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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: questions re: installing solar panels to reduce electricity costs

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    Asking for referrals, you are on your way to select a contractor, the right way.

    Then, take the time to contact these homeowners, ask them about the contractors and ask them about the "energy savings".

    There is a difference between promises and actual experience.
    There is usually a vast difference between promises and actual experience with solar systems, which makes your pre-contract research crucial.

    In the early days of solar most of the few folks doing these systems learned through experience and checked with past customers to verify what they were seeing so that they could be totally honest with their new customers. They knew that manufacturer claims were almost always over-rated. Now you're seeing a lot of 'newbies' jumping on the solar bandwagon who usually just repeat whatever the manufacturer claims. And if someone's experience varies they use that as their "excuse" and claim that it's not their problem You don't need excuses- you need to know other peoiples results, long-term ones- to help you make the right choices with photovoltaics. It is nothing like working with AC house current so discount anyone who tries to claim that this kind of experience has validity here. AC experience matters only where the panel connections are made, the DC side is done entirely differently and that is where most of the problems happen.

    If you land a good installer you'll get what they say you will trouble-free for years. If you don't you'll hate the whole thing and yourself for wasting the money.


  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Boston area

    Default Re: questions re: installing solar panels to reduce electricity costs

    There are numerous ****** guides and calculators where you can verify every number they give you. Or do the math yourself. Start with a sun hours map, here is one at random:

    Get your sun hours:

    CITY: Boston
    HIGH: 4.27
    LOW: 2.99
    AVERAGE: 3.84

    Then you need to look up the guaranteed efficiency of your panels, and how much they drop off per year. Also, the efficiency of the inverters. Then just do some multiplication (perhaps with a spread sheet, one line per year) to find out how much power they will make yearly and compare that to your yearly usage.

    Of course, energy costs will also rise, and in some states you might make more money selling the power during the day than it costs when you buy it back at night, as there are peak-rates and non-peak rates. Other states it's the same cost all day and night. Maybe add in the cost of a replacement inverter. You can make a rough prediction about how soon it will pay for itself. It will probably pay for itself several times over all while helping the environment.

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