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Old 09-18-2022, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Seacoast NH
294 posts, read 144,090 times
Reputation: 864

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With the Fed tax break up to 30% of the overall solar implementation cost and electric bills skyrocketing, I've been researching adding solar panels to our house. Our house is perfectly situated to get max sun and efficiency for a potential system placed on the rear of our house (also considering a ground mount).

Our house will require a system with 46 400 watt panels to cover usage of ~18.5 kWh/year.

Has anyone else in the NH forum installed a solar system and what has your experience so far (e.g., panel problems, roof leak issues, metal vs. shingle roof, inverters vs. micro-inverters, companies you recommend for seacoast/southern NH, has your system paid for itself yet, things to watch for when these companies put on dazzling presentations hoping to suck you in, etc.)?

Last edited by baltimoreguy1; 09-18-2022 at 09:41 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-19-2022, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Grafton & Coös Counties
951 posts, read 703,921 times
Reputation: 1689
I am of no help, but I'll comment anyways. I think that is one of my many negative traits-pick a topic I know nothing about and ramble on about it.


Since I'm sloooooowly having a house built, I'm kind of tagging along for answers as well.

Every time someone talks about their solar details on other forums my eyes cross and the convo gets way over my head. There are some ridiculously smart folks out there DIYing. If you know some off grid type folks, they can be a good source of info.

My install would likely be a ground install if I did it, simply due to the way I envision my roof space and exposure to the sun. Another concern with roof mounts beside leaking is roofing material longevity-what happens when you need a new roof 15ish years from now. Sounds like a pain.

Other concerns:
  • Panel life, replacement panel cost, and cost to dispose of 'old' panels. I have heard disposal is pricy for some reason.
  • Battery life the same concerns as panels. Battery cost is one of the reasons I'm selling my cordless yard tools next year. Replacement batteries are pricey. Look at Lithium AAs as a price indicator. They have doubled in the last few months, and not just due to hunting season.
  • How much can I do myself after the initial install vs calling someone.
What is that term I heard during legislative briefings last year. Something about being a net producer? Am I getting the appropriate refund if I make more power than I use? I have a poor understanding of that concept.


Due to some of the complexity, I'm leaning towards never touching solar and never letting the solar companies give me a sales pitch. I do love the idea of theoretical renewable energy and possibly saving money though.
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Old 09-21-2022, 03:49 PM
 
5,163 posts, read 2,050,317 times
Reputation: 6633
We had a frost last Saturday morning and will no doubt have another this Friday, Been cloudy and overcast with little or no sun ,pretty typical for here above the Third Connecticut Lake., I don't think Solar will ever take off in this area.
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:45 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
40,918 posts, read 33,318,956 times
Reputation: 39059
Quote:
Originally Posted by abnfdc View Post
My install would likely be a ground install if I did it
Agreed. Ground mount.
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Old 09-23-2022, 12:08 AM
 
Location: :0)1 CORINTHIANS,13*"KYRIE, ELEISON"*"CHRISTE ELEISON"
3,048 posts, read 5,850,961 times
Reputation: 5796
Thumbs up Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by abnfdc View Post
I am of no help, but I'll comment anyways. I think that is one of my many negative traits-pick a topic I know nothing about and ramble on about it.


Since I'm sloooooowly having a house built, I'm kind of tagging along for answers as well.

Every time someone talks about their solar details on other forums my eyes cross and the convo gets way over my head. There are some ridiculously smart folks out there DIYing. If you know some off grid type folks, they can be a good source of info.

My install would likely be a ground install if I did it, simply due to the way I envision my roof space and exposure to the sun. Another concern with roof mounts beside leaking is roofing material longevity-what happens when you need a new roof 15ish years from now. Sounds like a pain.

Other concerns:
  • Panel life, replacement panel cost, and cost to dispose of 'old' panels. I have heard disposal is pricy for some reason.
  • Battery life the same concerns as panels. Battery cost is one of the reasons I'm selling my cordless yard tools next year. Replacement batteries are pricey. Look at Lithium AAs as a price indicator. They have doubled in the last few months, and not just due to hunting season.
  • How much can I do myself after the initial install vs calling someone.
What is that term I heard during legislative briefings last year. Something about being a net producer? Am I getting the appropriate refund if I make more power than I use? I have a poor understanding of that concept.


Due to some of the complexity, I'm leaning towards never touching solar and never letting the solar companies give me a sales pitch. I do love the idea of theoretical renewable energy and possibly saving money though.

A complicated, interesting topic. And very good points, concerns pointed above^^^
Thanks for your post!
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Old 09-25-2022, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Newburyport, MA
8,196 posts, read 5,158,074 times
Reputation: 10253
Quote:
Originally Posted by abnfdc View Post
I am of no help, but I'll comment anyways. I think that is one of my many negative traits-pick a topic I know nothing about and ramble on about it.


