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  • Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

    If anyone is considering "going green" with solar water heating or photovoltaic PV) systems, you can get free information from me. I'm having my PV system installed in early December in time to claim the renewable energy credits for the 2011 tax year. I received proposals from fifteen (15) of the firms out there and have compiled a dossier of the proposed systems. While all of the systems will work, there is a difference in how well they may perform and how much they will cost you.

    While most of the contractors are on the up-and-up, there are some real operators out there utilizing questionable tactics to get you to buy. It may be more important to determine which companies you SHOULDN'T BUY from than those you might deal with. Send me a private message to get this information.

  • #2
    Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

    OP, is your information specific to Hawai'i or can it be relevant to mainland too?

    mahalo
    Peace, Love, and Local Grindz

    People who form FIRM opinions with so little knowledge only pretend to be open-minded. They select their facts like food from a buffet. David R. Dow

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    • #3
      Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

      Primarily specific to Hawaii in terms of the state tax credits and because nearly all of the firms are Hawaii companies. The only national company is Solar City, who did make a presentation to me.

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      • #4
        Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

        What is the break-even point to buy PV? When I looked at some literature, it seems to be about 7-8 years.

        What about solar heating? I'd imagine the break even is quicker.

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        • #5
          Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

          For PV systems, the most efficient systems have a pay-back period of 50-66 months The rate of return of the utility savings to the net system cost (gross price minus tax credits) is 20-25% with the better systems. Even the mediocre systems have a rate of return of 11-13% over a payback period of 84-108 months.

          With the expanded tax credits (65%), the payback for solar water heating is under two years. The rate of return is over 50% vs. net cost. In my case, the solar water heater's net cost was $1850. The energy savings of $90 per month (300 kWh x $0.30/kWh) is $1080 per year, a 58% rate of return. The payback translates to 21 months.
          Last edited by oceanpacific; December 6, 2011, 08:16 AM. Reason: additional information

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          • #6
            Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

            One of the best benefits of independent energy sources is that when infrequent
            electricity sources fail one can still access ones own battery power.
            Even old car batteries can be attached to inverters and thence to laptops, etc.

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            • #7
              Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

              Originally posted by lensperson View Post
              One of the best benefits of independent energy sources is that when infrequent electricity sources fail one can still access ones own battery power.
              Most PV systems are not sold with batteries and won't run without utility power present.

              If I had a house and put in a PV system, I'd want at least a small battery and a way to use the power during a daytime blackout.

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              • #8
                Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

                I read an article recdntly that claimed we are running out of 'rare earth' metals to run many of our 'green' systems. Many things we tak for granted, including computers, cell hones, and PV systems may need to adapt to newer technologies or die.
                Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
                ~ ~
                Kaʻonohiʻulaʻokahōkūmiomioʻehiku
                Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
                Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.

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                • #9
                  Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

                  Yeah, and 20 years ago I read an article on how we're running out of fossils fuels - but it just hasn't happened. We keep finding more, just as we'll likely keep finding more 'rare earths' 'cause they aren't really rare.
                  May I always be found beneath your contempt.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

                    In the Pacific Northwest there have been several natural events in the last ten years that caused massive electrical outages.
                    One event was due to severe winds. The other imposed by a record snowfall.
                    I had on hand inverters and enough batteries to last for a week.
                    It's only prudent to have some alternative electrical sources in case of emergency.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

                      Originally posted by salmoned View Post
                      Yeah, and 20 years ago I read an article on how we're running out of fossils fuels - but it just hasn't happened. We keep finding more, just as we'll likely keep finding more 'rare earths' 'cause they aren't really rare.
                      Nothing rescues as does blind hope. Often enough the sky does not fall!
                      Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
                      ~ ~
                      Kaʻonohiʻulaʻokahōkūmiomioʻehiku
                      Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
                      Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

                        Originally posted by Kaonohi View Post
                        I read an article recdntly that claimed we are running out of 'rare earth' metals to run many of our 'green' systems.
                        Tantalum is one of the electronics industry's dirty little secrets.


                        Originally posted by salmoned View Post
                        Yeah, and 20 years ago I read an article on how we're running out of fossils fuels
                        It's not so much that we'll run out completely, but rather we're running out of easy to extract oil (i.e. cheap oil). The whole build-everything-in-China-and-ship-it-around-the-world depends on cheap oil. The world economy is optimized on this China-centric model. We've sacrificed our domestic manufacturing base (cutting people loose, along with their decades of experience), and I wonder how well we'll be able to rebuild it.

                        It doesn't take a complete stop of oil to screw us over, just a drop in the flow by a single digit percentage. It's because the global economy, America's economy, is one huge Ponzi scheme. Like a staggering drunk who needs the slightest breeze to knock him over.

                        It's not like our economy will collapse in a dramatic fashion. Probably a slow death spiral, with each generation experiencing a lower quality of life. Some segments of our population will do very well, while the majority sinks deeper.

                        Just my opinion.
                        "By concealing your desires, you may trick people into being cruel about the wrong thing." --Steven Aylett, Fain the Sorcerer
                        "You gotta get me to the tall corn." --David Mamet, Spartan
                        "
                        Amateurs talk technology, professionals talk conditions." --(unknown)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

                          Lets propose what would happen if all the debts were paid off.
                          Where would all that money reside?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

                            Originally posted by MyopicJoe View Post
                            The whole build-everything-in-China-and-ship-it-around-the-world depends on cheap oil.
                            So does manufacturing. And getting the raw materials and parts to the manufacturing plant.

                            We're never going to see communities, each with their own local big screen TV plant.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Photovoltaic systems: "going green"

                              A great point .
                              The island of Hawaii has an independent source of energy that is also being used
                              in,of all places, Iceland.
                              Mick Jagger and the rest of the crew challenged the the paradigms of the time.

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