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Solar energy questions and answers

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by gene, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. gene

    gene Active Member

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    #1 gene, Sep 10, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
    I was in the same situation, south side of roof faced the street. Solar City rep told me any side but north is fine. We used my west side and by adding only 2 more panels I am producing as much as the south would have.
     
  2. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    Well thank you for responding, the info is good to know, but where else was I suppose to ask? This WAS the Solar City thread until it became the investor thread. I just thought the people who have used SC could still comment if others have questions......
     
  3. Theshadows

    Theshadows Active Member

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    A question showed up in one of the investor threads about solar panels on a house in a HOA. It was pointed out that it was the wrong thread so I am creating a thread here for questions of those types.

    I am a NABCEP certified solar PV installation professional and I would love to share my knowledge with others here. I have learned so much from TMC I want to do what I can to help those with solar energy related questions.
     
  4. Theshadows

    Theshadows Active Member

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    I think it's not the proper thread because its a sub topic under investor discussions. Perhaps there should be another thread elsewhere in the site to ask those types of questions.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have created a thread in the proper place for these types of questions here
     
  5. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    @Theshadows

    You had a good idea to start this thread. I have a question for you. I have an apartment in the South of Italy. Would it be possible for me to design and instal a solar panel system (with batteries) even if I am not a solar PV installation professional?
     
  6. Theshadows

    Theshadows Active Member

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    That would depend on your level of comfort working with electricity and it would also depend on your local codes if they would allow it. Your landlord/property owner may have something to say about it too. I have worksheets that will help size the battery bank and solar array for your needs.

    Many times though you would be better off paying a local professional to do it for you. That way you get a warranty and a production guarantee. They also know all the hoops you will need to jump through with the utility companies. Any installer that knows what they are doing would be glad to give you a production guarantee.

    That being said, if you still are interested in tackling it on your own I have a book I can recommend you read that will help you out a lot. I keep it on my bookshelf for reference, though I don't need it that much anymore it was a tremendous help when in first started.
     
  7. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    Can you quote the title of this book?
     
  8. Theshadows

    Theshadows Active Member

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    Photovoltaics Design And Installation Manual: Renewable Energy Education for a Sustainable Future
     
  9. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    Thanks Theshadows. :)
     
  10. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    The same :smile:
     
  11. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    @ Theshadows

    Do you know anything about what kind of panels Solar City uses? I've back read in that other thread and someone said they don't use the cheapest or the best, but the most reliable. And if you know, do you like how they set up the panels on the roof? Just trying to get my head wrapped around all this, haven't had the company at to the house yet.

    Thanks!
     
  12. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    I'm shopping around for panels and installation on a townhouse that is under HOA domain. Right now they are saying I need to sign a 'hold harmless' agreement that transfers to the new owner if/when I sell. Is this common? NOTE: The HOA owns the roof and all the exterior of the building.

    Also, the company I'm currently interested in is SunPower as their panels deliver A/C (integrated microinverters) and have a 25 year (no touch) warranty. My roof is high and the cost to do anything up there is high. Other inverters carry only a 10 year warranty and need to be replaced at a high cost.

    And being in WA state we get some money back for producing energy from panels made in WA so with the SunPower panels the return is $0.18/kWh payable up to $4K/year until 2020.
     
  13. napabill

    napabill Active Member

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    #13 napabill, Sep 11, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
    Just had SolarCity install a 6.2 mW system yesterday. Took the following snap of the back of one of the panels:
    SolarPanel.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  14. simplesolar

    simplesolar Member

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    Holy Cow 6.2 MW is a lot. How big is your house? :eek: am pretty sure you meant 6.2KW. On another note, glad to see another solar installer on the forum that can contribute useful information to the public.
     
  15. Theshadows

    Theshadows Active Member

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    That is awesome, those are the same panels we are installing the most of right now too.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Might mean 6.2mwh. I know solar city pushes the annual production, not the nameplate rating. That is confusing for a lot of people at times.
     
  16. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    Units are important. Little 'm' is "milli". Big 'M' is Mega. I too assume that napabill meant "kW". Now, Theshadows has gone a step further, and seems to mean MWh/year. It's very hard to convert from MWh/y to kW, because it depends on latitude, climate, and all sorts of other things.
     
  17. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Theshadows and simplesolar:

    With Solar City and others out there pushing leased systems, I would appreciate your comments and possibly start a discussion of the benefits of leasing a system vs the benefits of owning a system.

    That said, I have been pushing my friends to own their systems if they can affort the upfront cash to have it installed.
     
  18. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    The "conservative" rule of thumb is: if you can afford to pay cash upfront (without dipping into your emergency fund), always buy, never borrow.
    The "riskier" rule of thumb is: if you're pretty sure you can get a better rate of return speculating or investing than the rate you're paying by borrowing or leasing, then borrow or lease.

    These decisions both depend very, very much on personal financial situation.

    I don't know if the lessors provide any kind of added service or maintenance guarantees, however; that might make a difference vs. buying outright.
     
  19. Theshadows

    Theshadows Active Member

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    I agree. On the east coast our electricity is cheaper and leasing doesn't make as much sense for the installation company. I have sold a few leases and it usually depends on the individual circumstances. If the customer doesn't have taxable income the lease is usually the better way because the leasing company takes the tax credit.

    If you lease a system you are not entitled to the tax credit (if commercial you also loose out on accelerated depreciation).
     
  20. simplesolar

    simplesolar Member

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    I own my own leasing company vs other contractors that goes through leasing partners. I make a killing doing leases, so people I know, I do not sell leases to. Even getting financing at 10% is worth it in the long run vs leasing. Benefit is if you really really don't have the money or can't get financing, saving something is still better than nothing while helping the environment. Leasing companies sell fear into people about the maintenance associated with solar.
     

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