DIY Solar Install?

Wannabe

Vic
Senior User
I know nothing about solar, but my life time experiences tell me that you can't trust anyone. So, I'll just stick to my heat pump and hope the power company isn't screwing me. Just my 2 cents.
 
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Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
Understand the sentiment. It used to be much easier to understand things as they were less "cross pollinated" with other technologies. When I started it was not a requirement to understand chemistry and its interactions, electronics and advanced theories. Now it is common place. But, got to keep up so we do. As I stated before, knowledge is power and the new ways we apply it becomes the exercise of the day.

I know nothing about solar, but my life time experiences tell me that you can't trust anyone. So, I'll just stick to my heat pump and hope the power company isn't screwing me. Just my 2 cents.
 

CrealBilly

Jeff
Senior User
Solar would be "easier" here in illinois. Since everything from the pole by the street to the house is my responsibility. When I had new underground service put in, I got the meter main box from our electric coop. It already has input for auxiliary power and the electric coop installed a smart "net" meter at the same time.

I checked into and studied solar about 10 years ago. At that time it was net negative meaning what you saved in solar generated power, you would never re-coop the cost of installation and maintenance. Batteries were the biggest maintenance cost at that time (10 years ago) that and solar panel degradation over time plus the hassle of keeping them clean. Plus if you look at the dirty side of solar, the panels themselves are extremely toxic and you have to pay a huge amount to despose of them legally. Just my 2¢ from studying 10 years ago. I'm sure a lot has changed since then.

Party On
 

Dee2

Gene
Corporate Member
I'm keep asking the smart people about the cost of disposing batteries for all things replacing petro-fuels. Haven't got an answer yet. Maybe Elon Musk's next contribution for obtaining tax payer funded subsidies, a corporation to R&D battery disposal and satisfying the 5 R's. ;)
 

CrealBilly

Jeff
Senior User
I suppose the best advise I could give you. Would be to do your homework. Get in contact with people who are running solar now. Then sit down with professionals and look at as many of the aspects as you can think of from, craddel to grave.

For example equipment degradation. Day 1 everything is new and operating at full efficiency but will degrade over time. If recall correctly I think the panels themselves only had a 20 to 30 year lifespan (don't quote me on this because it's from memory like 10 or so years ago). This may or may not have changed IDK... But my point is... this is just one thing of 100's you should put in your evaluation.

In the end it's only you who can determine if it's worth it or not.

For (me) being on the grid is very convenient. When my power goes out, the electric co op already knows, even before I call. They then work to get it back on. I am currently looking at a PTO Gen Set for emergencies and being able to use electric tools while working in the fields.
 
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Denis Buxton

New User
DenisB
Installing your own solar panels can be a risk to your own personal safety and to your property for two main reasons: the height at which panels are typically installed and the fact that you're working with a complex electrical system. Most solar systems are installed as either a roof mount or a ground mount.
 

SabertoothBunny

SabertoothBunny
User
I would recommend that if you do choose to do solar do NOT put it on your roof, EVER. That is worst possible location due to maintenance costs for repairs to system, repairs to roof, replacement of roof, etc and insurance will typically refuse to cover the cost of solar panels which means you have too. If you get them, put them on posts on your property or a shed roof that can be repaired by you directly at a realistic cost depending one how many panels you want.

Then if you plan on connecting the power to your house there is usually a connection fee the power company wants as it connects to their grid. After that fee they usually charge you a monthly fee for having the panels connected to the grid system. Any power you create over and above what you use goes back into the power grid and most power companies will not compensate you for the power you are generating and unintentionally sending their way. Some companies will compensate but you need to contact yours to see how that works with whoever you have. You can get battery backups but those are extremely expensive and they deteriorate over time and lose they load capacities because they are batteries after all.

Also remember that solar generates zero electricity at night. The peak power generating temperature is typically around 65-68 degrees, anything above or below that temperature will reduce the power generated. So the hotter, or colder, it gets the less power the system will generate and that can increase exponentially. Any kind of shade that falls onto the panels exponentially reduces the amount of power generated or prevents it completely. How the panels are wired plays big time into the shading issue as the way it is wired can cause the entire line of panels to lose its production from minimal shade. Shade covering 10-20% of your panel(s) can cause you to lose up to 90% of the production for that panel or string (pending wiring).

