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Old 03-01-2019, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,088 posts, read 3,434,059 times
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As usual, the utility-friendly Florida legislature has sided with the power companies enabling them to buy back electricity from consumers for very low rates, making the recovery payback for residential FL solar systems exceedingly slow.

We have solar at our MXN home and the payback will be under 2.5 years as we are given full credit for every KWH we send to the utility.
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Sandy beaches...
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Going on year #3 of having solar. I posted my take on this topic a while back and it hasn't really changed except maybe the cost probably has gone down a bit since:

Solar in Tampa area
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Woodbury, MN
1,448 posts, read 1,521,897 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dothetwist View Post
As usual, the utility-friendly Florida legislature has sided with the power companies enabling them to buy back electricity from consumers for very low rates, making the recovery payback for residential FL solar systems exceedingly slow.

We have solar at our MXN home and the payback will be under 2.5 years as we are given full credit for every KWH we send to the utility.
That’s hard to believe that the payback could be 2.5 years under full credit for the power fed back to the utility, unless the subsidies were very generous. In Hawaii, the utility’s rate is about 37 cent per KWH, which is extremely high, probably the highest rates in the nation, and they can get a payback of 5 years. I don’t know how much subsidies are given to the solar systems in Hawaii.

The subsidies in Minnesota were very generous at least several years ago. There were federal rebates and local utility rebates, plus you could be credited 8 cents per KWH on all the solar power generated, even if you consumed that solar generated power yourself! I think that deal was good for ten years, but I doubt if that deal is still available. Still, as of a few years ago, when those subsidies were very generous, the break even time was 11 years. We were tempted to have a system installed back then, but we were planning on moving to Florida within about 5 years from that point in time. We still haven’t moved to Florida yet, but it may occur this year. The electricity costs about 13 cent per KWH in Minnesota. So, we are trying to consider our opinions.

There’s a lot more sunshine in Florida than Minnesota, but it sounds like without much subsidies, the payback might be very long. I think that solar power shouldn’t be subsidized or discouraged. Although, if it was subsidized, I would take advantage of those subsidies if they were offered.
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
3,556 posts, read 3,660,040 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davephan View Post
That’s hard to believe that the payback could be 2.5 years under full credit for the power fed back to the utility, unless the subsidies were very generous. In Hawaii, the utility’s rate is about 37 cent per KWH, which is extremely high, probably the highest rates in the nation, and they can get a payback of 5 years. I don’t know how much subsidies are given to the solar systems in Hawaii.

The subsidies in Minnesota were very generous at least several years ago. There were federal rebates and local utility rebates, plus you could be credited 8 cents per KWH on all the solar power generated, even if you consumed that solar generated power yourself! I think that deal was good for ten years, but I doubt if that deal is still available. Still, as of a few years ago, when those subsidies were very generous, the break even time was 11 years. We were tempted to have a system installed back then, but we were planning on moving to Florida within about 5 years from that point in time. We still haven’t moved to Florida yet, but it may occur this year. The electricity costs about 13 cent per KWH in Minnesota. So, we are trying to consider our opinions.

There’s a lot more sunshine in Florida than Minnesota, but it sounds like without much subsidies, the payback might be very long. I think that solar power shouldn’t be subsidized or discouraged. Although, if it was subsidized, I would take advantage of those subsidies if they were offered.
If you do a little research you’ll find that the utilities in Florida have lobbied the Legislature to write laws that favor the utilities and penalize the consumers, or make it difficult at best to deploy a point of use system. Up until a year or two ago, if you wanted to do net metering with the utility here in Tampa, you had to apply for a permit that was issued through a lottery. If you won a lottery spot, you had to have your system up and operational within 90 days of the permit issuance (winning the permit lottery.) The logistics of success were minimal at best, as everyone who won was now competing to have a contractor and supplier who could be ready to go on short notice.

Miss the 90 day cutoff? No net metering.

This is just one example of the roadblocks that the utilities have tossed up to prevent consumers from doing point of use/net metering cost effectively.

Another reason why solar has a tough rowto hoe here is the requirement that takes the system offline when the utility goes down. Certainly there is a safety aspect to this, but when new solar system owners realized that after a natural disaster (hurricane) they had a fully functioning power source on their roof that they couldn’t use when the utility had failed, they were less than happy. Sure, you could add batteries to get around this, but it adds to the cost substantially.

Florida is not the “Sunshine State” when it comes to solar.

RM
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,088 posts, read 3,434,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dothetwist View Post
As usual, the utility-friendly Florida legislature has sided with the power companies enabling them to buy back electricity from consumers for very low rates, making the recovery payback for residential FL solar systems exceedingly slow.

