Newb just saying hello (for now)

schmidtye30schmidtye30 Registered Users Posts: 7
Hi Guys,

Just registered for the forum and wanted to introduce myself.

I've just started looking into solar power in the last month or two and am just trying to get as much information and do as much research as possible with the hopes of getting a system installed by the end of next year. I am hoping to do 90% of the install myself if possible (not sure if that is really feasible).

From the info I have gathered so far I am looking at getting a 6kw system. If I average out my energy bill over the year it averages out to roughly $200/month (2000kw/month) so I think a 6kw system should cover about 25% of my energy usage.
I'll likely have a radiant barrier (http://www.ncgoesgreen.com/energy_barricade.php) installed before the end of the year so that should cut my consumption down as well and provide a better return.

I'm sure I'll have many questions that I hope you guys might be able to chime in on but though I would introduce myself before I start firing away with questions!


Thanks,
Ryan

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    Welcome to the forum, Ryan.

    Conservation, conservation, conservation!

    Oh, did I mention conservation? :p
    Best return on your $.

    Sounds like your looking at a grid-tie system. They can be a bit more difficult to deal with when it comes to doing the install yourself; you sometimes run up against a shortage of AHJ's who will approve (need certified electrician to sign off, et cetera). But it's always worth looking in to.

    You should try out your system plans on the PV Watts web site http://www.nrel.gov/rredc/pvwatts/ and see what you can expect in terms of return.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,351 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    6 kw only covers 25% of your use? As 'Coot says,, first conserve, then conserve some more,, and finally conserve a bit more. Conservation is your cheapest energy dollar.

    Tony.

    PS. Welcome to the forum. There are some very sharp folks here, who have forgotten more about PV than most of us will ever know!

    T
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    66 kwh per day? That's well over 10 times what most of us living off grid use in that same time period. Over 20 times what some use.
    What is using all that power, AC? You didn't mention if you live in a hot part of the world.
    As was mentioned, Conserve, conserve, conserve. It's far, far cheaper to conserve and reduce power consumption than it is to produce it. You'll find solar electricity is far more expensive per kwh, than grid power.
  • SevenSeven Solar Expert Posts: 292 ✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    Sounds like he lives near me. Same kind of usage.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,351 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)
    66 kwh per day? That's well over 10 times what most of us living off grid use in that same time period. Over 20 times what some use.
    What is using all that power, AC? You didn't mention if you live in a hot part of the world.
    As was mentioned, Conserve, conserve, conserve. It's far, far cheaper to conserve and reduce power consumption than it is to produce it. You'll find solar electricity is far more expensive per kwh, than grid power.

    It's just about 100 times what we use, although we are creeping towards 1 kwh/day, up from .6. Heck, some days we actully use 1.4 Kwan if the sun is good, and I have other stuff to charge.

    Tony
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)
    icarus wrote: »
    It's just about 100 times what we use,
    Tony

    WOW!!!! Way to go Tony! And NO, I'm not being sarcastic! Obviously those of us using 3 or 4 kwh / day are spoiled! I know I am when I look around at the realities of the real world.
  • schmidtye30schmidtye30 Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    A large part of that consumption is from my pool water pump. It uses about 1kw per DAY! So in the summer my usage goes up quiet a bit -- I'm going to look into getting a more efficient pump but haven't checked into that too much.

    I live in Raleigh, NC. We get into the high 90s / low 100s in the summer so the AC is a large part of that consumption too and I'm hoping the radiant barrier will help that. I have no shade around my house at all so I'm told that the barrier should reduce my overall bill/usage (in the summer at least) by 20%. My AC right now struggles to even keep the house at 80 degrees on some of the hottest days so I don't doubt it will help (the AC has been checked out and is running properly and the right size for the sqft of the house).

    What else can be done to conserve, conserve, conserve? We try to be conscious of what appliances are on, turning lights off, etc...
    All (I think) of our appliances are new energy efficient appliances, all lights have been replaced with CFL lights...


    On a little bit of a different subject: what are some of the vendors you guys get your panels and other equipment from? The only one I have looked at is affordable-solar.


