost double what the utility companies charged for the same amount of electricity. We had the option of buying out the remainder of the lease, for a mere $80,000. We opted to purchase a different house. In the end, they sold the house at a price almost $40,000 less than what we had offered, well below market value.

    I would have no objections to buying a system but would strongly urge you read the fine print on leasing one, and what the exit options are for you.

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