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Comment Re:Doesn't make tech or economic sense (Score 1) 735

>Who lives in a house that long?

I do.
I've lived in my house 12 years. 5 years ago we got solar panels put on it (they were much more expensive then). They cost me $45k (with 40k being paid by the state under rebate).

I calculate an ROI of six years. Plus or minus some for the price of the SREC's that you sell for 'generating green electricity'. I figure I'll actually see a return starting in 10 years. But I'm also then producing all my own leccy, and have a whole-house-battery-backup along with it.

And the panels *do* increase the value of the house. Not by as much as they cost, certainly. But an adjuster valued mine at $20k above if they weren't there.
On the other hand, I don't plan on selling either, so that's not so much an issue for me.

Comment Re:Just reading TFA... (Score 1) 735

They're pretty damn heavy, actually. I know wind can pick up cars and toss them around, but just an 'ordinary hurricane' once a year for about three years in a row hasn't budged a single one of my 50-ish panels on my garage roof. They're fixed down pretty good (on rails) and rated to withstand stuff hitting them ( like hail) short of what I basically interpreted as a small meteorite..

They have withstood all that Sandy threw at them, snow, hail and also a hammer.. once.

Comment Re:I like how the summary answers its own question (Score 1) 735

$85k plz... :P

My inverters (2) are ties to a Sunny Island (1) which takes care of shoving energy into my batteries (4) when there's no grid and keeping my house up.
Of my $85k outlay, $6k of that went into the battery backup system. When the grid is up, I feed onto the grid, when it's down it powers my house and keeps the batteries charged.

Comment Re:Hurricanes+solar panels (Score 1) 735

Yes.

My 52 panels sufferered no damage after multiple hurricanes - including the last one: Sandy. They didn't fly off the roof, nothing was smashed (they're incredibly durable) and they were completely operational.

Sadly, the rest of my house wasn't - two trees hit it and mashed one half of the house (the half that didn't have panels on it :P ).
I shoulda swathed the house in panels...

Comment Re:Solar panels are cheaper but the rest isn't (Score 1) 735

I can.

You *can* do this - I have this system. Sunny Boy inverters, Sunny Island unit for battery backup connected to 4 marine batteries which keep my house up indefinitely. (discharge at night, charge up during the day).

That lot cost $6k 5 years ago. The batteries themselves are $800 each. The Sunny Island is $4k ( http://www.solarhome.org/smasunnyisland5048uinverter5000w120v60hz.aspx )

I suppose you could go for something smaller, but the price of ONE of those batteries alone is more than your $600 generator.

Comment Re:Solar panels are cheaper but the rest isn't (Score 1) 735

Here's some numbers for you :

My total install cost $85. About $6K of that was 'battery backup'. That's a Sunny Island (the unit that does the auto-cutover and also shunts the power around to keep the batteries charged), and four huge-ass marine batteries which keep the house up and running (with normal use - lights,television, fridge, microwave, computers) overnight.

We get power outages that last hours (sometimes days) and never even know...
We've had them for about 5 years now, and I suspect that we need to replace the batteries. Our battery levels hit 20% charge alot quicker now than they used to.

Comment Re:Solar panels are cheaper but the rest isn't (Score 1) 735

I got in just before you... :P

I applied for (and recieved) the 50% state rebate. It took a year and a half for it to go from 'approved' to 'paid' mind you - as the state turned over the rebate program to Honeywell to adminster and they did everything possible to not actually give out money.

At that time the SREC's were selling for like $200 a pop (with a cap of $400). Then the state dropped the rebate altogether and said : 'Well raise the cap to $800 and you can recoup your outlay from sale of SREC's). Fair enough... They went up to the $600 you mentioned for a year or two.

Then, Christie got in and refuses to up the cap on #'s SREC's required [to be bought] so there's a glut on the market and people who bought their systems based on 'you'll recoup through sale of SREC's' are stuffed.

I, on the other hand, got the best of both worlds - 50% (which equated to $40k of my $85k install) AND higher SREC prices - at least for a couple of years. Now though, they're practically worthless...

Comment Re:Solar panels are cheaper but the rest isn't (Score 1) 735

'It depends' is a good answer.

My neighborhood lost power for 5 days last year. Comcast cable was up for a good day or so of that before it too went out (I presume their generators ran out).
I had cable modem, + telly for that time (my house is on battery backup). And ordinary over-the-air television once the cable died. If your provider isn't on the same grid segment as you, then you might be fine.

note: I called comcast's office and got my $3 SLA breach payback for each day I was out. They tried to protest that 'there was no way I'd know' - until I pointed out that if they had backup systems working as well as mine, they'd be better off...

Comment Re:Can they make enough juice? (Score 1) 735

Anecdotally - experience tells me I produce 'less' but it's certainly more than 'no' energy.

I have 52 190w panels. On cloudy days I produce about half that of a sunny day. Even in winter. I was surprised at how much I generate even when it's completely overcast. Half in 'actual terms' is slightly under what my whole house needs for power during daytime (obviously, that is zero at nighttime, so my bill is positive).

On a sunny day, my house produces twice as much as it needs during the day, offsetting what I use overnight. I also have battery backup for the house, but I'm on grid. My batteries don't kick in unless the grid goes down, but if I were off-grid I'd *almost* be able to keep my house up and running 24/7 all year round. I actually couldn't do that in winter, but a few more panels, a few more batteries and I could.

Comment Re:Can they make enough juice? (Score 1) 735

My house is about the same size as yours.

I got in early, and installed 52 panels, but the state rebate paid half of the cost. I also got 'whole house battery backup' - which they pay nothing towards.
I got Sanyo 190w panels (not as good as those you can get nowadays) and I produce way more than my house uses during daytime.
Total cost of install = $85k. About 6k of that was batteries, and so, I paid $45k

  I have 14 computers in a 'computer room' and big electricity-guzzling plasma telly to go with it.
Our bill went from $300 a month down to between 50 and 120. If I turn the computers off, I expect I could cover everything and have $0 bill.

Just on those savings alone I'll get about $2500 a year, which is 20 years (ish) return.

However, the return $'s isn't actually in the savings in electricity bill - it's in the SREC's that you produce. Those sell for between $100 and $600 depending on who the NJ state governer is at the time. I generate 12 a year, so I can get $3-4k out of that for 10 years.

I calculated my ROI to be about six years based on all those figures. Unfortunately, the state of NJ got stiffed by Christie who refused to up the # SRECS cap, and so there's a glut of them on the market (so many people bought into the state promotion) and they're massively devalued now. If you were to buy what I have now, I expect it would be about 15 years return.

Comment Re:Flooded batteries (Score 1) 735

We (also anecdotally) have 52 panels on our (garage) roof.

We lost 8 trees. 2 of them hit the house. We didn't lose any solar panels (from wind) and would have... theoretically had power for the entire 10 days the grid was out.

Unfortunately, because the trees mashed one half of the house I didn't dare turn the master electric back on for fear my house would catch fire :P
The last power outage we had last year (neighbourhood was out for 5 days due to 'snow on trees-which-still-had-leaves-on) - we had power for the entire duration.

We get frequent power outages over the course of a normal year - 5 or 6, I'd say. We don't even notice them anymore...

Comment Re:Extremely expensive (Score 1) 735

Just an FYI:

I have solar panels on my garage (52 of them). Sanyo's. I asked about this very thing, and they are apparently rated not to break short of a meteor hitting them. (or in the case of Sandy, a tree). But hail is not (from experience) anything to worry about.

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