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#1 2018-02-17 01:44:09

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,120

Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

SpaceNut,

This topic was created specifically for you.  Awhile back you wanted to know what solar panel company I intended to use and what their prices were.  Here in Texas there are a variety of incentives offered by the manufacturer and service providers to make solar installations more affordable.

I have two quotes for 6kWe systems thus far.  The first is from Circle L Solar and the second is from Freedom Solar Power.  I intend to obtain a third quote and then review my options, but I'm probably going with Freedom Solar.  We always review at least three options before making major purchases, although some things are pre-determined by the wife.

Both quotes provided were for an approximate 50% usage offset, but Freedom Solar also provided a quote for a complete energy usage offset plan using energy credits from our power provider and their partner, Reliant Energy.  That works by feeding power back into the grid during the winter months and consuming power from the grid during the summer months.  We already receive our power from solar generation via Reliant, but the rates are a bit higher than market rates from fossil fuel generation plants.  I think we pay something like $0.121/kWh.

Both offerings were for Tier 1 panels with on-panel micro inverters.  The warranties were similar, but Freedom Solar offers SunPower panels and their product's efficiency, durability, warranty, and cost is better.  Circle L Solar was offering Hyundai, Canadian Solar, and one other manufacturer I forgot the name of (Hanwa or something like that, I think).

The bottom line is that the Circle L Solar proposal would've set us back about $25K for the 6kWe system while the Freedom Solar proposal was about $24K for the 6kWe system.  The Freedom Solar proposal for full offset was roughly $59K.  Divide those numbers by 2 and that is the actual cost the consumer pays after federal, state, and service provider incentives are taken into account.  Reliant offers a substantial incentive to Freedom Solar customers via their partnership with Freedom Solar that Circle L Solar did not provide.

My intention is to go with the Freedom Solar full offset proposal.  The actual cost paid will simply be a loan payment that is within $20 of our yearly energy cost without our own production.  It's $214/month or $107/month for the 6kWe system.  Currently, our energy costs fluctuate between $75/month to $375/month, even with our new windows.  I'd rather have an energy bill that never fluctuates.

My total investments in energy efficiency are as follows:

$21K energy efficient air conditioner replacements
$29K energy efficient windows
$1.5K energy efficient water heater
$2.8K energy efficient refrigerator (this was a mandatory buy for us because the old refrigerator crapped out shortly after Harvey)
$.5K in energy efficient LED lightbulbs (yes, we have that many lights)

This would be the ultimate cost to us for a full offset system:
$24K 12kWe full offset 32 panel SunPower / Freedom Solar home solar system

We're making payments on the windows and will be making payments on the solar system.  We paid for the AC units and everything else with cash.

Without the solar system, our energy yearly usage went from 750kWh/month, on average, to about 500kWh/month.  That's not quite the 40% savings promised by the Window manufacturer, but I intend to replace our door insulation to achieve a complete seal because I know they're leaking and that has a dramatic effect on energy usage.  I'll do that myself when I have time.  If our numbers are within 2% after I complete my final upgrades, then I'll call it good enough.

I have also replaced some plumbing bits in the toilets and showers to conserve water.  I tore the toilets completely off the foundation, took them outside and cleaned them thoroughly with bleach to kill the mustard mold, and then reassembled them with new internals and seals.  I typically work on the plumbing and do minor electrical repair work myself so there's no charge to us, except for parts and tools.

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#2 2018-02-17 12:58:28

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

Thank you Kbd512, and I hope others here will make use of this topic to make there energy cost drop as well.

Since we know this company you can start here at https://us.sunpower.com/ or search from this site https://bestcompany.com/solar

For reference the Sunpower installer page that is showing there perferred installers of which Freedom Power link. From there you would be interested in the residential site link with a referal reward button at the bottom of the page.

Most of the solar sites are spammy with little to no pricing content with lots of consultation and need for your personal information so they can contact you to sell, sell, sell what they can do for the service of site review, engineering of panels needs ect...this is a welcome sight from sun power to make your own custom panels from smaller cells for the do it yourselfer.
https://us.sunpower.com/sites/sunpower/ … 2017q2.pdf

Any thing can be bought but they will try to steer you to the standard systems that they perfer to work with which is the manufacturer for the panels, size and shape of product offered for typical applications such as the SunPower Equinox, Helix & Oasis complete systems for the home, carport and bigger installs to make money with.

