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Who has solar panels?

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by johnElarue, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Aug 26, 2013
    jamescolon

    jamescolon Enjoys Recycling

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    Location:
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    Here in Virginia many private firms are using solar panels, but they are paying tax to keep them.
     
  2. Aug 30, 2013
    Daffodils At The Sea

    Daffodils At The Sea Power Conserver

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    We've had a small solar system for years, mainly because we are in a rural setting and the power goes out a lot, often for a couple of weeks, depending on the severity of the storm, and because the power company wants an easement across the property. No way!! And it's really cool, during a storm I know the lights won't go out! I don't use extra power because the daytime might not be sunny during storms, but at night it's very reassuring.

    However....the retail world is not making these things available to the public easily, and it's not getting any more inexpensive because the technology is changing and becoming more expensive, batteries are more expensive, so it's more of a lifestyle thing than a way to save money. As far as the grid-tie thing, I think it's a ripoff because when the grid goes down, so does your system, and who would ever invest in anything that doesn't pay off for 10 years or 20 years? No financial adviser would ever suggest such a thing!

    But we have decided to add to our system, and not in a big way, but the expense is unbelievable. The racks the panels come on are outrageous, the new panels can't be controlled by the same controller that links the old panels because you can't mix and match wattages on panels, and shipping is insane. There are very few local places to drive to, to pick up components to avoid shipping, so it's just not turning out to be something that the public will turn to.

    So I am disappointed in where solar is going. I know the installers need to make money on the installations, so that's why the grid-tie is being pushed, but this is not being made available the way it should be. You can't even take a federal tax deduction unless it's professionally installed, and professional installers won't even give you the time of day if it's under $20,000 in California. :-(
     
  3. Aug 31, 2013
    ~gd

    ~gd Lovin' The Homestead

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  4. Sep 1, 2013
    Daffodils At The Sea

    Daffodils At The Sea Power Conserver

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    Well, there is a huge difference between *buying* solar panels and *investing* in bonds. They don't have anything to do with each other.

    Once you've spent your $20,000 on solar panels, it's gone. You bought stuff, you've got the stuff, not the money. Now, your panels may or may not provide you some money by earning back some pennies every day to the power company over a 20-year period, and you may or may not *break even* on your $20,000 expenditure,. That's called "paying for itself". It's not investing. Solar panels being in the sun for 20 years are pretty close to needing to be replaced, so to say they will go on for another 20 years and make you money is probably pie in the sky, so all they did was break even. No investor with a conscience would ever tell you to buy bonds so you will have your principal untouched 20 years later.

    If you take $20,000 and buy bonds, for a while you will still have your $20,000. And if interest rates go down, you will make more money right away, even if you aren't allowed to cash it in for 20 years. The money is accruing even though you can't touch it. But if interest rates go up, you will lose some of your principal, hopefully not all, and with any luck interest rates will go down and you might make some money on your bonds. That's very different from buying stuff, and trying just to get back to your original purchase price. :)
     
  5. Sep 1, 2013
    ~gd

    ~gd Lovin' The Homestead

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    OK i will buy your arguement on Solar panels [I never invested or spent money on them] you have some strange take on bonds however.It is possible that the issuer of the bonds goes brole a week or a month after he issued the Bonds [like General Motots did] There is usually a secondary market where bonds between issue and maturity are bought and sold so you may get your money back AND maybe more.or less anytime. Bonds {except 0 coupon bonds] pay a fixed rate Usully twice a year and you get back the issue price When the bonds mature. I have $100K+ invested in bonds paying 4-6.75% TAX FREE! tRY GETTING THAT FROM YOUR BANK. Might I suggest you quit this line of arguement until you have done spme research...~gd
     
  6. Sep 2, 2013
    Daffodils At The Sea

    Daffodils At The Sea Power Conserver

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    gd, I was not trying to give a financial dissertation on each and every kind of bond out there, just a quick, general overview to show how bonds are not in any way like buying solar panels. These posts on these forums are here for years and years, and there could be hundreds of people who might read this thread and believe that buying solar panels is an investment that will not only return their principal but make money for them, that is in a category of relative safe investing like bonds. That's all. So please let's not take this into some kind of bond investing financial thing. :)
     
  7. Sep 3, 2013
    ~gd

    ~gd Lovin' The Homestead

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    OK.
     
  8. Feb 26, 2014
    Lolli G

    Lolli G Frugally lurking

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    Bonds and solar panels are like fish and dogs....not related. You get into solar when you are on the grid to off-set your power needs. Solar powers your house during the day and you then use power off the grid at night. I have a solar power system to provide my total electricity as I am off-grid. I live like you in town, but I don't have a power bill. The cost of solar has decreased very significantly since we put in our first small solar system. I have been on solar for 20 years and have seen panels go from $2,000 each, for 12 volt, 125 watt to $250 for 24 volt, 300 watts. My inverter has gone from in excess of $5000 to our new one which we paid $1700, both being a 48 volt inverter. Batteries have pretty much stayed the same. I use L-16 batteries which, right now, work the best for solar. My first bank lasted in excess of 10 years. I bought 2 new strings and the old string still works for out buildings for power, along with my smaller inverter. Lithium ion batteries are starting to get more cost effective, and they actually will produce/store more watts than lead acid. Also, make sure you get batteries manufactured in the USA as they last longer. So, don't really look at solar as an "investment", it's an alternative.
     
  9. Mar 11, 2014
    Daffodils At The Sea

    Daffodils At The Sea Power Conserver

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    Hi, Lolli, Welcome to the forum. :)

    <<<"Lolli G, post: 374031, member: 6466"]Bonds and solar panels are like fish and dogs....not related.>>>>

    I live off the grid, too, for 15 years now, so I see what you are saying. Our systems are probably similar, a standalone setup as opposed to a grid-tie setup. :)

    I think the analogy of bonds and solar was relating to when the big power companies want us to give them $20,000 for them to put panels on our roofs in a grid-tie situation, telling us that they will pay for themselves in 20 years. I don't know of any financial institution that would try to claim that was a good way to "invest" your money.

    You won't have your $20,000 at the end of 20 years if you give it to the power company. It might even be a leased situation, where the panels won't belong to the person, either. Whether you've gotten $20,000 worth of electricity over that time is questionable, if you're even still in that house.

    And I just found out a new thing, in those big grid-tie installations where customers are "leasing" the panels, the company that put them there gets the government/tax discount, not us, because we don't own them, so that's something we might not realize and think we'll get a tax deduction.

    It is still cheaper per killowatt to buy power from the power company, because even though the prices of the equipment has gotten lower, all the equipment and batteries add up to several thousands of dollars, including a shed to put them in with two separate areas so the batteries won't be in with the controller/inverter. And don't forget shipping, which is outrageous, just as much as the solar panels.

    I don't look at solar as an investment either, and yes, it's an alternative that takes commitment, and understanding of voltage, watts, sun position in seasonal change, and battery acids and maintenance. I know when it's a cloudy day for 5 days in a row the way I turn on lights and use the refrigerator and TV has to change, and I don't think a lot of people want to keep track of that. So there is a psychological component to that as well :)[/quote]
     

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