    Thanks again for everyone's input.
  • SevenSeven Solar Expert Posts: 292 ✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    I get all of my equipment right here. The information I have learned on this site is priceless.
    http://www.solar-electric.com/
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    For one thing, there's better A/C to be had than the standard, over-sized low SEER stuff people get stuck with for not knowing. Get your system evaluated properly. Heck, half the people on this forum know more about it than the guys selling the equipment! The mini-split units are well thought of:
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=5104 I know you've been told it's right, but tos the numbers up here and see what the guys in Florida say (particularly Solar Guppy - very knowledgeable about so many things).

    Pool pumps are another problem. But one that can be lessened. One recent thread on them: http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=12428

    I live in Canada: don't need A/C in an igloo. :p My front yard is a six million gallon lake that takes care of itself. Thus cooling and pools aren't my area.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,351 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    Since A/C is your biggest load, consider changing how you do A/C. For example, consider different zone cooling in a different way, perhaps with small units like mini splits. Consider hot water recovering A/C systems, which make the A/C run more efficiently. And give the benefit of hot water. Consider solar hot water heat before PV. That will acme with more bng for the buck. Also consider a energy audit, and look seriously your insulation levels and what can cost effectively be done.

    Tony
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,346 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    Consider a blower door and infrared test before you go solar. You need to get that AC usage inline if you are having trouble holding 80F. Check out your units seer rating, the mini-splits are a good idea as well. Some have very high efficiency ratings.

    I just had a blower door test done, and it was enlightening about duct sealing and air leakage. I have two 3ton 17 seer Trane units cooling about 25,000 cubic feet and they run about 50% duty cycle @ 100F outdoors and I thought that was toooo much. The pair draws about 5000 watts running, which is much less than the two 10 seer Lenox units they replaced.. Turns out the testing shows there is some leakage. Yesterday was 115+F and the AC ran up to 100% duty cycle for about 4 hours yesterday. The infrared photos showed some problems with the attic insulation mostly caused by having contractors in the attic lots this last year. Now going to correct those problems for just a few dollars and add some more insulation in the attic to get well over R50. Going to bury the insulated flex ducts at the same time too.

    Pool pumps upgrade can save you a bunch as well as just controlling the amount of time they run. Most people over filter their pools, I have a VFD pump here and it lowers the costs considerably. Consider a smart controller that runs full blast for an hour to skim(or in floor clean) then step back to lower speed to stir and filter. Only run the pump as long as needed, no more.

    The solar thermal suggestions for hot water are another good recommendation.

    Conservation is the key to saving your $$$ when doing solar. Cheaper to save a watt than generate a watt almost always.

    BTW this place used 125 kWh yesterday! :cry: We generated 66 kWh yesterday :D Those off grid guys are going to freak at that number. I bet my non solar neighbors are gonna freak at their bills this month. Lucky I have a 3000 kWh bank of power at the utility to help offset some of the 59 kWh coming from the utility.
  • schmidtye30schmidtye30 Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)

    I did have an energy audit done which is why I am going to be doing the radiant barrier.

    Unfortunately their blower door test machine broke the day they were coming to our house so they are going to let me know when it is fixed and come back to do that test.

    The ducts for the AC do need a little work to be more efficient as well which will be addressed when they do the radiant barrier (as well as possibly air sealing the attic and adding cellulose insulation based on the results of the blower door test) but I'll look into some of the additional recommendation on the AC unit as I am sure it a big consumer.


    @solar_dave: wow! 125kW! that makes me feel a little better :)


    Thanks again for all the info guys!
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,346 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newb just saying hello (for now)
    I did have an energy audit done which is why I am going to be doing the radiant barrier.

    Unfortunately their blower door test machine broke the day they were coming to our house so they are going to let me know when it is fixed and come back to do that test.

    The ducts for the AC do need a little work to be more efficient as well which will be addressed when they do the radiant barrier (as well as possibly air sealing the attic and adding cellulose insulation based on the results of the blower door test) but I'll look into some of the additional recommendation on the AC unit as I am sure it a big consumer.


    @solar_dave: wow! 125kW! that makes me feel a little better :)


    Thanks again for all the info guys!

    Yeah the summers here in AZ are pretty brutal. When I first moved here we went on vacation for a week and turned off the AC, every candle in the house was slumped and melted when we got back.
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