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Solar For Dummies...Please?

Discussion in 'US' started by Dan Detweiler, Nov 2, 2016.

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  1. Dan Detweiler

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    OK, this solar roof and Powerwall combination announcement has me totally fascinated. I have absolutely no knowledge of how a system like this would work nor whether I could go completely off the grid with something like this. I did check my last month's electric bill and it says I used 1167 (watts I assume?). Last month was almost 2000. I am currently charging a Chevy Volt every night and I live in Georgia. I am also a Model 3 reservation holder. Would there be authorized installers in my are in the next few years?

    Any help understanding how this system might work for me? Would it be possible to go off the grid completely with something like this (I hate utility companies)? Please be kind...I have absolutely no knowledge of solar energy other than it comes from that big yellow thing in the sky!.

    Thanks in advance,

    Dan
     
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    • garsh

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      Most likely watt-hour (Wh) or kilowatt-hour (kWh). A watt is a *rate* of electric usage (like miles per hour is a rate of travel). A watt-hour is an *amount* of electric usage (like miles is the amount travelled). It's a bit confusing because we're used to the "per time" units being the rate for other things.
      Yes, but probably not practical. You would need a *lot* of roof area, and several powerwalls. You would need to limit your usage of inefficient appliances. You'd probably want a separate solar-heater & tank to supply your hot water. I had relatives who lived off-grid in Colorado a few years back. It's do-able, but you have to really want to do it, and you have to work at it.

      What most people will do is get the solar panels and a single powerall. Then tie the whole system together into the electrical grid. At this point, you will lower your electric bill a good bit. If the power goes out, you now also have big, whole-house Uninterruptible Power Supply as
      well. You don't have to worry about running out of electricity, so you don't have to worry as much about your electricity usage.

      Hope that helps!
       
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      • MelindaV

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        • teslaliving

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          SolarCity can also do a free analysis for you. You just provide a recent electric bill and your address and they look at your place via Google Earth and then do the math.

          Here in MA only about 15% of homes are eligible for Solar due to orientation, age, size, etc. And then there are further restrictions on output capacity. I wanted to install a 54kW system but was limited (by electric co) to 17.5kW. Later some limit go placed on the whole state to set a max size of 10kW.

          Generally, unless you have Time of Use metering (most places do not have this except for large commercial entities), the Power Wall makes little sense. Home backup power is more cost effectively managed with a simple generator. Yes it burns gas, but it's a lot less expensive and how often would you use it anyway?

          Solar can save you quite a bit if you qualify but you generally still need to be connected to the grid for most solutions. You may not draw on it (or do a negative draw as I did for 4 months earlier this year) but you still have to be connected.

          Anyway if you want to get started with SolarCity, start with this link:
          SolarCity
           
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          • xxZULAxx

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            I am considering getting solar and so far I had one of the local representatives give me presentation. What I noticed is that he was offering CIGS panels rather than more standard Poly or Mono. Anyone that have these panels and can speak from experience? At least anyone with some good knowledge if these are good or not vs. others.
             
          • Badback

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          • LUXMAN

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            How on earth is the electric co allowed to limit you!!!??? I really cant stand utilities! Always have politicians in their pocket.
            I am stuck with a co op electrical/gas provider here in TX. They provide little in the way of solar incentives, but they built a huge solar farm and I can have the pleasure of paying a higher rate to "get my electricity from a renewable source" :mad:
            If I lived just down the road, I would have a choice in energy providers and they hand out solar incentives like candy!

            I would love to add a whole solar roof and at least one powerwall to my house and tell them where they can go. Oh and I wouldn't flow any excess to the grid either! They wont even pay the wholesale rate for it!
             
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            • xxZULAxx

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              I pretty much narrowed it down with the system i wanted and now it is between solarcity and sunrun. Does anyone know if being solarcity customer has any advantages to getting model 3 faster?
               
            • KennethK

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              No, it is just model X and S ownership that move you ahead in the line.
               
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              • Mark C

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                When I first wanted to install solar, my local cooperative was anything but cooperative! Only a couple of the board members came around, but most dug in for the fight to avoid renewables. Finally, they put it on the ballot to be voted on by the membership and was approved by a landslide. Before the vote, the wife and I discussed it and she agreed that if the vote didn't go in favor of renewable energy, we would move about twelve miles West and go solar in a district that was solar friendly. The side benefit was it would have been closer to work as well!

                Lobby your cooperative. find out when their membership/board meetings are and inquire ahead of time to see if you need to be put on their agenda in order to speak. {Seriously, you may not be allowed to speak without permission ahead of time.} Good luck!
                 
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                • LUXMAN

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                  I will look into that but last time I talked to them, they said it wasn't fair to rest of Co-op and even have a whole PowerPoint presentation on their website on how it isn't fair to others and hurts the co-op.
                   
                • garsh

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                  Are you able to share that presentation with us? I'm curious about what they say.
                   
                • LUXMAN

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                • MichelT3

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                  I'm glad than in The Netherlands we pay separately for network services by network companies and the used energy we get from energy companies. These companies used to be public, building networks and delivering energy. When they became private they were separated by law in the EU.
                  Network costs consist of a price per day plus a price per kWh/m3. Networks in my country see that they must change their network towards one that's equipped for diverse durable energy production and use. So they allow home production.
                  Energy companies (who you can choose freely) differ. Some sell fossil or even atomic electricity. Others are just into renewables (wind and solar). And others position themselves by prices.
                  Many, but certainly those who are into renewables accept net delivery, giving you the same price as you pay.
                   
                • garsh

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                  I just skimmed it, but it sounds like they're proposing separating into "distribution" and "usage" charges, such that the distribution charges can cover the costs of maintaining the entire network even in the face of nobody using electricity. Which seems reasonable, but I'm probably missing something.
                   
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                  • LUXMAN

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                    This Power Point goes back to 2010. They are not updating it IMO as they are trying to stifle any increase in solar in the Co-op. Basically they feel that by net metering, they are paying you for generating at more then they pay for regular electricity and therefore costs other members in higher rates. I talked to one of their guys and he told me they don't think "that's fair" :rolleyes:, and its a subsidy on everyone elses back.
                     
                  • Topher

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                    Almost certainly a lie. Solar provides cheaper power during peak times. In my state solar was determined to be worth 33 cents/kWh (before all the externalities were even added in).

                    Thank you kindly.
                     
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                    • Matthew Morgan

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                      There has not been any link published between being a SolarCity customer and jumping the line for Model 3 :(. How many kW are you looking to install?
                       
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                      • xxZULAxx

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                        I was looking to do up to 6kw, to offset my on-peak price through APS. From the sound of it, price is not there yet for the off-peak.
                         
                      • Matthew Morgan

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                        For your reference, here is my typical daily usage with 5 panels (1.25 kW) installed. For summer months, I pre-cool the house before noon so it doesn't have to kick in before 7:00
                         

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