# Is now a good time to invest in solar?

by Artman
Tags: invest, solar, time
PF Gold
P: 2,725
 Quote by WhoWee It's been 6 months - does anyone have any updated info?
He's probably partying with all his energy savings money. But yea. Update please.
 P: 19 Hello all, first time here, am doing a research paper for undergrad degree. Renewable energy, here is my question, The power out of a small pv inverter is suppose to push its energy onto the grid past the net meter, how does this current get past the first step down transformer if that transformer has 7200 V coming into it from the other side?
PF Gold
P: 3,098
 Quote by David Morrow Hello all, first time here, am doing a research paper for undergrad degree. Renewable energy, here is my question, The power out of a small pv inverter is suppose to push its energy onto the grid past the net meter, how does this current get past the first step down transformer if that transformer has 7200 V coming into it from the other side?
The transformer can move energy in both directions. That is, the low voltage from you inverter is eventually stepped up the the HV side of transformer.
 P: 1,591 Wow, more than 6 months. Sorry about that. Time for an update. It's been about a year and six months since we went solar. A few new things have happened: the electric company zeroed our meter on the anniversary date for our connection or there abouts. It's hard to tell from the records, we check our meter daily, but we apparently hooked up at a good time because we were nearly at zero then anyway, which is what you want. We were bouncing back and forth across the zero line for a few days. We also put in a heat pump (more on that in a later post) and a heat pump water heater, and more insulation, so our house is all electric currently, with oil heat backup. With the addition of the more efficient HP and the HP H2O heater, we've been still gaining ground as we did last year through the year down at about 520 kWh below zero. Not bad, and comfort is great. Got to go, more later. Sorry it's been so long.
PF Gold
P: 2,725
 Quote by Artman Wow, more than 6 months. Sorry about that. Time for an update. It's been about a year and six months since we went solar. A few new things have happened: the electric company zeroed our meter on the anniversary date for our connection or there abouts. It's hard to tell from the records, we check our meter daily, but we apparently hooked up at a good time because we were nearly at zero then anyway, which is what you want. We were bouncing back and forth across the zero line for a few days. We also put in a heat pump (more on that in a later post) and a heat pump water heater, and more insulation, so our house is all electric currently, with oil heat backup. With the addition of the more efficient HP and the HP H2O heater, we've been still gaining ground as we did last year through the year down at about 520 kWh below zero. Not bad, and comfort is great. Got to go, more later. Sorry it's been so long.
Thanks for the update. Can't wait to hear about your other improvements; especially the heat pump water heater.
 PF Gold P: 3,098 I see the SREC price for NJ continues to hold above $0.60 / kWh, by far the highest in the US, while the price has collapsed elsewhere. http://www.srectrade.com/new_jersey_srec.php P: 1,123  Quote by dlgoff Thanks for the update. Can't wait to hear about your other improvements; especially the heat pump water heater. Yes, what type of booster is on the water heater?  P: 5,632 I just posted about a NJ alternative approach here: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthr...72#post3483872 "I am having my home evaluatehttp by SunRun, Home Depot and bpsolar. There was a booth in a Home Depot store in NJ. The "deal in brief": I supply the roof area for solar and they get permits, build, install, maintain and pay for the entire solar system. Then they sell me power under a 20 year contract at a discount to PSE&G power. Unless I have to modify my roof or replace shingles, there is no out of pocket expenditure for me." P: 1,123  Quote by Naty1 I just posted about a NJ alternative approach here: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthr...72#post3483872 "I am having my home evaluatehttp by SunRun, Home Depot and bpsolar. There was a booth in a Home Depot store in NJ. The "deal in brief": I supply the roof area for solar and they get permits, build, install, maintain and pay for the entire solar system. Then they sell me power under a 20 year contract at a discount to PSE&G power. Unless I have to modify my roof or replace shingles, there is no out of pocket expenditure for me." Are you replacing the roof now/first?  P: 5,632 I have to be a preliminary site evaluation, be approved to participate, then an engineering evaluation.....I have no data yet so I am open. I am going to post in the thread I started so as not to disrupt this great discussion....I am posting some interesting information as soon as I sign off here. "Are you replacing the roof now/first?" Depends on engineering evaluation and cost.....in theory, I can remove and replace just the upper portion,south facing side, of my four roof surfaces. Roof shingles should be good for another 15 years or so I guess. P: 5,632  I see the SREC price for NJ continues to hold above$0.60 / kWh, by far the highest in the US, while the price has collapsed elsewhere. http://www.srectrade.com/new_jersey_srec.php
Can you explain your post....Looks like in September rates dropped to $167!!!!!, although I do not understand such a huge change..... Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 2,725  Quote by Naty1 Can you explain your post....Looks like in September rates dropped to$167!!!!!, although I do not understand such a huge change.....
I'm glad you found this thread. I think you need to be careful with this:
 ...they sell me power under a 20 year contract at a discount to PSE&G power.
You will probably get very little savings. It might be better to rent a room.
P: 5,632
 You will probably get very little savings.
could be,,,the Home Depot rep mentioned 15% to 20%.....
I'm either "selling" anything here nor recommending anything, just posting whatever I learn.

