Author Topic: Installing solar panels -- pros and cons?  (Read 691 times)

Melisande

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Installing solar panels -- pros and cons?
« on: March 24, 2019, 12:59:04 PM »
We are seriously considering installing solar panels, both for savings and in order to "do the right thing." We live in Florida and have an unshaded South-facing roof. I have asked around on nextdoor.com and most everyone said that they were happy that they are very happy with the decision to install panels.

Anyone here care to talk about their experience?

Thanks!

sol

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Re: Installing solar panels -- pros and cons?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 02:04:14 PM »
There are lots of threads about this topic on the forum, if you dig around a little.  I wrote one when I put my panels up in 2014.  Prices have come down quite a bit since then.

In summary, yes I'm very happy with them.

civil4life

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Re: Installing solar panels -- pros and cons?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 06:58:48 PM »
I have been very happy with mine as well.  I used what is now Direct Energy to do the installation, however I do not think they do residential installs now.

It would be great in FL.  My gas and electric are on the same bill.  I have no bill from May through Sept., then paying for gas in the winter.


gooki

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Re: Installing solar panels -- pros and cons?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 02:23:13 AM »
If you get a good installer, and a good price the return on investment can be huge. Ours is above 10% per annum.

WSUCoug1994

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Re: Installing solar panels -- pros and cons?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 01:59:01 PM »
We installed a reasonably large, ground-mount array on our property two years ago.  We oversized ours for a number of reasons including the hope of having an electric car in the future but we have a well and septic and a variety of pumps running on our property that it just made sense.  Although it was a significant investment at the time, we had calculated a 7 year payoff which made it an easy decision for us.  The good news is we don't really have a power bill anymore but the downside is that since we are oversized our utility is getting a great wholesale price on the extra energy we are producing.  I will tell you it was one of the best things we have done.  We are still very conservative with our energy usage (old habits die hard) and I am glad we have room to grow into the capacity.  I can't stand the look of solar panels on the roof which meant we had to pay a bit of a premium to have the ground mount done properly (we found out that very few solar companies do ground mount arrays).

One of the unexpected outcomes of this is my obsession with energy data.  I seem to check it nearly as often as I check my finances - neither of them are healthy.  I have consumption data on each breaker in my house and I have the hourly reporting on my generation - so I have a real time production/consumption view at my house - pretty cool but I am a little obsessed about it.  My wife thinks I am crazy.  I just want to produce as much as possible and consume as little as possible.  I need a therapist.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2019, 02:18:32 PM by WSUCoug1994 »

Fishindude

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Re: Installing solar panels -- pros and cons?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2019, 02:24:06 PM »
I know lots of people do it, but as a career building contractor I would never advise putting anything on your roof that doesn't absolutely have to be there.   It takes a lot of fasteners to anchor a solar array to your roof and each one of those fasteners is a penetration through the membrane which increases your potential for leaks considerably.    Shingle roofs are also only good for 15-20 years, so at some point all of that stuff has to come off so you can re-roof, then reinstall which will increase the price of re-roofing considerably.   Mount them on racks on the ground.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Installing solar panels -- pros and cons?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2019, 03:20:45 PM »
We are in FL and had them installed 4 years ago.   Let me know if you have any FL specific questions.