Solar Install - Story From Start To Finish

Nifty

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------ Update ------
Somehow my first post in this thread got messed up, so I've put the whole story here:
http://www.nifty-stuff.com/solar-panels-energy-part-1.php
-----------------------

A solar sales guy came by today. We gave him all our usage / bills for the past 12 months. We're in a tiered system so we pay up to $0.50 per KW/H it the high tiers and our baseline is around $0.13.

So, their goal isn't to take you off the grid, but to get you out of the top tiers. I mean, if your goal is 100% off the grid, they can do that... but your ROI on your investment isn't so good.

Well, after all the number crunching, rebates, credits, etc. that our break even on a 3 KW system would be 7.8 years.

It's a company that has been around a LONG time and has done some pretty major installations with large companies and lots of residential.

I'm going to read through the solar discussions in this section of the forum because I know it's been discussed. I'm also going to have a few other companies come do their song/dance and see where we end up.

Will keep you posted.
 

gettinaclue

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Please keep us posted and tell us eeeeeverything. DH and I did quite a bit of research into this and even with us making our own solar panels (doable), it was very expensive.

We never had anyone come out though. We figured if doing it ourselves was out of price range, then having someone else do it would be even more so.
 

Wifezilla

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A lot of the solar panels are manufactured in China. Read your labels so to speak.
 

Wolf-Kim

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Did anyone hear about the big rash of thefts, especially in CA? Apparently it's the crime that's all the rage nowadays, stealing solar panels.

In the course of one night, a vineyard had some 44 big panels stolen. They believe it is marijuana growers stealing them, in order to help cut their energy costs for growing their plants. Many people who have solar panels are equiping them with motion sensor cameras and new locks. Probably wouldn't be a big deal for homeowners and smaller personal paneling, but still something to remember when investing that much money into something that's constantly out in the open. :/
 

Nifty

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Interesting, and a very good point! Fortunately ours would be facing the back of our property and so the chances of anybody even knowing we have them are slim.

Plus they have to get past our attack chickens!!
 

warthog

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Ww had solar fitted, got all the stuff shipped over from the US and our electrican wired it all up for us.

We have a back up generator, (we are totally off grid), and have been using solar for about 18months now. It is a big learning curve and you do get teething problems, not with the equipment, but with lack of understanding.

But it's great not to have electricity bills. I calculated our return of investment to be about 5 years.
 

Nifty

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Update:

Our decision process will be as follows:

1. Does solar make sense financially? Fortunately this question is relatively agnostic to the manufacturer and installer. Im in touch with a few people that have had solar for up to 3 years. I figure if they are happy with the ROI and the efficiency of their systems / cost savings, then that will answer that question.
2. Which panel manufacturer? I feel the majority of the cost is in the materials vs. labor, so my priority is to have the panels be covered by a solid company .
3. Which installer?: Im getting recommendations and reading reviews online to narrow it down to a handful that can do their song/dance and convince us as to why they are the best.

Well, I've since contacted about 10 peeps in the area that had solar installed. Some have had panels for 3 years, and some for a little less.

The problem I'm running into now is that the companies I'm looking at all have really good reviews and reputations.

So, I guess now I have to just get the bids, do an apple to apple comparison, and go with the one that "feels" best.
 

ksalvagno

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At least you will have a lot of good people to choose from. Not a bad problem to have. Good luck!
 

ducks4you

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WE are the people who are field-testing solar and our feedback, along with the companies that cater to our needs, will be the best way to improve solar electricity.
Right now, IMHO, the BIGGEST problem with solar is a lack of powerful, long-lasting and affordable battery storage. Certainly, if this gets solved, maybe NASA will be able to go to Mars! :lol:
Keep us informed, Nifty.
 
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