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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just signed the paperwork to start the process of going solar on my house. I wasn't seeking to do this, but a salesman and rep convinced me. The install will basically cost me nothing and my monthly bill will drop about 15% and will stay at that fixed payment forever, but my bill won't be to pay for electricity, it will basically be for paying the 25 year loan on the panels. All sorts of guarantees for their replacement, if needed, any roof issues they might cause, lots of stuff. I picked their brains for 3 1/2 hours to assure that I wasn't getting screwed. I'll also get about $800 a year back from the State in monthly checks and the Fed will give me a $14,000 tax credit that I can use as I wish. Any surplus power that I generate by the end of the year ends up sold to the electric company and can sit there as a credit for next year or I can get a check from the electric company. It's a State/Federal program and they've been doing installs all over town. Panels will cover my garage roof and the main flat roof of the house, they will even do substantial repair/reinforcement of aspects of the roofs, if needed, and cut down any trees in the way. Since solar panels act as a buffer between the sun and your roof, just their presence can keep your house cooler. Yes, snow and stuff can reduce how much electricity they produce, but I'll be over producing in the Summer. The system is guaranteed to generate about 10-15% more power than I currently use when first installed and if at some point years down the line they start to degrade, they will get replaced at no charge.

We'll see how it goes, the house and roof still needs to be inspected to make sure I qualify for the program. My garage has the perfect, unobstructed, south-facing angle and would generate about 40% of the total, my flat main house roof is slightly angled north, so those panels will need to be on angled frames to set them at the ideal approximately 38* angle for this part of the country.

As you can see, I live in a very dense neighborhood of twin or townhouses next to a river:

Property Map Ecoregion Natural environment Land lot


My part of the twin house is on the north side of the building and my part of the shared garage is on the south side of the garage:

Land lot Neighbourhood Residential area Tree Landscape


The roof areas that will get the panels:

Map Land lot Neighbourhood Urban design Public space


Got any solar stories of your own?
 

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I hope it goes well for you. I am totally in the open, live less than a mile from a (currently being built) 500 acre solar farm, my monthly power bill exceeds $500.00 per month. $80.00 of this is JUST TO HAVE A METER on my house every month. When I checked into solar and wind combined, not only was the payback over 40 years on the equipment, the power company made it clear to me "we are in the business to sell power NOT BUY IT" . Tax credits are only if you make a butt load of money, (retired on fixed income so tax credits mean nothing to me) Not saying there are no good programs out there, but for me it was an absolute joke. The funniest part was BEFORE they started building the solar farm less than a mile from my home. I was told BY OUR STATE GOVERNMENT that my home does NOT qualify for state grants because the solar generation for OUR AREA WAS FAR BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE AND THEREFORE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO PRODUCE A SUFFECIENT AMOUNT OF POWER FOR OUR NEEDS. Yet they build a FEDERLLY funded solar farm just down the road.....LMAO. Have to be blind not to see the hypocrisy here.....

Good Luck Gordo, Sincerely hope it works out for you.
 

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We also have to watch all the red blinking lights every night sitting on our deck from the wind farms. I guess it is cool if you like "red stars" blinking in unison all night long. Trees are for peeing on, not hugging. When's the last time you saw an animal hugging a tree vs. the other option....LOL !! Just Sayin.
 

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Good luck with that Gordo, hope it works out well!

I spent a couple of years in the solar business working on solar panel optimizers. When it came time to build a new house and shop I ran the numbers. For me, retired on fixed income, it made more sense to build really tight buildings. We have a combined 5100 sf of conditioned space and our electric bill averages about $130/month without skimping on usage (71 during summer and 74 in winter).
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've kept an eyeball on the situation with solar near me for 15 years and talked to some owners. One reason that I don't have central air, instead of the 2 window AC's I currently have to cool the whole house, is because my old house only has a 100A breaker. They will install a 150A one for free as part of the deal. Just getting a 150A line to my house would cost $2-$3000. I rewired the whole house myself with oversized wiring and I would have had to do the swap over of the wires myself, after a new line install. So that gets taken care of at no cost to me or wire transferring by me. More money saving. With a 150A line, I could now consider having central air added to my relatively new, 20 year old, high efficiency gas house heating system and get rid of my window AC's. I'm not really convinced of the justifiability of that though. I can cool my whole house with just two window $150 AC units, adding the central air aspect to it I'm sure would cost $3000-$5000. I'm only paying an average of $165 a month now for electric and I have an electric stove and clothes dryer and my tenant hasn't embraced the bachelor's miracle of TV dinners and a microwave. Every freakin' day he cooks breakfast and dinner on the stove. I never used the stove before he moved in and my electric went up substantially after he moved in.

