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Solar Energy

Joined
Dec 9, 2003
Messages
4,905
Location
Decorah, IA
Car(s)
2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI (USDM)
I'm thinking about putting solar panels on my roof (of my house, not my car :lol: ) at some point (evidently they come in shingle form these days).
(I plan to pay off my car first, and to buy a big screen tv after that, so it'll probably be a few years before I get serious about it. :p )

Anyway, by any very remote chance, has anyone had any personal experience with solar panels?

FYI, this looks interesting:
http://www.ovonic.com/res/2_2_thin_film/thin_film_phot.htm
 
I saw a TV report thing about some community in California has all the houses with solar panels and they use about 0 power from the power companies, actually the power companies pay the homeowners over the course of the year. The houses are setup a bit weird though.

I think adding solar panels to your home may lower energy costs a bit, but it don't know how long it would take for the addition of the panels to pay off.
 
Re: Solar Energy

ESPNSTI said:
(I plan to pay off my car first, and to buy a big screen tv after that, so it'll probably be a few years before I get serious about it. :p )

:thumbsup: for your priorities! :D

1 - Pay off car
2 - Buy big screen TV
3 - Save the planet

Not being sarcastic - they're my kind of priorities!
 
:lol:
Well, I guess I saved the planet a little bit before already: I have a geothermal heating system.
 
jayjaya29 said:
I saw a TV report thing about some community in California has all the houses with solar panels and they use about 0 power from the power companies, actually the power companies pay the homeowners over the course of the year. The houses are setup a bit weird though.

I think adding solar panels to your home may lower energy costs a bit, but it don't know how long it would take for the addition of the panels to pay off.

Yeah, I saw that one too ZEH, Zero Energy Homes. Pretty cool, since there's an incentive in Cali to do it tho, it's popular there. But Elsewhere they cost $20,000 for the panels and there's no tax break atm, unless you're in California afaik. I could be wrong tho. I'd like to have that for my house tho too, electric bills for the A/C in the summer here can be hell. :)
 
ESPNSTI said:
:lol:
Well, I guess I saved the planet a little bit before already: I have a geothermal heating system.

How much was it? Or was it included in the cost of the home. Or do you know how much something like that would cost if you had to retrofit it? :)
 
A friend of my parents did just that, he's got quite a big system (5kW), and after all the taxes exemptions and stuff (he's in Cali), he ended up paying like $9k for it..

It's very clever, once he was here he could show us a real time monitoring system of the energy produced, sun angle, etc...

He said it would take him about 11 years to pay off which isn't bad.

His electricity bills are now $20/month in the summer!! :lol:


If you want to see some pics of his project, he's got some online:


http://www.kins.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=solarpv

:)
 
Cruzz563 said:
ESPNSTI said:
:lol:
Well, I guess I saved the planet a little bit before already: I have a geothermal heating system.

How much was it? Or was it included in the cost of the home. Or do you know how much something like that would cost if you had to retrofit it? :)
It was on a new home and it was ehm... a bit pricy -> $20,000.
That includes radiant floor heating in the basement and forced air heating for the 1st floor.

In texas, you probably won't need nearly as big of a compressor as I need up here, so it's probably less costly.
I'm not certain about retrofit costs, I don't believe it was much if any more expensive than new when I looked in to it 3-4 years ago.

EDIT: I believe I did get something like a $1500 rebate for it.
 
Ah ok, now that I think about it, it doesn't get too cold here, but last winter it did snow a little... And the gas bill never get over $300 either, it's nice to know that it's available tho.

I think the solar panels are a good idea, not only for the summertime bills but for emergencies as well, during storms and such, you'd be pimpin' in eletricity while everyone else is using candle light :lol:
 
Cruzz563 said:
I think the solar panels are a good idea, not only for the summertime bills but for emergencies as well, during storms and such, you'd be pimpin' in eletricity while everyone else is using candle light :lol:

Nope! You can't, as the way most of these systems work it needs to be connected to the grid, and if there's no power coming in from the grid, it won't work.

There's a way to fool the system to think there is power, but you need another part, and if you end up not using all the power you make, then you'll end up in serious trouble..

so it's better to forget it.
 
Cruzz563 said:
And the gas bill never get over $300 either, it's nice to know that it's available tho.
I just checked my records, my highest electricity bill (which includes heating and everything else), was $199 for a Februari.
My lowest was $42 for a September.
My house isn't that big though, it's about 1250 sq. ft. (and a same sized basement).
Cruzz563 said:
I think the solar panels are a good idea, not only for the summertime bills but for emergencies as well, during storms and such, you'd be pimpin' in eletricity while everyone else is using candle light :lol:
Wow, hadn't even thought of that. :lol:
EDIT: aw crap... :(
 
Well honestly, with your heating system and low electricity bills, plus relatively small sized house, I don't think it's worth it.

Especially if you're not getting rebates like in california.

His system was $20k in parts alone.
 
Renesis said:
Well honestly, with your heating system and low electricity bills, plus relatively small sized house, I don't think it's worth it.

Especially if you're not getting rebates like in california.

His system was $20k in parts alone.
With today's prices, I agree, it wouldn't be worth it, but I got interested by this link, which would seem to indicate that the costs are going to drop significantly in the next few years:
http://www.ovonic.com/res/2_2_thin_film/thin_film_phot.htm
 
Renesis said:
Cruzz563 said:
I think the solar panels are a good idea, not only for the summertime bills but for emergencies as well, during storms and such, you'd be pimpin' in eletricity while everyone else is using candle light :lol:

Nope! You can't, as the way most of these systems work it needs to be connected to the grid, and if there's no power coming in from the grid, it won't work.

There's a way to fool the system to think there is power, but you need another part, and if you end up not using all the power you make, then you'll end up in serious trouble..

so it's better to forget it.

Ah ok, 'cause I thought it would work like on the episode of '30 Days' when they were living off the grid. They used solar panels for their main, and only power source, it stored the unused energy in a battery. I didn't know the not all of them were like that, which is wierd.

But why would you be in trouble if you don't use up all the power you make? :|
 
Cruzz563 said:
But why would you be in trouble if you don't use up all the power you make? :|
Perhaps it'll start feeding the appliances too much? (Like it'll start running on 220V or something like that) :lol:

FYI, guess what.
There is a company in Iowa that makes solar film:
http://www.powerfilmsolar.com/products/index.htm
And even weirder... there is an installer in the town I live in. :?
That makes no sense, I live in a little rinky-dink town with no decent sized towns for at least 60 miles. :lol:
 
Cruzz563 said:
But why would you be in trouble if you don't use up all the power you make? :|

Simply because as it's not attached to the grid anymore, there's nowhere for the excess power to go (since those systems usually don't have batteries) and you know what too much power can do in a system.. it'll try to escape and... fuck things up!


As for batteries, I did ask him, and he said that in his case, he didn't really need it since he gets really good sun exposure throughout the day, and anyway, batteries are very expensive and their lifespan is only about 7 years, so it's really not worth it unless you have a special case where your needs in power fluctuate a lot (no use in the day let's say) and you doN't have a very good sun exposure...
 
Funny how I can explain something I don't even understand just by repeating what someone told me, it makes me look intelligent :lol:
 
This isn't a place where they get tornado, the weather is beautiful.

It's in Hermosa Beach, California, it hardly ever rains..
 
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