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post #1 of 9 Old Dec 4th, 2006, 4:54 pm Thread Starter
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Totally Unrelated

I was talking with a guy yesterday that was delivering wood for me and some how got on the topic of solar power. He says that there are rebates and other ways to off set the cost of the systems. Like right now there are govt grants for half the cost of the system. He also states that you can sell back your excess energy to the power company. I think i have an ideal set up becuase I get sun on the roof almost 100% of the daylight hours.

So does any one here use solar to power your home? What is your expperience? Good bad and the ugly. I was alos thinking I could heat my pool this way as well.

Jim from sunny but chilly CT

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post #2 of 9 Old Dec 4th, 2006, 5:01 pm
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We looked at it when we were doing our second story addition. Even with the rebates, the cost was prohibitive for us. We had to finance it since we were over budget on the construction.

I know a few who have them and they swear by them. In California, the utilities have to buy the excess when you generate more than you can use. You can see the meter going backwards.



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post #3 of 9 Old Dec 4th, 2006, 7:54 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lzyellodog
I was talking with a guy yesterday that was delivering wood for me and some how got on the topic of solar power. He says that there are rebates and other ways to off set the cost of the systems. Like right now there are govt grants for half the cost of the system. He also states that you can sell back your excess energy to the power company. I think i have an ideal set up becuase I get sun on the roof almost 100% of the daylight hours.

So does any one here use solar to power your home? What is your expperience? Good bad and the ugly. I was alos thinking I could heat my pool this way as well.

Jim from sunny but chilly CT
You have to check and see if your state is net metering
Which means the utility has to pay you the same base rate as the charge per kilowatt hour. In some states they don't and it is a rip off.
On a straight dollar for dollar payout., passive space heating, then solar hot water (for what ever uses) then solar electric. Each step gets you into more expencive parts.
There are a lot of rebates and insentives out right now.
I have played with solar space heating and done several experiments with solar hot water, using concentrating lense. I have been studying it enough to make a weekend trip to the annual renewable energy festival the past couple years.
Rock
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post #4 of 9 Old Dec 4th, 2006, 8:00 pm
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Check out Countryside Magazine (I think that's the name) . Its focus is on simplified, self-sufficient living; a typical issue has articles on raising your own livestock (small and large), gardening, alternative energy, re-using everything, etc. Very interesting. We subscribed for 3 years pre-Y2K; implemented a (very) few of their ideas.

Some of the articles you could write yourself -- they are basic, common-sense type stuff that you'd already know if you grew up on a farm. Some of them are more involved, like solar energy usage.

They sponsor an annual energy fair and that may be what Rock refers to.

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post #5 of 9 Old Dec 4th, 2006, 10:09 pm
 
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Thousands of dollars in Solar

We power our home with solar about 6 months of the year on average for the past 3.5 years. Of course it is a large RV. No rebates or other gov't assistance, other than my paycheck. If you live somewhere with electricity now, (not off the grid) you will never recoup your cost. I have had many friends in New Mexico on solar for many years, keeping very good records. Not one will tell you that it does not cost 2.5 to 3 times the cost of grid electricity. This includes sell back. And NM is a lot sunnier than CT. It is a bigger PIA also.

That said only one would not do it again and he drives a Prius. It is a life style change that most can't deal with. Some of the setups that have no storage and you depend on the power company for your real electricity may help lower your overall bill, but who knows how long it will take to recover your investment. The guy selling the stuff says no problem, but ask the people doing it. Lots of variables.

I say go for it, and help save the planet. Then again I'm taking the LT to the coast tomorrow for a joy ride on a river boat. I should not burn more than 15 gal. of fuel. Hmm, what side of the fence am I on. Oh wait, I will still use less than half the energy this year than anyone on this forum.
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post #6 of 9 Old Dec 5th, 2006, 10:06 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemCyclist
If you live somewhere with electricity now, (not off the grid) you will never recoup your cost. I have had many friends in New Mexico on solar for many years, keeping very good records. Not one will tell you that it does not cost 2.5 to 3 times the cost of grid electricity. This includes sell back.

I should not burn more than 15 gal. of fuel. Hmm, what side of the fence am I on. Oh wait, I will still use less than half the energy this year than anyone on this forum.
That is the reason I started checking it out. I was told 20K minimum to run lines and poles to the top of my hill.
After looking at what else I could get for around 20K
K1200LT
R1200GS
R1200GSA
FLHUCI
You get the picture, I decided if I was going to spend that much, I might as well do it so I have no monthly bill when done.
(I have it on hold right now, the gas well people told me(just this year) they will alot me 200,000 cuft of gas a year, so I may run a natural gas generator to make my juice.

For those interested in this type of thing I have a file (to big to post 17 pages) Of how a couple cut their use from 800 to 80 Kilowatts in 4 months. Send me a PM with your e-mail and I'll send it to you.
Rock
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post #7 of 9 Old Dec 5th, 2006, 4:25 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lzyellodog
I was talking with a guy yesterday that was delivering wood for me and some how got on the topic of solar power. He says that there are rebates and other ways to off set the cost of the systems. Like right now there are govt grants for half the cost of the system. He also states that you can sell back your excess energy to the power company. I think i have an ideal set up becuase I get sun on the roof almost 100% of the daylight hours.

So does any one here use solar to power your home? What is your expperience? Good bad and the ugly. I was alos thinking I could heat my pool this way as well.

Jim from sunny but chilly CT
Go here to read about solar in your state, not a good investment for CT.
http://www.eere.energy.gov/states/al...sources_ct.cfm

Jerry
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post #8 of 9 Old Dec 6th, 2006, 1:12 am
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Others' experiences match those of my friend who has the full solar setup on his house. It is costly and takes years to recoup your money, if ever. But it does lower his monthly energy bill and make him feel better about it all.

As for your other question, our last house had solar pool heaters on the roof. They were basically large black mats on the south roof, and a few valves to adjust the water flow. They worked OK, but you had to manually adjust the valves (on in the morning and off at night).

I found several companies that made automatic setups, but again you're adding costs. I eventually moved the solar mats to an outbuilding and added a few more to get more surface area. I found that they wouldn't heat the pool very well (compared to the sun on the surface of the pool), but would help keep it warmer longer.

It was a worthwhile system in sunny SoCal, but I don't know how much it would help out your way. At best you might cut the costs of your existing pool heater some, or maybe extend the useable season for your pool.

You can find lots of info on Google about companies that design and sell solar pool heating setups.

Ken
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Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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post #9 of 9 Old Dec 6th, 2006, 7:21 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lzyellodog
I was talking with a guy yesterday that was delivering wood for me and some how got on the topic of solar power. He says that there are rebates and other ways to off set the cost of the systems. Like right now there are govt grants for half the cost of the system. He also states that you can sell back your excess energy to the power company. I think i have an ideal set up becuase I get sun on the roof almost 100% of the daylight hours.

So does any one here use solar to power your home? What is your expperience? Good bad and the ugly. I was alos thinking I could heat my pool this way as well.

Jim from sunny but chilly CT
A better investment would be to put more insulation into your home and upgrade the windows and doors. Of course, you could also look into nuclear power for your home...

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