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New Job. Solar Energy

TugarTugar Senior MemberPosts: 2,222 Senior Member
edited July 2019 in Clubhouse #1
I just got hired at a company that does solar and from what I can tell has been the industry leader for a while. They invented the microinverter. To all those that say solar isn't viable, I say posh. Already I have witnessed normal homes that are gathering far more than will be used just today and the sun wasn't near down yet. Once hotel site was at 690kwh gathered with one cell down. 

Solar is here to stay and it looks like this is a lucky break for me. Quite a change from cell phones. My brain will be melting soon with the knowing of all things, but I look forward to the challenge. 
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
Winston Churchill
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Replies

  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,660 Senior Member
    I have no problems with solar, what I have problems with are the stupid batteries that idiots keep throwing into the mix. Solar panels on a roof that feed the grid directly don't have the battery problems.

    Still damn expensive, but the prices will come down in time.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 10,914 Senior Member
    edited July 2019 #3
    When I purchased my house 16 years ago there was a solar panel on the roof that heated water and filled the hot water tank.  It was down for a bit after wilma and we learned it saves us about 35 bucks a month on the electric bill.  Not sure I would replace it if it were to die, but we appreciate it

    Congrats on the new job
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • TugarTugar Senior Member Posts: 2,222 Senior Member
    Zorba....here in Idaho, you pay 13 cents per kWh, but you only get paid 7 cents selling it back to the grid. So batteries make sense but yeah you have to make sure it's going to pay out over time. 

    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
    Winston Churchill
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,958 Senior Member
    Diver43 said:
    When I purchased my house 16 years ago there was a solar panel on the roof that heated water and filled the hot water tank.  It was down for a bit after wilma and we learned it saves us about 35 bucks a month on the electric bill.  Not sure I would replace it if it were to die, but we appreciate it

    Congrats on the new job.

    When my grandpa built our first 2 houses in Miami one in 42 the other in 48 he put hot water solar panels on both roofs, they were nothing more than about 100' of copper tubing in a box painted black and covered with glass, back then most homes had them. 

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Solar energy had been very much viable well before it had a name.🌞
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,610 Senior Member
    Solar and wind are great sources of energy, so long as you don't need to rely on them for energy right now.  If the plan is to use it as a cost savings measure, you'll not be disappointed.  They will do that with aplomb.  OTOH, if you're looking to go "off grid", it's going to cost a LOT more money than it will save, both in acquisition and maintenance.  
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,150 Senior Member
    zorba said:
    I have no problems with solar, what I have problems with are the stupid batteries that idiots keep throwing into the mix. Solar panels on a roof that feed the grid directly don't have the battery problems.

    Still damn expensive, but the prices will come down in time.
    The problem with the ones that feed back into the grid is that you do not have power when the local grid goes down.  I understand that they don’t want power flowing into lines while people are working on it, but still... one of the reasons I want solar is so I have fridge/ freezer/ fans when the power goes out.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,150 Senior Member
    Quote!
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,150 Senior Member
    Congrats on the new gig, Tugar.  I am a fan of solar, and definitely think that it will be the next big power producer.  It’s not ready for it yet, but the best way to get it ready is for private companies to get involved and develop the answers.   


    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,660 Senior Member
    bullsi1911 said:The problem with the ones that feed back into the grid is that you do not have power when the local grid goes down.  I understand that they don’t want power flowing into lines while people are working on it, but still... one of the reasons I want solar is so I have fridge/ freezer/ fans when the power goes out.
    And that's fine for 99% of the use cases. Its not intended to be a replacement, but a supplement. I have a generator for when the grid goes down at nite.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,973 Senior Member
    Batteries don't really pay unless you are totally off the grid because of distance issues, etc.  It's more economical to overproduce during the day and sell to the utility, and then buy back at night or when you need more than you produce.  If a house isn't in an area with high AC needs, and has gas appliances, it becomes a real potential to pay back.    Still considering it in Oregon.  While most of the country is sweltering today, our high will be about 76 F, and 15 plus hours of daylight. In the winter we use gas heat.  We do use electric for our two water pumps and they eat up KW's.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,395 Senior Member
    Solar cells and an inverter to feed the house during the day (the high electrical usage time) makes sense. But adding batteries to the mix can make a good idea a very expensive idea, especially when you figure in the cost of the batteries and the maintenance of them over time. In warm climates that rarely fall below 40 deg. F batteries will do well, but in freezing temps they have to be kept warm or their efficiency and longevity is severely degraded over time. Did a lot of maintenance on 220v and 480v batteries and inverters at the nuclear plants, and they're pretty labor intensive to maintain, and expensive at any rate.

