Solar Power - Self Install or Not?

Andy

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@Andy what is the average lifespan of these solar systems?
Almost all modern panels have a 10 year product warranty and a 25 year production guarantee. The production guarantee for mainstream panels is about a 1% degration per year or 25 % over 25 years. In reality the degradation is usually much less. SunPower which is a premium brand guarantee much less degradation.

A very interesting analytical paper on the subject by NREL can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/qcjl58v

Andy
 

networkcameracritic

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Here's the solar panels. Ready to be installed, hopefully have them all on the roof tomorrow.

Solar Panels.jpg
 

networkcameracritic

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I hired a solar company who's prices were reasonable and weren't trying to gouge me like Solar City or Sunrun. It's going slower than expected. I figured the panels would be up on the roof after 2 days, but still working on electrics wiring and setting up the rails. Hopefully Monday the panels will be on the roof and I'll be able to park in my garage.
 

Andy

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Any update? On a personal note my panels are up and wired into attic. Inverters hung. No wiring done except panel strings into junction box in attic. lol It's the cobbler with no shoes syndrom
 

networkcameracritic

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They got half the panels up and I had to leave on a trip for work. Hoping they finish it up tomorrow or Monday, hopefully get an inspection on Tuesday.
 

networkcameracritic

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Finally passed inspection. You would be surprised how many warning stickers are required to get approval. This thing has 3 shutoff points all within a foot of each other, each with enough stickers to make a kindergardner happy. The next step is to send photos, city approvals and paperwork to SDG&E to get a permit to operate. Legally they have 30 days, but an optimistic person said as soon as 2 weeks.

They did give us a hard time about the off grid power outlet, a feature of the Sunny Boy inverter. When there's a power outage, the system has to automatically shut down, but you can use this outlet to power say a fridge or PC equipment during the day for up to 1,500W. They finally caved in, probably knowing that after he left we would put it back in, LOL.
 

nayr

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hrmm thats odd they didnt like your off grid outlet.. if a power line is cut upstream you could feed power back up a line repair crews believe has no power.. but they should have put an automatic transfer switch which would negate this problem. Ive heard stories in past after a natural disaster people have hooked up generators to there home and did not ensure the main circuit was shutoff.. causing injury to workers trying to repair the main power lines. The only thing I can think of is they dont trust your inverter to transfer power to that outlet and not the power mains, they probably prefer there be no power output when mains are down.. You could in theory create a jumper cable to connect that outlet back to the rest of the house, and that makes them nervous.

I am sure there is all sorts of stuff on your solar panels known to the state of California to be toxic and dangerous... My windshield wiper fluid is banned in California, dont surprise me they sticker bombed your solar setup.. that would annoy me too, I despise stickers.
 
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Andy

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hrmm thats odd they didnt like your off grid outlet.. if a power line is cut upstream you could feed power back up a line repair crews believe has no power.. but they should have put an automatic transfer switch which would negate this problem. Ive heard stories in past after a natural disaster people have hooked up generators to there home and did not ensure the main circuit was shutoff.. causing injury to workers trying to repair the main power lines. The only thing I can think of is they dont trust your inverter to transfer power to that outlet and not the power mains, they probably prefer there be no power output when mains are down.. You could in theory create a jumper cable to connect that outlet back to the rest of the house, and that makes them nervous.

I am sure there is all sorts of stuff on your solar panels known to the state of California to be toxic and dangerous... My windshield wiper fluid is banned in California, dont surprise me they sticker bombed your solar setup.. that would annoy me too, I despise stickers.
The way the SMA Secure Power works is that it feeds a separate 120 V outlet that has no interconnection with the grid. When the grid is down you need to flip a singe pole switch that activates the outlet. If the grid comes back up the switch needs to be turned off before the inverter restarts and backfeeds the grid. The Secure Power Outlet turns off each night and must be manually restarted. We've installed over a hundred of them and never had an issue with an AHJ. Usually they are interested in them and say it's about time you were able to get some power from the array when the grid is down.
 

fenderman

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NICE! Cant wait to see a before and after electric bill!
 

Andy

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Woohoo, just got permission to operated and felt good flipping that switch.
Congrats

I'm still waiting for Utility approval. My first application was rejected because my system exceeds 30% of the utility transformer I'm being fed by.

I had to pay $500 for the utility to do an engineering study on grid stability with my system attached. They have 15 business days. Should know either Friday or Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed.
 

networkcameracritic

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It's been a month with solar and I got my first bill. Since I started a week into the pay period, there's usage from that, but all tier 1, so $33. That's in contrast to my last December bill of $285. Because the days are short in winter and there's been some rain (I know, rain in so cal, who would have thunk), I'm not generating 100% of my use, but enough to keep it all in the 1st pricing tier at 15 cents a Kwhr (I know, our 1st tier rates are higher than most state's highest rates). With "net-metering", I pay the electric bill once a year, in my case a year from when I got solar, so next November when they "true-up".
 

pal251

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What's the price like for a system like that for a small home? I would love to put it to the local electric company
 

networkcameracritic

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I paid about $16K after Fed tax credit. There's no rebates or incentives in California at this time.
 

networkcameracritic

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Don't know them, but I got a quote from a highly regarded supplier for self installs, Go Green Solar - http://www.gogreensolar.com. When I put together a system I wanted which is what was installed with name brand components, I could have saved $6K (before tax credit). They bid the project down to how many washers and screws you'll need. It can be misleading to look at panel costs alone because "misc stuff" comes out to as much as the panels.
 
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