I still have to get approved and it all might fall through and I have months to cancel before any construction starts.
 

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Über Genius
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With all new power comes problems. And we've all seen most of them in our lifetimes.
Coal was the big new thing at one time. Now we're running out on coal and the damage done from mining is horrible.
Then Oil. All things come from oil. And the supply seemed never ending until it caught on big and now we need to create artificial earthquakes and mess with the crust of the earth just to get more oil.
Dams stopped migrating fish so the fish babies couldn't feed on mosquito babies. All the fish are going to go extinct.
Wind farms kill birds and cause bird cancer.
And now Solar.

Sure it sounds good now but the reality is we need solar to survive. If we use up all the solar to generate electricity, we will soon run out and then we're screwed.
 
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Detritus Maximus
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We also have to watch all the red blinking lights every night sitting on our deck from the wind farms. I guess it is cool if you like "red stars" blinking in unison all night long. Trees are for peeing on, not hugging. When's the last time you saw an animal hugging a tree vs. the other option....LOL !! Just Sayin.
I lived in the city, squirrels are always hugging trees! I guess bears do too.
And where would the serpent be without the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden?
 

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Detritus Maximus
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I've kept an eyeball on the situation with solar near me for 15 years and talked to some owners. One reason that I don't have central air, instead of the 2 window AC's I currently have to cool the whole house, is because my old house only has a 100A breaker. They will install a 150A one for free as part of the deal. Just getting a 150A line to my house would cost $2-$3000. I rewired the whole house myself with oversized wiring and I would have had to do the swap over of the wires myself, after a new line install. So that gets taken care of at no cost to me or wire transferring by me. More money saving. With a 150A line, I could now consider having central air added to my relatively new, 20 year old, high efficiency gas house heating system and get rid of my window AC's. I'm not really convinced of the justifiability of that though. I can cool my whole house with just two window $150 AC units, adding the central air aspect to it I'm sure would cost $3000-$5000. I'm only paying an average of $165 a month now for electric and I have an electric stove and clothes dryer and my tenant hasn't embraced the bachelor's miracle of TV dinners and a microwave. Every freakin' day he cooks breakfast and dinner on the stove. I never used the stove before he moved in and my electric went up substantially after he moved in.

I still have to get approved and it all might fall through and I have months to cancel before any construction starts.
Sounds like a good deal as it takes care of some things you wanted to do anyway. One thing to consider if you pursue C/A is the ductwork. What works well for your heater does not always work well for a/c. I remember many houses as a kid that had a/c added later and used the original ducts....very bad flow characteristics due to forcing cold air thru ducts that were too small and too many turns and very poor add-on return systems.
 
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Pedal Smasher
1973 Opel GT
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I've never known a company to say they'll pay to replace the panels if they start to degrade in the future. Solar panels do lose their efficiency over time, and eventually will need to be replaced or you'll have to put up with less power being created by them. I would check the time frame of that guarantee. Solar panels do come with warranties, but those warranties aren't forever.

I had solar installed on my house roughly a year ago. Every state has their own system for it. In NM, we have net metering. So every month the power company takes a reading to see how much energy I produced and how much I used. If the usage meter goes up, then I used more electricity than I produced. If the usage meter goes down, then I produced more than I used and they bank it. The idea is, over the course of a year I wind up producing at least as much power as I used and never have to pay the power company for any electricity, just some automatic fees that comes to a few bucks a month. For several months now, that bill has been around $8 with my solar panels producing everything I needed.

On the tax side of this, NM will pay you back for 10% of the cost of the system when I file my taxes. I can roll over any unused tax credit for up to 5 years. I got all of my state income taxes back this year and have a little left for the current tax year. On the fed side, I get 26% of the cost of the system returned when I file taxes and I think that rolls over for up to 10 years. I got all of my federal income taxes back this year, with a small amount of that 26% remaining for the current tax year. My system cost like $20k and in the end, I got just shy of $8k back in my tax return. These are tax credits, not deductions. So it lowers your tax bill. Almost everyone can benefit from the federal solar investment tax credit, not just rich people. It was actually really easy to get the federal tax credit and a lot harder to get my state tax credit.

