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I was looking into installing grid-tied solar on the outbuilding on my sister's property I will be using as a shop next summer. It currently has 120/240 50 amp utility service. At PG&E's current rates of 24 cents per kilowatt-hour I expect the running the lights, some power tools and an air conditioner or two will cost a couple of hundred dollars a month. CA only pays $0.2 cents per kWh for power sent back into the grid so it doesn't make sense to invest in a grid-tied system that uses the grid for storage or sends excess power into the grid for essentially nothing. So I'm re-thinking things.

For a grid-tied system you have to install utility approved solar panels and inverters (think new and expensive, even after disappearing tax credits). I can build a stand-alone system using surplus used panels (going rate is $50 or less for 200-250 watt panels), a standalone inverter like what is used in an RV ($200-$300 for 3 Kw) and inexpensive LiFePo4 batteries ($300 each or less for 12volt, 100 amp-hours). Besides being less expensive, this also allows the system to supply power during utility outages. A grid tied system simply shuts down until utility power is restored.

The grid power will be a backup source for when the solar and batteries aren't enough to meet demand via an RV style generator transfer switch selecting either the grid or the solar inverter. It will connect to solar power whenever the inverter is active, then default back to the grid when the inverter is turned off or shuts down when the batteries are exhausted. At no time will the solar system cross-connect to the grid.

Yes, there will be times when I'm not there and the system is sitting idle. But at current PG&E rates I estimate the payback time to be only a few dozen months of active usage, not the 20+ years for a utility approved grid intertie system. And I'll have emergency power as a side benefit.
 
For a grid-tied system you have to install utility approved solar panels and inverters (new and expensive)
I have a buddy, Eric (AI6FS) who put together a hell of a solar system off grid near Pyramid Lake (no electric service or anything else out there). But he has 40 acres to play with for solar panels. He runs his A/C and charges his Telsa at the same time with more KWs available for other stuff, day or night. He is the guy I went with to Rocklin, CA Tesla to pick up our cars. We ordered them on the same day. BTW, he is the guy who convinced me to buy a Tesla car. He knew others who owned them back in year 2018 and knew a lot more about them than I did.

Many lith batteries in his system, but I don't now remember how many. Kinda too many to count.

Unlike me, he did it all himself. Still cost him a bundle, of course. More than a couple of new Tesla cars would cost.

I find it too easy to just buy everything these days. But rent the solar in my case in Auburn. I could consider buying such a system for here in Reno, but I want to see how renting such a system works out in Auburn first before I made any decisions of what I will do here.

Eric hates ICE anything. He uses electric everything, tractor and all. We met in year 2017 from an electric motorcycle forum--not from ham radio. He is not active on ham radio. When we first met, he lived near Lake Tahoe, CA but already owned the 40 acres he later moved to after he made it livable there.

I have to take unpaved roads to get to his place. I often go there on the same electric motorcycle I take on my RV trips and recharge it there at his place.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
Not really. I would expect it would be whatever the labor rate would be, and if there were any charges for ending the contract early it would depend on what was written in it when it was drawn up.

I looked at solar here in AZ as well, but after getting the quotes and doing the math, the break even point would still be about 9.5 years. If I had a pool I would go for it, but I just don't know if I will be in this house long enough to see a profit.

A back up generator and a transfer switch makes more sense for me.
As I have in my house.
 
I have a VA appointment here in Reno today. But the roof work starts today at my Auburn house. I was told I didn't have to be there while they replace the roof.

So I just now checked my camera for there and see this:

For some unknown reason, I lost the date and time there. But this is for right now:


1709837087805.png
 
I didn’t see it mentioned in any of the posts but, just know, that once you switch over to solar, you will no longer get a monthly electric bill from PG&E. They put you into a different program and you do a True-Up, once a year, usually on the date you went online. Your True-Up could be a positive or negative amount. For instance, when I installed my system, I designed mine to completely cover my electric bill and I have a credit each year of $100 to $300. My friend leased a system and it doesn’t cover his bill. His True-up has been around $600 each year.
I considered a battery back-up, but at the time, I could only find batteries with a 7 year warranty. The cost vs. gain wasn’t right for me so I use a generator when needed. Luckily we don’t lose power that often.
 
Be sure to ask your insurance if they'll cover hail damage, especially any legal consequences of the substances leaching into the soil.
Unless $ is of no concern, of course.
 

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Be sure to ask your insurance if they'll cover hail damage, especially any legal consequences of the substances leaching into the soil.
Unless $ is of no concern, of course.
The system here will be rented, not owned by me, so I wonder how that works out.

And no, this is not about money at all. I like the battery backup idea, even if it costs me a bit more.

I would not consider such a system without the Tesla PowerWall (Battery).

I expect the work to start soon. I noticed the city inspector was here just yesterday to sign off on the final roof work.