Since they want to sell to you there are the resources for how to pay on some of there pages.
https://us.sunpower.com/home-solar/save … ar-panels/

Still searching for the net metering hook up information and costs...

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#3 2018-02-17 16:24:54

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,357

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

kbd - thanks for that interesting update.

You have to be careful with total air sealing of your home in my view.  You could easily get a build up of pollutants (of both home and external origin) if you don't refresh the air.   Fresh air has its uses, even if it's not that great from an energy conservation point of view. I remember in Norway, people open their windows and  aired their duvets over the window ledges - despite their rather cool climate.  There are ways of combining air flow with energy conservation but they obviously involve more cost.

There is also an issue over whether domestic PV or industrial scale PV is the best way to go. It seems some industrial scale installations can now get down to 4 cents per KwH, based on projected future PV cost reductions.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/11/so … exclusive/

kbd512 wrote:

SpaceNut,

This topic was created specifically for you.  Awhile back you wanted to know what solar panel company I intended to use and what their prices were.  Here in Texas there are a variety of incentives offered by the manufacturer and service providers to make solar installations more affordable.

I have two quotes for 6kWe systems thus far.  The first is from Circle L Solar and the second is from Freedom Solar Power.  I intend to obtain a third quote and then review my options, but I'm probably going with Freedom Solar.  We always review at least three options before making major purchases, although some things are pre-determined by the wife.

Both quotes provided were for an approximate 50% usage offset, but Freedom Solar also provided a quote for a complete energy usage offset plan using energy credits from our power provider and their partner, Reliant Energy.  That works by feeding power back into the grid during the winter months and consuming power from the grid during the summer months.  We already receive our power from solar generation via Reliant, but the rates are a bit higher than market rates from fossil fuel generation plants.  I think we pay something like $0.121/kWh.

Both offerings were for Tier 1 panels with on-panel micro inverters.  The warranties were similar, but Freedom Solar offers SunPower panels and their product's efficiency, durability, warranty, and cost is better.  Circle L Solar was offering Hyundai, Canadian Solar, and one other manufacturer I forgot the name of (Hanwa or something like that, I think).

The bottom line is that the Circle L Solar proposal would've set us back about $25K for the 6kWe system while the Freedom Solar proposal was about $24K for the 6kWe system.  The Freedom Solar proposal for full offset was roughly $59K.  Divide those numbers by 2 and that is the actual cost the consumer pays after federal, state, and service provider incentives are taken into account.  Reliant offers a substantial incentive to Freedom Solar customers via their partnership with Freedom Solar that Circle L Solar did not provide.

My intention is to go with the Freedom Solar full offset proposal.  The actual cost paid will simply be a loan payment that is within $20 of our yearly energy cost without our own production.  It's $214/month or $107/month for the 6kWe system.  Currently, our energy costs fluctuate between $75/month to $375/month, even with our new windows.  I'd rather have an energy bill that never fluctuates.

My total investments in energy efficiency are as follows:

$21K energy efficient air conditioner replacements
$29K energy efficient windows
$1.5K energy efficient water heater
$2.8K energy efficient refrigerator (this was a mandatory buy for us because the old refrigerator crapped out shortly after Harvey)
$.5K in energy efficient LED lightbulbs (yes, we have that many lights)

This would be the ultimate cost to us for a full offset system:
$24K 12kWe full offset 32 panel SunPower / Freedom Solar home solar system

We're making payments on the windows and will be making payments on the solar system.  We paid for the AC units and everything else with cash.

Without the solar system, our energy yearly usage went from 750kWh/month, on average, to about 500kWh/month.  That's not quite the 40% savings promised by the Window manufacturer, but I intend to replace our door insulation to achieve a complete seal because I know they're leaking and that has a dramatic effect on energy usage.  I'll do that myself when I have time.  If our numbers are within 2% after I complete my final upgrades, then I'll call it good enough.

