The Time Has Come .....I've gone solar

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
as most know California has been suffering through one of the hottest summers in history. Our electricity provider is San Diego Gas and Electric which allegedly has the highest price of electricity in the nation.

My electric bills have been averaging over $500-$600 per month. In July where temperatures daily were in excess of 100 degrees, my electric bill hit $1000 and that is just my wife and I living in our house

I like to think of myself as an early adopter and have done extensive research in solar energy for my house. Studies continue to show that in spite of the multitude of makes of solar panels many are inefficient and warranties are poor and third party companies dong the installations have grown like wild fire and many have succumbed to competition leaving their clients with a system that might be difficult to service in the future. In my area I am a late adopter as literally my entire street either has or is in the process of installing a solar grid

In every review that I have read the three makes of solar panels that consistently are top rated are Sun Power, LG and Panasonic. Sun Power is the oldest solar company in America and in fact it is their solar panels that are on the Mars Rover

Warranties are often different but again Sun Power rose to the top with a 25 year all inclusive warranty including the roof if the system caused the damage. Also their panels have an efficiency rating of 1.2 meaning that they produce 20-22% more energy than the panel is rated. LG and Panasonic come close. Lg's warranty is only 10 years although you can buy an extended warranty. I also understand that Panasonic makes the solar panels for the Tesla charging stations.

My next door neighbor just put in a Sun Power system smaller than mine 5 months ago and immediately went from monthly electric bills of over $900/month (for him and his wife) to now $11 per month. Plus he is banking kWh's on a monthly basis


I too went with a Sun Power system and have an ideal setting for my house as we live on the fairway of one of our golf courses so there is nothing but open space behind me and my house faces south west.

I went with their highest rated panel at 360 watts. I am installing 30 of these for a 10.8 kw grid and have room for many more although the position of the 30 are the most ideal and will produce the most energy

My average annual use is 14,452 kWh and my system is guaranteed to produce 17,152 kwh, with the excess being banked. My energy bill will drop to the minimum $11 fee by SDGE.

I also researched batteries for the house with the thought of a possible Porsche Taycan in my future as i am also looking for a new car and this is on my short list. I have learned that batteries just haven't reached their potential yet and remain expensive (around $15K). I was advised by every solar company I spoke with to wait on better batteries.

As for my choice of Sun Power I also decided not to go with a 3rd party installer but rather go with Sun Power Direct who uses their own installers and roofers.

I received a 30% tax credit which lowers the price to affordable levels. My math shows me that based on my annual kWh used and the cost of my system it will have paid for itself in 3 years and 10 months

All in all I am very excited to have a solar system and more than anything I can't wait to be self sufficient when it comes to electricity

Of course YMMV and all the usual stuff. This is not having your head in the sand but reality to the rising costs of electricity. SDGE raises their rates annually by 4-6 cents per kWh In fact in the coming years, in California all new home builds will come with Solar on their roofs.

For me it was a no brainer
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
18,181
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1,515
London
Nice, smart, responsible move
 

jeffrey_t

VIP/Donor
Jan 29, 2012
2,676
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630
I'll be next. I'm building a dedicated room at the rear of my property, the entire back will be solar.
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
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515
UK
This is really great! Don’t know whether you will have some kind of massive battery backup system (I am unaware of any detail on solar installations) but you might end with improved sound also if you were essentially “off grid”
 

Priaptor

Member Sponsor
Jan 29, 2012
929
6
0
FL
Nice, smart, responsible move

"Nice" is in the eye of the beholder, "smart" is true if indeed he actually saves money after all the dust settles and "responsible" I think we can debate as long as these panels, particularly from Sun Power, are mainly manufactured in China, that has the dirtiest manufacturing footprint in the world currently and particularly for manufacturing solar panels as well as their mining techniques for rare elements/metals.

Personally, I am pretty intrigued by Tesla roof tiles, however, the hype has been over-hyped, the price exorbitant, delivery pretty much a guess at best, cost of battery storage through the roof BUT in principle, I like the approach and like this direction if they or someone could get it right at a reasonable cost. Personally, anything that gets me off the grid is a good thing, particularly here in S. FL where power outages and brownouts are the norm.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
9,671
6,638
1,335
North Shore of Boston
Nice, smart, responsible move

Steve, will your audio system be on a separate grid of solar panels? I would think that solar panels might reduce overall system noise and if separate from the main grid which will power your appliances, noise may even be lowered further. Did you look into this?
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
5,884
3,266
870
Utah
Is this one of the schemes that you're still on the grid but sell the power you generate to the electric companies or are you going off the grid using the generated electricity? One thing I can tell you about solar and the associated inverters is that they're horrible for high end.

david

as most know California has been suffering through one of the hottest summers in history. Our electricity provider is San Diego Gas and Electric which allegedly has the highest price of electricity in the nation.

