DIY solar is running

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MessyTendon
Posts: 1287
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

DIY solar is running

Post by MessyTendon » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:58 pm

We did the labor of putting up panels and running cables, electrician tied it into the grid...So the complete grid tied system cost 50 percent less than using a solar company.

All the parts are relatively comparable to professional installers.

The hardest part was dealing with PG&E to get connected. Other than that, not too bad of a project.

I recommend anybody do this if you have the right conditions and own your home.

Whiteagle
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:48 am
Location: Wollongong, Australia

Re: DIY solar is running

Post by Whiteagle » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:05 pm

We paid to have solar installed a few weeks ago. It is very affordable. Not using a battery system. We expect to pay it off in 3-5 years. The rebate for putting power into the grid is poor. Well done putting it in yourself.

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fast eddie
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Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 4:39 am
Location: Columbus, MS USA

Re: DIY solar is running

Post by fast eddie » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:27 pm

Before we moved to my current location our house in Virginia had a pair of solar collectors for heating water. It installed in the 70's but provided basically all our hot water needs even in the winter. As long as snow did not cover the collectors, it provided hot water. At that photovoltaic cells were very inefficient. Don't know how well they work today.
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Andrew Pohlman
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Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:24 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: DIY solar is running

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:42 pm

Whiteagle wrote:
Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:05 pm
We paid to have solar installed a few weeks ago. It is very affordable. Not using a battery system. We expect to pay it off in 3-5 years. The rebate for putting power into the grid is poor. Well done putting it in yourself.
Affordable? Maybe the costs have come down radically? When we researched a system back in 2014, it was more like $21K and would pay for itself in 40 years. Not only is 40 years the life span of the system, but will be 20-30 years after we sell our house for retirement. The costs do not add up for my home and situation. It's cheaper for us to just pay PG&E, but I'd love to go solar!

Now doing my own installation as Messy did ... the arithmetic may look substantially better.
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MessyTendon
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Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: DIY solar is running

Post by MessyTendon » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:57 pm

Yeah Andrew...the rate of return sucks on paying a company.

If your roof is easy to walk on, there is no reason not to DIY...the hardest part is honestly finding the places to attach the racking for the panels. Once the racking is up on the roof, it's easy enough to move panels and do the wires. We used a third party company to draw the plans to submit to the permit department, it really helped us get the permit to install.

After the federal tax credit, it was around 10k installed. So that puts the rate of return in about 4-5 years depending on how much it actually puts out and if rates go up or down.

Current solar in the bay area is now on NEM 2.0...this means that the peak hours of production yield less credits toward your bill. So it almost makes more economical sense to put a smaller system up, you'll still save money, but you won't be getting 100 percent bill credits.

Even with our sized system we don't get 100 percent credit. But the bill for the year is going to be much less. The nice thing about the solar is instead of a monthly bill you get a yearly "true up" statement...and it's likely going to be 500$ for the year or less. Not quite sure yet.

You could likely do a 5kw system and after tax credits would be around 8-9k...

SteveL123
Posts: 347
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:05 pm

Re: DIY solar is running

Post by SteveL123 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:15 pm

Nice messy tendon! Can you provide some technical details of the system? What panels and controllers and other parts used? Where to buy? What did it cost for the permits and the electrician to do the grid tie?

astro64
Posts: 623
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:43 pm
Location: American Southwest

Re: DIY solar is running

Post by astro64 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:06 pm

We had some great incentives in NM for the past years. With those, plus the federal tax credit, a system would pay for itself in 7 yrs. We just doubled the size of our system under that program last year. We'll be set to charge an electric car as well as run the house once those cars become somewhat more affordable and charging stations pop up in more places.

MessyTendon
Posts: 1287
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: DIY solar is running

Post by MessyTendon » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:50 pm

Steve we used Enphase micro inverters and went with Anapode Solar...The owner Ken is really good at tech support and trouble shooting. He uses basic Canadian Solar Panels and M250 micros. The kit includes just about everything you need.

Our total was about 13k...but that is not after the tax credit. So it was down to 9100$ after the tax credit. Now realistically a comparable system would have been about 20k or more installed.

An electric car uses roughly 13-16KWH to charge...that's likely going to require a twenty killowatt system for household use and charging a car that's like 30-40 panels...

But you can simply use less to charge. I don't think electric cars are practical just yet. Now with basic electric needs, you could take a 3.5kw system, that would be under powered but it will cut the electric bill 50 percent and get a quicker rate of return.

You've really got to look at how many KWH killowatt hours you use per year and size the system on that, but it should be sized about 10-30 percent bigger depending on modules.

The electrician charged about 1200$ to tie it all in but we did everything else.

If the roof is walkable, DIY is the way to go...either be it Solar Edge or Enphase, those are the top two producers.

Enphase as a company is likely going under, so i hope the stuff lasts, but the warranty is third party supported. Solar Edge...is nice if you want to oversize the system and is a bit cheaper.

I like my invidual panel monitoring via the web...both companies offer that.

astro64
Posts: 623
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:43 pm
Location: American Southwest

Re: DIY solar is running

Post by astro64 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:33 pm

For the electric car, it depends on how much one drives and where... Not all charging can be done at home. I figure about 300-350 kWhr for the car per month at home. We have a 5.4 kW system, it generates about 10000-11000 kWh/yr. So the car would be about a third of the total. We are not big electricity users compared to many US households (but still much bigger than my relatives in Europe).

Whiteagle
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:48 am
Location: Wollongong, Australia

Re: DIY solar is running

Post by Whiteagle » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:28 am

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:42 pm
Whiteagle wrote:
Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:05 pm
We paid to have solar installed a few weeks ago. It is very affordable. Not using a battery system. We expect to pay it off in 3-5 years. The rebate for putting power into the grid is poor. Well done putting it in yourself.
Affordable? Maybe the costs have come down radically? When we researched a system back in 2014, it was more like $21K and would pay for itself in 40 years. Not only is 40 years the life span of the system, but will be 20-30 years after we sell our house for retirement. The costs do not add up for my home and situation. It's cheaper for us to just pay PG&E, but I'd love to go solar!

Now doing my own installation as Messy did ... the arithmetic may look substantially better.
Hi Andrew. I havea 5kw system that cost me $5,500 AUD. This figure is all inclusive, includes installation. My electricity bill is high at around $2000 per year and I hope to at least halve it with the solar meaning I might be able to pay it off in 5 years, maybe less. In Australia it would be unusual for a suburban house to install anything greater than a $5kw system. There were more expensive solar panels i could have bought, mine are mid range. If i went with the expensive ones my cost may have been around $7,000. Government incentives bring the price down by a few thousand. The panels should last 20 years at least. I don't have battery storage. That would have added about $10,000 to the cost and with only a 10 year warranty i decided to hold off on the battery purchases for a few years and see if prices drop. The drop in the price of panels over recent years has been great.

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