1st PGE bill since solar panel install: $15.99

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After considering solar panels on and off for a few years, I pulled the trigger late last year. Ended up with a 17 panel, 7000 kWh for $17K which is $11,900 net of tax credit. Got my 1st bill: $15.99. For electricity, you pay $10 per month to be on the grid. They believe our yearly true up will be $0. Pacific Gas and Electricity (PGE) charges a lot for electricity; one of the highest in the nation. Rates are going up, as they have to pay for trying to burn down CA. Was it a great financial move? Not in the short run; going forward probably. We did get the Tesla in December, so I am charging it at home for free. I am very happy with the decision and how it turned out. And I plan to blast the AC this summer... Finally, we really like the GS350; if Lexus comes out with a new model, it better be electric. I might be a customer, but, go big or go home.
 

JeffKeryk

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Originally Posted by JohnnyJohnson
PGE one of the highest rates in the country yet they can't make a profit. They need a severe audit!
What they need is competition. I hate PGE.
 
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I am on an electricity "co-op" in rural Texas. However, they are big about pushing energy savings - even giving a way free LED light bulbs. I installed a "small" (4ea - 315 watt panels) through a "grid-tied" system - Most dramatic bill yet was from $128 (Texas heat and AC) down to $43 - (It's $30 to be connected, regardless of usage). I'm pretty happy with that.
 

JeffKeryk

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Originally Posted by Rand
what does 7000 kwh refer too.. the anticipated yearly amount "generated" ?
Kilo Watt Hour A kWh equals the amount of energy you would use by keeping a 1,000 watt appliance running for one hour. It is used to measure how much power you use each month and determine panel output requirements. Each solar install is designed using a formula that includes last year usage, amount of sunlight, etc. They recommended a 5000 kWh system; I asked to bump it up as I knew an electric car and more overall usage was in my future. The panels generate lower 20 kWh during a very cloudy day, say early in the year. Recently it has been in the lower 30 kWh range. FYI, there is a lotta sun in Los Gatos, where we live. Other areas might require more panels to achieve the same output. Finally, if someone bought my house, they might have more people so more power needed.
 
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It's s feel good accomplishment that you are independent of the utility for the most part but a expensive one as well. The recoup rate on that $12000 will be forever.
 
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Politics aside, people who live in bright areas really should be on solar.. and not just for power but also for water heating or pool heating. Despite what many people believe, the electric companies really do NOT want to have to build extra plants to accommodate the additional base load. It's absurdly expensive, takes a lot of lawyers because of the environmental stuff, NIMBYs, etc.. So that's why we see an increase in demand-side management now, but I think when battery tech gets good enough we'll see incentives from the electric company to supplement at each residential meter.
 
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Where I live the solar tubes make for great water heating. Payback for electricity is longer. I burned my hand on a solar heated copper pipe with 160'F water in it, that was the a-ha! moment for me.
 

Job

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PGE is expensive and was doing well. They have a huge system to maintain, and gas lines especially are getting old. Costs a fortune to replace and maintain gas lines. Palo Alto and Santa Clara have their own utilities, government run of sorts, and their rates are less than half PGE, or were a few years ago. But they have only a town to maintain. Isn't that watts you are talking about not Kwh? 7000 watts makes sense but 7000kwh is a total not the rate of output.
 
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Originally Posted by Reddy45
Politics aside, people who live in bright areas really should be on solar.. and not just for power but also for water heating or pool heating. Despite what many people believe, the electric companies really do NOT want to have to build extra plants to accommodate the additional base load. It's absurdly expensive, takes a lot of lawyers because of the environmental stuff, NIMBYs, etc.. So that's why we see an increase in demand-side management now, but I think when battery tech gets good enough we'll see incentives from the electric company to supplement at each residential meter.
Should be sounds good, but electricity in Texas is dirty cheap, so it doesn't make sense here (from a financial perspective). It only makes sense when the government subsidizes it, or the state, or combination of both. These advantages are in California, so that makes sense in that region.
 
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Originally Posted by JustinH
Originally Posted by Reddy45
Politics aside, people who live in bright areas really should be on solar.. and not just for power but also for water heating or pool heating. Despite what many people believe, the electric companies really do NOT want to have to build extra plants to accommodate the additional base load. It's absurdly expensive, takes a lot of lawyers because of the environmental stuff, NIMBYs, etc.. So that's why we see an increase in demand-side management now, but I think when battery tech gets good enough we'll see incentives from the electric company to supplement at each residential meter.
Should be sounds good, but electricity in Texas is dirty cheap, so it doesn't make sense here (from a financial perspective). It only makes sense when the government subsidizes it, or the state, or combination of both. These advantages are in California, so that makes sense in that region.
Softball sized hail is another reason why solar in TX may not work. I don't think the panels can withstand it yet.
 