My electric bills have been averaging over $500-$600 per month. In July where temperatures daily were in excess of 100 degrees, my electric bill hit $1000 and that is just my wife and I living in our house

I like to think of myself as an early adopter and have done extensive research in solar energy for my house. Studies continue to show that in spite of the multitude of makes of solar panels many are inefficient and warranties are poor and third party companies dong the installations have grown like wild fire and many have succumbed to competition leaving their clients with a system that might be difficult to service in the future. In my area I am a late adopter as literally my entire street either has or is in the process of installing a solar grid

In every review that I have read the three makes of solar panels that consistently are top rated are Sun Power, LG and Panasonic. Sun Power is the oldest solar company in America and in fact it is their solar panels that are on the Mars Rover

Warranties are often different but again Sun Power rose to the top with a 25 year all inclusive warranty including the roof if the system caused the damage. Also their panels have an efficiency rating of 1.2 meaning that they produce 20-22% more energy than the panel is rated. LG and Panasonic come close. Lg's warranty is only 10 years although you can buy an extended warranty. I also understand that Panasonic makes the solar panels for the Tesla charging stations.

My next door neighbor just put in a Sun Power system smaller than mine 5 months ago and immediately went from monthly electric bills of over $900/month (for him and his wife) to now $11 per month. Plus he is banking kWh's on a monthly basis


I too went with a Sun Power system and have an ideal setting for my house as we live on the fairway of one of our golf courses so there is nothing but open space behind me and my house faces south west.

I went with their highest rated panel at 360 watts. I am installing 30 of these for a 10.8 kw grid and have room for many more although the position of the 30 are the most ideal and will produce the most energy

My average annual use is 14,452 kWh and my system is guaranteed to produce 17,152 kwh, with the excess being banked. My energy bill will drop to the minimum $11 fee by SDGE.

I also researched batteries for the house with the thought of a possible Porsche Taycan in my future as i am also looking for a new car and this is on my short list. I have learned that batteries just haven't reached their potential yet and remain expensive (around $15K). I was advised by every solar company I spoke with to wait on better batteries.

As for my choice of Sun Power I also decided not to go with a 3rd party installer but rather go with Sun Power Direct who uses their own installers and roofers.

I received a 30% tax credit which lowers the price to affordable levels. My math shows me that based on my annual kWh used and the cost of my system it will have paid for itself in 3 years and 10 months

All in all I am very excited to have a solar system and more than anything I can't wait to be self sufficient when it comes to electricity

Of course YMMV and all the usual stuff. This is not having your head in the sand but reality to the rising costs of electricity. SDGE raises their rates annually by 4-6 cents per kWh In fact in the coming years, in California all new home builds will come with Solar on their roofs.

For me it was a no brainer
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
3,954
3,349
515
UK
Hopefully The General will come in on this topic as he knows absolutely loads about this and the merits on sound quality.
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,133
158
458
La Jolla, Calif USA
Steve, GREAT move...Don't let anyone tell you that it is anything but. Plus, as far as any negative impact on your SQ...NADA, don't worry it won't affect anything negatively ( actually it is a plus, as overall system noise drops). I know this having installed twenty eight panels on my roof less than two years ago...and after having upgraded my whole electrical system to dedicated lines ( which you already have) and replaced all of the feeder cable to the street and then to the transformer. ( wherein I also took the opportunity to replace the connectors at the transformer so that they too were the maximum capacity ) You should have seen quality and corrosion on the old transformer connections! Here's one thing to remember, you are still connected to the grid! Solar is a two way system..at night you are pulling from the grid, during the day, you are supplying the grid. Therefore, if anything your new equipment is going to assist in the SQ of your system, the updated panel, the new higher capacity wiring and the newer connections are nothing but a plus ( in addition to what Peter A above was hinting at). Everybody that has heard my system since I did the upgrades has only been impressed with the benefits...no down side. :cool:
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
"Nice" is in the eye of the beholder, "smart" is true if indeed he actually saves money after all the dust settles and "responsible" I think we can debate as long as these panels, particularly from Sun Power, are mainly manufactured in China, that has the dirtiest manufacturing footprint in the world currently and particularly for manufacturing solar panels as well as their mining techniques for rare elements/metals.

