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Old 09-09-13, 07:10 PM   #31
Vern2
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MN Renovator,

My Sunpower 10 - 245w panels, turn key install is $4.52 watt. With only Fed rebate, $7,751.80 total. Sun Valley Solar will be adding 3k SMA.

Live link to 9.2k system. Click on Month and Year links.

This is add to 9.2kw with 40 - 230w Sunpower panels. My add is 50 percent drop in cost. Total system size will be 11.6kw

All I really care about is it's paid for, and I've saved $5,400 so far. Being on cutting edge does cost more. Don't have a plug-in car yet. The 2011 Prius is getting 55 to 60 mpg.


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Last edited by Vern2; 09-09-13 at 07:32 PM..
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Old 09-09-13, 07:42 PM   #32
Robaroni
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PV modules are warranted to produce at least 80% of their rating 20 years down the line. I'd imagine they very rarely need to be replaced due to losing that much. There was a Home Power magazine article of a few people who were Back to the Land type folks who bought PV a very long time ago who said their early panels produce well many decades later. I always see this "20-30 year lifespan" crap in articles where people are talking about PV, if one module really crapped out and you had to bypass it in a string you'd only lose that panel. It's when you lose an inverter and you need to replace it that you need to put some money into it but my local PV installer has only seen issues with two Enphase microinverters and no issues with the large name brand string inverters he has installed over the years. I expect a system to have the lifespan of the house they are installed in with maybe a component or two that might need to be replaced on a very infrequent basis. It's not much different than a component on a car going out, the whole car doesn't die.

On another note, you said that your DIY install was about half of the $7.50/watt quote. Can you break down the costs, roughly for what you put into the system, I'm trying to get a rough estimate of what I'd expect to pay for my installation to know if I'll be getting a fair price.
Hi,
Sure, I installed the system a couple of years ago and I filed the receipts with my tax papers but I think it went somewhat like this:

28 Bosch 230 watt modules ~$480 each total = 6.44Kw
28 SolarEdge microinverters ~$82 each
1 SolarEdge main panel $1600.00
racking ~$1300
wire, permits, inspections, meters, etc. ~$600

Total came to about $19,200.00

My coop gave me $3.00 a watt 3 x 6.44 = $19,320

I did just have a failure with one of my microinverters. We had lightening recently so this may have caused it but I honestly don't know, I think the mtbf (mean time between failures) is something like 100 years but it did fail. They sent it out free.

If you ask me the best company is Outback. boy they are great! My inverters were initially just off grid (VFX3648 x 2). I wanted to convert them to off grid/intertie (GVFX3648) and Outback did it for the cost of shipping! Not only that, they have been in for 6 or 7 years without so much as a hiccup. Not as efficient as the microinverters but microinverters can't double as off grid power if the grid dies so living with the trade off is not a problem to me as I like the ability to run if the grid goes down which it does here several times a year.
Rob
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Old 09-09-13, 07:46 PM   #33
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MN Renovator,

My Sunpower 10 - 245w panels, turn key install is $4.52 watt. With only Fed rebate, $7,751.80 total. Sun Valley Solar will be adding 3k SMA.

Live link to 9.2k system. Click on Month and Year links.

This is add to 9.2kw with 40 - 230w Sunpower panels. My add is 50 percent drop in cost. Total system size will be 11.6kw

All I really care about is it's paid for, and I've saved $5,400 so far. Being on cutting edge does cost more. Don't have a plug-in car yet. The 2011 Prius is getting 55 to 60 mpg.

Vern,

You're beating me by about 1KW. I'll have to get my windmills in to catch up!

Rob
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Old 09-09-13, 07:47 PM   #34
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I would love to go solar... My only problem is figuring out how to pay for the system.
I paid for mine with lots of peanut butter sandwiches, rather than lunches out at the office. $150-$200/mo simply by keeping a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter at the office. I saw early in my career that minor changes in my behavior could make profound changes in my retirement lifestyle. I watched co-workers purchase fast food daily for lunch and yet comment that they couldn't save enough for retirement. Same co-workers would hop in their truck and drive less than half a city block to grab something from Subway. Meanwhile, I walked to the grocery store right next door when I needed a loaf of bread. There was even a sidewalk!
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Old 09-09-13, 07:48 PM   #35
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Vern,
I really want an electric car but I get the trade magazines and I can see we are in for some improvements to EV's and batteries so I'm holding off as long as I can.
Rob
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Old 09-09-13, 07:56 PM   #36
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I paid for mine with lots of peanut butter sandwiches, rather than lunches out at the office. $150-$200/mo simply by keeping a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter at the office. I saw early in my career that minor changes in my behavior could make profound changes in my retirement lifestyle. I watched co-workers purchase fast food daily for lunch and yet comment that they couldn't save enough for retirement. Same co-workers would hop in their truck and drive less than half a city block to grab something from Subway. Meanwhile, I walked to the grocery store right next door when I needed a loaf of bread. There was even a sidewalk!
I did the same thing. I could never figure that out. I'd watch guys buying lunch everyday and I'd be adding up the monthly cost.

