Is solar a good option?

A potpourri of off-topics.

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Donald G » Feb 3rd, 2016, 10:25 am

by I Think » Today, 8:09 am

The problem with things like PV paint and shingles is that PV panels are selling for less than $1.00/watt, so why spend money on developing alternates?


Do the rest of the costs associated to producing solar electricity, and the availability of the sun not have a bearing on whether solar is viable as compared to other means of producing electricity ??
Donald G
Buddha of the Board
 
Posts: 20156
Likes: 9343 posts
Liked in: 4225 posts
Joined: Jan 29th, 2008, 9:42 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby I Think » Feb 3rd, 2016, 4:32 pm

/\ Solar is and will only be cost effective where there is sufficient insolation to pay for all related costs.
Problem with being stupid is, you don't know you're stupid
I Think
Guru
 
Posts: 8885
Likes: 327 posts
Liked in: 868 posts
Joined: May 29th, 2008, 6:12 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Donald G » Feb 3rd, 2016, 9:11 pm

by I Think » Today, 3:32 pm

/\ Solar is and will only be cost effective where there is sufficient insolation to pay for all related costs.


In Canada that would mean significantly increasing daylight hours or decreasing cloud cover. Or increasing electrical storage capacity to make it available 24/7/365/100 as is the present capability of hydro produced electricity in B.C.

Comparative costs aside.
Donald G
Buddha of the Board
 
Posts: 20156
Likes: 9343 posts
Liked in: 4225 posts
Joined: Jan 29th, 2008, 9:42 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby I Think » Feb 4th, 2016, 9:58 am

/\ Solar is only practical if sited in the deserts near the tropics, wind is eminently practical and works very well with hydro.
Batteries for peak load levelling may also be practical.
This whole topic is getting boring, the facts are clear and do not need much more discussion imo.
Problem with being stupid is, you don't know you're stupid

Donald G likes this post.
I Think
Guru
 
Posts: 8885
Likes: 327 posts
Liked in: 868 posts
Joined: May 29th, 2008, 6:12 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Mr. Sanity » Feb 11th, 2016, 11:52 am

I Think wrote:Dunno how many times people need telling, but solar (pv) is not a viable option for Canada unless there is a breakthrough in PV costs and efficiencies and costs, as well inverter costs. We just do not get enough insolation.
It may be a good alternative for a home where grid connections are expensive, but not otherwise.
Solar works pretty well for rv'ers especially the ones that go south for the winter.
For your house FORGET IT.

PS many here will know that I am a staunch solar advocate, we can provide all the electricity the world needs using solar (pv) and this has started to happen world around.


Not sure why you are telling people not to put solar on their houses?

Solar is a good supplementary source of energy here in Canada. I'm currently supplementing my electricity needs by 66% with 17 panels on my roof. The current payback is approx 17 years and if prices continue to go up I could see my panels being free around the 10 year mark. On top of that the money that is returned to me in the form of electricity is providing me with an ROI of about 5.6% which is a pretty good place to park your money. Again if/when rates increase that ROI will push north to 10% or more.

So if you want to be part of the conversation for renewable energy and do something about it solar can be a very good option.
Mr. Sanity
 
Posts: 9
Likes: 5 posts
Liked in: 3 posts
Joined: Jan 14th, 2016, 4:03 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Mr. Sanity » Feb 11th, 2016, 12:07 pm

Smurf wrote:I am as hopeful as you but for the time being solar is not a good option for many of our BC applications. For someone who has the money and believes it is worth it, I say excellent, go for it but you will probably loose money in the end. At this stage I would never even consider it as I do not want the work of maintenance. I am too busy enjoying life and doing the things I couldn't do when I was working to get to this position. I also want to have something that is as maintenance and trouble free as possible so I am free to GOOOOOOOOOOO! It might even affect resale value as some might not understand it, might not want the work and any other number of reasons. In today's world, in BC the main reason someone would install solar is probably because they are willing to pay to go green or as has been said they are way off the grid.



Where's the maintenance in solar? I wash my panels off with a hose every so often. Also with Geo-thermal I have 5 friends that have some variation installed. Out of the 5 only 1 is seeing any decent production. One lives in Osoyoos on Anarchist and the cost of the pump and fans are killing his electrical bill so he's installing solar to offset the energy consumed by the geo-thermal. He bought the house with it installed and was over sold on it's production. i'd be wary of any geo-thermal in a localized installation.