    If you use a solar thermal system like described by jaywapti then you can cut off one of the big energy hogs in the home if you live in an area with plenty of sunlight. The collector and a small DC pump can provide loads of hot water. And if you're of a mind to, those solar thermal arrays can provide heat in the winter; just need the solar thermal panels, some radiators in the home, and a small pump to keep the water circulating.  There are many examples of such on Youtube and other internet info sites.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 10,914 Senior Member
    Having a solar hot water heater is expensive to install, is ugly on the house and the big hot water tank/heater is large and expensive. Ours went out several years ago and it cost about 1K to replace. 
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    Those micro-inverters are great. It lets you convert DC to AC basically right at the panel and allows you to carry the current longer distances with less voltage loss while using smaller wire.

    Grid tied solar is starting to make quite a bit of sense economically if you avoid the cost and maintenance of a battery bank-- if I ever went that way, I would rather keep a generator in case of a power outage than a battery bank. And it is a good compliment to the power company's system since peak usage is during the daytime (while the sun is shining).

    Off grid, solar is becoming very reasonable. Between LED lighting and high efficiency appliances, being off grid is a whole lot easier than it used to be. Add on a backup generator that automatically kicks on to top off the batteries on cloudy days, and life is good. That can be liberating for a hunting or vacation property out in the boonies.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,398 Senior Member
    No one here ever said solar to electric doesnt work. It does. It is not reliable, or a steady way to produce the electric we need over the long haul and will not be until it can be stored. It is a supplement, and will continue to be ONLY a supplement, until it can be stored. At that point it only becomes unreliable.

    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    I don't think anyone sees it as the answer-- only part of a potential solution.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,493 Senior Member
    Solar works well if you have enough land and sun.

    For instance, Walt Disney World has 2 solar farms in FL: a 5 MW and a 50 MW.  The bigger one is 270 acres and provides enough power for two Disney theme parks.  Are they doing this for good PR and tax credits?  I'm sure that's part of the answer.  They're also going greener by reducing landfill waste, reducing emissions, and reducing water consumption:  all of that looks good, makes people happy, and probably gets them reductions in taxes.

    On the other hand it also cuts down on costs (not that they're passing that on to consumers - admission prices continue to go up) and it frees up resources for other stuff.  Not a bad idea if you can make it work.  I know that folks talk about solar panels being prone to damage, but I'd wager these are pretty tough.  They are installed in a state that gets hurricanes. 

    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/22/disneys-new-270-acre-solar-farm-can-power-two-of-its-theme-parks/

    Overkill is underrated.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,093 Senior Member
    Just ran the numbers, 270 acres is 0.42 sq miles.
    Guess if you have that much land to commit to solar, you can do quite a bit.

    I wonder how long it will take for them to recoup the expense of installing it?
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,493 Senior Member
    knitepoet said:
    Just ran the numbers, 270 acres is 0.42 sq miles.
    Guess if you have that much land to commit to solar, you can do quite a bit.

    I wonder how long it will take for them to recoup the expense of installing it?
    Yep. It takes a lot of land, but they can run 2 parks. I imagine their electric use is stupendous. 

    No idea on how long recouping is.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,398 Senior Member
    Solar works well if you have enough land and sun.

    For instance, Walt Disney World has 2 solar farms in FL: a 5 MW and a 50 MW.  The bigger one is 270 acres and provides enough power for two Disney theme parks.  Are they doing this for good PR and tax credits?  I'm sure that's part of the answer.  They're also going greener by reducing landfill waste, reducing emissions, and reducing water consumption:  all of that looks good, makes people happy, and probably gets them reductions in taxes.

    On the other hand it also cuts down on costs (not that they're passing that on to consumers - admission prices continue to go up) and it frees up resources for other stuff.  Not a bad idea if you can make it work.  I know that folks talk about solar panels being prone to damage, but I'd wager these are pretty tough.  They are installed in a state that gets hurricanes. 

