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Old 12-01-2013, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Woodbury, MN
1,465 posts, read 1,534,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoonose View Post
My AZ system is about paid for. Installed in 2008 for around $25K, we save on average about $200/mo on juice.

But there are other perks.
Any increase in our future electric rates are effectively cut in 1/2 by our system.
All gains are essentially tax free. And a 10% tax free investment was hard to come by in 2008.
The added value of the system is not included in our assessed RE value.

And by the way, and this is important.
My Federal Tax Credit taken, which was around $25K, reduced my Federal Income tax by that amount the following year. No one paid more tax, I simply paid less. And even then I paid way more Federal Tax that year than most people. So that $25K did not come directly from taxpayers.
What it did in essence was to NOT lower our National Debt by that amount.
What are the electric rates in your area? How large is your system? Would it ever be worth the cost to expand your system? Maybe you could bring your electric costs down to zero. I assume that your electricity used to cost $400 a month and now costs $200 a month, since you save 1/2 on rate increases. Have you experienced any problems with your system in the 5 years you owned it?
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:55 AM
 
8,886 posts, read 3,937,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davephan View Post
What are the electric rates in your area? How large is your system? Would it ever be worth the cost to expand your system? Maybe you could bring your electric costs down to zero. I assume that your electricity used to cost $400 a month and now costs $200 a month, since you save 1/2 on rate increases. Have you experienced any problems with your system in the 5 years you owned it?
I think our rates are about average. 12 cents or so.

My system is about 10KW.

I can add more but it is somewhat a diminishing return especially if I overshoot. I essentially sell back at wholesale. I will probably add more to the system if we go with an electric car.

No major problems. Although I think my output might be down on the order of 5-10% than when new. I'm looking to get the installer out to check.

Also the panels need to be washed from time to time as it doesn't rain much here. I might lose 5% with dirty panels.
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:43 PM
509
 
2,978 posts, read 4,084,747 times
Reputation: 3532
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoonose View Post
My Federal Tax Credit taken, which was around $25K, reduced my Federal Income tax by that amount the following year. No one paid more tax, I simply paid less. And even then I paid way more Federal Tax that year than most people. So that $25K did not come directly from taxpayers.
What it did in essence was to NOT lower our National Debt by that amount.
Didn't you take economics in college? Yes, the taxpayers are on the hook for your solar system. However, given all the money our local, state, and federal governments **** away your really small potatoes. Though every bit helps.

That said we have owned a solar house in Washington state for 17 years. Of course, we have lots sunny weather except for a couple of months in the dead of winter. Only a small portion of Washington state gets rain and clouds all the time. I am not sure why people chose to live there. UGH!

Solar is VERY EXPENSIVE. That is why it only makes sense with major tax breaks. However, when the alternative is no electricity your willing to pay more money. Over the past seventeen years we have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000 for solar power and received NO TAX BREAKS since we are off-grid. That did not include the cost of generator!!

Solar generates VERY LITTLE POWER for the cost. So you need to implement conservation measures such as LED lights, all TV's, computers, stereo's, etc need to be connected to real OFF switches, and most important NO HEATING ELEMENTS. That means no electric coffee makers, no electric heat, etc. etc. Everything that heats needs to be shifted to propane or natural gas.

Before you put up solar panels, swap out your high electrical energy uses for propane or natural gas. Then switch to LED lights and real off-switches for your on-demand electronics.

You might find that you do NOT need to put solar panels to significantly lower your electrical costs. Our electrical costs in town average $25/month for lights, electronics, and water heating (house is all electric). Our use of electricity at the solar house is 10% of our primary home. So if we converted our primary home to use the same conservation measures as our solar home our power bill would be LESS THAN TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS A MONTH!!!

In Hawaii and California where electricity is very expensive I probably would put a small windmill first. They are noisy but generate more power than panels and work at night. With the breezes in Hawaii I would do that before panels. Panels are nice because they are quiet.

Hope this helps those folks considering solar. It only makes sense with government subsidies and makes no sense for a large industrial nation to put up massive industrial wind and solar areas destroying hundred of thousands of acres of land in the process.

But it might make sense on your roof.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:24 PM
 
8,886 posts, read 3,937,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 509 View Post
Didn't you take economics in college? Yes, the taxpayers are on the hook for your solar system.
Nope!

The only taxpayers that might have helped me to some extent would be other Unisource customers, not general US taxpayers. A Federal Tax Credit is not a rebate. No one sends me any money. A Federal Tax Credit means I pay less tax, you don't pay more.

I think $100,000 in Federal Income Tax is enough. But you'd rather I send in $125,000? And then that would mean that you could send in less? Federal Income Taxes don't work that way. You pay based on your income. Not what I pay. And goes for today, tomorrow and next year.
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,628,346 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoonose View Post
No major problems. Although I think my output might be down on the order of 5-10% than when new. I'm looking to get the installer out to check.
There is a small, steady decrease in power output from solar panels that is normal. This is generally figured at 1/2% per year, compounded, so after 5 years you could reasonably expect to be down 2% in capacity, hardly enough to notice. It would normally take about 20 years to lose 10% of capacity.