For most people who own their house, I'd say it's smart to go solar right now if the financials work for you. Just the federal tax credit can more than pay for the interest you'd pay on a loan over 20 years. The rate we pay for electricity will always go up, so in the long run you'll pay less for your electricity. Not everyone who sells solar actually knows the ins and outs of what has to be done locally and how any financials involving it works. There are lots of companies who send idiots out to knock on doors and try to get people to go solar without really knowing enough information. I went with a guy who could answer every question I had, and explain how it worked in NM as well as some other states near NM.
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I grilled the guy for 3 hours. I read every line of the dozens of pages of the various agreements. I blew off all the talk about how much money I'll get. I asked all sorts of liability questions that weren't specifically mentioned. It all seemed to check out.
 

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I've never known a company to say they'll pay to replace the panels if they start to degrade in the future. Solar panels do lose their efficiency over time, and eventually will need to be replaced or you'll have to put up with less power being created by them. I would check the time frame of that guarantee. Solar panels do come with warranties, but those warranties aren't forever.

I had solar installed on my house roughly a year ago. Every state has their own system for it. In NM, we have net metering. So every month the power company takes a reading to see how much energy I produced and how much I used. If the usage meter goes up, then I used more electricity than I produced. If the usage meter goes down, then I produced more than I used and they bank it. The idea is, over the course of a year I wind up producing at least as much power as I used and never have to pay the power company for any electricity, just some automatic fees that comes to a few bucks a month. For several months now, that bill has been around $8 with my solar panels producing everything I needed.

On the tax side of this, NM will pay you back for 10% of the cost of the system when I file my taxes. I can roll over any unused tax credit for up to 5 years. I got all of my state income taxes back this year and have a little left for the current tax year. On the fed side, I get 26% of the cost of the system returned when I file taxes and I think that rolls over for up to 10 years. I got all of my federal income taxes back this year, with a small amount of that 26% remaining for the current tax year. My system cost like $20k and in the end, I got just shy of $8k back in my tax return. These are tax credits, not deductions. So it lowers your tax bill. Almost everyone can benefit from the federal solar investment tax credit, not just rich people. It was actually really easy to get the federal tax credit and a lot harder to get my state tax credit.

For most people who own their house, I'd say it's smart to go solar right now if the financials work for you. Just the federal tax credit can more than pay for the interest you'd pay on a loan over 20 years. The rate we pay for electricity will always go up, so in the long run you'll pay less for your electricity. Not everyone who sells solar actually knows the ins and outs of what has to be done locally and how any financials involving it works. There are lots of companies who send idiots out to knock on doors and try to get people to go solar without really knowing enough information. I went with a guy who could answer every question I had, and explain how it worked in NM as well as some other states near NM.
I have written and re-written and re-written this so many times that I am just going to say. DO WHAT EVER MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD. I know, live and SEE the results of wind and solar farms as do many people living in rural area's. I will keep my opinions of it in the ballot box, as that is were peoples voices and opinions are meant to be. Not on social media of any form. What happens in that booth is between me and that piece of paper or touch screen, in that moment of time, the only opinion that matters is my own.
 

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Neat.

The real scam here is that more than half your bill doesn't come from power usage, it comes from the priviledge of being connected to the grid. You can't disconnect from the grid without having them physically yank all your wires out, there's no on/off switch they'll flick.

So, being grid-tied means it's hard to get ahead on solar, and being off-grid means you're really, really on your own.

Best case is 5 or 6 neigbhors being off-grid, with one neighbor being on grid. Rig up power between each property yourself (your own "grid"). You all share your power with the grid-bound guy when you have extra, you borrow power from him if you're low. Hardly anyone comes close to maxing their power usage on a house, and if you really have to a genny can make it up for you. No one does this, you're only saving a few hundred a month, but, the option's there.

"25 year" panels don't fall apart after 25 years, they're still at 80% then. By that point (2047, if you're still alive) buy 20% new panels to top up if you're really worried.

Sure it sounds good now but the reality is we need solar to survive. If we use up all the solar to generate electricity, we will soon run out and then we're screwed.
... I think if we manage to create a Dyson Sphere, we'll probably have our contemporary solar concerns addressed at that point. Current estimations are around 10 trillion years, so, roughly 1,000x the current age of the universe. If that's "soon" (in respect to the infinite, I suppose it's as close as tomorrow), I'm not sure it's a problem for modern man to solve, much as I'd loathe passing the buck 500,000,000,000 generations in the future.
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In the end you just have to say no to any sort of innovation or take a leap of faith and just go for it. Like getting an electric car or putting a 2 injector fuel injection system on your weird 50 year old antique European sports car. Short of getting lawyers involved, all you can do is the best research that you're able to. I have been observing the trend towards alternate energy in my neck of the woods for 40 years. Many houses still have the early solar that just heated water. They still seem happy. I live in a densely populated State and we have lots of nuclear power plants in this vicinity. There are 9 nuclear power plants within 75 miles of my house and they're all old. We get almost 50/50 of our power from natural gas and nuclear:


