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MN Renovator 03-11-16 09:31 PM

My system was about $4.5/watt installed for my 3.36kw system and about $3.2/watt after tax credits. I get a .08c/kwh bump that gets paid annually for the first 10 years from my utility by selling them my midwest renewable energy tracking credits through a contract to the utility for that period and I get compensated through net metering on my bill. If there is a $25+ credit on my bill, they mail a check. At my current electric rate yearly average of 11 cents and my 2015 solar production, I'm looking at about 70% payback in the first ten years and about 7 more years until the rest would be 'paid off'. Looking at the costs of permitting and the equipment, it looks like the 2 person solar install plus the electricians brought home most of the cost and not the equipment or permitting. I asked around before I got my system installed and it seems in my area in 2014 when I got my system quote, this was what everybody was changing at the time. Either way, I expect electric costs to rise and we have a strong defense in the Minnesota public utilities commission to protect net metering and fixed monthly costs for solar owners.

Once the 10 years is up, I should be able to add a pole mount in the back yard and add another 2 modules without the utility giving any fuss about it as long as I pull the electrical permit. My inverter warranty covers an additional 690 watts and based on my summer solar experience, on the sunniest summer days I would just barely be touching the 3395 watt clip that my 3000 watt SolarEdge inverter maxes out at during the peak hour of the day. I imagine I might be inclined to add slightly more capacity since whenever it's peaked before the temperature the inverter is reporting is a reasonable margin from the derating figure, warranties don't last forever and I'd be willing to give up the 12 year warranty at the 10 year mark.

gasstingy 03-14-16 07:35 AM

MN Renovator, nicely detailed explanation. My TVA contract is at retail plus $0.12 per kWh for the first 10 years. Then I have 10 years at retail. At the present rate, and of course weather permitting, I should be paid back at ~ 10.5 years if the utility rates don't rise again.

OTOH, I plan to add as close to 3190 rated watts of solar as soon as the 10 year retail + contract has run its course. That would bring me to 10 kW nameplate. By then I hope to have an EV that will help drink the extra juice.

I'll also do more home improvements to reduce our energy usage. We're slowly changing from CFL's to LED's and I have a notion to install a radiant barrier in my attic. Can't think of much else to do to lower our consumption, as that is in pretty good shape as-is.

pinballlooking 03-21-16 11:50 AM

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We just went over 50k solar powered miles EV miles in our Chevy Volt.
Only one oil change so far. No matter what the cost of gas is this saving really adds up.
You cannot get much cleaner driving maybe a bicycle. I am amazed at what can be done with sun power.

We have not run our natural gas heater in two years. We have not run our 4 ton AC in two years. The Mini splits are just so much more efficient and powered by the sun.

Since adding solar power everything we buy it is like how much power does it use. Is there something that uses less power or less standby power. It has really changed how we shop for powered items.

I know a lot of you were already doing this and the more people that do this the more choices we will have.

I am thankful every day for our solar power and the chance to make a small difference.

I signed up for their new metering program. I still get zeroed out at the March 1 but now get a check for the avoided cost. That cost is 0.049 cents we pay about 0.10 retail.
But it is better than nothing.

pinballlooking 03-21-16 08:47 PM

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Ok it is spring now and solar loves the spring sun.
We made 80.9 kWh today 3/21/2016 so far this month 1,230 Kwh so far this month.
It is so nice to get back to the 80 and above Kwh days.
3/22/2016 we made 80.3 kwh today.

pinballlooking 03-23-16 01:27 PM

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Have you ever wondered what your load center looks like when the array is producing 11 Kw power. I sure have.

The warmer breakers are the 20 amp breakers and they have pre code max out micro inverters on them.

I bet you can guess what breaker the solar array back feeds too.

pinballlooking 04-01-16 12:31 PM

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12.5 KW array 1.56 MW was the estimate,
March 2016 1,777 KWh generated. We banked 352 KWh this is a good start of the solar year. :) This is our best March so far.
We are zeroed out on March first.
Yes I did receive my first check for $30.33 from Duke Power.

Other solar producers show us your numbers.

where2 04-01-16 07:59 PM

4.4kw system generation: March 2016 = 495kWh, March 2015=562kWh, March 2014=554 kWh
March electric bill was $35.81 for 272kWh delivered.
My all electric house sent 311kWh to the grid through my net meter, and used every one of those kWh, plus an additional 272kWh from the grid... (I've never run a kWh balance forward with net metering).

gasstingy 04-06-16 07:39 AM

6.81 kW nameplate arrays total. Calendar month production was 859 kWh.

Billing cycle production was 808 kWh. Consumption for the billing cycle was 760. March bill was $41.60.

earloflondon 04-09-16 08:05 AM

great read guys!
Hey Gents, just wanted to say thanks for putting all of this info up in this thread. Spent a day last week reading through the whole thing start to finish - really cool to see all of your projects come to fruition!

Sadly the part of Ontario, Canada where I live will not allow any more connections for either Net metering or our MicroFit program. I have been trying and applying for over 5 years now only to have them say "there is no capacity on the feeder for a 10kw system". I've watched over a dozen new houses go up in the area over the past few years I've come to realize what they mean is "there is no capacity on the feeder if someone other than us is producing it"... ;) I like the net-metering idea in general, as it basically means that the energy being created is being used instantly (except for maybe Pinball who can put some in the bank each day...) Here, and I'm guessing most places now, we've all been turned into vampires so as to take advantage of "cheaper" rates at night. It would be nice to be able to do laundry, charge your Volt, or run your A/C when you're actually producing energy....and awake!
So I will continue to hound my provider with applications, and watch here enviously from the sidelines!


pinballlooking 04-09-16 08:14 AM

Tim I hope your application gets approved someday. I saw some closeout panels for .54 cents a watt amazing.
I think solar is here to stay. The post is getting long but I love actual solar producers posting their results here so people can see it works at with smaller arrays and larger arrays.

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