    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/22/disneys-new-270-acre-solar-farm-can-power-two-of-its-theme-parks/

    Does it cut down on costs if you factor out the govt interference? Ie subsidies to install and tax cuts to keep?
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    knitepoet said:
    I wonder how long it will take for them to recoup the expense of installing it?
    Not them, but a couple of years ago I ran the numbers for me to install a system at my house and it would have paid for itself in 4.5 years. (But that was doing the install myself, and I already owned the land)

    I hear that installed systems typically break even somewhere between 10 and 15 years during a projected 25 year lifespan.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,493 Senior Member
    Solar works well if you have enough land and sun.

    For instance, Walt Disney World has 2 solar farms in FL: a 5 MW and a 50 MW.  The bigger one is 270 acres and provides enough power for two Disney theme parks.  Are they doing this for good PR and tax credits?  I'm sure that's part of the answer.  They're also going greener by reducing landfill waste, reducing emissions, and reducing water consumption:  all of that looks good, makes people happy, and probably gets them reductions in taxes.

    On the other hand it also cuts down on costs (not that they're passing that on to consumers - admission prices continue to go up) and it frees up resources for other stuff.  Not a bad idea if you can make it work.  I know that folks talk about solar panels being prone to damage, but I'd wager these are pretty tough.  They are installed in a state that gets hurricanes. 

    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/22/disneys-new-270-acre-solar-farm-can-power-two-of-its-theme-parks/

    Does it cut down on costs if you factor out the govt interference? Ie subsidies to install and tax cuts to keep?
    Probably. Just takes a lot longer to amortize. But with the current reality you have to factor in the subsidies and tax cuts, as I don't see them going away any time soon. 

    We can argue "true costs" all day, but unless the subsidies are going away it's all theoretical.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • Vic's ViewpointVic's Viewpoint Senior Member Posts: 1,188 Senior Member
    Tugar said:
    I just got hired at a company that does solar and from what I can tell has been the industry leader for a while. They invented the microinverter. To all those that say solar isn't viable, I say posh. Already I have witnessed normal homes that are gathering far more than will be used just today and the sun wasn't near down yet. Once hotel site was at 690kwh gathered with one cell down. 

    Solar is here to stay and it looks like this is a lucky break for me. Quite a change from cell phones. My brain will be melting soon with the knowing of all things, but I look forward to the challenge. 
    Looks like the timeliest possible career move, Tugar, and a righteous gig in absolute terms!   Congrats and best wishes for the future!
    Member formerly known as "vlafrank."
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,660 Senior Member
    That sounds pretty cheap compared to a conventional tank hot water heater. Ours uses about $30 in gas a month so $360/year in savings isn't bad for something that costs about the same as a cheap tank heater. Can't help you with the ugly part though.
    Dunno where you're buying your HWH, but you're getting ripped off if you're paying $1K. Paid $350 for my last one.

    With that said, I might look into some kind of hybrid system "next time"...
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,093 Senior Member
    edited July 2019 #26
    alphasigmookie said: Googled. Home depot was about $600 plus you've got to pay someone to install 
    Ummm...
    NO

    1. turn off power
    2. turn off water
    3. drain
    4. disconnect water and drain lines and power
    5. remove old one
    6. put new one in place
    7. connect water in, out and drain lines
    8. connect power
    9. turn on water, open drain to allow air out and fill            tank
    10. turn on power and wait about 90 minutes for hot          water (VERY IMPORTANT to not turn on power            until tank is full)

    EZ PZ lemon squeezie


    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,660 Senior Member
    edited July 2019 #27
    Yep. I've only ever had to replace 2 HWHs - did both of them myself. 1 gas, 1 electric.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,093 Senior Member
    I possibly forgot 1 step. Some come with the pop-off valve installed, and some don't. If you get one of the latter, you'll need to put some rector seal on the threads and install the pop-off valve too
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    You people have water heaters with tanks? I am talking to a bunch of freaking caveman heathens here!
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,445 Senior Member
    If my tanked heater craps out it will be replaced by a tankless.  I didnt buy the one thats in the house and hopefully its still in the house when I sell it.

    Some localities require that things like water heaters be installed by a licensed "professional".  That could add cost compared to installing it yourself.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,660 Senior Member

    mitdr774 said:
    Some localities require that things like water heaters be installed by a licensed "professional".  That could add cost compared to installing it yourself.
    What goes on in my house needn't concern the local gov't tyrants. Just sayin'
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
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