OVERKILL

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Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
Originally Posted by Rand
what does 7000 kwh refer too.. the anticipated yearly amount "generated" ?
Kilo Watt Hour A kWh equals the amount of energy you would use by keeping a 1,000 watt appliance running for one hour. It is used to measure how much power you use each month and determine panel output requirements. Each solar install is designed using a formula that includes last year usage, amount of sunlight, etc. They recommended a 5000 kWh system; I asked to bump it up as I knew an electric car and more overall usage was in my future. The panels generate lower 20 kWh during a very cloudy day, say early in the year. Recently it has been in the lower 30 kWh range. FYI, there is a lotta sun in Los Gatos, where we live. Other areas might require more panels to achieve the same output. Finally, if someone bought my house, they might have more people so more power needed.
Is this a 7,000kWh "ideal" system based on CF? IE, it's anticipated to produce 7,000kWh/year under ideal conditions? Or is it nameplate based on the panel wattage? I use roughly 750-800kWh/month and residential solar here is roughly 12% CF, so, working that backwards, to cover 9,600kWh of annual usage I'd need a system with a 9.1kW installed capacity.
 
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Originally Posted by Reddy45
Originally Posted by JustinH
Should be sounds good, but electricity in Texas is dirty cheap, so it doesn't make sense here (from a financial perspective). It only makes sense when the government subsidizes it, or the state, or combination of both. These advantages are in California, so that makes sense in that region.
Softball sized hail is another reason why solar in TX may not work. I don't think the panels can withstand it yet.
^ABSOLUTELY THIS! Solely these two factors are the reason I haven't considered solar. Makes sense everywhere else, but not in tornado alley. Oddly enough, a local co-op does have a "solar garden." I've been watching carefully.
 

JeffKeryk

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Originally Posted by PimTac
It's s feel good accomplishment that you are independent of the utility for the most part but a expensive one as well. The recoup rate on that $12000 will be forever.
8 years perhaps. There is also rebates from PGE and rates are expected to rise. But yes. there is no quick turnaround. Whatever it is, it is a great investment if you consider a 20 year lifespan. I wanted to go green which is hard to quantify. They will tell you it increases the value of your property, but where I live you buy a zip code, not a house. But it can't hurt.
 
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Originally Posted by JohnnyJohnson
PGE one of the highest rates in the country yet they can't make a profit. They need a severe audit!
IIRC part of the reason is that PGE is required to buy power from homeowners who have solar panels (PPA Power Purchase Agreements) at the retail rather than the wholesale rate.
 
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So your panels are rated at over 400W each? I did not know they went that high. Is the 7000W rating the lab rating or the as built rating? Are you using micro inverters or a central inverter?
 

JeffKeryk

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Originally Posted by Farnsworth
PGE is expensive and was doing well. They have a huge system to maintain, and gas lines especially are getting old. Costs a fortune to replace and maintain gas lines. Palo Alto and Santa Clara have their own utilities, government run of sorts, and their rates are less than half PGE, or were a few years ago. But they have only a town to maintain. Isn't that watts you are talking about not Kwh? 7000 watts makes sense but 7000kwh is a total not the rate of output.
You are correct; thanks. I reviewed the proposal: System Size: 5.1 kW Estimated Production: 7,356 kWh 17 panels and 1 inverter
 
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What is the average life cycle of the panels? At my former employer (who has a fairly large footprint in consulting and analytics for solar power), they always discussed the drawback on ROI was lifecycle and how (over time) dust will reduce efficiency of the panels even if kept clean (due to abrasion and scratches).
 
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Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
Originally Posted by Farnsworth
PGE is expensive and was doing well. They have a huge system to maintain, and gas lines especially are getting old. Costs a fortune to replace and maintain gas lines. Palo Alto and Santa Clara have their own utilities, government run of sorts, and their rates are less than half PGE, or were a few years ago. But they have only a town to maintain. Isn't that watts you are talking about not Kwh? 7000 watts makes sense but 7000kwh is a total not the rate of output.
You are correct; thanks. I reviewed the proposal: System Size: 5.1 kW Estimated Production: 7,356 kWh 17 panels and 1 inverter
That is the info I was looking for with my question, I know what a kwh is.... .. and didnt know how that fit an installed solar system.. yearly production etc. Thanks.
 
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