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Thread: Solar Panels

  1. #1
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Solar Panels

    Do any posters have residential solar panels? I've about had it with the shit power company, and am tired of generator cost when the power is out. A solar system is fairly inexpensive - I could recoup the cost of purchase and installation in two to three years. Any comments on pitfalls, or positive experiences? Thanks.

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    Thailand Expat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    I could recoup the cost of purchase and installation in two to three years.
    Costs must have dropped drastically if that is the case now.
    Even with grid-feedback (which may not be possible by your power company's rules) whereby you can actually get paid by the Powerco for surplus, it's more like 15 to 20 years. Last time I looked.
    I suppose it depends on how expensive your electricity is. If your power cost is very high per KWh, then yes, panels will pay for themselves sooner.

    Positive: My mum has solar. In winter it drops to overnight frosts, in summer it can soar to the mid 40's, so all year round there is either heating or cooling costs. Some months in the summer she has zero power bill, and once or twice she's had a negative bill where she has been paid.

    Mind you, Mum's system has no batteries. It just continually feeds the grid and her consumption comes directly off the grid. In your case you would want storage which adds to the initial cost.

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    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^Just read an article that claimed costs in the past few years had dropped by 70%. My annual bill, including generator cost when the power is out, is about $2,500. I'm still in early research days, but it appears I can install a full system for $5,000 or $6,000.

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    Thailand Expat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    costs in the past few years had dropped by 70%
    Then it's probably a good idea to do it. Battery technology has got better too. Elon Musk's power bank is, by all acounts, awesome.

    And I'm sure that a good electrician could wire it up so surplus is fed back to the grid without the power company knowing (until you get a negative bill when you go away for a week when there's lots of sun )


    I read last year that the electric company in Thailand don't allow grid feedback. Stupid.

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    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^I don't yet know if grid feedback is allowed here - I suspect not. Wife has a good friend whose brother installed solar systems in the ME over the past few years. We're meeting with him after the wife gets back from LOS, and he should have answers to most questions. He inspected a neighbor's system last week and told her the 10K she paid two years ago was way overpriced,,,,and that the installation had been really poor.

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    Good to have a hands on expert rather than a salesman. Please keep us posted.

  7. #7
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^Yes, indeed.

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    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    Do any posters have residential solar panels?
    I’ve had them up for years. They’ve been wonderful and survived a few hurricane close calls.

    The first year up, the system paid for all the electricity used during the year. In fact the electric company sent me a check at the end of the year for about 5.00 plus dollars.

    We don’t use the Florida home full time. Only in it for about 5 to 6 months a year, but when gone we’ll set the a/c at 85 degrees and both refrigerators are running.

    We feed back into the grid. At the time of installation I didn’t trust a battery back-up. But now they’ve come a long way and I would suggest off the grid to anyone who lived in a home full time.

    An electrician I know here in Florida (just finished helping me set up a single panel remote solar power station for a front entrance gate) has been working for Tesla for a while and enjoys it (great company benefits, great pay, etc). Tesla will set up any type of system you like (but they are costly). Feed back into the grid or off the grid (or combination). He tells me they stay busy trying to keep up with the new orders.

    Good luck.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

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    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^Thanks. It appears to be growing here in the Philippines, at least among the few who can afford it. I live in a huge subdivision of about 300 homes. Mostly Filipino, but a couple of foreigners. There was only one house with solar two years ago...now there are ten or so.

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    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Landreth View Post
    Only in it for about 5 to 6 months a year, but when gone we’ll set the a/c at 85 degrees and both refrigerators are running.
    ... why?

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    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    ^Art work and (related to the refrigerators running) some food items (example: girlfriends noodles/coffee, condiments that might be difficult to replace) that shouldn’t be left out in a ranch home out in the middle of nowhere for months at a time.

    However we’ve learned the hard way (spoiling) to make sure most food items that can spoil easily are eaten before we leave when the hurricane season is approaching (as we will soon be doing towards the end of June).

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    Davis,

    Your house will be essentially running on batteries and the solar will keep the batteries charged so you/someone will have to work out how much you need.

    Remember that the installer is not trying to save you money as such. The cost of the system should be the cost of the components plus installation . Your saving has no relevance to the cost of the system.

    If they keep harping on about savings, it is over priced and/or the wrong person/company. They should be paid for what they supply and do, not for YOUR savings.
    Better to think inside the pub, than outside the box?
    I apologize if any offence was caused. unless it was intended.
    You people, you think I know feck nothing; I tell you: I know feck all
    Those who cannot change their mind, cannot change anything.

  13. #13
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^Thanks. Good points. The guy my wife knows basically told her the same thing. In fact, it's not really the money that has me looking into this, it's as much so my wife doesn't hear me yelling "You worthless, stupid, motherfuckers!" every other day...or lately, two or three times a day.

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    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VocalNeal View Post
    Davis,

    you/someone will have to work out how much you need.
    Good suggestion.

    Davis, we took three years of electricity bills and averaged them out (each year and saw them increase slightly) and designed accordingly (how many panels would be needed to cover the cost/use of one year’s worth of electricity used).

  15. #15
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^Good plan. Wife handles the bills, but I believe our monthly bill has been quite consistent over the years. But obviously will investigate further before taking the plunge.

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    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Landreth View Post
    Only in it for about 5 to 6 months a year, but when gone we’ll set the a/c at 85 degrees and both refrigerators are running.
    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    ... why?
    Quote Originally Posted by S Landreth View Post
    ^Art work and <snip>
    Of course We do the same for our Wine Cellar.

    Mainly for dehumidifying and having a stand-by sump-pump in-case of cellar flooding.

  17. #17
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    And here we go again.....back on the generator. Seven times in the last three days...and counting.

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    Valve Master Latindancer's Avatar
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    Davis, do you have an uninterruptable power supply for your desktop and router ? Even if you have a laptop, the router must be on a UPS...

  19. #19
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^Yes.

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    Thailand Expat
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    It is quite complicated? Not only do you need to know what your draw is but also how often per day you will need to rely on it. Unless you want to be completely self sufficient?

    How many hours of sunlight to recharge? So really you need at least twice as much solar capacity than you use? I think. If just for occasional outrage then less.

    At least if you keep shouting "You worthless, stupid, motherfuckers!" your wife knows you are still alive!

  21. #21
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^My goal is to be totally self sufficient. I look forward to our talk with my wife's solar guy in a week or so. Checked a bit more, and I think 7.5K is more realistic than 5 or 6K for total coverage. So, three years before it pays off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    ^Good plan. Wife handles the bills, but I believe our monthly bill has been quite consistent over the years. But obviously will investigate further before taking the plunge.
    I’m sure a smart guy like you will have factored in the extra consumption you have used during outages, because that won’t show up on your bills.

  23. #23
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^Yep...sure have. Outages have been fairly consistent over the years as well, as have costs for generator fuel.

  24. #24
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    just do it

    all the power fluctuation can damage electronic devices also

    the solar with inverter will be stable

    you can always start with some circuits on solar inverter and leave the heavy duty nes like air cond and fridge off for now

    though an inverter aircond has a VFD driving the compressor motor which does not have the start stop usage and the high start current draw - fridges also are not available with inverter/VFD start -

    they call then inverter as that is a word the public is used to - inverter / VFD are the same principle - chopper circuit on the output of the unit recreating a stepped sine wave

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    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Woke up to no power again. Entire province is out. Must be a huge storm somewhere. Day four of wind and rain.

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