Solar panels? Anyone have them?

I know enough to be dangerous. I would want to know how the solar company buys and sells its power. The solar power is A) gov't subsidized and B) generating power during peak usage when the power is worth more. Thru the subsidies and rate structure the solar company is able to sell power from the panels on your house back to the grid at significantly higher rates do to peak demand and when your house is probably at a lower usage. It then has to buy power off the grid when it is dark, the power is cheaper then. That's how they make their money, so long as your panels are making excess power during the peak that they can sell. I would want a solid estimate of what the panels your house can accommodate will produce, and how many months of the year it will benefit you. I would also want to know the risk of the gov't subsidies running out, these companies cannot exist without them. In the NE you need a good southern exposure and maybe half the year it is going to net you something. If you buy your own panels, you will not be able to make the same money as these solar companies can, and it will take you a long time to get any pay back unless you can get completely off the grid.
Is it worth all the hype? My usual electric bill here in CT is around $225 if the furnace or AC isn't running. Summer bills can be around $400 or more, winter mid $300. Have forced for solar panels manufactured in solar panels factory, older central air unit that works great but uses a lot of juice to run. Electric hot water heater.
Yes solar power is very effective but only in summers or plenty of sunshine is available..I have been using these panels and got very nice outcomes..
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This has been a hands on hobby of mine for quite a few years and right now PV solar is a waste of money....

...UNLESS you have access to taxpayer money to make it cost effective. Also, Installing something with a 20 year lifespan and a 30 year breakeven point makes no sense.

Since you're up north, if you capture solar don't charge batteries, dump that heat right into your house.

Here's a good site with lots to read. Just ignore all the Mother Earth links and start with the 1\2 program stuff first.
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and something up with your bill. $225 is WAAAAAY to much if you're not running HVAC.

I pay .12 per kwh and my bill last month in GA running the air was $61 (and I was pissed). With no HVAC I pay about $50ish. Granted my bill is much smaller that all my friends, but it still only takes so many kwh's to run fridges and lights when the HVAC is off.
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Like I said, I know enough to be dangerous, but Earl gives some good common sense advise.
You need to shop around.

Some companies want a down payment and a standard fee. I’ve heard of anywhere from $78 to $130 per month.

around here some peoples bills are just over $100 without solar so its not worth it.

My friend mentioned a company that installs the solar panels at no cost to you.

You get half the power and they get the other half for the first 10 years.

After that you own the panels 100% and all the power. should last 10 more years.

Then if you are still alive you can do it all over again with them.

I can get the name if anyone is interested.

I did get a solar powered attic fan on sale from Home Depot a few months ago for $50. It's pretty neat watching it spin with no outside power source or battery pack... Last winter I used to to blow hot air into my house from my deck/oxygen tent. :) The temp in the porch runs 40~45F warmer than ambient when the suns out. It costs me about $37.50/yr to put it up and I like having the extra room during the winter to boot.


My homemade roof heater (visible from space!) and overhead shot of the solar porch...


It's built out of 3 sliding glass doors...


The irrigation tubing was for a 'proof of concept' just to see if it works. During the day with a slow pump rate it worked pretty good....

..until the pump failed (notice the insulation rated at 400F failed and shrunk up)....


Luckely, the air portion (using an 8" desk fan and pulling cold attic air) still worked....


and if I get hungry I can cook spaghetti with solar (and melt aluminum, glass, steel, and ROCKS if I want to, this thing is BADASS!)...



Here it is 'dispatching' a stump in my front yard. The solar powered deathray is very versatile!

See why I think photovoltaics are boring? :D

And when I get cold at night and the sun's not out, I have my new atom smasher to keep me warm, boil water, get rid of yard debris and junk mail, and grill steaks. lol


and yes, that piece of 4X4 steel is red hot!

Alternative energy is a lot of fun and can save money if done right. Not the government way, mind you, but it's still possible.

In my case, I don't want to hear how a 3year paypack period is awesome. I want my money back on the first season (or even sooner) and I want my comfort level to be better than normal grid living.

It would have been nice if I'd started this back when copper, alum flashing, and building materials were cheep cheep though. I would have started with copper in my roof heater and been done with it.
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Earl, that last pic looks more like an illegal still. You sure you aren't brewing something in the backwoods of GA? The way I save on electricity in the summer is by using my window a/c unit in my bedroom at night. Much cheaper than running the central a/c. My power bill is around $100/month in summer. Double that in winter for the heat :mad:
Zone cooling is MUCH more efficient than running the whole house HVAC. Every 10 linear feet of wall/ceiling space you're not conditioning is right out 80 sq feet of area that's not hemorrhaging heat in/out from the elements. A few rooms taken out of the loop really adds up. Not to mention 30% losses through ductwork is considered normal and acceptable for some reason.

That ''1/2 program'' at has a lot of pretty cost effective projects. The paypack period can be pretty quick is you start with a leaky house.

.....and my still looks like this... :D
First things first get rid of that electric water heater and electric stove if you have one.
my --------- has solar panels and a 24 battery bank and he loves it.