If I like the way it works out here, I will do the same at my Reno home. I will probably need a new roof there as well.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
They sent the info. for my app to monitor my home solar to the incorrect email address. I just now got that straightened out.

I see now at 1720 hrs, I am getting 380 watts out of my home solar system, 19.6 KWH gained today, 41.7 KWH since it was installed two days ago and turned on in the late afternoon. It also tells me it is 73°F right now up on the roof. It also tells me the juice I gained so far is equivalent to growing one tree. Saved 83.5 lbs of CO2 and other weird info.

At around noon, my solar was giving me 3,500 watts output yesterday & today. That was the peak.

My Energica electric motorcycle has a 22.5KWH (peak) battery, can really charge up to around 20KWH. About the same as I gain in a day from the home solar.

It's a Tesla Powerwall (battery & inverter) with a Solar Edge monitor.

I own none of it, this is a rented system.

I may soon do the same at my Reno house. There, I probably do NOT need a new roof. I found out that roof was replaced just a few months before I purchased that house in year 2014. Roof is only about 11 years old, and it still looks like new.

I wonder if I should buy or rent the Reno system. I have heard in the past that it is best for young people to buy and for older people to rent home solar. Any opinions on that here?

I do not care about saving money on this system. If it costs me a little more, I am fine with that. I mainly want the battery backup. I would NOT consider a solar system without the battery.

BTW, I noticed around half the houses in this area have solar on their roofs. I also notice a few in Reno, but not nearly as many as here. The KWH price here is about three times the Reno price. Expected for CA.


-Don- Auburn, CA
 
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Good on the solar power ingo. How much square footage of panels do you have?

On the need for a new roof... I Grew up under a metal roof from around 1955 till Well the last time I visited that house was around 2011. The roof was old when my dad bought the house and was still good in 2011. Metal roofs last aLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time.
 
Good on the solar power ingo. How much square footage of panels do you have?

On the need for a new roof... I Grew up under a metal roof from around 1955 till Well the last time I visited that house was around 2011. The roof was old when my dad bought the house and was still good in 2011. Metal roofs last aLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time.
A Tesla PowerWall is usually around 5.6 KW of solar. I assume that is close to what I have but right now at 1125 hrs, I am only getting 3.03 KW out of my system, but is gaining by the minute now that sun is almost overhead.

Kinda hard to see, but here is the rear of this house and you can see the solar on the roof. Hard to get a great picture without going up on the roof, but this should give a good idea (perhaps will get a bit more for longer if I chop down a few trees--but I won't do that):

solaronroof.JPG

-Don- Auburn, CA
 
I Grew up under a metal roof
I wonder how much difference that makes on a very hot day when you must have the A/C on. And on a very cold day when you need the heater on most of the day. Perhaps cheaper to buy a new roof every 25 years, at least here in CA where PG&E bills are quite high.

Water bill is even worse. If I use NONE at all, it's around a hundred bucks per month just for the connection fee. But I understand why. They had to build a little reservoir down below and not that many houses to pay for it in this area. At least using the water doesn't add that much to the bill. But it's about five times more expensive here than Reno for my water bill.

-Don- Auburn, CA
 
A Tesla PowerWall is usually around 5.6 KW of solar. I assume that is close to what I have but right now at 1125 hrs, I am only getting 3.03 KW out of my system, but is gaining by the minute now that sun is almost overhead.

I was wondering the square footage of the panels. alas can't tell from the photo Thought you might know.. Either square footage or somethign like 20 foot by 13 feet would work.

Hey anything that reduces the size of the monthly power/utility payment = GOOD THING in my book.
 
I was wondering the square footage of the panels. alas can't tell from the photo Thought you might know.. Either square footage or somethign like 20 foot by 13 feet would work.

Hey anything that reduces the size of the monthly power/utility payment = GOOD THING in my book.
Nope. I only know what I see. I wasn't even there when the system was installed. I have no paperwork or anything.

From here in Reno, I can view the Auburn system on my "Solar Edge" App. Right now, at 0650 hrs, I see that I am getting a whole 20 watts out of my new solar system. The sun is down too low, blocked by trees. But I get 20 KWH per day out of the system. That the only thing that really counts. I also see it is 57° F on the roof in Auburn. I guess they show that for when it is extra hot but sunny the output is expected to decrease a little. Solar likes light, not heat.

Hey anything that reduces the size of the monthly power/utility payment = GOOD THING in my book.
But the main difference is only who I pay it to. This system could cost me a little bit more than not having it. Especially when I am not even there to use it, since I am paying a flat rate to the solar company. But as I explained before, I am not doing it to save money. If I wanted to save money, I wouldn't have a house in CA to begin with! OTOH, the value of the house keeps on increasing, even with many people leaving the state. Not so much in Auburn, few houses are for sale there.