The discount given to me must depend on the SREC rate the company gets from selling power to PSE&G. If I can save money over an extended time, I'm interested enough to check out the details but not whole heartedly enthusiastic at this point.

What happens for example if the company goes bankrupt or fails to maintain the installation?? I can easily visualize them disappearing as the life expectency of the installation approaches....

"It's all in the fine print."
P: 1,123
 Quote by Naty1 could be,,,the Home Depot rep mentioned 15% to 20%..... I'm either "selling" anything here nor recommending anything, just posting whatever I learn. The discount given to me must depend on the SREC rate the company gets from selling power to PSE&G. If I can save money over an extended time, I'm interested enough to check out the details but not whole heartedly enthusiastic at this point. What happens for example if the company goes bankrupt or fails to maintain the installation?? I can easily visualize them disappearing as the life expectency of the installation approaches.... "It's all in the fine print."
No doubt. Do they require a minimum average usage or a guarantee of usage?
PF Gold
P: 1,431
 Quote by Naty1 "It's all in the fine print."
I would definitely scan in the contract and post it here. I can understand the tax incentive for businesses to own, and depreciate, their property, while selling you a commodity over a long term period.

Caveat emptor; from Peng's "Is the world messing with me" thread.

ps. I traded a solar panel installation(50 watts) for an air conditioner last week. But the damn kid said it would take him years for the system to pay off when I told him he'd have to invest $60 for a deep cycle battery. I was like; "Dude. I'm trading you a$250 solar panel for a $100 beat up old air conditioner..... The sun shines during the day. You want to power your lights at night. You need a place to store all that energy. When the power goes out, due to a hurricane or something, you'll have the only house in the neighborhood with the lights still on. That's freakin' braggin' rights dude!". I'm still waiting on his response. pps. don't know if you are a facebook kind of person, but the following made me smile yesterday: https://www.facebook.com/oevadotorg#...type=1&theater PF Gold P: 3,098  Quote by Naty1 Can you explain your post....Looks like in September rates dropped to$167!!!!!, although I do not understand such a huge change.....
Yes that was back in July. The new data does show a huge drop in SREC price as you say. I can't explain the drop, but it highlights a concern with SREC options - no guarantee on the future price at which you can sell your solar electricity. Actually I suppose it was bound to happen. That state could not afford to pay out at 4X the price of regular electricity for too long. This drop is a point in favor of the 20 year contract people. The SREC prices become their problem not yours.

There are a number of companies doing these deals in the US. Until recently, the big ones have been on the West coast.

Edit: Here's a backstory on PPA company SolarCity. There's been a lot of interest from commercial business in PPAs
http://www.technologyreview.com/tr35...5_riverofnames
http://www.solarcity.com/commercial/...manufacturing/
PF Gold
P: 3,098
 Quote by dlgoff I'm glad you found this thread. I think you need to be careful with this: You will probably get very little savings. It might be better to rent a room.
Why do you say this? His out of pocket is zero in a PPA, if he wants. Only concern that comes to mind is a turn over in the event of a house sale. But then, resale value needs to be considered for any modification done to the house, solar's no different.
P: 5,632
 Actually I suppose it was bound to happen. That state could not afford to pay out at 4X the price of regular electricity for too long.
Iagree: That's the major thing I could not understand when I considered my own solar installation several years ago....that and well over $5/watt first cost at the time....it makes NO sense for government to subsidize relatively wealthy individual homeowners via tax credits and paying higher rates for electricity for otherwise uneconomical solar energy...somebody has to provide money to do that...those who pay regular electric rates. It's another silly big government waste.  Can you explain your post....Looks like in September rates dropped to$167!!!!!, although I do not understand such a huge change..... Yes that was back in July
Thanks, just wanted to check as I had not looked at rates in a long time....

 Only concern that comes to mind is a turn over in the event of a house sale.
If a potential buyer gets an electric discount, it should be attractive; if not, I'm screwed. Another issue I posted in my own thread: any tax assesment on solar?? I don't remember...and that can always change.

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