Author Topic: Solar Challenge: Net Zero  (Read 741 times)

Livethedream

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Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« on: February 18, 2018, 10:02:34 AM »
Wondering if any other solar nerds out there would like to have a solar challenge to keep your electricity bill at $0 or negative!

Post a picture of your system, talk about your experience, system size, how your power usage has changed since solar.

2600 sqft House + 1000sqft shop
All electric everything
House built 2015 2x6 TONS of insulation
Northern CA HOTTTT summers peak at 110.
Mild winters

This is our second year of solar with true up due in July. We are on pace to be negative this year. Our balance last year was $40. We have adjusted our thermostat a bit, that has been the biggest electricity saver for us.

24 Panels
7.2kw
DIY install
4.5 year estimated repayment time


« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 11:23:55 AM by Livethedream »

Slow&Steady

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 09:48:14 AM »
I am temped to join this challenge but we had our system specifically designed to only cover 8-9 months out of the year.  We have extremely high energy usage in the winter and low solar abilities, to size our system to cover our winter months would mean that it was 2-3 times more than we would need for the rest of the year and our electric company only buys back at wholesale rates (read very NON-cost effective).  Below is our set up though.

2700 sqft house
1 full electric vehicle (average 25k-30k miles/year)
All electric house
Geothermal heat/air (great for summer, not so great under freezing temps)
House built in early 2000's (NEEDS a lot of insulation)
Partially underground house with lots of shade (great for summers)

Solar turned on in July 2017, 12kW system.


Slow&Steady

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 09:51:31 AM »
I am temped to join this challenge but we had our system specifically designed to only cover 8-9 months out of the year.  We have extremely high energy usage in the winter and low solar abilities, to size our system to cover our winter months would mean that it was 2-3 times more than we would need for the rest of the year and our electric company only buys back at wholesale rates (read very NON-cost effective).  Below is our set up though.

2700 sqft house
1 full electric vehicle (average 25k-30k miles/year)
All electric house
Geothermal heat/air (great for summer, not so great under freezing temps)
House built in early 2000's (NEEDS a lot of insulation)
Partially underground house with lots of shade (great for summers)

Solar turned on in July 2017, 12kW system.

I will add that it is on my goals for 2018 to try to winter proof the house.  Add more attic insulation and see about adding insulation to the exterior walls, plus redo caulking around windows/doors.

Livethedream

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 08:48:10 PM »
I am temped to join this challenge but we had our system specifically designed to only cover 8-9 months out of the year.  We have extremely high energy usage in the winter and low solar abilities, to size our system to cover our winter months would mean that it was 2-3 times more than we would need for the rest of the year and our electric company only buys back at wholesale rates (read very NON-cost effective).  Below is our set up though.

2700 sqft house
1 full electric vehicle (average 25k-30k miles/year)
All electric house
Geothermal heat/air (great for summer, not so great under freezing temps)
House built in early 2000's (NEEDS a lot of insulation)
Partially underground house with lots of shade (great for summers)

Solar turned on in July 2017, 12kW system.

You must be involved in some kind of Ag? That is quite a bit of power that system is producing.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2018, 06:06:09 AM »
PTF. I do not have solar on my house since I am going to leave it for a condo next year.
But I always wanted to be completely free from the utilities.

Slow&Steady

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2018, 08:23:15 AM »
I am temped to join this challenge but we had our system specifically designed to only cover 8-9 months out of the year.  We have extremely high energy usage in the winter and low solar abilities, to size our system to cover our winter months would mean that it was 2-3 times more than we would need for the rest of the year and our electric company only buys back at wholesale rates (read very NON-cost effective).  Below is our set up though.

2700 sqft house
1 full electric vehicle (average 25k-30k miles/year)
All electric house
Geothermal heat/air (great for summer, not so great under freezing temps)
House built in early 2000's (NEEDS a lot of insulation)
Partially underground house with lots of shade (great for summers)

Solar turned on in July 2017, 12kW system.

You must be involved in some kind of Ag? That is quite a bit of power that system is producing.

Electric cars use a lot of energy to travel 90-100 miles a day, they use even more when it is cold outside.  Batteries do not like cold.  During the summer both my electric and my car "fuel" bill should be $0 (except the connection fee that I get charged for every month).  Adding the capacity to handle the car really bumped up the system. 

However, a huge draw on our electric is keeping humans warm (really need to add insulation) and animals and their water from freezing in the winter.  I also struggle year around with teenagers that don't understand that the light, tv, ceiling fan, and floor fan do not need to be turned on if there is nobody in that room.  The teenagers also think it is unfair that I refuse to turn the thermostat up in the winter when they complain that it is cold but they have a fan blowing in their face all night long. 

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2018, 03:31:02 PM »
We recently installed solar panels on our house. There is a month long wait for our power company to start "processing" the solar. Amazingly, they still get to receive the power, just not credit our account. They are "working on it". So, should know more soon! I'm super excited to see how close we can get. Our heat runs on gas, however, so we are hoping to have enough solar to cover all of our power needs, but will still need to pay for gas.

We also have an electric car, but no charger at home. We charge for free at work.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 04:00:53 PM by MaybeBabyMustache »

AerynLee

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2018, 03:49:14 PM »
Following. We don't have solar yet but we're looking into it. Waiting for a second company to get back to me with a quote

BrandNewPapa

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2018, 07:51:02 AM »
I'm hoping to DIY a 7-9kw system this year, depending on my financials. I just had a new roof installed with a lifetime warranty, and I plan to be in this house for at least 30 years, so now is the time to do it. I was hoping to have already ordered panels, but the roof costs 2x what I had budgeted, so I need to save up more money before I pull the trigger.

