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 Post subject: Went solar!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:34 pm 
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Location: In the woods near Evergreen, Colorado
Well, my wife and I decided a while back to have solar power installed on our home. We sat down and really did some number crunching and with some of the incentives and all we decided that it was a good investment that pays off in the long run in a place like Colorado that gets a lot of sunshine. They installed it about 2 weeks ago, and it is working great. We've had pretty nice weather this month and our electric meter has run freakin' backwards! How cool is that? 8) Our decision to do this was pretty much financial all the way, but it really is a win-win situation.

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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:38 am 
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Good going Grizzly!! I had to tap the snow off mine this morning. Back in '98 when I self-installed, there weren't any incentives from the government. Later the state incentives did not cover the IREA area. It paid for itself in 6 years and then all the savings went to paying off the mortgage. The mortgage was small from sweat equity and we paid it off over two years ago.
On cloudy days we adapt to use less power. Less time on the computer and TV, stove top cooking instead of oven, maybe skip doing a load of laundry that day.
Not bringing in power lines had several advantages; no marring of the view by wires and poles, people wanting to buy nearby had to face bringing in electric charges, and because I got absolute water rights, were stuck with having only a cistern with bought chlorinated water.
I don't get the pleasure of watching the meter go backwards, though! =D> \:D/

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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:06 pm 
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Cool! Is this strictly a grid tie installation or does it have batteries where you can use it as a standby in case you lose utility power?

How many Kw is it and, if I may be so bold, what was the installed cost?

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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:41 pm 
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Good work Grizzly! I decided when I retired a few years ago to use some of my payout to do not only a number of things to my house that had needed doing for a long time, but also look at energy use. Amazing as it may sound, in Australia there are hardly any rules about how to make houses energy efficient, at least until recently, and even the new rules are pretty weak (solar hot water bieng a requirement here, but amazingly given the cold winters we have, not double glazing or siting of houses and windows to make use of or avoid the sun). So since my old timber-framed windows were getting on a bit, with one or two showing some rot, and repainting them a pain, I replaced the lot with double glazing, including the back door, and now, with the insulation in the roof, the house stays always at least 5-8 degrees cooler in summer, and warmer in winter (also aided by thick curtains, and pelmets). There have been subsidies for solar panels, although you still have to fork out quite a bit yourself if you want quality rather than the cheap Chinese stuff (but everything is getting cheaper now, and better, even the Chinese). Moreover, here we have a feed-in tariff for every kW produced and fed back into the grid (ie, not a net nr of kWs but *every* kW). So I calculated my average kW use over a year/day and got a system that produces some 50% more, thus providing more than I use and need, and the system (2.1kW) so far has earned me about $1200 dollars in a year, leaving a profit after paying for what I use. I also replaced my 20 year old electric hot water system with a new solar one, which is not only larger but uses those vacuum tubes instead of a panel, very efficient and if you use hot water mainly early in the day it does not use any electricity for boosting at all. Over all, if you want to go solar, it is going to cost money, even with things getting cheaper; but if you are willing to spend that money, at least you can be a bit more convincing about arguing for the environment..... and I like the idea that I do actually create a tiny bit of energy!


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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:55 am 
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Hello all
Sorry I haven't been around this forum much, but life has been busy. I'll update you on the solar system since it's been working a couple of months now. It's working very well. It's extremely efficient and like I said before, the meter runs backwards sometimes. 8) It is already paying for itself. To answer some questions you all had:

- It does have batteries. That really is the only way to go. My wife and I both work during the day, so most of our power use is in the evening when we're home, but there isn't much sun. Gotta store the juice.

- System is 4 kW and cost about $22,000 installed. There are good tax incentives right now for improving your home's energy efficiency ( or at least there were last year )

- System is grid tied meaning we're selling excess energy to the electric company. The meter will run backwards when our energy production exceeds our consumption

The one issue I've had recently is snow on the panels. We got about 6 and a half inches during the last storm last weekend and the panels were somewhat covered for a couple of days. They need to come up with a way to integrate a heating coil in these things that you can turn on to melt the snow off.

Johnny- what kind of water heater do you have? Gas, electric, or some kind of solar system? If you have an electric, how efficient is it? Now that we're solar I'm considering swapping out our gas water heater for an electric one to save on propane.

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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:05 pm 
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Grizzly Bear wrote:
Hello all


The one issue I've had recently is snow on the panels. We got about 6 and a half inches during the last storm last weekend and the panels were somewhat covered for a couple of days. They need to come up with a way to integrate a heating coil in these things that you can turn on to melt the snow off.

Johnny- what kind of water heater do you have? Gas, electric, or some kind of solar system? If you have an electric, how efficient is it? Now that we're solar I'm considering swapping out our gas water heater for an electric one to save on propane.

