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Kenneth Patchen

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Welcome!
« on: 2 Sep 2015, 06:05 am »
Welcome (back) to Home Improvements and Renovations!

 This circle is the place for posting all things home improvements and renovations. Did you recently stumble upon a surefire method for snaking out a clogged drain? We'd like to hear about it. Are you feeling boastful about successfully replacing that dingy kitchen floor linoleum with new tile? We'd like to hear about that too. Ditto, your new garage opener, your new bathroom exhaust, your freshly sanded living room floors, your newly insulated attic, your newly installed (and now leaking) dishwasher, etc. This is a friendly place where the only dumb questions will be the ones not asked.

And whereas we all can't be master carpenters, electricians, plumbers or painters, we can all be gentlemen and gentlewomen. This is the place where visitors can share home improvement stories and/ or offer good advice and not receive a smackdown for their efforts.

Remember that not everyone will have had the same life experiences as you so let's be respectful of others opinions and beliefs. Flaming not only reflects badly on this circle but also on our accommodating host, AudioCircle. In short, bad mouthing for the sake of it will not be tolerated.

And lastly, let's be mindful as well that a circle is a terrible thing to waste and unloved and ignored circles are eventually discontinued. Use it ... or lose it.

Have fun.

KP

JLM

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Re: Welcome!
« Reply #1 on: 2 Sep 2015, 10:54 am »
Attended a renewable energy conference in June and got lots of good ideas (highly recommended if you can find one near you):

Found out about fixed/automatic backup generators (used to call them "whole house" but found out that's a misnomer in most cases).

Found a (very  :() part-time job opportunity to use my engineering background, but sounds like fun.  Orientation is next month.

Found out about an incentive program for home wind/solar electrical start-ups (that we'll be cashing in on).

Found "Dr. Energy" (a national chain of residential energy consultants/contractors).  Had them in as a 2nd opinion (we built 10 years ago and received an EPA 5 star rating) before we proceeded on a photo-voltaic (PV) solar project.  They had no practical suggestions in our case, but confirmation is a good thing.

Found several PV solar installers, invited 4 to give estimates, and have installed a 5 kWh system (16 ft x 20 ft) on a structure over our deck to give shade and keep the panels off the roof (no leaks, no having to remove/reinstall when it comes time to re-roof).  Now just need to get the electrician in to wire it up, get the inspections, and complete a quick commissioning before we go live.  Supposed to generate $1500/year for the next 14 years under the incentive and will be taking advantage of the federal 30% tax credit (8 year payback that fits nicely into my retirement plans plus the shade).  After that I hope that "net metering" is still available and would save about $750/year.

macrojack

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Re: Welcome!
« Reply #2 on: 2 Sep 2015, 01:53 pm »
I find it difficult to offer specific suggestions concerning the payback schedule involved in other states. I can offer useful advice to Colorado customers of Xcel Energy but I'm aware that some people in my part of the state are served by other energy companies whose policies vary widely, despite being subject to the strictures and provisions of state law. That makes me aware that the decision about installing solar vis a vis payback time is intensely variable from state to state due to climate (solar potential), provider and govt. regulations, requirements, incentives, etc.

However, my electrician friend who has been on the fence about whether or not to spring for solar, told me recently that he had decided to go ahead with it. His thinking is that he is paying the electric company X dollars every month. If he paid that money every month toward paying off his solar install, he would own something at the end of the payback. If he continues to pay his electric provider each month, the payments will continue indefinitely, continue to increase every year, and leave him owning nothing in the end.

This seems like a more useful perspective than calculating payback time.

BTW, are there any realtors out there? I've been wondering about how a solar electric installation effects property values and resale. Do homes with solar have an edge at selling time?

JLM

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Re: Welcome!
« Reply #3 on: 2 Sep 2015, 05:17 pm »
PV solar is supposed to at least pay for itself in terms of resale.  In our case we should be receiving back $400 per year (net) from the utility due to the incentive program.