I live in central Ohio, so payback period would be 7-10 years depending on final installed cost and system size. It should cover 75-80% of my electric usage. I have a Chevy Volt, electric water heater, and electric dryer (formally all electric house).

My roof exposure is not ideal. I have a small south facing section where I can fit 3 or 4 panels and the rest of my roof is east/west. I'll probably do two west facing sections of 10 panels, and one south facing of 4 panels.

The only hurdle I have right now is permitting through my county. They require plans drawn up by a certified architect or professional engineer...I need to find someone that will do it at a reasonable cost. Guess I should have gotten my PE license! d'oh!

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 07:58:22 PM »
We recently installed solar panels on our house. There is a month long wait for our power company to start "processing" the solar. Amazingly, they still get to receive the power, just not credit our account. They are "working on it". So, should know more soon! I'm super excited to see how close we can get. Our heat runs on gas, however, so we are hoping to have enough solar to cover all of our power needs, but will still need to pay for gas.

We also have an electric car, but no charger at home. We charge for free at work.

Bitter because the power company still hasn't started to credit us for our solar. We received our "permission to operate" the first week of March, but they are still processing it & are unsure what's taking so long. Hopefully I'll have an update soon.

Livethedream

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2018, 07:59:57 AM »
Thatís a bummer, hopefully they get it done soon. We have been having a rainy April, might bust our chances of hitting $0 for the year.

Another Reader

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2018, 08:21:20 AM »
Wondering if any other solar nerds out there would like to have a solar challenge to keep your electricity bill at $0 or negative!

Post a picture of your system, talk about your experience, system size, how your power usage has changed since solar.

2600 sqft House + 1000sqft shop
All electric everything
House built 2015 2x6 TONS of insulation
Northern CA HOTTTT summers peak at 110.
Mild winters

This is our second year of solar with true up due in July. We are on pace to be negative this year. Our balance last year was $40. We have adjusted our thermostat a bit, that has been the biggest electricity saver for us.

24 Panels
7.2kw
DIY install
4.5 year estimated repayment time

Haven't made the leap yet.  Cost is too high in the Bay Area, roof orientation is marginal.

Some questions, though.

Cost per kW, DIY installed? 
Sacramento or Redding or somewhere else (how cold/foggy in the winter)?
PG&E or SMUD?

Thanks!

Livethedream

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  • Location: Northern California
Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2018, 10:01:15 AM »
Wondering if any other solar nerds out there would like to have a solar challenge to keep your electricity bill at $0 or negative!

Post a picture of your system, talk about your experience, system size, how your power usage has changed since solar.

2600 sqft House + 1000sqft shop
All electric everything
House built 2015 2x6 TONS of insulation
Northern CA HOTTTT summers peak at 110.
Mild winters

This is our second year of solar with true up due in July. We are on pace to be negative this year. Our balance last year was $40. We have adjusted our thermostat a bit, that has been the biggest electricity saver for us.

24 Panels
7.2kw
DIY install
4.5 year estimated repayment time

Haven't made the leap yet.  Cost is too high in the Bay Area, roof orientation is marginal.

Some questions, though.

Cost per kW, DIY installed? 
Sacramento or Redding or somewhere else (how cold/foggy in the winter)?
PG&E or SMUD?

Thanks!

Iím at about $1.15 a kw installed DIY, paying for some help with install.
Im inbetween Redding and Sacramento, PG&E. We donít get fog here, temperature unless close to freezing wonít really be an issue in winter, we have a bigger impact from temperature in the summer when 100+ for weeks.

Another Reader

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2018, 10:31:09 AM »
It's $3.25 per kW and up installed here in Silly Valley.  With mostly east/west roof surface at this house, it's harder to make it pencil out even if the price came down.

My neighbor was an early adopter with just under 10 KW.  I think he paid around $40k and got a large rebate.  He has a tri-level with a lot of roof facing about 10 degrees south of mine. He switched everything except the furnace to electric.

Recently he had to replace the 80 gallon electric hot water heater and the solar inverter.  The inverter installation was pricey.  His electric bill is close to zero, but he is paying for natural gas.  His wife is home all day and the two A/C units run constantly in the summer, so he is generating a lot of power.  He is under the old TOU plan from 10 or 15 years ago, which is more favorable to the customer than the current options.

If you are above the fog line, your winter production must be pretty good.  I think we will see a lot more DIY installs like yours and Mr. MM's, which might put some downward pressure on prices.

Cadman

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2018, 01:05:36 PM »
S&S, nice setup! Reminds me of our 10kw system.  http://www.linearlook.com/solar/solar.html

With cold winters, overcast skies and electric heat, winter bills can be a little unpleasant, but we do go negative during the summer months. It's crossed my mind that once we go FIRE, it may actually be cheaper to boondock out west for a couple months and let the panels work for us.

Abe

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2018, 10:06:38 PM »
Those of you in California, any advice on what aspects can be DIY and what you need a licensed contractor/electrician to do? I have a portable system that powers my computer since we're renting, but am interested in upgrading once we buy a house in 1-2 years. We'll probably aim for a 5kW system based on our current energy usage.

Joel

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Re: Solar Challenge: Net Zero
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2018, 10:20:42 PM »
Posting to follow. Could you guys point me to some good guidance for DIY solar?