We have solar at our MXN home and the payback will be under 2.5 years as we are given full credit for every KWH we send to the utility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davephan View Post
That’s hard to believe that the payback could be 2.5 years under full credit for the power fed back to the utility, unless the subsidies were very generous. In Hawaii, the utility’s rate is about 37 cent per KWH, which is extremely high, probably the highest rates in the nation, and they can get a payback of 5 years. I don’t know how much subsidies are given to the solar systems in Hawaii.

My system cost (labor, permits, equipment) was the equivalent of $ 4300 USD. 8 panels supporting a large pool, 3500 sq. ft. house and a 400 sq. ft. separate casita. We use gas for hot water and have gas logs for those few days we need heat in the house. We do not need nor have a/c.

Most months I have surplus KWH, in fact we have a total surplus now of 1003 KWH (we installed in August 2017). The sellers' bills (we put the solar in quickly), were averaging USD equiv. of $130 per month. So, yes about 2.5 years.

My system's highest month was 422 KWH in March 2018; my lowest was 314 KWH in Nov. 2018.

My initial cost is likely far lower than US average, given low labor costs here, no special taxes on solar equipment imports and a very good exchange rate at the time of purchase 20.55 pesos to the dollar.
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Old 03-01-2019, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
3,556 posts, read 3,660,040 times
Reputation: 3321
Quote:
Originally Posted by dothetwist View Post
My system cost (labor, permits, equipment) was the equivalent of $ 4300 USD. 8 panels supporting a large pool, 3500 sq. ft. house and a 400 sq. ft. separate casita. We use gas for hot water and have gas logs for those few days we need heat in the house. We do not need nor have a/c.

Most months I have surplus KWH, in fact we have a total surplus now of 1003 KWH (we installed in August 2017). The sellers' bills (we put the solar in quickly), were averaging USD equiv. of $130 per month. So, yes about 2.5 years.

My system's highest month was 422 KWH in March 2018; my lowest was 314 KWH in Nov. 2018.

My initial cost is likely far lower than US average, given low labor costs here, no special taxes on solar equipment imports and a very good exchange rate at the time of purchase 20.55 pesos to the dollar.
Good points as far as demonstrating the value, however, a lousy comparison for the US since you're referring to a system installed in Mexico with cheap labor and lower prices.

And where in Mexico would this be? Just curious.

RM
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Old 03-02-2019, 12:13 AM
 
34,252 posts, read 41,284,536 times
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Amazing that solar isnt a more wide spread power source in a place that has so much sun..
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Old 03-02-2019, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
3,556 posts, read 3,660,040 times
Reputation: 3321
Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
Amazing that solar isnt a more wide spread power source in a place that has so much sun..
Not when it cuts into profits for rich people and dividends for stockholders.

RM
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,088 posts, read 3,434,059 times
Reputation: 10133
Quote:
Originally Posted by MortonR View Post
Good points as far as demonstrating the value, however, a lousy comparison for the US since you're referring to a system installed in Mexico with cheap labor and lower prices.

And where in Mexico would this be? Just curious.

RM
Labor is only 10% of total cost of a residential solar installation.

Mexico does not have tariffs on Chinese solar panels; 80% of solar panels sold in the US come from China. The US has 30% tariffs (tax) on Chinese solar panels. I also think the profit margin in the US is significantly higher.

Just trying to point out that solar in the US shouldn't be as expensive as it is. And because of FL's legislature, the payback for FL solar is much longer than it should be.

We have a house in Pinellas (the solar estimate was ridiculous for such a small home) and a home outside of Guadalajara.
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Old 03-02-2019, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
3,556 posts, read 3,660,040 times
Reputation: 3321
Quote:
Originally Posted by dothetwist View Post
Labor is only 10% of total cost of a residential solar installation.

Mexico does not have tariffs on Chinese solar panels; 80% of solar panels sold in the US come from China. The US has 30% tariffs (tax) on Chinese solar panels. I also think the profit margin in the US is significantly higher.

Just trying to point out that solar in the US shouldn't be as expensive as it is. And because of FL's legislature, the payback for FL solar is much longer than it should be.

We have a house in Pinellas (the solar estimate was ridiculous for such a small home) and a home outside of Guadalajara.
Exactly my point. Labor might only be 10% of the total, but when the cost is 1%-2% of what it costs here, it matters. Same with materials.

I agree with your point. However, power companies don't want solar because it cuts into their profits but their overhead remains the same. They want consumers to be on the hook with them 100%.

One place where solar has made some inroads in Florida is when developers incorporate solar into the home designs of a whole development or neighborhood when they build it out. There are a number of developers in the Orlando area who are doing this and the outcomes are pretty amazing. Increase in the cost of the homes isn't significant, and that cost amortizes out to be a very small (additional) amount over the length of the mortgage. At the same time owners are seeing electric bills that are $20-$30/month even in peak season.

RM
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