So if you're down 5-10% already you probably have a bad panel. A single bad cell can take down a panel, and if you have the older style "daisy chain" wiring, a single bad panel can degrade the performance of all the other panels due to the "weakest link in the chain" principle.*

This is why keeping good records on your power output is important. 5 years into a 25 year warranty, "I think my output might be down" could be enough to prompt a service call from the installer. 20 years in, however, and you're probably going to need something more substantial.


*For those who are new to all this, the most common way to wire solar panels for many years was to run the DC current from one panel to the next in a big loop, like an old-fashioned series string of Christmas lights. It is the most economical type of system to install, using a minimum of wire, and it has a single inverter to turn the DC current into the AC current you use in the house. It has the disadvantage, however, that a problem anywhere affects the whole string. If a cell goes bad, or if something shadows a panel, it cuts the output of the whole system, hence the term "weakest link in the chain."

The newer, more robust technology uses a micro-inverter at each panel to convert its DC output to AC, with parallel wiring back to the controller. The installation cost is higher, but it allows each panel to operate independently at its own output level. If a tree branch or a cloud shadows a panel, for instance, only the output of that panel drops, not the whole system. The panels are not chained, so there is no weakest link.
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:40 PM
 
8,886 posts, read 3,937,990 times
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The newer micro-inverter was just too new when I installed. But I wish I had it. For the main reason these inverters are now warrantied for the length of the panel warranty. My 2 'macro' inverters only have a 10 year warranty.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,685 posts, read 49,462,974 times
Reputation: 19134
Quote:
Originally Posted by 509 View Post
Didn't you take economics in college? Yes, the taxpayers are on the hook for your solar system.
Actually I took Tax Theory in college.

Individual Income taxes do not run the nation. They are designed as a passive method of controlling mass behavior.

There is no 'shared' burden of taxation, it is an illusion.

There was no need for Individual Income taxes before 1930, and there is no true need for it today.



Quote:
... Solar is VERY EXPENSIVE. That is why it only makes sense with major tax breaks.
That is not correct either.

It 'makes sense' when it is needed to have power. If you need electricity, then you get it regardless of cost.

The price of solar panels has been dropping for decades. It made sense to install even when the price has 10X today's prices.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,628,346 times
Reputation: 10580
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
It 'makes sense' when it is needed to have power. If you need electricity, then you get it regardless of cost.

The price of solar panels has been dropping for decades. It made sense to install even when the price has 10X today's prices.
Exactly right. The county I live in (Hawai'i) estimates there are 1,000 homes which are not on the grid, and solar power has been popular here for more than 20 years, even before the prices dropped so drastically. Now that the prices have gone down, people on the grid are installing solar systems to reduce their monthly bills, and for that kind of installation, then a careful analysis is required to see if it "makes sense" financially.

In ecological terms, solar makes sense, because it is a continuously renewable power source and it has no polluting carbon emissions.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:12 PM
 
7,281 posts, read 8,878,707 times
Reputation: 11419
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoonose View Post
My AZ system is about paid for. Installed in 2008 for around $25K, we save on average about $200/mo on juice.

But there are other perks.
Any increase in our future electric rates are effectively cut in 1/2 by our system.
All gains are essentially tax free. And a 10% tax free investment was hard to come by in 2008.
The added value of the system is not included in our assessed RE value.

And by the way, and this is important.
My Federal Tax Credit taken, which was around $25K, reduced my Federal Income tax by that amount the following year. No one paid more tax, I simply paid less. And even then I paid way more Federal Tax that year than most people. So that $25K did not come directly from taxpayers.
What it did in essence was to NOT lower our National Debt by that amount.
So where did the tax credit come from? You do understand that a tax credit is money provided to you as a direct payment right? Did the money come out of thin air?

How could you take a Federal Tax credit for 25k when the cost was 25K? That would be a 100% tax credit, mind showing how that happened?

How on earth do you think that a tax credit isn't paid for by other taxpayers?

I.m happy for you that your system is working as you'd like but the way you come up with the numbers doesn't make any sense.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:14 PM
 
7,281 posts, read 8,878,707 times
Reputation: 11419
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Actually I took Tax Theory in college.

Individual Income taxes do not run the nation. They are designed as a passive method of controlling mass behavior.

There is no 'shared' burden of taxation, it is an illusion.

There was no need for Individual Income taxes before 1930, and there is no true need for it today.





That is not correct either.

It 'makes sense' when it is needed to have power. If you need electricity, then you get it regardless of cost.

The price of solar panels has been dropping for decades. It made sense to install even when the price has 10X today's prices.
No, it did not.
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