Since I'm sloooooowly having a house built, I'm kind of tagging along for answers as well.

Every time someone talks about their solar details on other forums my eyes cross and the convo gets way over my head. There are some ridiculously smart folks out there DIYing. If you know some off grid type folks, they can be a good source of info.

My install would likely be a ground install if I did it, simply due to the way I envision my roof space and exposure to the sun. Another concern with roof mounts beside leaking is roofing material longevity-what happens when you need a new roof 15ish years from now. Sounds like a pain.

Other concerns:
  • Panel life, replacement panel cost, and cost to dispose of 'old' panels. I have heard disposal is pricy for some reason.
  • Battery life the same concerns as panels. Battery cost is one of the reasons I'm selling my cordless yard tools next year. Replacement batteries are pricey. Look at Lithium AAs as a price indicator. They have doubled in the last few months, and not just due to hunting season.
  • How much can I do myself after the initial install vs calling someone.
What is that term I heard during legislative briefings last year. Something about being a net producer? Am I getting the appropriate refund if I make more power than I use? I have a poor understanding of that concept.


Due to some of the complexity, I'm leaning towards never touching solar and never letting the solar companies give me a sales pitch. I do love the idea of theoretical renewable energy and possibly saving money though.
I don't know a lot - haven't built a system, but I have been doing some reading, and can share some thoughts:
  • A solar panel system is going to be expensive, probably $20K or more
  • Storage battery systems seem overpriced, and can double the cost of the installation. I seem to see $8K for a 10kWh home storage battery, which isn't a lot of storage - a typical EV battery these days is ~ 70kWh. 10kWh storage will provide e.g. a modest 2kW of power for 5 hours - not impressive at all
  • The storage battery systems are not actually needed, unless you are off-grid and want your own power at night
  • If your house is on-grid, the solar power system is really a supplement to your primary utility power, and you're getting the system to use low carbon energy, and perhaps with an idea to save money over the long term
  • In principle, the solar power system could get you across utility power failures, but for that, you'll need a system that can operate during/after a major snow/ice storm, and you'll need the battery storage too
  • It seems to me like a separate system - a wired-in propane backup generator is the most economical way to have reliable backup power for utility outages, and will work even over extended periods
  • Ground mounted solar panels require more land and cost more to install than roof-mounted
  • Roof mounted solar is best mounted on a standing seam metal roof - no roof penetrations needed
  • While the prices are high, you need to factor in federal and state rebates, and any possibilities to sell any excess power (and to figure out how much power that will be) back to your utility
  • If you're serious, I'd talk to some installation companies and beyond talking with them, ask for the contacts of customers willing to serve as references.

This Old House has a decent introductory article on residential solar power, along with a helpful video.

Last edited by OutdoorLover; 09-25-2022 at 09:01 AM..
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Old 09-25-2022, 10:33 AM
 
Location: WMHT
4,415 posts, read 4,921,519 times
Reputation: 6349
Lightbulb A well-designed system integrating batteries and generator can be more fuel-efficient

Even local "preppers" will add a sizeable generator to their plans, if only because it was less expensive than buying sufficient batteries to carry them through a multi-day storm outage (heayy cloud cover would provide nowhere near enough sunlight to recharge the batteries).

A well-designed system integrating batteries and generator can be more fuel-efficient; generators work best running at 50-75% of rated capacity, so instead of having the genny chugging along all night when your house consumes very little power, you can run it in the "power band" for a few hours by having the output charge the batteries back up, then sip away at the stored battery power at night.
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Old 10-19-2022, 10:42 AM
KCZ
 
4,455 posts, read 2,846,277 times
Reputation: 12661
Somehow I think solar energy in NH is a whole different ball game than in Orange County.
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Old 10-19-2022, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Northern California
104,361 posts, read 8,744,005 times
Reputation: 32043
I am interested in solar panels, we live in a very sunny area, & no snow or frost, well maybe once every 5 years or so. I shall be following this thread, for ideas on what to ask any sales people.
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Old 10-19-2022, 01:11 PM
 
Location: WMHT
4,415 posts, read 4,921,519 times
Reputation: 6349
If you're doing rooftop solar, and haven't replaced your roof/shingles recently, do that first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evening sun View Post
I am interested in solar panels, we live in a very sunny area, & no snow or frost, well maybe once every 5 years or so. I shall be following this thread, for ideas on what to ask any sales people.
Not sure what a NorCal person would find relevant in a New Hampshire forum thread on solar, where we have snow more like 5 months out of the year instead of one year out of 5.
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