One thing I wonder about, is if solar is getting common enough that PG&E must jack up their rates even more to make some profit.

Now at 0700 hrs I am getting 40 watts from the system. It should start increasing faster and faster.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
I didn’t see it mentioned in any of the posts but, just know, that once you switch over to solar, you will no longer get a monthly electric bill from PG&E. They put you into a different program and you do a True-Up, once a year, usually on the date you went online. Your True-Up could be a positive or negative amount. For instance, when I installed my system, I designed mine to completely cover my electric bill and I have a credit each year of $100 to $300. My friend leased a system and it doesn’t cover his bill. His True-up has been around $600 each year.
I considered a battery back-up, but at the time, I could only find batteries with a 7 year warranty. The cost vs. gain wasn’t right for me so I use a generator when needed. Luckily we don’t lose power that often.
I had no idea it worked that way. I assumed I would get two bills, one from PG&E and the other from the solar company. Not that it makes any difference to me.

Did you install your own solar system? Anyway, you need to subtract those costs when you compare your credit to your friend's system. I assume it will take several years for it to equal out. And then after you start saving.

Since my system is rented, not owned, I assume I won't have to pay for a new battery ever. But maybe I do. I didn't really read the contract and other paperwork all that well. IAC, I figure I cannot get ripped off much more than I do from PG & E.

But IAC, a seven-year warranty sounds reasonable to me. You should expect it to last a lot longer than the warranty, just as do most items, but with a few exceptions.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
Right now, I am getting 2.90 KW @70°F at 1100 hrs.
I gain 20 KWH per day at my Auburn, CA house, from the new solar panels.

The Auburn PG&E KWH cost for me is 0.421.

20KWH times 0.421=$8.42 savings per day. It comes to the same as it costs me to fully charge from Empty to full on my Energica Experia extra motorcycle there in Auburn, also 20 KWH. Good for around 140 miles /225 km average normal average mixed riding.

In a 30-day period, I will save $252.50 from my PG&E bill. That's quite a bit more than my average PG&E bill as I usually don't stay there long, especially this year.

I do not recall what renting the solar per month costs. But when I get my fist bill, I will post the info here.

Here in Reno, electricity is only 0.18 per KWH. Two and a third times more expensive in Auburn, CA than Reno, NV.

Yesterday on the way here, gasoline was close to seven bucks per gallon in the CA mountains. But at the Truckee Airport, CA, I got my free charge as I took a break. So even in CA I can find free electricity to charge up my electric motorcycles with. I assume the Truckee Airport pays there.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
This was in the Las Vegas Review-Journal today. A Las Vegas solar contractor has been accused of bilking over $250k from seniors. As a result the Nevada State Contractors board is establishing a “new specialized solar investigation unit” which will focus on addressing complaints against solar panel companies "to provide increased consumer protections regarding solar scams, deceptive loans and aggressive sales tactics” across the state.

Solar company contractor accused of bilking about $250K from seniors
 
A Las Vegas solar contractor has been accused of bilking over $250k from seniors.
Your link is not working. But I wonder if that really only means the guy made 250K$ total profit, or was he really doing something illegal? I don't think of 250K$ for a business owner to be all that much per year. I will need to read the link.

Anyway, all my solar is in CA, not NV. I will wait a couple of months until I see how Auburn works out and if I am happy with it, I will do the same here in Reno.

Now getting 3.01 KW, 72°F from my Auburn roof at 11:25 hrs. A gain of 5.56 KWH today so far.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
Your link is not working. But I wonder if that really only means the guy made 250K$ total profit, or was he really doing something illegal? I don't think of 250K$ for a business owner to be all that much per year. I will need to read the link.

Anyway, all my solar is in CA, not NV. I will wait a couple of months until I see how Auburn works out and if I am happy with it, I will do the same here in Reno.

Now getting 3.01 KW, 72°F from my Auburn roof at 11:25 hrs. A gain of 5.56 KWH today so far.

-Don- Reno, NV
The link should work now. The guy is charged with collecting at least $250k in deposits from senior homeowners and then not doing the work.
 
The link should work now. The guy is charged with collecting at least $250k in deposits from senior homeowners and then not doing the work.
Yeah, link now works.

I don't have to worry about that in Auburn as that work is completed and I am satisfied with the work.

I am not yet sure if I will be satisfied with the solar company bill, but as long as it doesn't cost me too much more, I will be satisfied. I will be a little surprised if the total is a bit less--at least for now. But PG&E jacks up their rates a lot compared to the solar companies. But I assume that is when the solar rental also goes up.

Since PG&E just had a large price increase, there could be savings even on my first bill. I just do not know yet, but as I have more information, I will post it here for all to see.

-Don- Reno, NV
 

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