Personally, I am pretty intrigued by Tesla roof tiles, however, the hype has been over-hyped, the price exorbitant, delivery pretty much a guess at best, cost of battery storage through the roof BUT in principle, I like the approach and like this direction if they or someone could get it right at a reasonable cost. Personally, anything that gets me off the grid is a good thing, particularly here in S. FL where power outages and brownouts are the norm.

you are so misinformed Howie

I looked into the tesla roof tiles

FWIW the systems start at $100K and all they do is 30% of your roof tiles and then you find out it is insufficient and you go down the rabbit hole trying to establish an adequate grid. In theory it is a great idea but in reality the technology isn't there yet

As for being made in China, they are made here in Southern California. As I said earlier, Sun Power is the first and has been round since the mid 80's. It is Sun Power panels that are on the Mars Rover
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Steve, will your audio system be on a separate grid of solar panels? I would think that solar panels might reduce overall system noise and if separate from the main grid which will power your appliances, noise may even be lowered further. Did you look into this?

Is this one of the schemes that you're still on the grid but sell the power you generate to the electric companies or are you going off the grid using the generated electricity? One thing I can tell you about solar and the associated inverters is that they're horrible for high end.

david

Peter there is no negative effect on the sound and if anything the sound is improved

David

you too are woefully misinformed. No One sells their energy to the electric company but rather bank it and settle with the electric company every three months. To sell it is at wholesale prices and all you get for your banked energy is $0.03 per kwhThe new micro inverters are eons ahead of the older and much larger inverters.
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,133
158
458
La Jolla, Calif USA
Peter there is no negative effect on the sound and if anything the sound is improved

David

you too are woefully misinformed. No One sells their energy to the electric company but rather bank it and settle with the electric company every three months. The new micro inverters are eons ahead of the older and much larger inverters

+1000
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
This is really great! Don’t know whether you will have some kind of massive battery backup system (I am unaware of any detail on solar installations) but you might end with improved sound also if you were essentially “off grid”


Hi Bill

The short answer is that my grid will store much of the energy and the excess is banked with the electric company.

There are also very large batteries that are starting to come available such as that by Tesla. The reality is they are all around $15K and the technology is still way behind. You do get a 30% tax credit however. My next door neighbor and my neighbor 2 house down from him both have large solar grids as well and are putting in batteries as they both have ordered the Porsche Taycan
 

Priaptor

Member Sponsor
Jan 29, 2012
929
6
0
FL
you are so misinformed Howie

I looked into the tesla roof tiles

FWIW the systems start at $100K and all they do is 30% of your roof tiles and then you find out it is insufficient and you go down the rabbit hole

As for being made in China, they are made here in Southern California. As I said earlier, Sun Power is the first and has been round since the mid 80's. It is Sun Power panels that are on the Mars Rover

Their manufacturing plants are in China, Philippines and Mexico (and some in the USA) last I saw. Their headquarters are in the states. I would love more of the manufacturing of solar as well as all rare earth material goods to occur here in the states where the manufacturing footprint is one of the lowest. The other issue is where and how the mining of these rare earth materials occur. It’s improved but not great.

As to Tesla, couldn’t agree more. Obviously they can’t even deliver and their calculations and costs are absurd. Their approach is what I endorse, not their reality. Their claim of using only 40% of your roof surface is based on “average need” in conjunction with storage in their battery technology which is what the average home would require. Trust me I don’t buy the Tesla Roof Tile at this point.
 

Empirical Audio

Industry Expert
Oct 12, 2017
1,169
200
150
Great Pacific Northwest
www.empiricalaudio.com
Excellent move. I have solar hot water. Never run out of hot water. This is particularly good if you have a tile roof and live in a climate like CA where there is little or no snow to block the panels. I live where the snow can pile up 4 feet on the roof.

Is the 30% rebate from CA or the Feds? I think both should be giving rebates on this.

Time for you to consider a Tesla. It's pretty sweet to never have to look for a gas station. It's also sweet to get 50-100 miles to the gallon equivalent. Test drive one and you will be hooked. The dynamic braking is even nicer than the acceleration. Autopilot makes stop and go traffic bearable.

Steve N.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Excellent move. I have solar hot water. Never run out of hot water. This is particularly good if you have a tile roof and live in a climate like CA where there is little or no snow to block the panels. I live where the snow can pile up 4 feet on the roof.

Is the 30% rebate from CA or the Feds? I think both should be giving rebates on this.