I have also replaced some plumbing bits in the toilets and showers to conserve water.  I tore the toilets completely off the foundation, took them outside and cleaned them thoroughly with bleach to kill the mustard mold, and then reassembled them with new internals and seals.  I typically work on the plumbing and do minor electrical repair work myself so there's no charge to us, except for parts and tools.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#4 2018-02-18 07:26:15

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,170
Website

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

I think you're meant to refresh the air in your house completely 3 times an hour? Certainly you want to avoid the build-up of moisture.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#5 2018-02-18 07:52:36

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,120

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

SpaceNut,

Update #1:

We installed our surveillance camera system portion of our home security system yesterday and discovered why it was that we're not getting the energy efficiency we were promised by our window installer.  The air conditioning duct work that feeds our master bedroom / bathroom / closet area, quite large in our house, was literally severed.  The duct tape that held the two pieces of insulated ducting together had fallen off.  It was dumping cold air into the attic above the garage instead of into the master bedroom.  The downstairs temperature gauge is right outside the master bedroom.  That's going to get fixed this week.  In fact, I'll probably do that today.  I go into the attic on the second story of our house on a routine basis to monitor our AC units and water heater, but not the attic above our garage.  Lesson learned.

You do have to supply Freedom Solar / Reliant Energy with your power generation / usage info because they use that info to license you to sell generated power back to Reliant Energy.  You can do the install yourself, but you need the appropriate licenses to do that.  I would rather have people with electrical and architectural engineering degrees, along with the proper insurances and years of experience, do that work for me.

As previously stated, if I don't get a better proposal from our third option, then I'm going with Freedom Solar and SunPower.

Louis,

I think some electrical engineering 101 type knowledge would be beneficial for your understanding of why I oppose construction of PV farms.  PV power works best in point generation / point consumption mode to limit losses (voltage drops over long wiring runs) and maximize consumption by sizing the system appropriately.  Both solar installers recommended against purchase of a home battery system and both stated it was not economical at this time.

I agree with your statement about fresh air, but our new AC units have filters inside them and I have people clean out our duct work.  Aside from that, we come and go enough that the doors get opened on a routine basis.

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#6 2018-02-19 18:58:14

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

Good that you found the air condition duct issue, just in time before the cooling is required.

Around my area the planning boards, zoning boards and fire safety departments with regards to the rules of installations,setup and fighting fires are all having issues as more people want to place them on there property. Many are using the installer to do all of the in road fighting to be able to get them installed as desired.

The town that I live in are trying to place panels on top of a superfund dump site as a means to collect the taxes from the trust which has not been paying, by allowing a pilot on the site of the 100kw size I think. The same compay brought near by property to set up another location of equal or larger size and have been jumping through the hoops to be allowed to construct the cell farm to sell locally.

The topics that have been disussing solar may be found to be useable for sizing up the need.

http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=7762

http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=7725

http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=7926

My own useage baseline is 24Kwhr a day but during the coldest of winter and hotest of summer days its nearer to 40 kwhrs.

I only get 3 hours at most of collecting time on a fixed panel setup that would require seasonal inclination adjustment to be able to get the most out of a system placed at a position up above the roof towards the southernly alignment.

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#7 2018-02-20 01:10:34

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,120

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

SpaceNut,

What kind of insulation do you have in your house that causes a 40kWh/day expenditure in the summer?  How hot does it get there in the summer?

Before we made any improvements, our max monthly usage was 750kWh/month or 25kWh/day in July and August.  40kWh/day seems awfully high for New Hampshire.

