I have roof mount solar in eastern CT. The big issue is the shade provided by trees. My conclusion at my site is that roof mount solar is a waste of time, as it is defined by the orientation of the house. The best solar I have come across is pole mounted solar tracking. This is as much as twice as efficient as roof solar, so you use less panels, and still obtain more electricity. The cost is becoming competitive, but the price per KWh generated is already more competitive than roof solar.
Thanks for the info. I am looking to build a pole barn and it would have a due south roof area for solar. I am hoping that helps with efficiency. I would also have some yard space available in the future for a ground mount.
I am really excited to here solar success from folks that live in more northern climates. I am central PA, so hearing success in CT and Mass is great!
Good luck in your installation. The best tilt for the roof is roughly 5 degrees less than your location’s latitude (probably about 35 degrees for your area). See this calculator to get more precise values to your location.
Also, having a more western orientation gives you less total energy, but gives you more power when typically needed. It depends upon whether you have rates based upon time of day or not.
It’s also possible to have a non-symmetrical roof as well, allowing more southern exposure space for panels. When calculating costs, calculate total lifetime power for the panel vs it’s cost including installation. More expensive panels are often cheaper in the long run, Hopefully you will also have various credits and rebates to help cover the costs.
Esterillos, Costa Rica - 28 x 325 Canadian Solar, 14 APSystems Micro YC500A. 9.1kw w/pannels, but 7k max from Inverters. No battery due to cost and other reasons… but generator of 9kw (750bux) all manual to start and connect. I bought sense as my power co has no access to any data for me and to get the feed to PVOutPut which I am doing at https://pvoutput.org/list.jsp?userid=64862 using python script from https://github.com/scottbonline/sense
with how the net metering here in CR works… its a hard sell for me currently with the price point and return on investment with how often i am without power… but if it gets bad and I go without for a few days the idea changes as i wouldn’t want to piss off neighbors with a generator running all the time and even more so at night.
No ROI on batteries just yet; I have net metering and our power rarely goes out. If it does I have a portable generator and an interlock. Cant run the main AC but I have a mini split in our bedroom that cranks.
For those with solar, are you using one central inverter, string inverters, Micro inverters, etc?
Central with optimizer for each panel.
I have a 7kw system making about 13500kwh per year. Grid-tied, no extras. I used Google’s solar page to get a quick idea of what we had in store, but I think it’s not entirely accurate in terms of cost - I think we’ll be further ahead than it projected. We actually used it to decide on a house - we have a broad, south-facing roof that gets a ton of exposure.
We financed through a local company who worked through a Denver-based bank, and we’ll be paid off after 10y. From inquiry to live power it was less than 2 months. We have a solaredge inverter, and I opted for the extended warranty since it’s baking outside right next to the cactus.
We got very lucky to sneak in before our power company started making major changes to its solar options. We’ve got net metering at a fairly good rated for 20y. Recently that’s gone down to 10. If we make more than than we use, they pay us 3c/kwh at the end of the year. This year we got about $40, but we’re opting to lower the thermostat this year to get us closer to breaking even. I didn’t feel it was worth it to be that stingy when it’s 115 outside.
Wow 13.5MWh from a 7Kw system. My brothers only makes 9MWh per year, over the last 4 years.
I’d like to hear the costs as the U.S. seems very expensive for solar. My brother’s was $14K before rebates for a 3 phase 7KW system in Sydney, Australia. I have heard as high as $30K before rebates in the U.S. for a 7KW system.
We’ve got prime sun here, it’s mind boggling that solar isn’t more widespread, until you learn that the coal and hydro-driven utilities fund our utility commissioners election campaigns.
The costs were a bit much, that’s for sure. I think it was about $25K before the $8K tax credit.
Without solar, our electric bill would average about $75/mo from November to April, and maybe $2-300/mo the rest of the year. We’re currently paying about $175/mo for the loan, with about 9y left. My math says we’re breaking even now, after we’re paid off we’ll be at $20-25/mo to stay connected.
4.2kW system cost 15.5K US$ in 2013. Produces about 6.5MWh in northern CA.
In central PA here, so not the same intensity or duration as the Az folks, but I am excited to see some folks in the Northeast having success. The nice thing is that I will be installing all new, so I can design the pole building with solar in mind and the roof will have a due south pitch. I appreciate everyone’s feed back and if more people want to share their story, that would be great.
In my situation, I need to factor in the peace of mind factor for having another source of power besides grid and propane.
5.85 kW grid-tied system consisting of 18 Kyocera KD325GX-LPB panels. Not optimally mounted but they look better flat to the roof and not visible from the street. Installed just over 3 years ago and almost paid for itself already. I paid 13K out of pocket, after allowing for the 30% ITC. This has saved me $190 a month in electricity costs another $120 in Gasoline costs as I got an EV at the same time. Total savings per month are $310 per month.
I got in under the NEM 1.0 cap and have another 2 years of the guaranteed 12-6pm Peak Time TOU period before it shifts to 4-9 PM. That’s when I’ll start paying through the nose again and I anticipate my current bill of $120 a year will go to around $1800 per year.
I am building an off-grid solar setup just to run my mini-split air conditioners. I’m building a ground mount 20 panel fixed array. I am using a 6kw pure sinewave inverter with a built-in transfer switch to connect back to shore power when the battery bank gets to my low voltage settings. The air conditioning runs the hardest during the day so the solar will power it for free but at night the mini-splits don’t run as hard so switching back to shore power will not cost very much. Peak cost power is 3pm to 8pm here.
I’m interested in doing the same thing with my mini-split. Please pm me with your specific setup. Any additional solar I add must be “off grid” as I am at my utilities max size. I have already installed a dedicated off grid 1.8kW array and dc motor for my pool
I feel like I’m late to thread, but I built a 12.4kw grid-tie system with (40) 310w panels with optimizers. They are fed in 2 strings each for (2) 6kw SolarEdge inverters in series. It was installed in March 2015 and so far been averaging about 15MWh a year. I am at about 32° N. I can say that I believe that sense very acurately predicts my electric bill.
Just on time @ezric
I am hoping this is an ongoing thread to help folks in learning what is out there for solar, the pros and cons of different options, etc. From the feed back of many users, Sense does a great job of being accurate with monitoring the amount of Solar Energy created. They are listening to the community when it comes to presenting that data in the interface and making it available via export.
I am still planning my install, so as pepeople like post info, I do a little research and see if this might be an option for me.
So, thanks for posting your info!