Unfortunately now that we've achieved 10% electrical production via renewables (as mandated by the Public Service Commission) our conservative state legislature is considering elimination of net metering provisions (in which case I'd find another use for the electricity my system is generating).  So future politics may hold the real key to solar.

macrojack

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Re: Welcome!
« Reply #4 on: 2 Sep 2015, 07:26 pm »
PV solar is supposed to at least pay for itself in terms of resale.  In our case we should be receiving back $400 per year (net) from the utility due to the incentive program.

Unfortunately now that we've achieved 10% electrical production via renewables (as mandated by the Public Service Commission) our conservative state legislature is considering elimination of net metering provisions (in which case I'd find another use for the electricity my system is generating).  So future politics may hold the real key to solar.

A travesty. I can agree with you but I'm afraid to respond otherwise.

Here in Colorado my overproduction goes into a "bank". I'm thinking I'll get an electric car in 5-7 years and use my "bank" to fuel the sucker. Through 7.5 months this year I have about 1,650 KW in my bank. That should translate into 2Megawatts per year accumulated. I'm going to have at least 10 megawatts when I get the car.

And I believe that the clouds of unreason are parting and Americans are realizing that this fossil fuel thingy they have been clinging to so blindly is untenable and self-destructive. Popular opinion and personal selfishness will override corporate greed. Survival is a very strong motivator. I think your investment will prove to be quite safe in the long term, JLM.

aldcoll

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Re: Welcome!
« Reply #5 on: 2 Sep 2015, 07:47 pm »
As a interesting side note:  I got to meet a fireman from Australia this past week.  As we were talking about things he pointed out the Australian  firefighters wont attack a house fire with solar panels till a licensed  electrician disconnects the solar.

They  also wont put water on a  car with electric drive systems.

JLM

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Re: Welcome!
« Reply #6 on: 2 Sep 2015, 08:02 pm »
A travesty. I can agree with you but I'm afraid to respond otherwise.

Here in Colorado my overproduction goes into a "bank". I'm thinking I'll get an electric car in 5-7 years and use my "bank" to fuel the sucker. Through 7.5 months this year I have about 1,650 KW in my bank. That should translate into 2Megawatts per year accumulated. I'm going to have at least 10 megawatts when I get the car.

And I believe that the clouds of unreason are parting and Americans are realizing that this fossil fuel thingy they have been clinging to so blindly is untenable and self-destructive. Popular opinion and personal selfishness will override corporate greed. Survival is a very strong motivator. I think your investment will prove to be quite safe in the long term, JLM.

Here in Michigan any residential grid-tied solar/wind system must be sized to produce less annually than your documented usage, so no banking. 

macrojack

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Re: Welcome!
« Reply #7 on: 2 Sep 2015, 08:37 pm »
Here in Michigan any residential grid-tied solar/wind system must be sized to produce less annually than your documented usage, so no banking.

In Colorado you are permitted to install up to 120% of your documented annual consumption. What happens in Michigan if you install the system they tell you can have and then you go on a rampage getting rid of that freezer in the garage, replacing all incandescents with LEDs, and changing from electric hot water to gas? Do they make you remove panels until the utility is satisfied? I can see why off-grid would look tempting to you. Maybe moving to a more enlightened state would be in your best interest.

Kenneth Patchen

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Re: Welcome!
« Reply #8 on: 2 Sep 2015, 08:38 pm »
This is an interesting and important thread that should be continued under a different subject heading, yes? It seems like it has the potential to be long-running and I'd hate for it to get lost under the subject thread of "Welcome!"

Jlm, would you like to continue this discussion in a new thread with the subject 'Solar'?

FullRangeMan

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Re: Welcome!
« Reply #9 on: 14 Feb 2018, 06:44 am »
As a interesting side note:  I got to meet a fireman from Australia this past week.  As we were talking about things he pointed out the Australian  firefighters wont attack a house fire with solar panels till a licensed  electrician disconnects the solar.

They  also wont put water on a  car with electric drive systems.
So looks these guys are the Aussie firemen you mentioned: