My Solar Power Journey

Nifty

Printer Master
Administrator
Joined
Nov 3, 2004
Messages
2,633
Reaction score
944
Points
297
Location
Bay Area CA
Printer Model
CR-10, i560 ,MFC-7440N
I LOVE solar! In fact, I got this installed on my house 10 years ago:

3.96 kW system (10 years old) consists of:
  • 18 REC 220 W panels
  • 18 TIGO optimizers
  • SMA Sunny Boy SB3000US Inverter
Details:
1) How I made the decision to “go solar” and who to install
2) The full story of the installation process


I'm probably going to add about 4.8kW more in the next few months (removing the TIGO and SMA inverter and going with Enphase micro-inverters on everything). It's more than I need, but I'm assuming the usage in my household will increase over time.

I'm in California on a Time Of Use (TOU) rate plan (grandfathered into E-6) where electricity is much more expensive during peak usage times from 4pm - 9pm (when solar isn't producing as much... i.e., the duck curve of solar & consumption).

I already have a 3kw system facing south, but it is no longer enough to cover our usage. I'm kicking myself for not sizing it larger 10 years ago when I got solar installed.

I'm debating what will produce the overall long-term bang for my buck. There are a handful of options / configurations. A few things I'm considering:
  • Over-build my system and send excess power back to PG&E at a lower rate
  • Have my panels facing West. Even though less efficient, they will produce more power during the evening than the South facing
  • Battery backup to grab excess during the peak times and use it in the evening
I haven't run the numbers yet, but my gut is saying it might be best to add a new system facing West and oversize it considerably. It seems that this would be cheaper and easier than a big battery backup system, and would break-even much sooner. (basically, swapping out the price of a large battery backup in exchange for a bunch of extra panels facing West).

... basically the idea is similar to what they found in research here:
https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2018/11...r-cheaper-than-seasonal-storage-in-minnesota/
and
https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/05...load-yields-a-least-cost-all-renewables-grid/

... but then I have guys telling me that South is pretty much ALWAYS best, even when trying to play the TOU arbitrage game of buy low, sell high.

Anybody out there have solar and/or thoughts on this?
 

The Hat

Printer VIP
Moderator
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
12,394
Reaction score
6,028
Points
413
Location
Wicklow Ireland
Printer Model
Canon/3D, CR-10, Ender-2, KP3
Jesus Rob… What the Feck has Solar power got to do with printing… ! :lol:
  • Over-build my system and send excess power back to PG&E. Reasonable Option.
  • Have my panels facing West. Even though less efficient, they will produce more power during the evening than the South facing. You could get better value elsewhere.
  • Battery backup to grab excess during the peak times.. Costly to install.
Seriously dough you perfectly right, Solar power is the way of the future, with energy costs rising every day and climate change been the hottest topic in town, and alternative power sources are the only cost effective options.

The South facing panels are only 50% the answer, East and West can pick up quite a bit more, but will you get your costs back long term, it all depends on how long your daylight hours are, rather than sunlight and the correct angle you have the panels set too. (Degrees Latitude)

Of course this is all about daylight, but what about the rest of the hours when there’s little or no light, have you ever taught about wind generation instead as an upgrade ?, wind power is better because it’s running nearly 24/365 (Where I live beside the sea).

There are new wind generating systems been built, tried and tested in Iceland, that not only generate power, but are designed to look good not (Eye sores) and best of all they are much quieter than there competitors and don't need to be as high..

I’d love Solar panels but the installation costs here are so Huge , by the time you’d get anywhere near to breaking even, the system would need to be upgraded or replaced, so it’s an non starter, but we do have cheaper fizzy water dough..
Spend now (Invest) and save later.. :thumbsup
 

turbguy

Printer Master
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2007
Messages
1,514
Reaction score
1,304
Points
293
Location
Laramie, Wyoming
Printer Model
Canon i960, Canon i9900
IMO, you REALLY don't want large storage batteries of any chemistry on your property. They are expensive to purchase, are a considerable hazard, and currently don't have sufficient lifetime. If you do go the storage route, DON'T place them inside your home.
 

stratman

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
6,767
Reaction score
4,893
Points
373
Location
USA
Printer Model
Canon MB5120, Pencil
Nuclear power.
DON'T place them inside your home.
If ever there was a place to have a wind farm it would be your backyard. Oklahoma ain't the only place where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain!
 

stratman

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
6,767
Reaction score
4,893
Points
373
Location
USA
Printer Model
Canon MB5120, Pencil
he watched the movie
Nothing like waiting to cross the street early in the morning outside my dorm, White Hall, in Laramie at the University of Wyoming to go to class in the winter while the wind is ripping and it's -40 degrees F.

Cured me of wanting to retrace Robert Peary's trek to the North Pole.
 

Emulator

Printer Master
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
1,675
Reaction score
1,305
Points
277
Location
UK
Printer Model
Canon Pro9000 II
I stuck my bare hand into an environmental test chamber at -40 degrees C (or degrees F) while testing some equipment.

It made me realise just how cold that was.
 

turbguy

Printer Master
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2007
Messages
1,514
Reaction score
1,304
Points
293
Location
Laramie, Wyoming
Printer Model
Canon i960, Canon i9900
If ever there was a place to have a wind farm it would be your backyard. Oklahoma ain't the only place where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain!
Yeah. If I could sweep the wind energy of a 10 foot diameter, I'm convinced I could heat the house, even at -40F!
 

turbguy

Printer Master
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2007
Messages
1,514
Reaction score
1,304
Points
293
Location
Laramie, Wyoming
Printer Model
Canon i960, Canon i9900
Nothing like waiting to cross the street early in the morning outside my dorm, White Hall, in Laramie at the University of Wyoming to go to class in the winter while the wind is ripping and it's -40 degrees F.
...and you did it in shorts and flip-flops!
 
Top