With regards to re-sale my realtor tells me that I could add $10-12K to my home for my panels and I should expect to get it. That covers a good portion of the cost of my panels.
Mr. Sanity
 
Posts: 9
Likes: 5 posts
Liked in: 3 posts
Joined: Jan 14th, 2016, 4:03 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby GordonH » Feb 11th, 2016, 12:25 pm

If I was looking to go off the grid in Central Okanagan, find piece of property that gets sunlight & is windy as well.

Install both solar & wind generation, alway good to have backup (batteries for storage, only for emergency), wood heat (good well for water).

With that one would be totally off the grid, now I did not say it would be cheap to start up.
When you have to start compromising yourself and your morals for the people around you, it’s probably time to change the people around you.
User avatar
GordonH
Buddha of the Board
 
Posts: 20920
Likes: 2350 posts
Liked in: 7436 posts
Joined: Oct 4th, 2008, 7:21 pm
Location: Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby I Think » Feb 11th, 2016, 12:36 pm

Mr Sanity writes;

Solar is a good supplementary source of energy here in Canada. I'm currently supplementing my electricity needs by 66% with 17 panels on my roof. The current payback is approx 17 years and if prices continue to go up I could see my panels being free around the 10 year mark. On top of that the money that is returned to me in the form of electricity is providing me with an ROI of about 5.6% which is a pretty good place to park your money. Again if/when rates increase that ROI will push north to 10% or more.


Those are better numbers than I expected, I still think payback is a bit slow, but as prices drop hopefully, I can become more supportive soon. Am very much in favor of solar, it is the way of the future, and good on you for hopping on the bus.
I have used solar power since 1980 and love it with a passion.
Thanks for setting me a little straighter.

edit to add;
How long since you installed your PV's and how much per watt was the installed cost?
Last edited by I Think on Feb 11th, 2016, 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Problem with being stupid is, you don't know you're stupid
I Think
Guru
 
Posts: 8885
Likes: 327 posts
Liked in: 868 posts
Joined: May 29th, 2008, 6:12 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Smurf » Feb 11th, 2016, 12:41 pm

Do you have a battery bank and related equipment? How long do your batteries last and what is the cost of replacement? Do you have maintenance on the batteries and equipment. For instance do you do checks on the inputs and outputs of your inverters and converters to see that they are working properly. Do you check battery and equipment connections for tightness, corrosion etc.. I presume you know that loose connections can cause unwanted heat. It is extremely unlikely you will have them, but we used to find them on occasions and you do not want to see the results of problems.

I run a 1300 sq foot home on $48.00 a month for two of us. 66% would be $32.00 or $384.00 a year. To provide you with that much power you have a fairly substantial system so roughly how long would it take me to pay for it. Are you including the cost of the necessary equipment to tie it in to the power grid safely, replacement batteries etc. I know there are ways to connect but have no idea what you have done to meet code. Actually I don't know exactly what is required to do it in BC as I've never specifically looked it up.

EDIT TO ADD:

I have to ask, what area are you in and how do your panels work in out winters with snow and lack of sunshine in the Okanagan? I hope you don't think I'm being snoopy, I actually want to know as I am no longer closely tied to the business.
Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have of changing others.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the most of everything that comes their way.

Donald G likes this post.
User avatar
Smurf
Guru
 
Posts: 9363
Likes: 15162 posts
Liked in: 5698 posts
Joined: Aug 12th, 2006, 8:55 am
Location: Okanagan BC

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby I Think » Feb 11th, 2016, 12:54 pm

From BC Hydro Power smart.

What you should know about grid-tied solar PV systems

In B.C., a 1kW solar PV array would require about 7 to 8 square metres of south facing free space. A professional systems installer can help you estimate the solar potential of your home.
Before installing a solar system on your home’s roof, consider your roof’s current condition and if rework is needed anytime in the near future.
Installing a solar PV system can be complicated, especially for roof mounted systems. Solar panels are essentially made of glass and need to be handled with care. Mounting solar panels on your roof should be done by a roof system professional to ensure that no damage is done to the building’s existing weather proofing during installation.
Connecting a solar PV system to the grid requires complex electrical connections which need to be approved by BC Hydro. Hiring a professional solar PV system installer will help ensure that all necessary permits are obtained and that all safety measures are in place before the system is energized.

Actually the grid tie inverters today are pretty simple to connect.
Problem with being stupid is, you don't know you're stupid
I Think
Guru
 
Posts: 8885
Likes: 327 posts
Liked in: 868 posts
Joined: May 29th, 2008, 6:12 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Donald G » Feb 11th, 2016, 3:03 pm

Round and round and round we go.

