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View Diary: Solar Power: Making the right choice, the easy choice ... (260 comments)

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  •  I checked into solar for my house (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Reepicheep, ginja, A Siegel

    $75,000.

    We've got a long way to go to make this an accessible option.  Even here in Florida where the state will refund up to $20,000 of the cost, it's still out of reach.

    However, a German engineer has developed a house paint that will act as a solar collector.  I don't recall all the technical details, but he has included something in the paint that will turn an entire building into a solar collector.  Better ideas are on the horizon.

    "It's what you think you know that just ain't so that will get you into trouble." --Will Rogers

    by winterbanyan on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 06:37:19 AM PST

    •  That is what the point is ... (9+ / 0-)

      For a couple things:

      1.  Again, as discussed in diary, #1/#2/#3: Energy Efficiency!!!  Solar PV is, in many situations, expensive electricity -- thus, demand destruction makes economic sense.
      1.  What this work is pointing to are paths for reducing that cost. If 'standardized' and 'commotized' to such an extent that you could walk into a Home Depot / Costco / local hardware store and basically walk away with a system to buy, the costs would be driven down.  Imagine the difference, for example, if a solar installer were installing 50 units in a subdivision at the 'same' time rather than business development for a unit here, a unit there, making 10 or 20 or 50 house calls for every unit they sell. There is a lot of (quite legitimate) overhead that is due to the relatively low volume.
    •  $75 sounds very high (4+ / 0-)

      Or you must have a huge house. Find a solar installer and get some more bids.

      http://www.findsolar.com/

      You should be able to build a system, before tax rebates, for under $10k per kW. And 4kW should completely power even a large home.

      •  At the height of summer (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, SecondComing, A Siegel

        on the hottest days, my house draws less that 3kW.  And still this was the quote I got.  I had to pick up my jaw from the floor.  That's half the value of my house.

        Anyway, in the current economy I can't afford it even if I can find it cheaper.  Maybe in a couple of years.  In the meantime, I pay a premium for "green energy", i.e. the utility company pumps that many kW of green-produced energy into the grid.  Or so they tell me.

        "It's what you think you know that just ain't so that will get you into trouble." --Will Rogers

        by winterbanyan on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 08:14:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Save your money (0+ / 0-)

          I pay a premium for "green energy", i.e. the utility company pumps that many kW of green-produced energy into the grid.  Or so they tell me.

          The tax code allows the companies plenty of new opportunities to get green energy to the grid w/o taking your money.

          Put your money to better use for yourself like insulating your home better or a local problem,

          I'm not a fan of this type of funding green energy.  You'd be better off using your money to buy corporate gov't bonds of Berkley or another company getting it done.

          A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

          by bldr on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 10:18:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on if the kw rating is peak or daily (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, KenBee, A Siegel, scharrison

        Capacity factor for solar PV runs 0.15 to 0.21 for much of the lower 48.  If you run AC most of the time day and night, which is more common along the Gulf, and say need a kW to do so, your PV will need to be divided by the capacity factor to be correctly sized - assuming you're trying to be near grid-neutral.

        So 1/0.2 is 5 kW, at $7 to $9 per watt for the PV panels you're at the $35,000 to %45,000 range. Storage adds to that, as does difficult installation situations. Makes it sound as if the system may have been designed to have sufficient capacity to be more independent than normal.  Storm resistance may have increased the cost as well.

        Note that in the humid regions AC is used to drop the interior humidity at least as much as for cooling.  A small AC unit fronted by a dehumidifier can be better, especially if the dehumidifier users solar or waste heat to regenerate.

        •  Getting rid of incandescents (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, RunawayRose, KenBee

          in favor of CFL's (or LED's, probably) also cuts down on a lot of heat generation inside the home at night, giving your AC less work to do. After I made the switch, I noticed my AC seemed to be kicking on less often, so I did some checking on how much heat incandescents actually emitted, and it blew my mind. I can't find the source now, but (I believe) it was the equivalent of switching the heater on every thirty minutes or something.

        •  $7-$9 per watt is now high. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RunawayRose, A Siegel

          With our new found Bush deflation, your installer shouldn't be paying more than $4 a watt for modules and will likely be down around $3.25 per watt by Spring.

          9$ per watt should be more like your system installed price, not just for the modules. So if you were quoted $75 grand that should be for an 8 KW array, enough to power most McMansions. There are other factors that may increase costs, but still...

          -7.5 -7.28, What's a guy gotta do to get impeached around here?

          by Blueslide on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 11:03:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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