Solar panel specs for my house – feedback requested
A friend of mine from high school sells solar panels, and I recently reached out to him to learn about what it would take at our house. His current proposal includes:
– 96% coverage of electricity bill with full coverage of our house
– $45k investment at 1.99% APR over 25 years for a monthly payment of ~144$, including the ~11k federal tax credit
– Said solar panels would increase property value of our home by about $24k
– LG new panels with 90% capacity at 25 years
Our energy bill is around $120-150/month now, so this would start saving us money as soon as energy costs go up. Does this all sound reasonable to you all? I’m struggling to see the downside here…!
any input would be greatly appreciated, as I’m relatively naive when it comes to this space/solar panels.
Does this price include battery backup Chris? How will your utility handle blackouts? My understanding is that when utilities lose power, you lose it too unless you have your own backup.
Good questions. My salesguy said not to get a battery backup yet, as the technology is ‘not there yet’, but maybe will be in a couple of years. I think he said a gas-powered generator for 10k was better, if you need something now. But we will likely forego that part for now.
As for the grid going out, he said that would affect us too, but there’s something you can do by switching wires around that you’re not really supposed to do, but in an emergency could take you off the grid. So I guess my plan would be to look into battery technology in a couple of years..?
I have both panels and powerwalls. Have had them for more than a year now. I would disagree with the sales person, I have 3 powerwalls which give me 42 KWH of Storage, which is more than ample for my application. It is a little expensive but to me, worth the peace of mind. Without the batteries, one would not have power due to how they connect the panels to the grid.
The enphase IQ8 micro inverter is suppose to have the capability to ‘island’ the house and then allow you to power items as long as the sun is shining, without a battery backup system. This hasnt been enabled yet, but should be close.
I feel this would be a nice middle ground, as batteries are still very pricey, especially if you wont go into backup mode very often.
Ive deployed the enphase IQ system with solar and 20KW of battery backup. Its a great system.
you should first invest in lowering your electrical usage, and then put in a lower cost solar system. You should just get an inverter that has battery backup capabilities built in now, it will be cheaper in the long run. $45,000 is a lot of money. A system like mine that is grid intertie, can Island, sell back, etc… you can buy today for under $15,000 including batteries. I forget last time I looked it up, might have even been closer to $12,000. Then there is labor, or you can do most of the install yourself and have an electrician do the last connections. Hiring out labor should not be that expensive.
I have had a solar electric system for 22years, and it has always had a small amount of battery back up. I could get a larger battery bank some day, but I haven’t. I get power outages alot, generally multiple day, always have lights, refrigerator and various appliances and internet router, etc… off the batteries. My original solar array was 24 110Watt panels, then later I added 3 210W panels. Really. That is it. Before putting in solar, reduce you loads. I changed well pump to a lower power one and put in a solar hot water heater before I put in the solar electric. I also stopped using a clothes dryer, but we kept using a dishwasher, changed to an energy start dishwasher.
power walls. SO, power walls do not do well in long term SHTF power outages. We know in my area as we had a doozy this fall, due to a large wildfire that burnt down all the power poles. My next door neighbor has a coulple power walls, and wishes she had made a different decision, if she can afford it, she will replace to a more old school type battery back up solution.
Basically, once her system lost power, which it did, ran thru the energy stored in the power walls keeping the refrigerator going after days or weeks or whatever, her system became unusable. Because the power walls needed to have grid power AND internet to re-initialize !! Took a few months to get internet fiberoptic re-strung out here. My system worked fine, even when my batteries died ( power surge blew their fuses, I now know my battery bank is a little too undersized) anyway, mine also were not working, but all I had to do was go into the garage each morning and hit the on button on my inverter. And since the sun was shining, I would have power from my panels to the remaining house circuits all day ( so I could recharge my trailer batteries, power trailer refrigerator, use appliances and tools to clean up the house, run a wash machine load, etc…) . I also had no grid power and no battery capacity ( until I got the new fuses, then they were fine again and I had lights at night. I now keep an extra set of fuses for my fancy batteries)
LG panels are super expensive. You won’t be in that house in 25 years, and if you were, there would be much better panels available then.
You should be able to cut the price of the PV component by at least 60% with a more frugal selection.
Your high school friend is maybe looking to maximize his commission. Build it yourself and learn something new.
I would go with a Sol-Ark system just to get EMP protection (and superb lightening protection). It’s a very flexible system that can adapt to unknowns in the future.
Wait 6 months and do your due diligence. You will be happy that you did.
It is my understanding that Sol-Ark systems are only as EMP hardened as the military facilities in which they were installed and tested. In a residential home that has not been ‘hardened’ that one should not expect similar results. Of course unless/until there is a grid debilitating EMP/CME, no one will know for certain.
1) Get multiple bids, on paper, with all the numbers.
2) Anything you have to finance over 25 years is not a money saver. You would probably save more money putting the money this system would cost you into paying down your mortgage principal every month (assuming you have a mortgage).
3) If you are hoping for energy resiliency during a power outage, grid tied PVC solar will not do that unless you have a switch over and battery back-ups. If your buddy did not mention these options it is likely the company for whom he works only does grid-tied systems.
As others have posted, reducing your electric demand, making your home more energy efficient in every other way, and paying of debt currently costing you monthly will do more to decrease your monthly costs than installing a financed PVC solar system.
just my opinion. YMMV