IMO at present it still boils down to hydro produced electricity is the cheapest on a 24/7/365/100 year basis. Whether alternate sources are practical depends on each persons interpretation of the alternate energy supply numbers and their individual situation.
Donald G
Buddha of the Board
 
Posts: 20156
Likes: 9343 posts
Liked in: 4225 posts
Joined: Jan 29th, 2008, 9:42 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Mr. Sanity » Feb 11th, 2016, 5:32 pm

Donald G wrote:Round and round and round we go.

IMO at present it still boils down to hydro produced electricity is the cheapest on a 24/7/365/100 year basis. Whether alternate sources are practical depends on each persons interpretation of the alternate energy supply numbers and their individual situation.


I'm sure the numbers support you but for the cost of Site C you could probably put solar on every roof in BC. Of course that doesn't solve the storage issue but it does make one go hmmm.

The data on the BC Hydro site regarding Solar PV is outdated and quite frankly a little anti-solar but I guess that shouldn't come as a surprise as they want to promote their power source. We are lucky here in BC to have an abundance of Hydro but it will never be "free". Solar can be free once the install cost and panels have been paid for.

I live in the South Okanagan with a South (east) facing roof. Roof pitch is 5/12. Initial price per Watt install was around $3.25 but I did it in 2 stages so it should even be cheaper had I did it all at once.

I don't have batteries for backup yet as they add significant cost (doubles) but I am trying to get the Tesla Powerwall when it becomes available. There are some home trials going on right now and if they look good I could see myself jumping in with a 10KW unit.

Remember also that Solar is a supplemental energy source here in Canada for the Grid-tied crowd. So you need to look at your yearly harvest and not worry so much about how you're producing in the Winter etc. Of course you'll have a much lower harvest than summer but I get some good days in the winter as well, just not as many.

My reporting software says I harvested just over 5,000Kwh last year and my math says my max harvest should be approx 6,000kwh. That's about an 18 year payback and approx 5% ROI at current rates. That's pretty good if you ask me. As rates climb my payback will drop and I'd wager I'll be free and clear around the 10-12 year mark. Maybe sooner!
Mr. Sanity
 
Posts: 9
Likes: 5 posts
Liked in: 3 posts
Joined: Jan 14th, 2016, 4:03 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Mr. Sanity » Feb 11th, 2016, 5:38 pm

Smurf wrote:
EDIT TO ADD:

I have to ask, what area are you in and how do your panels work in out winters with snow and lack of sunshine in the Okanagan? I hope you don't think I'm being snoopy, I actually want to know as I am no longer closely tied to the business.


I don't worry about the Winter harvest, I look at it over the whole year. I do brush off the panels if we get a big snow fall and then the sun comes out but that's not always practical.

Here's an interesting study on the affect of snow on solar PV: http://solaralberta.ca/content/alberta- ... mance-data
Mr. Sanity
 
Posts: 9
Likes: 5 posts
Liked in: 3 posts
Joined: Jan 14th, 2016, 4:03 pm

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Smurf » Feb 11th, 2016, 5:48 pm

Sounds good. It would take me a lot longer because if our figures are correct, I would basically save my whole bill which would be impossible without a good battery bank as you have nothing during hours of darkness and probably not sufficient for a few hours right after sunrise and before sunset. As I said if it works for you that is excellent, I still don't think it would be for me.
Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have of changing others.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the most of everything that comes their way.
User avatar
Smurf
Guru
 
Posts: 9363
Likes: 15162 posts
Liked in: 5698 posts
Joined: Aug 12th, 2006, 8:55 am
Location: Okanagan BC

Re: Is solar a good option?

Postby Donald G » Feb 11th, 2016, 5:53 pm

by Mr. Sanity » 5 minutes ago

My reporting software says I harvested just over 5,000Kwh last year and my math says my max harvest should be approx 6,000kwh. That's about an 18 year payback and approx 5% ROI at current rates. That's pretty good if you ask me. As rates climb my payback will drop and I'd wager I'll be free and clear around the 10-12 year mark. Maybe sooner!


I wish you well with your project but I have a problem with your figures. Have you calculated in the need to update and replace your equipment as time passes ??

If everyone did what you are doing and feed off of the net during "non sunny" periods do you think that hydro would still produce enough hydro to potentially supply everyone with hydro during "mass" down time of independent part time producers ?? What would you then use for backup ??
Donald G
Buddha of the Board
 
Posts: 20156
Likes: 9343 posts
Liked in: 4225 posts
Joined: Jan 29th, 2008, 9:42 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Grab Bag

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 0 guests