You think that's bad, how about smoking! What are those things up to pack now?

As far as PV the tide is changing, major countries are showing the world that, not only is it possible, but it's cheaper. France with 75% nuclear is buying power from Germany now!

Nuclear plants are starting to age and it's like the guy with 100k miles on his car and a bad engine. Do I want to put a new engine in or scrap the car? Then there's Fukushima Daiichi. Japan thinks renewables are wonderful about now!

Rob
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Old 09-09-13, 08:57 PM   #37
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I did the same thing. I could never figure that out. I'd watch guys buying lunch everyday and I'd be adding up the monthly cost.
An EV would certainly help end some people's end of the month finances, but not mine. Rather than go that route, I have TDI's in my driveway. Took me 5 years and the roll over of my wife's 4Runner to convince my wife that a TDI would suite her needs just fine. After 6 years driving her TDI, you have to pry the keys out of her hands. She got sideswiped at a filling station a few years ago, and was without her Jetta for a week. She couldn't give that Ford Escape (rental) back fast enough as she watched her $$$ vaporize at every stop light and on-ramp. Three months into my wife's TDI, we did a road trip from FL to Maine and back: averaged 47mpg. The week after that vacation, my boss told me to go find a TDI to replace the Explorer I was driving 62 miles per day! I put 90k on the company TDI before I handed in the keys. Before I left that job, I picked up a used TDI wagon for my own daily driving. I got into it for under $6k, and only put $64/mo into it for fuel... (one fillup, 650 miles per tank!)

RE: Smoking, they were pushing $5/pack for the cheap stuff last I looked. I used to work with some pack-a-day guys who complained quite vocally when they raised taxes $1/pack.

Rather than complain about the need to build more fossil fuel plants or add more reactors to the alternatives, I simply did what my POCO did and built a renewable energy plant of my own (4.4kW). You can't tell me PV doesn't make sense in America when my own POCO has 35 megawatts of PV running, and a 75 megawatt solar thermal facility...
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Old 09-09-13, 09:54 PM   #38
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Vern,
I really want an electric car but I get the trade magazines and I can see we are in for some improvements to EV's and batteries so I'm holding off as long as I can.
Rob
We really like our Chevy Volt. We bought it mid Feb this year. So far we have driven 8850 EV miles and our life time MPG is 181. We have saved 417 gallons of gas so far. We charge it with solar power so take that oil companies. We live out away for things there lots of people that donít use their first tank of gas the first year of ownership.
It has 236 lbs. torque and that toque is usable at any speed. So it is fun to drive. if you are thinking about a EV you should test drive one.
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Old 09-09-13, 10:00 PM   #39
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MN Renovator,

My Sunpower 10 - 245w panels, turn key install is $4.52 watt. With only Fed rebate, $7,751.80 total. Sun Valley Solar will be adding 3k SMA.

Live link to 9.2k system. Click on Month and Year links.

This is add to 9.2kw with 40 - 230w Sunpower panels. My add is 50 percent drop in cost. Total system size will be 11.6kw

All I really care about is it's paid for, and I've saved $5,400 so far. Being on cutting edge does cost more. Don't have a plug-in car yet. The 2011 Prius is getting 55 to 60 mpg.

Your system is performing well.
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Old 09-09-13, 10:08 PM   #40
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Pinball great job!
You did just about what I did, right down to installing the modules on my roof with a tractor.
I had an installer come out and give me a price for my intertie. He wanted $7.50 a watt! 6.44k system would have cost me over twice what it did over DIY. I got a grant on the system from my electric coop so I wound up making money.

My dealer gave me a very good price on SolarEdge microinverters so I went with them over the Enphase but they are both good.

I just had a microinverter go out, SolarEdge is sending me a new one, so your logic that if you have a problem you don't lose the whole system is correct.

One bit of advice, get a spare microinverter or two. This way if you lose an inverter, you can install a new one when you take out the bad one. This saves two trips to the roof and re-bolting down your modules. It's a pain to change out the microinverters, I made two rows in anticipation of failures so all I would have to do is lift one module to get to the inverter.

These microinverters are amazingly efficient. Here's my display showing 6KW output, that's darn close to the 6.44KW max the system is designed for.

The other thing I'd like to say is that the hype about modules losing power over the years is completely bunk! My other system (off grid/ intertie) that went in in 2006 is still putting out very close to the original power I was getting in 2006.

Again, nice job and welcome to the net zero club!

On another note, how do you like the Volt?

Rob
That is a pretty sweet number to hit 6kw.

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