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can i buy materials and have an installer install solar panel system?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by foo1bar View Post
    I would use actual orientation of the building (which is probably going to be strongly influenced by the street frontage)
    And I would use the angle for a 6/12 slope (or 7/12 or 4/12 - whichever roof you plan to go with)
    most likely he isn't going to have room for a ground-mount system - so it'll be at whatever slope the roof is.

    10% instead of 14% I agree with.



    Probably not the question you should ask.
    The question you should ask is "Will it help reduce my bill from PG&E?"
    Because with net metering it is the entire year's usage that's considered.
    You won't have to pay any electric bill except once a year.
    So it's really all about producing enough to balance out your consumption.

    You might use 5kwh in a short period of the AC running - but then your solar will keep producing even when the AC is off. And it will be generating credits for you.
    Agree on using actual orientation, but thought the home was not built yet meaning some variation in orientation and tilt possible.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by mvd94539 View Post
      zip code of new one is 94539.

      yes, my existing rental is 60 years old. what you said maybe right...with LEDs and energy star rated fridge/gas stove/gas dryer, double/triple pane windows with low-e, if my bill ends up around $100, it wouldn't make sense to go solar. will have central A/C, probably an electric car in new house. so these things could suck up more energy.
      I'd seriously suggest waiting for the usage estimate on the new digs and then another look at the array size - if at all. At 12,000 miles/yr., an EV might suck up something like 4,000 kWh/yr. At ~ 1,600 kWh/yr per kw, a 6 kW array will produce ~ 9,500 or so kWh/yr. Given your current very low usage in an energy sieve home vs. a newer and much more efficient home, might well mean 6 kW is way oversized, even after adding an EV.

      Download a free copy of "Solar Power Your Home for Dummies", or spend $20 on an updated hardcopy. You will not be sorry.

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      • #18
        It is south facing and no house on west. if you feel i wouldn't make much difference to install the system after the house is built (and i get some idea of energy usage) i could revive this thread once i'm ready. i thought i could keep the electrical wiring/roof mounts etc done during construction and keep it ready.

        thank you.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by mvd94539 View Post
          It is south facing and no house on west. if you feel i wouldn't make much difference to install the system after the house is built (and i get some idea of energy usage) i could revive this thread once i'm ready. i thought i could keep the electrical wiring/roof mounts etc done during construction and keep it ready.

          thank you.
          If the thank you is directed at me, you're most welcome.

          There are pros/cons to waiting, but the same with getting solar when the house is built. W/most residential installs going on existing dwellings, vendors have experience. I'm not sure how much construction savings might be realized by going PV contemporaneous with the construction. I'd guess it's not a huge amount, but I'm mostly ignorant in that area. Waiting will indeed give you a much better read on how the new house performs from an energy use standpoint. I'm pretty sure you'll be pleasantly surprised at the low use compared to a 60 yr. old dwelling.

          On the not so good side, by waiting a yr., you'd have 1 less year of solar savings. But w/low bills likely, I'm not sure how hard an impact that might be, and you will probably oversize less, thus realizing what may be considerable upfront savings compared to what the (likely, IMO) cost of oversizing might be.

          If it was me, knowing that PV prices probably aren't going up much, if not decreasing a bit, I'd move in, watch the energy use like a hawk by reading/recording meter readings 1X/day, get educated about solar, design a system, sharpen my negotiating skills and get quotes after a yr. on a better designed and sized system.

          If you do decide to wait, I'd not add roof mounts until you figured out what it is you want for panels, layout, array size, mounting methods and other design variables.

          Get educated. Knowledge is power. You have little to loose and potentially a lot to gain by waiting and using the time to educate yourself.

          Good luck.

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          • #20
            Thanks JPM. Too many questions from me as I'm trying to be prepared.

            Thanks to the forum for great inputs. I'll get back to the topic once I have more info on energy usage in new dwelling.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by mvd94539 View Post
              It is south facing and no house on west. if you feel i wouldn't make much difference to install the system after the house is built (and i get some idea of energy usage) i could revive this thread once i'm ready. i thought i could keep the electrical wiring/roof mounts etc done during construction and keep it ready.
              I would look at best choice for roof slope.
              And think about where you can put an inverter (northern wall or inside garage would be typical)
              If you can put a CAT6 wire from your network closet to where the inverter will be that could make life easier later on.
              And another possible thing that could help at install time is to pre-wire (or install conduit ) so that it's easy to install the inverter.
              I'd do 200A service with a panel that either has a 225A bus bar - or has a separate spot that can take up to a 60A backfeed breaker.
              (60A is probably more than you'll need - but if you have things in place for that then if you wind up at 30A or 20A you'll be fine.)

