Author Topic: Going Solar  (Read 6148 times)

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Online The Latinist

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Going Solar
« on: November 20, 2016, 05:14:23 PM »
My new house has a beautiful unobstructed southern exposure and enough roof space, if I'm calculating correctly, for a 12 KW array that would provide completely for my electrical needs.  And I'm in CT, with good incentives and net metering laws.  So I'm thinking about taking the plunge, but I'm not sure what the best way to go about it is. Buy and finance? Lease? Something like what Steve Novella talked about? And how do I find a good, reliable company to design, install, and service my system?

Has anyone gone solar?  Do you have advice or recommendations?  I'd appreciate any advice or information anyone cared to share.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 11:13:14 AM by The Latinist »
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Offline moj

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2016, 11:15:48 AM »
It will be interesting to see what comes out of the Tesla/solar city deal because they seem to have very different pricing models. Solar city use to have little to no upfront cost but they took a cut of money/power that generated. The new Tesla panels look great and seem to be something you have buy upfront. We have also thought about it but don't get that much direct sun so it may not be worth it for us. I'm just happy to see it become a cheaper more popular option.

http://buffalonews.com/2016/11/18/musks-solar-roof-may-not-pricey/

Online daniel1948

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2016, 06:21:29 PM »
It will be interesting to see what comes out of the Tesla/solar city deal because they seem to have very different pricing models. Solar city use to have little to no upfront cost but they took a cut of money/power that generated. The new Tesla panels look great and seem to be something you have buy upfront. We have also thought about it but don't get that much direct sun so it may not be worth it for us. I'm just happy to see it become a cheaper more popular option.

http://buffalonews.com/2016/11/18/musks-solar-roof-may-not-pricey/

Tesla sells cars, and will sell the "solar wall" for storage of electricity. Solar City installs solar panels on your roof at no cost to you, and then sells you the electricity, and sells the excess to the grid. These are two different businesses. The merger makes them into one company, but I would expect them to remain separate businesses.

Solar City can install the solar panels at no cost to you because those panels produce income, since you buy the electricity, and the grid buys the excess. A battery wall produces no income, so it stands to reason you'd have to buy it outright. The benefit would be for homes/installations that are off the grid, or possibly for places where the grid pays too low a price when it buys excess power, or does not buy excess at all. (When I was living in North Dakota, the utility company owned the power lines and they simply would not buy excess power from homeowners.)

The merger would make it easy to do a package deal (if that is your choice) where S.C. installs the panels and sells you the electricity, and Tesla sells you the battery wall.

Caveat: Although I own stock in both, I have no idea what their actual plans are.
Daniel
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Offline moj

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2016, 06:42:44 PM »
Did you click the link? Tesla recently introduced a line of roof top solar panels that are clear and look really awesome and are claiming it will cost the same as regular roofing.

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2016, 07:39:37 PM »
So I'm thinking about taking the plunge, but I'm not sure what the best way to go about it is. Buy and finance? Lease? Something like what Steve Novella talked about? And how do I find a good, reliable company to design, install, and service my system?

1.  I don't trust any of the lease/finance/service agreement contracts.  There's just too much that can go wrong, too many unknowns, and too many shady practices.  (selling your house?  hail damage?  change in electric rates? contractor goes out of business?)

2.  I'd only do it if I could pay for it up-front and own it.  And I'd do it at the same time as I replace my roof so I wouldn't have to re-do anything.

3.  I estimated I could use a 6.5kW system and the installed price would be about $25,000 and simple payback would be about 15 years.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2016, 10:48:35 AM »
Did you click the link? Tesla recently introduced a line of roof top solar panels that are clear and look really awesome and are claiming it will cost the same as regular roofing.

I think the claim is not that the cost to install is less than a conventional roof, but that the overall lifetime cost would be less, since the solar tiles are claimed to last twice as long as conventional roofing tiles, and produce electricity. More economical overall, rather than cheaper to install.
Daniel
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2016, 10:50:41 AM »
Did you click the link? Tesla recently introduced a line of roof top solar panels that are clear and look really awesome and are claiming it will cost the same as regular roofing.

I think the claim is not that the cost to install is less than a conventional roof, but that the overall lifetime cost would be less, since the solar tiles are claimed to last twice as long as conventional roofing tiles, and produce electricity. More economical overall, rather than cheaper to install.

