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Old 11-22-2020, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Elberta, AL
845 posts, read 823,980 times
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In the near future I will be moving to a more rural location. My brother has a huge solar panel setup for his house. His electric bill sometimes is next to nothing if not nothing. But how much did his setup cost? I have never asked. He just recently added a battery bank setup for when the power is off.

He has been pushing me for years to get a solar panel setup, but will it be cost effective?
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Old 11-22-2020, 02:30 PM
 
Location: USA
1,637 posts, read 551,768 times
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Ask him. Set up costs are very regional as is the payback. Your brother's set up costs and pay back will be a good guide for you.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:52 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,540 posts, read 3,889,830 times
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This is a very complex engineering and economics evaluation. Contact (at least two different) solar system companies that do installation in your area. They will need at least the minimum information from you:
Your electric (and gas if applicable) rate cost schedule;
At least one full years of electric (and gas if applicable) utility bills,
Data on each of your roof sections: each's areas, angles from flat, directions they face and percent shaded by trees. (IE: roof is three parts, one is 1,000 SF at 10 degrees from flat, facing due east, no shading, etc.)
Do you have space for a battery pack, preferably close to your house's main panel.

Conditions that make it more likely to be economically valid:
You plan to stay in your home for 5+ years.
You do NOT have gas.
You have expensive electricity (say, more than 10 cents a kWh, and/or have an hourly rate that charges more in the afternoon than he rest of the day ("Time of Day rates"), and/or ratchets the cost per month, biased on your greatest daily usage.

They should be able to give you an up-front cost and a number of years till payback number that's +/- 10%.
It should include any power company, and local and state and federal governmental rebates, credits, etc.
Also, they should tell you if you're eligible for first cost assistance financing. Some power companies want their customers to add solar so much that they, themselves, will provide financing and your payments are set to be less than the estimated savings. IE: your will should drop $1,000 / year, so your payment is $1,000 a year. Or similar. This sounds like a scam, but actually power companies usually are paying a LOT of extra money for afternoon power. If you put up solar, they save a LOT, so they have big incentives to help you. Also, some power companies are public utilities, and some of those choose to be Extra Green and help with the financing as a public service. Again, you'll need an expert in the LOCAL financial conditions to advise you.

They should also be able to give you some references of systems they've already installed at least a year prior, and you should talk to several to confirm their installation skills and accuracy of energy estimates.
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Old 11-24-2020, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Minnysoda
10,080 posts, read 9,431,270 times
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Just curious.. Did he pull the utility meter off his house?
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Old 11-24-2020, 08:10 AM
 
1,023 posts, read 409,098 times
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Ask how much he spent first. Ask him what his break even timeline was. It might not be accurate though. Tax incentives are what keeps the idea economically sound. They are slowly going away. Your brother most likely received better tax breaks than you will.
However with Biden in office tax breaks in time might increase. That's where I'm at.
Also you need to know you will there longer than the breakeven period to justify this at least. If you have an old roof it should be replaced before installing. Of course your house needs great exposure to the sun.
Google Project Sunroof for guidance.
Lots of variables.
First thing to save money.....reduce consumption. Led lights are cheap using less than 10 watts each.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:10 AM
 
1,970 posts, read 1,371,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my54ford View Post
Just curious.. Did he pull the utility meter off his house?
According to OP, the brother still gets a bill every month so presumably, he is still on the grid.

OP- I echo the other comments- grid-tied solar only makes financial sense when the electric rates are sufficiently high and/or the local/state incentives are sufficient. I live in NY state and solar is a no-brainer here as even an overpriced system will break-even in under 6 years.

If your electric costs less than ~$0.13 per kwh, solar won't make sense unless your state gives substantial grants, or unless you are capable of doing a DIY installation to save on the install. The biggest cost in solar right now is labor. Panels, inverters, and the various bits are actually quite cheap. For example, you can get 12kw of solar panels for ~$7k, and an inverter for $1k, $8k gross or $6k net of federal credit. However, the lowest you'll see this size system quoted to install is probably in the $20k territory after all incentives.

Break-even on an $8k investment is very different than break-even on a $20k investment. DIY can be tricky though as you will need to get the system permitted and inspected to tie to the grid, but as long as you do the research and design, plan, and build to code, you should be able to pass inspection.
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Old 11-24-2020, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Elberta, AL
845 posts, read 823,980 times
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My brother paid about $28,000 for his system. I calculate that if his electric bill was $100 a month and he had no bill when using solar it would take close to 24 years to be cost effective. He does not care he just wants to be independent. There was some tax relief for withdrawing the money for this from his 401k. I don't think I would need as big of a setup that he has. I would estimate his panel are about 35' by 35' (give or take 5'). They are not on his roof, but built on a steel frame. His roof was to shady. This most likely jumped up the cost.
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Old 11-24-2020, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
10,638 posts, read 8,073,193 times
Reputation: 15098
Quote:
Originally Posted by reubenray View Post
In the near future I will be moving to a more rural location. My brother has a huge solar panel setup for his house. His electric bill sometimes is next to nothing if not nothing. But how much did his setup cost? I have never asked. He just recently added a battery bank setup for when the power is off.

He has been pushing me for years to get a solar panel setup, but will it be cost effective?
When you move, are you buying an existing home or building new?

I think that they make more sense taken in consideration with a new build.
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Old 11-24-2020, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Elberta, AL
845 posts, read 823,980 times
Reputation: 587
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
When you move, are you buying an existing home or building new?

I think that they make more sense taken in consideration with a new build.
I don't know. The housing market where we are moving to is crazy. Something will come up one day and be gone the next day. There are planned homes in a undeveloped area in the woods with no roads yet selling.
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Old 11-24-2020, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Boonies
1,961 posts, read 2,984,003 times
Reputation: 2603
My boss is putting solar panels up at his house. He's spending $36k.
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