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Solar installer/company in NoVA/DC

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by justaddsun, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    Hi locals,

    Anyone know or has had a good experience with a solar panel company in the DC or NoVA area? Looking to get solar power for my home. I've begun preliminary talks w/ Astrum and Solar4Leesburg -- but just based this on their websites. I'd like an experience where I learn a lot, but where the company provides "turnkey" service, if possible. TIA.
     
  2. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    I've been talking to Mike at Solar Odyssey. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to move forward, but Mike has been great so far.

    540-338-8906

    Andrew
     
  3. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Wow, I JUST got back from my neighbors house, where he gave me a tour of his solar installation. He's going to confirm with me via email, but I believe you also dealt with Mike at Solar Odyssey. That having been said, if there are any other recommendations, I'm a fan of comparative estimates...
     
  4. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    Good to know, I'll give him a call, thanks. I've also spoken to Astrum Solar -- seems like a smooth outfit and have done lots of work in our area. They will be getting back to me on a prelim "satellite analysis" on 4/22. I'll let you guys know if its not ridiculous:eek:.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2
     
  5. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    Heard back from Astrum early with a very professional presentation. Only small detail: I forgot to tell them about the Tesla charging (that was previously not on the electric bill).

    Can you guys confirm this for me: I will drive an estimated 425 miles/week. A standard charge on 85kwh battery gets me to rated 239 miles, so I will need a total of 1.778 full (standard) charges per week which equals 151kwh of electricity per week (sorry, trying to learn the energy terms)? Multiply that conservatively x 50 weeks (factoring in vacation weeks) and that's 7557kwh total per year to recharge the Model S. If this is about right, that will increase the estimate by 50% as last year I used a total of 15,000kwh!!
     
  6. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    Check out this thread on charging efficiency. Sounds like 80-90% charging efficiency as far as amount of kWh required from outlet to get kWh of battery charge with losses due to heat and "vampire" losses due to the car being in a constant state of readiness.

    REAL efficiency and electricity costs
     
  7. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    Just wanted to update this thread. I've signed with Solar Odyssey for a 13.8kw PV system, 285w LG panels x 48, and Enphase M250 microinverters (coming out end of month). This should provide about 85% of our power needs including charging the Model S, of course.

    Also applied for the Dominion Power Solar Purchase program where we are still on the grid, buy their electricity for $.10/kWh and they buy ours for $.15/kWh. Still a very long payback, but that's really not the point.

    Would love to hear of other locals' experiences and PV plans. I've actually already communicated with everyone who's posted here so thanks for the advice, guys.
     
  8. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    Funny, I just started up discussions again with Mike. That's a fairly large system you're putting in.
     
  9. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    andrew, I spoke w/ Mike's supplier end of this week and was amazed at the pace of solar technology rolling out, eg just this spring I was originally going to go with a 260w panel, then a 280 watt panel -- LG does not even make these anymore and is quickly moving to a 300w panel as their "high-volume/value" piece; the 285w panel I spec'd a month ago are now the lowest level panel! As I recall, as far as solar panel producers, the pretenders have been put out of business and the traditional big players are moving forward. Same goes with the new microinverters coming out. I think it's really hard to "future-proof" this project and the $/kwh calculations can go on and on... I know you also had a possible scenario looking at not using the Solar Purhcase program at all. Very interesting stuff.
     
  10. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    Solar panels finally went up on our garage today, still need to be tied into the grid but thought I'd share a pic :) Solar.JPG
     
  11. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    Congrats Dfib! That is the money shot (literally) :p. Or a great screen background. I'm jealous of your all black panels - that was my priority going into this, but got caught up in all the wattage numbers and ended up with the more conventional white-framed panels. Did you have to coordinate Dominion have to come around during the install?
     
  12. EVTECH

    EVTECH Member

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    Great looking install! Am starting research now for my own system. Not sure how much that tree means to you but it looks like it is blocking some sun!
     
  13. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    There's still electrical work to be done on the project (and inspections) before it is complete, not sure at what point Dominion comes in to inspect. Is your project still moving forward?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yes, there's some tree trimming in my future...
     
  14. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    Here's our first array going up this past weekend. I am only the second home to have PV in a modern development of thousands of homes. I feel a little self conscious... Go-live won't be until end of week I'm guessing. So far, Solar Odyssey's work/ethic has been awesome. yny4ety4.jpg
     
  15. EVTECH

    EVTECH Member

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    #15 EVTECH, Sep 23, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
    Unfortunately its not too surprising. Have been doing research on different systems when I realized how far behind this state is with green energy. Seems Virginia doesn't care for incentives on EV's or Solar. Sad really.

    Great looking system! Looks like it will be a "clean" install.
     
  16. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    #16 DFibRL8R, Sep 25, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
    Looking good. I wouldn't feel too self conscious. I think the first people to take the leap in a neighborhood will enable others who are on the fence with solar to commit. Our system is up and running, waiting on dominion to enable the meter to credit our solar generation (currently all the extra energy we generate is feeding back into the grid but unfortunately the meter's not dropping yet).
     
  17. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    Looking good! I can't wait to see your generation numbers.
     
  18. jacobp

    jacobp Member

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    I am in the market for solar power. I've tried to contact both Astrum and Solar Odyssey, but no response. I need your collective help in figuring this out. Over the past 12 months, I've used 19,000 kw. If i drive an average of 10,000 miles per year, how much larger should my solar system be to offset charging the Tesla.

    Right now, it looks like i can get a 11.8kW system using SunPower 327w panels. If i wait until i get the 345w panels (in 6 months), the system will grow to 12.4kW. Is the difference between 11.8 and 12.4 significant enough to wait the six months? The cost difference after rebates, etc. is only $2500.

    Also, for those of you that have SunPower panels, did you also buy the Solar Edge optimization system?

    Thanks.
     
  19. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    I assume you mean you have used 19,000 kWh (not kW)?
    Depending on how you drive, you will use 300-320 watt/hours per mile which would be 3000-3200 kWh for 10,000 miles. That does not account for inefficiencies in charging, vampire losses etc which might be another 10-15%. Does Maryland have time of use rates? In Virginia, there are some options to sell back power at higher (daytime) rates and buy power (for the EV) at cheap deep night rates.
     
  20. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    I started w/ the Tesla website "charging" calculator, which of course does not take into account ongoing losses during charging, but it's a start. Rounding up, you would use about 10kwh per day to charge the Tesla (30 miles of driving per day), so 3650 extra kwh on top of your 19,000 kwh for the rest of your house. A 12kw PV system on paper will give you 12kw x 4.5 average sun hours in MD per day = 54 kwh of electricity per day. So 22,650 kwh/yr for your house/EV ends up being 63 kwh per day needed, so 85% of your electric needs can be met w/ a 12 kw system. This is a very rough estimate, but a layer of pollen on your panels will lead to all these numbers being a very rough estimate :). Here are 2 links that may be of help:

    http://heaa.info/wp-content/uploads/library/HowMuchElectricity.pdf
    Solar estimator (very detailed estimate): http://www.solar-estimate.org/index.php?page=estimatoroverview

    Please pm me your info if you'd like Mike from Solar Odyssey to contact you. btw, it's amazing how one can have such tunnel vision for certain panels/hardware depending on who you talk to and what you've read -- I'd never heard of Sunpower (maybe on a west coast thread in these forums) or Solar Edge before, but they look like cool stuff. Also have not come across widely distributed >300w panels until now!
     

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