I'll start out with a friend I have in NY:
His "5.5 KW system" (22 solar panels, 22 inverters, etc.) produced:
--6,200 KWH of energy in the past 12 months
--An overall average of 710 Watts (from a "5.5kW" system!)
--$620 worth of electricty (a conservative estimate based on 10 cents per KWH)
--Cost about $10,000 after tax incentives
--Is an ideal full-sun setup (orientation, no shade, etc.)
By my simply math that would take 16 years to pay for itself. Assuming no inverters need to be replaced. One has been replaced under warranty
With a full 24-hour battery system, it wouldn't even run my 1000-watt MICROWAVE all year! Nevermind the 3.5KW water heater except for a brief period of peak sun on a summer day.
This is ACTUAL data, from his online report. I can look at it real-time.
These realities are hitting home in Germany, wind farms have some of the same issues with average power generated falling so drastically short of the "peak rated power". The assumptions the German government used for their renewable energy plans were so wrong they know the whole plan was a mistake. They've "been there done that".
Interesting find History thank you ... One family I knew used solar power effectively by sending their in-ground swimming pool water thru a collector in early spring so they could use the pool earlier in the season. That seemed to make sense.
I'm with you on the economics NOT YET making sense for those living outside of FL, AZ, NM or CA.
Cheers to you and fellow PATIENT BTU Longs,
As for electric cars, i.e. non hybrid. I've heard it said the batteries for the Prius have a lifespan of 100,000 miles of use and that to replace those batteries are close to the price of buying a new Prius and that the resale value of Prius's under 100,000 miles naturally reflect this cost. Anybody else heard the same?
the 16 year payback is suspect. You don't mention other life cycle costs.
- maintenance, site inspection, cleaning the panels....bird poop, dirt., mow the lawn, fix the driveway and all the other real world stuff associated with owning some property
-howabout cost of money
- failures in panels and other components
-real estate taxes, these will be taxed at residential real estate rates for the life of ownership.
- other known unknowns
- other unkown unknows
the biz case is a dud and only works under the socialist model....example town of Keene NH whose socialist government keeps building these dog projects with taxpayer money. They just put in a big panel project. Very cloudy town, kinda like putting a panel array in Seatlle.....always rains. These guys have a record for building stupid projects. Last one was the fiber network which was a fiasco that drained the coffers at the taxpayers expense. Couldn't get anybody in town to maintain the system so they rolled expensive contract labor from out of town to work on it.. They don't know what they are doing and they are doing it again.
I agree - the 16 years is under perfect ideal conditions, ignoring any maintenance, assuming you pay cash for it (and ignore the opportunity cost of investing that money). Now I will give them the fact that power rates are likely to increase over that time period, perhaps offsetting maintenance costs in this assumption. But the TV (time value) of money is the real roadblock for me. It is not truly an economic decision for the people who do it obviously, assuming 0-2% cost of money even if they borrow it at 6%. My personal CARR (compound annual rate of return) target is 15+%. Having said that, I'm through discussing solar here on the BTU message board....
Sentiment: Strong Buy
His "5.5 KW system" (22 solar panels, 22 inverters, etc.) produced:
Also this shows your lack of understanding - a 5kw system has just one inverter.....Inverter take the DC and change to AC into your electric panel. The inverters are sized for each system - my 7kw system has one 7kw inverter......
Just going by what the online report says - 22 inverters. Regardless the average and peak power of the system I refer to is insignificant in the scheme of things. I do know it has 22 panels because it shows them as an illustration with real-time power production. I assumed for some technical reason each panel had its own small inverter. The highest I've seen is 200W per panel for a brief time. Our utility has flat prices, doesn't matter what time of day. Granted we have lower than the national average prices, I am currently paying between 6 and 7 cents depending what fees you include.
I meant my data as more of an illustration of why its not working on a national scale in Germany, UK, and here. The average power level in the average location is insignificant relative to the cost and size. As I type, it is dark all across the country and 4-ton (5 Kw) air conditioners are running full-bore. Solar panels are putting out zilch. Sure there's a place for them in the economy (just like electric cars), but its not base-load 24-hour generation. That's what I'm interested in investing in.
The biggest anomaly is the cost of this system. Maybe this system is more than a year old? your NY example is about $4 a watt for the installed cost. My system I installed in May 2013 cost about $2.5 a watt. The big difference is the cost of the solar modules - I paid about .85 cent a watt, wereas a few years ago the module cost over $2 a watt...My grid offset is over .17 cent a kwh, remember solar takes off the highest cost portion of your electric bill - -depending on the tariff - most utilities have higher rates for higher usage blocks...
My payback is 4-5 years, and I am creating my own electricity for under 5 cents a kwh. This will be the new normal for the western US. In the rest of the country it depends on the utility rates. The US ave is now over 12 cents a kwh - but solar takes the top of your bill which is usually much higher rates - 14-16 cents per kwh.
These pricing dynamics continue to improve whether you like it or not. I will be building out another 12-15 solar projects over the next 6 months, due to the compelling economics. Our utility is almost all coal, so we are taking the most profitable revenue away from out utility...That means they need to charge the non-solar customers even more - increasing the incentive to go solar for the rest..
These are the current pricing data - not old data like your example.....
Hopefully you're not as disappointed in your annual KwH production as this guy was. I think they intentionally install them in May, so that the initial power output the first few months is satisfactory to customers. You'll never see a solar panel installed in October or other winter months around here. Customers would be remorseful and livid based on the real-time data I've seen.