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Electric here is 14 cents per Kwh.

It's just over a 7 kw system, central inverter because there are no shade issues and the roof is 38 degrees (optimal for my latitude). The system faces almost due south(not magnetic south) .Barring a movable array it's about as good as systems get for orientation. I built the barn specifically to hold the array.

System cost including the 24 x 36 pole barn is right around 25 grand. We received $1.15 per watt rebate from NYSERDA- a state funded energy research and development grant, and a 30% (of the system cost) state income tax credit and a 35% ( of the system cost) federal income tax credit. In NY, we have up to five years to claim the tax incentives.

All things considered, at our current taxable income rate and excluding power generation, the ROI is about two years. Factor in power savings, the ROI is about 15 months.

In real life, sans incentives, the ROI hovers at about 18 years. The incentive process bothers me a bit because only people who pay taxes at a certain level can benefit from the program. That is, only people with disposable income can benefit. I'm torn between my conservative beliefs which lead to no tax credits or rebates as a solution to the problem and to a philosophically challenging socialist view of making the incentives available in the form of tax rebates instead of as tax credits so that every income bracket enjoys the same opportunity.

I took advantage of the credits with the justification that I'm helping prevent the necessary expansion of power generation plants, that I'll use the money I save smarter than the government would, and that the panels are a philosophical commitment to renewables, supporting the advancement of the existing technology to the end that, someday the technology will stand on its own merit.

None of the rebates are available for DIY. I had to let someone else install the system. The installer did an excellent job- very, very workmanlike.

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Chad, don't feel bad about the tax credits etc., just make sure to take into account ALL of the market-distorting political and economic realities we live with. Big picture makes the small picture fit nicely. On a practical level, we are better off building panels than plants so IMO you done good.

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Yes, it's net positive. Way cool.

I've been thinking of doing something similar on top of the apartment building. Since you've done way more homework on this than I have, got any links to guide me to useful information?

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Can I power the well pump with that?

And then some. I pump water 1,000 feet to my house to storage tanks and then pump it again through the distribution system. The water used to be delivered to the house via windmill pump. I'm working on re-obtaining the original pump and tower from the late 1800's.

Additionally, I run 7 circulator pumps for my heating system, a fish pond pump (24/7) and a UV filter.

In theory, I will no longer have an electric bill. We'll have to wait and see how that works out.

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What's the estimated life of the PV panels?

Marc

I inspected systems that had panels made in the 1970's intermingled with new. The panel life is likely to be 40+ years. the inverter life is less predictable but probably in the 20 year neighborhood.

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Looks good Chad, I recall you mentioning these plans last year. I'd be interested to know how the actual payback turns out. Taking advantage of the tax credits only bothers me until it's time to pay Uncle Sam every April 15th.

Thanks Tom.

Allow me to introduce to the group, Tom Breslawski, a friend of mine new to the profession.

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Yes, we're just shy of 14; last year is was almost 16.

Chicago and NY have some of the highest energy costs in the country, or so I've read.

Amazing. We're between 7 & 8.

The nearby town of McMinnville was at 3 cents per kwh for years. When it went up to 4 cents, the public was outraged. The newspaper ran headlines about a "30% increase" in the cost of electricity.

Not a lot of PV panels in McMinnville.

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I pay 8.5 including all taxes and fees.

Congratulations Chad. It looks great. Do you spend much time just watching the meter spin backwards and smiling? In my town there is currently a big controversy because the village board is ending an electricity aggregation program that purchased only green energy. When they put it back up for bid this year they decided that brown energy was cheaper and so went that route. Many people are not happy.

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Looks good Chad, I recall you mentioning these plans last year. I'd be interested to know how the actual payback turns out. Taking advantage of the tax credits only bothers me until it's time to pay Uncle Sam every April 15th.

Thanks Tom.

Allow me to introduce to the group, Tom Breslawski, a friend of mine new to the profession.

Thank you Chad. As you know, I've been reading posts here for the past few months and have found this site to be an excellent source of knowledge. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

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Hello Chad

What kind of a battery array are you using?

John, I don't have batteries. The inverter matches the grid's sine so the power the system generates goes either to my light bulbs or back to the grid. If the grid shuts down, the inverter disconnects the array until power is restored.

The first day it was up was pretty sunny and the system over clocked @ 7.9 KW for a few hours. Yesterday it was gray and drizzly and it peaked at 5.2.

Two day production was 110 Kwh. Historically, our usage hovers around 990 Kwh per month- now that I can make money, I'm going to LED the joint up.

I've been thinking of doing something similar on top of the apartment building. Since you've done way more homework on this than I have, got any links to guide me to useful information

Kurt, I did zero research. I know the guy I bought the system from, I inspected several of his installations and we developed a rapport. I bought the system because the panels were slated for another job that fell through. The savings were too great to pass up. If I had my druthers, I would have chosen all black panels. I may still paint the frames.

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Congratulations Chad. It looks great. Do you spend much time just watching the meter spin backwards and smiling?

Steve, I purposely did not have an internet connection to the inverter to prevent the inevitable obsession it would have fueled. My meter is electronic, so the term "spinning backwards" is a quaint anachronism. The first day I watched the display change from 3548 to 3547 and then it took ten minutes to get to 3546. I was sated at that point and I don't see myself standing and watching again. The inverter tracks total production, daily production and current (ha) rate.

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...

The first day it was up was pretty sunny and the system over clocked @ 7.9 KW for a few hours. Yesterday it was gray and drizzly and it peaked at 5.2.

...

That's an enormous amount of power. It's double the capacity of my 8 HP diesel power plant that I use to power an 18,000 btu/hr window AC, water well and most general purpose lighting and receptacle loads during hurricanes.

Dang, I've got to add that to my to-do list.

Marc

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...

The first day it was up was pretty sunny and the system over clocked @ 7.9 KW for a few hours. Yesterday it was gray and drizzly and it peaked at 5.2.

...

That's an enormous amount of power. It's double the capacity of my 8 HP diesel power plant that I use to power an 18,000 btu/hr window AC, water well and most general purpose lighting and receptacle loads during hurricanes.

Dang, I've got to add that to my to-do list.

Marc

No, you keep burning your diesel. If everybody gets solar panels we'll suck the sun dry. [:)]
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