Solar Power In Suburbia

from the gotta-power-up-the-SUV dept

Solar power is one technology that has never lived up to the hype – especially for home use. However, a new trend is starting to spread where houses that generate solar power are no longer completely disconnecting from the power grid. Instead, they’re staying connected and are getting a refund for all the solar power they generate, giving them the ability to continue to use electric power, if needed, but to use as much solar power as possible to reduce their bills. Still, the equipment remains pretty expensive, and it appears that solar power in the suburbs is still more of a status symbol thing than a reasonable bet for many users.

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Comments on “Solar Power In Suburbia”

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alterntives says:

Re: No Subject Given

Yes, the net metering laws *ARE* new.

And by new, I mean in the last 10 years. The ‘last time’ energy was a ‘national issue’ was back in the days of the Carter Administration.

Things *HAVE* changed. Net metering is why my parents are listening to me and considering a Wind Machine and solar panels.

1) Power semiconductors
2) Better perm. magnets
3) Finite element analysis
4) Improved solar eff. Last year $3.5 a watt for the pannels I bought. Now $2.5 watt per an advertisement.

Instead of energy costing $, it is now costing $ AND blood.

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Instead of energy costing $, it is now costing $ AND blood.

The only thing that has kept me away from solar panels and the like is the fact that the Solar collectors have a lifespan of ~19 years. So by the time you pay off the system, you have to buy a new one. Yes, you do get kickbacks from the electric company, but the systems are still ~$10,000 or more to install.

As for this being new, it has always been this way, if you want to have enough power to do anything. Most solar collectors generate about 1kWh, which isn’t that much (3 300-watt power supplies would max out the usage, and I am sure most of us have a minimum of 3 300-watt power supplies, 1 or 2 probably running constantly.) So unless you are completely off the power-grid, you will need to have an invertor and power-coupler, which allows you to draw power off of both the wire and solar.

The beauty for folks not running computers, refrigerators, etc. all the time is that you most likely aren’t using all of the power produced by the solar collector, and can sell back your power. The bad thing is that most of us don’t qualify because we use too much power anyway, but it does lessen the cost per month we have to pay.

But you don’t need to have a solar panel to use metered electricity. If you don’t use anything during the day, this could be a tremendous savings as energy costs more during the day than at night. But it you use more than 300 kWh’s per a month, and have more than 0 computers running all the time, it is cheaper to not use metering than to use it, or so SDG&E tells me.

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