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Solar panels on your home

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by RunninRaven, May 13, 2019.

  1. bobrek

    bobrek Proud A$$hat Mofo
    Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 1999
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    Sounds ridiculous, but make sure your insurance company will still cover you. There are companies in Florida that will not insure your home if you have solar panels.
  2. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

    Feb 14, 1999
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    Are you in Texas? I saw some posters say it's a green decision and not a financial decision, but it really depends on where you are and what the prevailing utility cost is. In Texas, solar is still a hard financial proposition because our electricity is pretty cheap. In places like Hawaii, California, or New York, it's a pretty easy value prop to make because the grid is expensive. Also states that decided to subsidize, like Cali or New Jersey, make it easy.

    Also surprised to hear it could cover all your usage. I had a guy quote me before, and the panels would only cover up to half my peak load. Maybe, it's on the assumption that the time you're selling back to the grid will make up for a capacity shortfall?

    Solar panels have very low maintenance requirements. They last a long time, with a depreciation schedule usually around 20 years. They do degrade slowly over time, but after 20 years, you'll still have more than half its capacity working.

    Depending a little on where you are, I agree with this. Batteries will be important to our energy future, but it's very hard for a residential customer to make the investment case for them unless you're tolerance for power outages is zero (even then, a backup generator is probably cheaper).

    If you're in the competitive part of Texas, there is no mandated net metering, but some companies have been making deals to buy back electricity as part of the bundle. Some just take it for free. Glad you got a net metering agreement, but consider this: you have a 10 year break-even, but the net metering is part of your electricity contract for 1 to 2 years at a time. What if they change the compensation for net metering on you later?

    Also, recognize that you will still have distribution costs. I'm hoping when you say that you'll offset your energy bill, you're thinking about both supply and distribution charges. But even so, you're going to have distribution costs. Those are mostly volumetric now (so you'd only be billed for the hours where you're consumption exceeds your production), but there is an idea called "decoupling" in the utility industry that it makes more sense to charge customers a flat fee to be connected to the grid instead of something based on their consumption (mostly because of solar customers). Not saying you're going to see that happen in your lifetime, but its a possibility and it'd ruin the economics of this decision.
    Deckard and Blake like this.
  3. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

    Jun 30, 1999
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    or turn your ass into The Flash?
    #23 No Worries, May 14, 2019
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
    Jontro likes this.
  4. Haymitch

    Haymitch Contributing Member

    Dec 22, 2005
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    @RunninRaven I hope this works out for you but based on your OP this sounds very salesman-scammy.
  5. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member

    Jun 16, 2000
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    What makes you say that?
  6. B-Bob

    B-Bob my celli weighs a ton
    Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2002
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    In my novice view, it boils down to two things: (1) conservatively estimating the buy-back / pay-off period, and (2) the future cost of energy on the grid (which nobody can really predict very well, if you ask me).

    Given our low electricity consumption for our house (and relatively small roof), we had a pay-off period of like 18 years, and we were like GTFO, no way. 18 years to break even assuming no big maintenance costs (probably not a good assumption).

    Now, if energy costs skyrocket for some reason (?), then we will maybe wish we had done it.

    EDIT: There is a social pressure in my neighborhood, kind of unstated, for you to get solar panels, so I extra enjoy not having them. We're literally like the only people on our block not to have them. California and San Francisco in particular always bring out my inner gun rack at some point.
  7. Falcons Talon

    Falcons Talon Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2002
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    My sister sent me a copy of what they've paid, but I can't tell WTF I'm looking at.
    B-Bob likes this.
  8. peleincubus

    peleincubus Member

    Oct 26, 2002
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    Nuclear power is just as clean if done right. It's not like you'll have a Chernobyl in your back yard or something.
  9. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
    Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2002
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    Very interesting info, so thanks to the OP and the others that chimed in, but the rest of you need to work on your comedy routines. ;-)

    Our house is paid for and we intend to stay in it until we’re carted off, hopefully not for 20 years or so (at least for her). The place is situated perfectly for solar, with the back having the morning sun (but a ton of oaks, so not ideal), and the front blasted in the afternoon, which would be the best place to put them. We could make our neighbors jealous or piss them off (flip a coin - this is Texas, after all). There are a few in the neighborhood, but very few, and not for blocks around.

    To be honest, since we replaced the heat/ac, our water bill (including garbage/recycling pickup and a small fee for frequent street cleaning) is more than our electric bill. I wish I was kidding. Electricity is through an electric co-op since we were out of the Austin city limits when we built our house, and it’s cheaper than the city’s utility, but we have Austin water/waste water, which is crazy expensive. We’ve been lucky with rain so far this year, but most years recently, we’ve been experiencing droughts, some quite severe. The cost of water went up a lot and never went down.

    While I think solar might make sense for us since we’ll be here so long, I also think that the cost of solar panels, etc., have a lot of room to decrease in price, and that they will. So will batteries for electric storage, which is a newer tech than the panels. I’ll revisit this in 5 years. Assuming the country doesn’t go to Hell in a hand basket, not impossible at all, the way things look in DC right now, it could be a more sensible investment for us then. Very interesting discussion, folks.
    don grahamleone likes this.

    REEKO_HTOWN I'm Rich Biiiiaaatch!

    Jun 26, 2008
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    I'll install some on my roof once these stupid tariffs end and the next President brings back the incentives for them.
    FranchiseBlade likes this.
  11. DaDakota

    DaDakota Contributing Member

    Mar 14, 1999
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    Solar shingles are here too.

  12. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2002
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    Well, I can't really help you because I live in California. I have solar panels and my electric bill is usually around $17 every two months. Prior to this, it was around $320 every two months. I also have to pay $56 for leasing the panels and equipment.

    I know some companies have charged others $700 lease for theirs, so that meant that it really depended on what kind of company the lease came from.

    I have zero problems with having enough energy. My house is set to 72-73 degrees year round. I love it.

    If I had to pay a higher lease the panels wouldn't be worth it.
    DFWRocket and don grahamleone like this.
  13. donkeypunch

    donkeypunch Contributing Member

    Dec 8, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Tesla charges a grip for them.

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