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#8 2018-02-20 18:12:36

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

ya its a couple of things in that number for summer temperatures at or near 100 and over 90 for weeks with the humidity. Of course a/c is a room sized unit and requires fans to aid for the comfort of the upper floor of the structure where all the rooms are. The ceiling or attic has the typical 6 to 8 inches and needs to be increased as the sun hits the roof during the summer the longest on about 80% of its surface area.
I did reshingle the roof 15 years ago and change them from the dark black to an autum brown color to make the roof cooler. The appliances are also in need of replacement this year as the freezer only keeps things frozen during the winter and doubles as the fridge in the summer.
A few years back I began to replacing windows that were the single pane large slider type 3' x 6' with normal double pane units that were only half as large but still need a few more.
Then for winter heating the furnace has died and we used a hot air blower wood box which means during the day it get cold and not that much warmer up stairs as it in the cellar. To which the cinder block foundation is not insulated on the outside with most of it above ground and has cracks in the concrete which need to be filled in.
So now that winter has gotten a bit milder and we can go without the heat I am starting to save once more for those needs to drop the energy requirements of our home.
Its a big laundry list and more issues but at least I know what I am up against once we have funds to devote to the issues they can be knocked off the list.

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#9 2018-05-06 13:39:59

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

I have not forgotten about your endevour to lower your energy costs. Myself I am working on transportation cost to work with research content ending up in the Mars cart topic. I however lacking funds means raising for an extended period of time to be able to purchase so I am looking to build what I can to do the offsetting on what I do need to be able to creat cash.

I did come across an aspect that many over look in how long will the panels produce power over there lifetime.

What Is the Lifespan of a Solar Panel?

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#10 2018-12-04 20:33:05

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

Funds that I had been working to set aside went to Daughter and a son to keep them from further issues but in either case maybe next year I will be able to actually get what I want done.

I did find this document on the dropping cost for solar http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9841

It also contains the changes on power efficiency for solar
NREL-PV-eff-3-13.jpg

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#11 2018-12-16 17:51:38

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

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#12 2019-04-05 20:10:27

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

How is the project going... I am still working on the energy cost as well since its spring and time to figure out what I can do with the money which I have.

'Renewable Energy, It’s Not for You': A Critique of Public Utilities' Approach to Renewables

We have so many choices these days in lease, coop and out right sale but it may come down to more than cost as some places are now taxing them as if its property...

Energy Cooperatives Make ‘Solar Gardens’ Bloom

That is about buying power as a group which will be greater but its not for all.

Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar

Location is the key to making the best of each type of energy source.

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#13 2019-06-02 16:27:06

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

I happened onto this drawback to those want to put in solar.
To Some Solar Users, Power Company Fees Are An Unfair Charge

This must be some of net metering effect...or connection for distribution charge.

To Some Solar Users, Power Company Fees Are An Unfair Charge,  4-kilowatt system — pretty typical for residential solar a big investment — $8,400 even after a federal tax break, a monthly $5-per-kilowatt solar fee from the state's largest utility, Alabama Power.

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#15 2019-06-04 18:17:24

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

Article is a testing to the cost of a system...
Here's what to know if you're considering solar power for your home or business

There are quite a few types of panels out there for one to purchase.
636263778842634573-CV0CkP9VEAActyu-1-.jpg?width=540&height=405&fit=crop

The cost of rooftop solar for homeowners and small businesses has fallen by more than half in the past decade.

    Ten years ago the cost was roughly $8 a watt.
    Now the cost is roughly $3.50 a watt.

Rooftop solar is a long-term investment given the high upfront cost.

    A system that can generate six kilowatts, for example, costs about $21,000.

But federal and state tax credits help offset the cost.

    A federal tax credit of 30% — $6,300 for a system costing $21,000 — reduces the upfront cost.
    A rebate from the state Focus on Energy fund further reduces the cost. The rebate is roughly 12% of the cost after the federal tax credit, up to $2,000 for homeowners and $4,000 for businesses.
    The tax credits reduce the upfront cost of a six-kilowatt system to about $13,000.

Even at a 50% of where panels were for cost its still alot to consider....

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#16 2019-06-11 16:21:05

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

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#17 2019-07-06 15:31:35

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

What’s keeping the cost of rooftop solar up?

One reason for not doing it has to do with property tax on my choice to provide power for my own use....

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#18 2019-07-06 17:16:15

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,120

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

At the time, we were doing well enough economically that it was beginning to look like an attractive option.  Unfortunately, twas not to be.  We both lost our jobs at the same time- it saved the penny pinchers a few pennies on the company's bottom line but badly hurt our bottom line, so we both had to switch companies, and are just now getting back on track, economically speaking.  The extra money we do have has gone to more home repairs, replacement of stolen and vandalized vehicles, health care for my wife, student loans, etc.