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              • #22
                Thanks foo1bar. Am setting aside extra space in garage for hvac/water heater units. i could put inverter there.

                reg CAT6, you mean an ethernet cable from router to where inverter is?? would pg&e or someone would put a small network appliance there that connects to some central place and uploads some data? I don't know what you talking about 200/225A bus bar or backfeed breaker. If its not expensive I'd definitely bring this up with whoever is doing the wiring.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by mvd94539 View Post
                  Thanks foo1bar. Am setting aside extra space in garage for hvac/water heater units. i could put inverter there.

                  reg CAT6, you mean an ethernet cable from router to where inverter is??
                  Yes
                  would pg&e or someone would put a small network appliance there that connects to some central place and uploads some data?
                  A number of inverters will upload data to a central server. The inverter is the network appliance.

                  I don't know what you talking about 200/225A bus bar or backfeed breaker. If its not expensive I'd definitely bring this up with whoever is doing the wiring.
                  Specify in the design documents "Must have capability of 60A backfeed breaker for future solar installation"
                  and "Must have wires capable of handling 60A 240V from the main panel to <location where inverter will be>"
                  My guess would be less than $100 difference for the larger breaker panel.

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                  • #24
                    Thank you. I'll see if I can get that in the electrical drawings.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Hi again kind folks!

                      been a rough ride since last november. plans are finally approved and i hope the roofing may start (foundation is going on now..hopefully another 2 or 3 weeks. guys doing foundation say once foundation is done, it shouldn't take much time for framing, roof to be put on before rains start around thanksgiving). so i thought this maybe a good time to get back here and start looking for a solar contractor.

                      as J.P.M asked a while ago, I have title 24 calcs now. ( i didn't even know what t24 means 6 months ago). i have attached summary from that report.

                      builder says roof may need to be changed if i bring in solar installer. i don't believe that.

                      also uploaded pg&e solar analysis for my site (its based on previous house that was there) + i said avg monthly bill is $200 as i don't have monthly kwH usage details etc.

                      pg&e says 4.1kW system should save me 89% on pg&e bill. if i can do bit more than that like say a 6kW system as I'd like to have EV in near future, that should be good for me for quite some time.

                      so here are some questions:

                      1. would i need any roofing change?

                      2. what are some reliable panel, inverter (someone said solaredge) manufacturers? any other parts that i should asking the contractor?

                      3. do i need a battery backup so i can use that power during evenings?

                      4. do the panels need any maintenance every few years?

                      i asked a neighbor who has solar panels but he wasn't happy with his installer. on craigslist i see quite a large number of solar installers. is it safe to go with any of them? i don't want them to install poor equipment that doesn't work after 5 or 6 years.

                      thank you all for reading.
                      Attached Files

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by mvd94539 View Post
                        Hi again kind folks!

                        been a rough ride since last november. plans are finally approved and i hope the roofing may start (foundation is going on now..hopefully another 2 or 3 weeks. guys doing foundation say once foundation is done, it shouldn't take much time for framing, roof to be put on before rains start around thanksgiving). so i thought this maybe a good time to get back here and start looking for a solar contractor.

                        as J.P.M asked a while ago, I have title 24 calcs now. ( i didn't even know what t24 means 6 months ago). i have attached summary from that report.

                        builder says roof may need to be changed if i bring in solar installer. i don't believe that.

                        also uploaded pg&e solar analysis for my site (its based on previous house that was there) + i said avg monthly bill is $200 as i don't have monthly kwH usage details etc.

                        pg&e says 4.1kW system should save me 89% on pg&e bill. if i can do bit more than that like say a 6kW system as I'd like to have EV in near future, that should be good for me for quite some time.

                        so here are some questions:

                        1. would i need any roofing change?

                        2. what are some reliable panel, inverter (someone said solaredge) manufacturers? any other parts that i should asking the contractor?

                        3. do i need a battery backup so i can use that power during evenings?

                        4. do the panels need any maintenance every few years?

                        i asked a neighbor who has solar panels but he wasn't happy with his installer. on craigslist i see quite a large number of solar installers. is it safe to go with any of them? i don't want them to install poor equipment that doesn't work after 5 or 6 years.

                        thank you all for reading.
                        1.) Depends on proposed roof. Most std. roofing systems/materials can accommodate PV.

                        2.) See mfg. literature after you read " Solar PowerYou Home for Dummies" - A Free net download. Quality panels are mostly a commodity these days. . Inverters are close to the same status. String/micros/optimizers are most common residential inverter choices. See the book for more info, then come back and ask questions. Opinions on what's optimum/mosty practical/best vary with who you ask and your particular situation.

                        3.) Not as long as you are/stay on grid. Some day residential battery backup will be viable/workable. That day is not here yet and is probably ~~ 5-10+ yrs. off.

                        4.) Some, but not much. However, planning for array access is an important but usually overlooked system requirement, particularly w/ micros/optimizers. Otherwise, hosing an array off about every 4 rainless weeks or so is about as most maint. as most arrays need, and most folks skip that.

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                        • #27
                          Thank you J.P.M. Will read that up.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by mvd94539 View Post
                            Thank you J.P.M. Will read that up.
                            You're most welcome.

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