That's a lot of nuclear for an area with millions of people living in close proximity. We would really like to get those nuke plants out of our backyards. We don't produce much or any oil or natural gas in my State, but a lot of natural gas comes from Pennsylvania via fracking. I converted my house, just after I bought it 20 some years ago, to natural gas and forced air, from big Frankenstein radiators and an oil furnace. At the time, natural gas was cheap, and I was paying a lot less than my oil burning neighbors. Now NG isn't as cheap as it used to be and all the non-nuclear plants have switched to NG and it looks like we'll be supplying Europe with NG for a long time. Oil has gotten expensive too. So, whatcha gonna do?

This is an old part of the country with the founding fathers having done their thing in Philly just 3 miles from my house. We are chock full of old infrastructure and some of the oldest houses in the country. All through the State and ones nearby we are trying to modernize and get rid of ancient lead pipe and terracotta water and sewer systems. Just 20 years ago the houses in my neighborhood all sold for about $120K, now, with the recent get out of the cities, post-pandemic movement, the row style houses are selling for $300K-$375K. Jersey has the biggest shortage of rental properties in the country. A one bedroom apartment routinely goes for $1000-$1200 a month, my tenant pays me $600 a month to rent a room with house priveldges, he's basically living here for free. The dinky, 100 year old, crumbling, houses in my neighborhood have been selling like hot cakes and are sold within one week at 25% more than the asking price. I've got new neighbors all around me who make $100K+ a year living in these dinky houses. I was making just about the middle of middle class wages at $65K when I retired from the PO just 2 years ago. I bought my house as a trashed fixer upper at the bargain rate of $65K just 20 years ago and fixed it all up myself for an additional $40K. It's now worth $375K. It's paid off and I have no credit card or any other debt. I totally gutted it and put in all new electricity, high efficiency heating, tons of insulation, windows, doors, plumbing, etc., all while doing my Opel thing. My Opel is modernized, the FI is just the final step. So, so far, I'm WAY ahead of the game and I haven't made a bad decision yet. Well......except for choosing Opels as my primary hobby and having a horrible engine builder. But I've done all the work, except the body and engine, myself and it's a great car with another similar one on the way. Even my engine foibles haven't cost me anything, they're warrantied by the seller and the machine shop, I've just had to endure the frequent removals. Every one of the new people in the neighborhood are going hog wild modernizing their houses. I did my bit 20 years ago and had the most modernized house on the block, now my neighbors are topping me. I've been the trend setter on my block for quite some time. I was the first to go with an all-garden, no grass, landscaping concept, now everyone has copied me. An all grass front yard now stands out as something strange and unusual. I put in loose stone retaining walls around the front yard and now everyone is doing it. I have no doubt that, after the solar guys get done doing their thing, everyone will jump on that bandwagon also.

What mattered with my solar deal was that I have a locked in cheaper monthly payment and no other costs for the next 25 years. No money out of my pocket to install it, no liabilities for roof leaks caused by them, guarantees about the minimum amount of Kw's it will produce, a few more buckets of bucks coming back to me via the State and the Fed, no zoning or building permit issues, and the total cost of the whole shebang is less than the price of a new car. I could easily pay for the whole thing by taking a little off the top of my IRA and not have any payments for the electrical side of things.

I actually already have a solar deal on my electricity: I pay 20% less for electricity because I'm enrolled in "community solar". A solar farm sells power to the electric company and I buy my power from them at a less than market rate that the electric company charges. That deal will basically go away with this new system, since I won't be buying ANY electricity.

Gee, it sure would be nice to get rid of the natural gas end of things. Only the heater and the water tank use gas and the price during the Winter is pretty substantial. Gee, I'm over-producing with electricity with my new system, I could maybe use the supplemental electric heaters in my sunroom and garage a bit more freely now. Or, how about those 2 window AC units I'm still using? Maybe I can now consider some form of central air?
 

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We bought our PVE system in 2016. We have been paying $13.81 a month for the last five years. We are grid connected,(power goes out, we don't have power) but we can store our excess forever so we like to keep about 1000 kWh in the "bank" for cloudy days. They pay you very little if you sell. The optimizers have been the weak point and we are losing one now but they have been replaced under warranty. I just completed the installation of a new solar water heater since oil hit $5 a gallon.

Cloud Sky Building Window Plant
Plant Window Building Solar panel Solar energy

We did have to have the roof of the garage reinforced to hold the panels. We had the PVE installed but I did the hot water system.
 
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