Time for you to consider a Tesla. It's pretty sweet to never have to look for a gas station. It's also sweet to get 50-100 miles to the gallon equivalent. Test drive one and you will be hooked. The dynamic braking is even nicer than the acceleration. Autopilot makes stop and go traffic bearable.

Steve N.

My son has a Model 3. It was the first EV I ever drove and I found it a blast. My mercedes has 508 bhp and I remember a few years ago stopped at a red light when a Model S P100D pulls up beside me. The guy looks across at me and smiled. The light turned green and he left me so far behind i his dust that it was just no contest. So yes they are fun to drive. I do believe however that the Tesla does need better quality control and I am a firm believer that the technology is only going to get better
 

WLVCA

Member Sponsor
Nov 2, 2012
3,911
2,374
665
Tucson
We've had a solar system for 5 years now and had it installed shortly after moving to Tucson.

When we lived in southern California we ran our air conditioner literally only 2 or 3 weeks per year. That is not the case in Tucson where it is on 5 months every year. We also have a pool, spa and pond so we were using a lot of electricity.

Initially we paid a total of just over $13 per month for the connection fee to the grid plus taxes. That increased last year to about $19 - still a bargain. We've received small credits (less than $100) each year for energy produced in excess of our use.

In Arizona there is widespread support for solar power no matter one's political views. Whether you make the decision based on financial considerations or environmental considerations we have lots of solar energy year round.

The electric utilities in the state do have some objections though.
 

astrotoy

VIP/Donor
May 25, 2010
1,370
748
535
SF Bay Area
We were early adopters, getting our solar system in 2009. Prices were higher and the panels were less efficient (Steve has 30 panels to get 10K+, while we needed 42 panels for the same amount). There was both a federal and state tax credit which lowered the net cost substantially. However, it took about six years to generate the savings to pay for the cost. So far we have generated over 100,000kWh of electricity, all in the daytime, when the electrical rates are the highest (currently over 40 cents/kWh in northern California). That is also the peak time for air conditiioning costs. We have had our Tesla for 5 and 1/2 years and always charge at night (we set the timer to charge at midnight), when the electrical rates are 11 cents per kWh. So our savings from the solar panels take place at the highest rates, and our usage of electricity for our car is at the lowest rate.

This form of arbitrage can be increased with battery packs. Like Steve, I am waiting for the prices to come down, but here is a simple illustration of how that can work even without solar panels. If you have time of day pricing, which is getting to be the standard way utilities price electricity, then with battery packs, you charge them at night, when the electricity costs are the lowest, and discharge them in daytime when the costs are the highest. For us in PG&E territory in northern California, the difference is a factor of 4 times. Given the price differential and use of energy, one can fairly easily determine at what price does battery pack arbitrage make sense. Utilities like the idea, since their power plants have huge fixed costs and the marginal cost of generating energy in times of low demand are very small. On the other hand, by reducing demand at the peak times, the cost savings from not having to bring on extra generation capacity are enormous. Therefore we get this huge price differential between day and night electrical rates.

Larry
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
We were early adopters, getting our solar system in 2009. Prices were higher and the panels were less efficient (Steve has 30 panels to get 10K+, while we needed 42 panels for the same amount). There was both a federal and state tax credit which lowered the net cost substantially. However, it took about six years to generate the savings to pay for the cost. So far we have generated over 100,000kWh of electricity, all in the daytime, when the electrical rates are the highest (currently over 40 cents/kWh in northern California). That is also the peak time for air conditiioning costs. We have had our Tesla for 5 and 1/2 years and always charge at night (we set the timer to charge at midnight), when the electrical rates are 11 cents per kWh. So our savings from the solar panels take place at the highest rates, and our usage of electricity for our car is at the lowest rate.

This form of arbitrage can be increased with battery packs. Like Steve, I am waiting for the prices to come down, but here is a simple illustration of how that can work even without solar panels. If you have time of day pricing, which is getting to be the standard way utilities price electricity, then with battery packs, you charge them at night, when the electricity costs are the lowest, and discharge them in daytime when the costs are the highest. For us in PG&E territory in northern California, the difference is a factor of 4 times. Given the price differential and use of energy, one can fairly easily determine at what price does battery pack arbitrage make sense. Utilities like the idea, since their power plants have huge fixed costs and the marginal cost of generating energy in times of low demand are very small. On the other hand, by reducing demand at the peak times, the cost savings from not having to bring on extra generation capacity are enormous. Therefore we get this huge price differential between day and night electrical rates.

Larry


great advice Larry
 

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