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Solar panels for electricity
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Schnauzers 5 Offline

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Post: #1
Solar panels for electricity
Anyone have these, do you save on cost of electric bill? Is it worth it? My roof needs repair and the contractor suggested it. My electric co says some savings but a lease fee would replace savings. some save some not so much. Hummmmmmmm
08-30-2012 07:00 PM
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trish6hundred Online

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Post: #2
RE: Solar panels for electricity
Hi Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, If you haven't tried this yet,you could put the words "Alternative Power" or "solar energy" into a search engine and you'll probably come up with lots of things. Best of luck.

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08-30-2012 07:24 PM
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zonk Offline

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Post: #3
RE: Solar panels for electricity
I think its waste of money considering the costs of solar panels.. if it ain't broke, don't fix it
Its all spin when when its promoted as a clean energy. It generate more carbon emissions manufacturing and shipping the panels from China
Probably you would get more saving using patio lights at night indoors to light up living areas
08-30-2012 07:32 PM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #4
RE: Solar panels for electricity
Pretty sure the break-even point for purchasing a complete solar panel system that is large enough to power your entire house is about 7 years. You're losing money up to that point, in other words. Upfront costs are high. You'll need the panels, the charge controller, an inverter system and a large investment in deep cycle batteries.

The nice thing about solar is that you can have power when/if the local grid goes down.

I have a cheap 12-volt solar panel system (3 kits) that I purchased from Harbor Freight (on sale for $149 each). Each kit comes with 3 15-watt panels (45 watts per kit), a charge controller and two florescent 5-watt, 12-volt bulbs and a system for charging other small appliances like cell phones, laptops, etc. I had to purchase two Trojan deep cycle golf cart batteries for the electrical storage. I use my system for basic lighting, charging my deep cycle batteries that will, in turn, power my CPAP machine, ham radio and a few lights in the house for about 5-6 hours each night.

But my little system cannot power anything that has a larger amperage draw, like an electric stove, refrigerator, freezer, microwave oven, etc. I'd have to invest $20,000 at a minimum to get that type of system. I probably have less than $1000 in my current solar system - it's mostly a hobby and for backup needs (not everyday needs).

There are companies that will come out and put panels on your roof for little or no cost, and tie them into the grid, via a meter. You pay reduced electrical rates and they make money on the excess electricity that is sold back to the electric company. You have to sign a contract, of course. Many of these companies are doing this by taking advantage of state rebates and other government incentives for solar energy... it all depends upon your state's program for that type of thing.

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08-30-2012 07:47 PM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Solar panels for electricity
The bigger the set-up, the greater the benefit. Yet, the bigger the cost.

Too small a set-up and it is a waste of money.

There's a reason facilities have entire vast fields of solar panels (solar farms) - current technology just hasn't gotten that balance between cost and efficiency.

Saw a tshirt in a catalog: When there's a solar energy spill, it's called a nice day.

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
08-30-2012 08:15 PM
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mjbearit Offline

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Post: #6
RE: Solar panels for electricity
SBT, I too looked into the whole solar thing. Here in San Diego County we have some of the highest prices anywhere for our power (sunshine tax). The cost and time to break even just made it very prohibitive! So, what could we do instead? Over the past several years I have embarked on a campaign to see just how low I can get out bill without making major lifestyle changes. I put solar film on the big windows. BIG summertime difference! I changed all the lights inside and outside the house to compact fluorescent bulbs. Decent savings there. I even brought more light into the kitchen by replacing the 3 bulb incandescent fixture with a 4 foot fluorescent fixture. I added ceiling fans to every room in the house....except the bathrooms! I added a whole house fan to bring in cool night time air and blow the heat out of the attic. I have slowly but surely replaced almost all of our appliances and the only get replaced with energy star rated ones. The latest is that we are replacing all the window treatments with new thermal "blackout" curtains to help keep the heat or cold in or out or however you want to look at it. Our electric bill has gone from being consistently around $225-$250 to under $100 and on the 2 months a year we have to run the air conditioning, around $120. We did this over the space of several years (we are not made of money!) and if I have to guess I would say our investment is in the $2000-$2500 range and the break even point is like 20 months or something? In truth we broke even over and over since we took so long to finish everything. I still have a few small curtains to go, but we are about done. It is about 90 degrees outside right now, the a/c is on, but it is sitting here quiet as the grave and comes on about once an hour or so. Just a thought!

As always, YMMV! You do not have to agree or disagree, I am not a professional so my mental meanderings are simply recollections of things from my own life.

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(This post was last modified: 08-31-2012 11:33 AM by mjbearit.)
08-31-2012 11:30 AM
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Schnauzers 5 Offline

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Post: #7
RE: Solar panels for electricity
mjbearit, thanks. I think you need a man to figure out all that you have done. So far, my best option is to have my sister come out Nov 1-jan15th or longer to share expenses and see if we can make it permanent. I have a front door light that is the CFL whatever, and one on back patio. No other outside lights and solar ones died a few yrs ago. The heat destroys the plastic. I am very conservative in indoor lights at night. Ceiling are CFL and usually not on in kitchen after dinner. I have energy saving fridge and I don't bake or use over. Stove and microwave but not much. A one person, several dog home. I have no gas lines in this neighborhood. I am doing best I can.
08-31-2012 06:18 PM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #8
RE: Solar panels for electricity
The newer LED lights are a lot better than ones made only a year or two ago. We're slowing replacing our old incandescent and even the florescent lighting in our house with LED lights as the budget permits. They make the new LEDs with the Edison style standard screw-in connectors now. Just paid $9 for one LED bulb at Menards that puts out as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but only uses something like 7.5 watts, plus it has a bulb life of 20,000 hours.

LEDs are much more efficient than compact or other fluorescents and will last a heck of a lot longer, and you have no worry if they break due to toxic gases in the bulb.

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

08-31-2012 08:14 PM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Solar panels for electricity
They also put out less heat, right?

I've been surprised how long it took them to start making LED-filled light bulbs.

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
08-31-2012 09:28 PM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #10
RE: Solar panels for electricity
(08-31-2012 09:28 PM)PaulaO2 Wrote:  They also put out less heat, right?

I've been surprised how long it took them to start making LED-filled light bulbs.

Yeah, less heat too. LEDs are really getting a lot better these days, more efficient, more light and lower in cost. And much of the early-on criticism that they put out a harsh white or bluish light is being corrected in these newer versions - the one I just bought... can't tell it's any different from the yellowish light that normally comes from an incandescent bulb.

IMHO they will come down closer to the cost of Compact Fluorescents within the next year or two and improve in light quality, efficiency and lifespan.

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

08-31-2012 09:58 PM
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