I was a licensed solar installer so I do know quite a bit about this. Solar can be a good supplement to power but it cannot realistically replace the existing power you use from the grid already. If you have to take out a loan for solar, don't do it. You will NEVER get back into the positive money wise due to paying the loan with interest versus actual cost savings in electricity. Cash or no solar because it will be a bottomless pit of money loss. Even paying in cash it will likely take years to get into "positive" territory concerning cost vs savings. Also don't ever sign into that agreement of teaveling sales people for "free solar panels" for your home. It is a bold faced lie and if you dig into the fine lines of legal info there are a LOT of costs hidden. It is a ploy for large entities like Vivint Solar to say their overall grid is "x big" and generates "x watts" and so on at the expense of the end user.

States that are heavily converting to solar as a "cost savings" are not really doing themselves any actual favors. While some believe that those who switch are saving money they are actually hurting the overall system. Individual houses see a cost savings but because they are leaving he grid during peak uses it is causing the cost to those still on the grid to pay increasing electricity prices. its a catch-22. The existing grid is struggling to find a balance and those without solar are paying even higher costs. Granted Hawaii is its own unique beast as an island chain in the middle of a giant puddle but the concept remains. It wouldn't be as extreme on the mainland US but still a variable. TX and its reliance on renewable energy got hurt recently as well due to extreme weather. Theirs was more wind but there are other variables involved but the concept remains the same. Failures caused a chain reaction of events which any grid could be susceptible too.

Please understand I am not bashing solar as it is a valuable supplement to power in the right instances. I just wanted to point out some things that are often overlooked or unknown to the general public. Salesman are just that and they seek to make money and a disappointing number will hold back information just so they can get the sell. Just do your research wherever you are to find those hidden fees and other variables that get overlooked as mentioned above. Below is an article talking about some of this stuff. Just do your research and do not rush into a decision.

 
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jlwest

Jeff
Corporate Member
I would recommend that if you do choose to do solar do NOT put it on your roof, EVER. That is worst possible location due to maintenance costs for repairs to system, repairs to roof, replacement of roof, etc and insurance will typically refuse to cover the cost of solar panels which means you have too. If you get them, put them on posts on your property or a shed roof that can be repaired by you directly at a realistic cost depending one how many panels you want.

Then if you plan on connecting the power to your house there is usually a connection fee the power company wants as it connects to their grid. After that fee they usually charge you a monthly fee for having the panels connected to the grid system. Any power you create over and above what you use goes back into the power grid and most power companies will not compensate you for the power you are generating and unintentionally sending their way. Some companies will compensate but you need to contact yours to see how that works with whoever you have. You can get battery backups but those are extremely expensive and they deteriorate over time and lose they load capacities because they are batteries after all.

Also remember that solar generates zero electricity at night. The peak power generating temperature is typically around 65-68 degrees, anything above or below that temperature will reduce the power generated. So the hotter, or colder, it gets the less power the system will generate and that can increase exponentially. Any kind of shade that falls onto the panels exponentially reduces the amount of power generated or prevents it completely. How the panels are wired plays big time into the shading issue as the way it is wired can cause the entire line of panels to lose its production from minimal shade. Shade covering 10-20% of your panel(s) can cause you to lose up to 90% of the production for that panel or string (pending wiring).

I was a licensed solar installer so I do know quite a bit about this. Solar can be a good supplement to power but it cannot realistically replace the existing power you use from the grid already. If you have to take out a loan for solar, don't do it. You will NEVER get back into the positive money wise due to paying the loan with interest versus actual cost savings in electricity. Cash or no solar because it will be a bottomless pit of money loss. Even paying in cash it will likely take years to get into "positive" territory concerning cost vs savings.

Please understand I am not bashing solar as it is a valuable supplement to power in the right instances. I just wanted to point out some things that are often overlooked or unknown to the general public. Salesman are just that and they seek to make money and a disappointing number will hold back information just so they can get the sell. Just do your research wherever you are to find those hidden fees and other variables that get overlooked as mentioned above.
You are absolutely correct.
 

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