Tell me about your solar


I have 30 panels on my roof with single inverter. It’s basically a 7.5 kW system we installed in 2012. Haven’t had any issues with it so far. I would say that I am probably not the best for comparisions because I have pretty good roof facing direction. It’s basically due south (@39 deg N), plus I live at 8000 feet, so I don’t have any obstructions and with climate, I don’t need air conditioning. In my situation, I try to push all my consumption into the day time as we over produce from 9 am to 5 pm. It’s been a challenge as both my wife and I work during day. Now in the winter, we get tons of snow, so each snow usually kills production for 1 to 2 days as I don’t like getting on the roof to remove the snow form panels…I am looking forward to see how this compares to what we’ve been able to do this summer. It might prompt me to get on the roof…


@todd.mikulenka It appears that your roof and deck are VERY similar to my lay out. I don’t have solar yet, but I was planning on buying a Soft Rake with extension handle. This foam rake stays very pliable in frigid weather. Car dealerships use these on vehicle windows and they CAREFULLY use them on painted surfaces, too.
Any light frost, snow, ice left behind eventually disappears under sunlight.
My worse-case peek hours is 2.78 per day in Dec.
7.5kW x 2.78H x $0.1325 = $2.76 in that day during worse-case peek hours (for me, if it’s sunny)
Clearing snow will be exciting as you’ll be standing almost under the array.


I can give 2 examples:

my dads system: installed approx 2012 (all facing due west, some shading, 5:12 roof or 22 degree angle)
(32) Canadian Solar Poly Crystal 250W panels
(32) Enphase 215W Micro-Inverters (even though these were sized too small for the panels, this was a common practice in the industry 6yrs ago… we didn’t realize the truth until Feb 2018 when I was doing research for my own system and dug into the reason why my dads system has never been above 6kW for a system that’s 8kW on paper)
Problems: EnPhase Gateway (monitor system), died in year 3… found out that gateway only had 2yr warranty… $800 replacement… unit not built to withstand high temps and was originally installed in attic… since moved to inside home for better life expectancy… 1 panel failed in year 4~5… panel glass gasket failed and let moisture destroy panel cells… we don’t know exactly when it failed, my dad didn’t replace gateway until year 5, so system went unchecked other than visual during cleanings… after moisture was seen during a cleaning, a new gateway was purchased shortly after… the replacement panel was delayed for 6mo because dealer could not locate a matching panel… eventually, the replacement was chosen and doesn’t match the older panels…

my system: installed Oct 2018 (all facing due south, no shading, 4:12 roof or 18 degree angle)
(17) SunPower 360W Mono Crystal Panels
(17) SunPower 360W Micro-Inverters
Problems: none so far
Experience: I have 2 dealers local to me that carry SunPower panels… I wanted that brand for the capacity of the panels and overall efficiency… unlike my dads system, I don’t have the roof area to put that many panels… only have a 1200sqft home, so roof space was a premium… after a chose a dealer with the best deal, I pulled the trigger and had them install… I couldn’t be happier with the result… the installer was great, it looks great and does what it should… I’m about to get my first electric bill since the install and the estimate a few days ago was $0 - even in winter… sounds great to me…

overall, these systems stay within 10% +/- a few of each other… given my dads west-facing, better angle, and some shading - against my south-facing, worse angle, no shading, and better panel output/quality… these systems perform in their own rights… we learned a lot over the course… one of the many reasons for SunPower in my system was the 10yr warranty on the SunPower Supervisor (monitor), and its designed to be outside… SunPower also has a $50 upgrade where they add CTs (like Sense CTs) to the mains and monitor energy use vs solar production… the downfall is it updates every 15min… the plus is that it has a cellular backup connection that reports 1/hr when internet is down or off… all that, plus a 25yr warranty on panels & inverters, expected life of panels is 40yrs… guaranteed to have no more loss than 1-2% yr over yr… overall, I wanted the best for my buck, and I’m satisfied that is exactly what I got…

my dads system, $33k 6yrs ago
my system, $23k Oct 2018

both grid tied systems…
my dads system, he is on Net Metering v1.0 - 1kWh for 1kWh even exchange, and he gets to keep his original tiered rates for 20yrs
my system, I’m on Net Metering v2.0 - this gets more complicated… I get credit for each kWh I put on the grid, no charge if I use those kWhs in the same day… but used a different day, I get charged non-bypass charges… in short, works out to about $0.02/kWh when using credits on a different day than generated… crazy math, but I figure I will have 2, maybe 3 months of small charges <$50… rest of the time, my PV system will cancel it all out…

neither of us have EVs, batteries, or gensets… but I’m planning to get batteries within the next 3-5yrs… I plan to refi my house and get batteries then…

anyway, if this is useful to anyone, enjoy… if questions, feel free to ask…