Hi, Grizzly, I have a gas hot water heater with 30 gallon tank. I also have an on demand gas hot water heater to install when the tank one goes kaput. No sense fixing something that isn't broke! Besides it heats the closet its in and through the walls, the house a little. Once it is gone, there will be more storage space in its closet. The on demand one is piezo and will use the same water and gas connections and exhaust pipe and intake vent.
Whatever you do, do NOT use electric heat for melting snow off your panels or hot water. If your HWH is in an unheated garage, then use an insulating blanket. Heat loads are highly resistive and take way too much for solar electric systems. I had to install baseboards to be in code. Then took them out and put them in the addition to pass inspection. Then last summer threw them away when I repainted and re-carpeted the interior.
I just broom off my roof mounted panels or knock the snow off my tracking array, which I manually set to near vertical in snow. I also have used an extended handle broom to reach from the ground, and have often ended up with a face full of refreshing snow!!
If you have a roof that is not safe to get or walk on, then I would recommend you figure out the extended broom trick (I used screw together poles, extender poles and duct taping). No sense leaving snow on the panels when the snow has ended. You get your power back right away. \:D/

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"With every decision, think seven generations ahead of the consequences of your actions" Ute rule of life.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”
― Chief Seattle


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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:39 pm 
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That's really cool!

One of the buildings at the university I graduated from was almost entirely run on solar power (it was a huge building too).

I think that it's a great thing to do! Maybe someday I'll have solar.


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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:11 pm 
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Wonder how Griz is doing with the solar?


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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:58 am 
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nice to start this topic in this forum
=====
non voice projects


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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:18 am 
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Johhny Electriglide wrote:
Grizzly Bear wrote:
Hello all


The one issue I've had recently is snow on the panels. We got about 6 and a half inches during the last storm last weekend and the panels were somewhat covered for a couple of days. They need to come up with a way to integrate a heating coil in these things that you can turn on to melt the snow off.

Johnny- what kind of water heater do you have? Gas, electric, or some kind of solar system? If you have an electric, how efficient is it? Now that we're solar I'm considering swapping out our gas water heater for an electric one to save on propane.

Hi, Grizzly, I have a gas hot water heater with 30 gallon tank. I also have an on demand gas hot water heater to install when the tank one goes kaput. No sense fixing something that isn't broke! Besides it heats the closet its in and through the walls, the house a little. Once it is gone, there will be more storage space in its closet. The on demand one is piezo and will use the same water and gas connections and exhaust pipe and intake vent.
Whatever you do, do NOT use electric heat for melting snow off your panels or hot water. If your HWH is in an unheated garage, then use an insulating blanket. Heat loads are highly resistive and take way too much for solar electric systems. I had to install baseboards to be in code. Then took them out and put them in the addition to pass inspection. Then last summer threw them away when I repainted and re-carpeted the interior.
I just broom off my roof mounted panels or knock the snow off my tracking array, which I manually set to near vertical in snow. I also have used an extended handle broom to reach from the ground, and have often ended up with a face full of refreshing snow!!
If you have a roof that is not safe to get or walk on, then I would recommend you figure out the extended broom trick (I used screw together poles, extender poles and duct taping). No sense leaving snow on the panels when the snow has ended. You get your power back right away. \:D/



Now THIS is good stuff. I love it when you communicate your know-how.


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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:20 pm 
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Now THIS is REALLY going solar!! We build ours 11 years ago and still love it!!

http://earthship.com/systems

\:D/ :clap: :- :-({|= :mrgreen:

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"With every decision, think seven generations ahead of the consequences of your actions" Ute rule of life.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”
― Chief Seattle


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 Post subject: Re: Went solar!
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:48 pm 
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SiberD wrote:
Cool! Is this strictly a grid tie installation or does it have batteries where you can use it as a standby in case you lose utility power?

How many Kw is it and, if I may be so bold, what was the installed cost?

I have three solar electric systems. The main is 600W full tracking, twin DR2424s, 8-L16S batteries in two 24VDC banks of 410Ah, 230VAC through the wall from a custom insulated attached shed. $9,300.
System two is in the garage addition, 296watts fixed Unisolar panels, C35 controller, 4-L16S in two banks of 410Ah 12VDC to on demand 800/2400 MSW inverter and Prosine1000w for my stacks of amps. $3,500.
System 3 Earthship, 128watts, fixed Unisolar, C12, 180/300W Puresine, 4 Golf cart batteries in 12VDC 220Ah. $1,200.
Total 14K. Present Util. bill would be over 120/mo., cost for power to house would have been 5K, lot next door 18K reduced to 3.5K(from no elect. and my solar) and bought and annexed, making all the solar free. Everything self done except carpet installation. No mortgage on this dream home complex.

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"With every decision, think seven generations ahead of the consequences of your actions" Ute rule of life.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”
― Chief Seattle


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