That said, I've since convinced my wife that our next car, my daily driver, will be a Tesla.  That will reduce our monthly gas bill to the point where we can start looking at buying a home solar system again.  I can't stand to sit in the car long enough to run out of range, so range is not the giant problem that others have made it out to be (for me, maybe not them).  It's not an option for most people though, as the purchase price of the vehicle is solidly in the range of a new Cadillac.  Our equivalent energy usage will go down by about half of what the solar system would provide, but the car has the advantage of taking me to work to make more money, whereas the solar panels don't and we already get some of our electricity from solar and nuclear.

The gas costs about $1,050/yr at $30 per fill up (gas prices have been very consistent on that point) and I fill up once every week and a half so long as I'm the only driver.  The much-ballyhooed operational cost advantage is completely erased by the price of the vehicle, but I'm not buying it for cost advantage.  I just want a nice car that I can plug into our garage's 240 outlet at the end of the day.  I figure home charging will cost about half of what gas would cost.  Once enough people switch to electric cars, they'll only proceed to hike the electricity rates and then there will be no economic advantage whatsoever over a gas powered car.  Anyway, they have to pay for the roads somehow and that comes in the form of taxes on "fuel"- whatever that fuel happens to be.

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#19 2019-07-06 17:39:12

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

Thanks for your situational update on the project and sorry that it turn south so quickly on you and your wifes financial bottom line.

For me I am still the only bread winner since the wife's health will not allow a work...

Luck would have the vehicle only needed running boards or rocker panels which I could do in the yard with hand tools and raw flat stock sheet metal....ect...

Still not able to save all that much but am not using any credit to make it from pay check to pay check.

Still experimenting with what can be bought for solar as in lights for security, motion detection and other such to see what will work with the LEDS where I can.

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#20 2019-08-12 17:43:05

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

Found a product for the bathroom which is on the north dark side of the house. Back in 2005 when I redid the roof with oldest son's help I installed one of the 12 inch diameter sun tunnels to bring daylight into the room which help to keep the light off for half of the day but mean having it on all night long.

This product is an outdoor tolerant light but I am using it inside.

The solar powered light has night sensing and comes on in a night lite level of light until motion sensor detects at which time it switches onto a room illumination mode. After motion stops it goes back to night lite mode until the next time motion is sensed.

i-Zoom Solar Powered COB LED Night Beam w/250 Lumens– Motion & Light Sensor Activated, Auto ON/OFF, Waterproof – Great for Front Door, Back Yard, Driveway, Garage, Patio, Deck - Black

7507.jpg

I may buy one more for that room and call it good.. so one room power reduction has been achieved now to find what can be used for the others.

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#21 2019-08-15 18:49:14

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

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#22 2019-08-15 21:48:22

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,120

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

If the panels have serial numbers on them, then the Police should be able to figure out who did it unless the panels have sprouted wings and made their way to Central or South America.  They only work in sunlight and we have more satellite coverage than any other nation on the planet.  I would start looking for a marijuana growing operation with a fancy new solar array, but we'll see.

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#23 2019-08-16 16:02:35

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

I am sure that at some point under 5 or 3 hundred for a panel they just figure that its just not worth it to add that piece of data to the item an to create a number file to guard against what could be.

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#24 2019-08-18 20:18:29

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

This is one way to boulster a business Tesla relaunches its solar-panel business: You can rent one for $50 per month

The company will allow residents of six states to rent solar power systems starting at $50 a month – or $65 a month in California – for a small set-up.

Musk says consumers can cancel anytime, although Tesla’s website says there’s a $1,500 charge to remove panels and restore the roof to its previous condition.

Well I repaired my entire roof over 15 yrs ago from the rafters, sheathing, tar paper to the shingles for that, so thats not bad.

Still searching on the size of what will be installed....

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#25 2019-08-18 21:06:22

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset

https://www.tesla.com/solarroof

https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/18/tesla … -business/

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/ … s-rentals/

Besides California, rentals will be offered in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla … 2019-08-18

So still no size in wattage....

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