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Author Topic: My Solar (Photovoltaic) Monitoring website  (Read 1730 times)
dean0
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Location: Deltona, Fl.


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« on: April 17, 2011, 12:37:42 PM »

If anyone is interested in solar electricity, you can visit my monitoring website http://dean0.mysolarlog.com/?template=flash
I started out in 2007 by replacing my old electric hot water heater with a solar hot water heater.  It cut my electric bill by a substantial amount that I started researching photovoltaic. I learned about all the incentives from the power company and from both state and federal sources and that made my decision fairly easily even though it was expensive.  Since installing my system back in 2008, I have had 3 months of every year that I do not have an electric bill and I have never had one over $100 since installing the system.  Pretty good since I live in Florida where it is in the 90's May -October.  The system I have also has 16 batteries to use as backup.  This feature comes in very handy during lightening storms and hurricanes.  All my neighbors are without power or have to start their generators when they lose their power.  Mine switches to battery power so fast that I don't realize we even had a power outage.  No more flashing alarms clocks or microwave ovens.
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slacker361
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2011, 03:34:54 PM »

I cant wait for the price to come down on those, living is southwestern PA , there is only one place in the states that gets less sun than us, and that is nome AK, even the wind turbines would be good but a 7 year break even point is a little high...
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VolunteerK9
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Gamecock fan in UT land.


« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2011, 04:37:56 PM »

Details and pics man! Enquiring minds want to know...
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jmblakeney
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Location: Anderson Co., Tennessee,

James


« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2011, 05:03:00 PM »

Details and pics man! Enquiring minds want to know...

Ditto
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"I believe the best social program is a job...." - Ronald Reagan
dean0
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Location: Deltona, Fl.


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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2011, 05:21:31 PM »

Details and pics man! Enquiring minds want to know...
If you click on the mySite tab, there is a picture of the panels which take up almost the entire backside of my roof.  The system is a 5.4Kw photovoltaic system with battery backup.  It consist of 30-180 watt panels, 2 Outback GVFX Inverters, 2 Outback MX-60 Charge Controllers and 16 Concord 6 volt batteries.  Everything is controlled via computer and operates automatically.  The price of the system was $52000 but after incentives, my final cost was $28000. I paid the power company less than $700 last year for electricity.  Before I went solar, I was paying them almost $4000/year.  I am saving a little over $3000/year so my payoff will take about 10 years, plus I don't have to worry about power outages.  This system sells power back to the power company and then when the sun goes down, hopefully I only have to buy some of it back.  I thought about adding a wind turbine because when the sun isn't shining, the wind is usually blowing but I could not afford to do both.

Since I bought my system, the federal government removed the cap on the incentive.  If you by a system now, the federal government will cover the cost of the system up to 30%.  When I bought my system, that incentive was capped at $2000 but the State of Florida offered an incentive of $4/watt up to $20,000; which is the reason I went with a 5.4 kw system. It will be nice once the kids are gone and my wife and I are retired and living on a fixed income.  The decision I made a few years ago will benefit us in our retirement years because we shouldn't have an electric bill and who knows how much electricity will cost in 10-20 years from now.

Dean
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BlueBee
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Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2011, 05:51:06 PM »

Very cool Dean.  I checked out your site.

Having lived in Florida for a while, I know the main problem power drag is the AC in the summer and winter.  Where I lived the AC was run backward as a heat pump in the winter and that consumed huge amounts of energy; a horribly inefficient way to make heat.  The cement houses down there are good at keeping the bugs at bay, but I could never get it cool enough inside to maintain my sanity during your 6 months of heat and humidity.  The cement would never cool down no matter how many AC BTUs I threw at it.  What kind of cooling system are you using?    

As for future electricity costs, who knows, I guess that really depends mostly on what the Wall Street speculators want to set the price at.  However there has been an enormous increase in our natural gas reserves in the last couple of years due to fracking.  Nat gas is now cheaper than coal per BTU!  We’re drowning in the stuff.  The world is drowning in the stuff.  Unfortunately NG isn’t a great match for vehicles so it doesn’t affect the price of oil much.  There really isn’t much we can do with NG besides spin turbines and make electricity.
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specialkayme
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Location: Central NC - (somewhere either in Raleigh, Greensboro, or inbetween)


« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2011, 05:53:55 PM »

My knowledge is limited, but how long do your PV panels last? I read at one point you need to replace them after about 15 years, maybe sooner, because they go down to about 40% efficiency, or something like that, after that time.

At that point, if break even is 10 years, and you have to replace it in 15, I'm not too sure it's worth the hastle. Sure you get 5 years worth before replacing, but the efficiency drops.

I'm more interested in a "build as you go" system. It's much easier to put $1-2k a year into a system (one or two new panels a year, new battery, ect.) for 10 years than it is to put $20k upfront. At least for me.
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skflyfish
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2011, 07:07:40 PM »

My knowledge is limited, but how long do your PV panels last? I read at one point you need to replace them after about 15 years, maybe sooner, because they go down to about 40% efficiency, or something like that, after that time.


Actually they don't know how long PVs will last. Most warranties are 20 years. There are panels that are 30 years old and still producing good amounts of electricity. I have some 15 years old panels that I bought and when I installed them they were still producing 90% of their rated value.

To do it piece meal, the Enphase micro-inverter will let you buy a panel and their micro inverter and install them one at a time. It just plugs into your power panel. You just have to install a kill switch in case the grid goes out so you don't put juice on the grid and fry some line worker. http://www.solar-electric.com/enmigrsy.html

Nice setup Deano. 5.4 kw is huge. I was wondering why you still had to buy from the grid, and then I read you had children. Nuff said.  grin

Very impressive, though 12 - 6 vdc batteries isn't that much amp hours. Maybe 7 kwh worth of backup. Glad you made the plung.

Jay
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AllenF
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2011, 07:15:01 PM »

I am still waiting for PV prices to come down more.   10 year payback it still a long time. 
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specialkayme
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2011, 07:41:58 PM »


Actually they don't know how long PVs will last. Most warranties are 20 years. There are panels that are 30 years old and still producing good amounts of electricity. I have some 15 years old panels that I bought and when I installed them they were still producing 90% of their rated value.

To do it piece meal, the Enphase micro-inverter will let you buy a panel and their micro inverter and install them one at a time. It just plugs into your power panel. You just have to install a kill switch in case the grid goes out so you don't put juice on the grid and fry some line worker. http://www.solar-electric.com/enmigrsy.html



Thanks Jay! I'll look into it. Hopefully it pans out to something that I can do.
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amyleighhoney
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2011, 06:07:11 AM »

I have to agree with others.. i checked PV a while a go (2 years) but the price was just too much for me. But will check out your site and see if its changed much.
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I sometimes try my hand at blogging at: Benefits of Honey. Although its a honey blog not a beekeeping blog (i'm a total newbie when it comes to beekeeping)
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