Musk has since said that the tiles will be competitive with similar roofing materials (presumably high-end alternatives like slate and tile) even without taking the value of energy produced into account.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline moj

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2016, 12:30:10 PM »
 They haven't yet said how much they will cost exactly but claim "Lower cost than a traditional roof when combined with projected utility bill savings. Still they look great, and wish they would release the price already.

https://www.tesla.com/solar


Offline Anders

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2016, 03:43:29 PM »
In Sweden you have to pay tax on the electricity you produce yourself.  :bang:
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” Charles Darwin

Online daniel1948

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2016, 04:53:27 PM »
In Sweden you have to pay tax on the electricity you produce yourself.  :bang:

Sort of like an income tax, no? We pay tax on the money we earn ourselves. How is that different from paying tax on the value you receive from using electricity you produce yourself? Nobody wants their own source of income to be taxed, but taxes are necessary if we are to have schools and firefighters and libraries and streets and trash collection, etc., etc., etc.
Daniel
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2016, 05:16:55 PM »
With 50+% of electricity in Sweden already coming from renewables and 35% from nuclear, there's not a lot of reason for the government to incentivize solar.  There just aren't a lot of fossil fuel plants for home solar to replace.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Online Friendly Angel

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2016, 05:52:32 PM »
In Sweden you have to pay tax on the electricity you produce yourself.  :bang:

Sort of like an income tax, no? We pay tax on the money we earn ourselves. How is that different from paying tax on the value you receive from using electricity you produce yourself? Nobody wants their own source of income to be taxed, but taxes are necessary if we are to have schools and firefighters and libraries and streets and trash collection, etc., etc., etc.

There have been proposals to tax (or charge a  fee for) home solar producers in the USA as well... don't know if any have passed.  It's not the same as taxing income though - I'd contend that taxing your solar power production would be analogous to paying income tax on your own labor for mowing the lawn.

If we get enough solar installations, they'll have to completely re-think how they pay for the infrastructure of the grid.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2016, 06:48:00 PM »
In Sweden you have to pay tax on the electricity you produce yourself.  :bang:

Sort of like an income tax, no? We pay tax on the money we earn ourselves. How is that different from paying tax on the value you receive from using electricity you produce yourself? Nobody wants their own source of income to be taxed, but taxes are necessary if we are to have schools and firefighters and libraries and streets and trash collection, etc., etc., etc.

There have been proposals to tax (or charge a  fee for) home solar producers in the USA as well... don't know if any have passed.  It's not the same as taxing income though - I'd contend that taxing your solar power production would be analogous to paying income tax on your own labor for mowing the lawn.

If we get enough solar installations, they'll have to completely re-think how they pay for the infrastructure of the grid.

Solar panels on your house are an investment that produce income, or a value equivalent to income. We tax investment income. Why not the income derived from the investment of solar panels?

The one argument against would be that we want to incentivize solar panel installation, though apparently Sweden does not need to, as per Reply #10 above from The Latinist.

Everybody thinks their own particular situation should not be taxed. My own proposal for taxation would be that everyone above the poverty level who makes less than I do would pay 10%. Everybody who makes more than I do should pay 85%. And everybody who makes exactly as much as I do should pay 2%. But society needs to fund services, so as long as we tax income, we should tax all forms of income. Seriously, we need a progressive tax system without loopholes or exceptions.
Daniel
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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2016, 07:44:11 PM »
I bought, but financed through the HERO energy program. For what I paid after my tax rebate I will break even in 12 years on energy savings, after that, gravy. Had I thought it through a little more I may have waited longer, but I got an upgraded electrical box out of the deal and I REALLY needed that anyway to the tune of a few thousand.
I didn't lease for a variety of reasons, but if I sell these add actual value to the appraisal, and there isn't any funkiness with the lease involved. I hear it can be reasonably taken care of, but is a pain from friends who have bought houses with leases in effect.
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Offline Billzbub

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Re: Going Solar
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2016, 08:31:06 AM »
My roof now is in fair shape.  Hopefully by the time the kids are out of college and my roof goes bad (say 10 years), solar shingles will have all the kinks worked out and I can give them a go.
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