Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

I've been thinking of going solar for a while now. Between everything associated with remodeling a house, regrading the yard, etc., it's been pushed to the back burner; not to mention the significant up-front cost. I found this forum after extensive searching relating to DIY solar panel options. I'm not 100% decided on installing them myself vs paying someone, but the installation costs seem significant. I've read the 'common mistakes' thread and am trying to get an accurate assessment of the potential cost.

A little about my situation-

2 story house built in 2005
rear-roof faces approximately 195 deg (15 deg west of true south)
35 deg pitch on roof
architectural shingles (30 years?)
~700 sq ft. max area for solar panels (not including dormer area)
energy usage (oct. 2012 - oct. 2013): 19066 kWh

Attachment not found.

I'd like to exceed last year's energy consumption. We operate on a heat pump and, even with Nest thermostats, burn a lot of electricity. I'm looking at either a 12kW or 18kW setup, depending on roof area, and load capacity.

12kW (PV Watt estimate: 14.714 kWh annually):
40 x 305W AstroEnergy Silver Panels - $11100 total
2 x Sunny Boy 6000TL-US Inverters - $5012 total
Racking @ ~$75/panel - $3000
Wiring - ~$1000
Inspection, permits, electrician, etc. - ~$1000
Installation (friend) - ~$1000
===============================
$22112 + shipping + taxes

18kW (PV Watt estimate: 22.012 kWh annually):
60 x 305W AstroEnergy Silver Panels - $16650 total
1 x Sunny Boy 8000TL-US Inverter - $2903
1 x Sunny Boy 10000TL-US Inverter - $3315
Racking @ ~$75/panel - $4500
Wiring - ~$1000
Inspection, permits, electrician, etc. - ~$1000
Installation (friend) - ~$1000
===============================
$30368 + shipping + taxes

30% Tax Credit
$1000 Maryland Grant
$0.145/kWh electrical rate)
Net metering
Solar Renewable Energy Credits

I may be high on wiring, permits, and installation price, but I have no way of knowing at this point. I'd like to use one of Sunny Boy's monitoring devices to track energy. Does anyone have experience with those?

I'm open to critique and advice. This is a big investment and I want to look at it from all angles. I'm not planning on it adding value to my house for resale. My neighborhood doesn't have any covenants against solar panels.

Thanks!

Comments

  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    looks like you may want the 18kw system to meet or exceed your usage if you can fit them and if not the 12kw system will certainly make a big dent in it. sorry as i have no experience with sunnyboy.
  • thrasherxthrasherx Posts: 9Registered Users
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland
    niel wrote: »
    looks like you may want the 18kw system to meet or exceed your usage if you can fit them and if not the 12kw system will certainly make a big dent in it. sorry as i have no experience with sunnyboy.

    Thanks. I'm not totally decided on Sunny Boy. I'm also considering Fronius. Micro-inverters add a couple thousand to the cost, but make installation faster. I'm not entirely convinced there's much gain in using them. I should also mention that I have no occlusions, other than the dormer. The house behind me is ~15ft. higher in elevation than mine, but it shouldn't shade my roof, even when the sun is at its lowest.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Posts: 2,335Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    Have you investigated the net metering plan with your utility? First and foremost, read it carefully and understand how excess power generated is credited to your account.

    Secondly I have a 2500 sq ft house in AZ that only consumes about 20,000 kWh a year with a swimming pool and the huge AC bills associated with our summer extremes and we charge 2 Chevy Volts as well, We have a second building that is Air Conditioned part time in summer that acts as an office, hobby machine shop and Harley garage/home (man-cave).

    Our solar system is 12.5 Kw and reduced our billing by over 90% while we added loads of the 2 EVs and the new building. BUT we did low hanging fruit conservation as well. Increased attic insulation, Swapped out low seer AC units with much better ones, switched out our pool pump with a programmable VFD model. When we built the new building we used low e windows, 2X6 construction with 2 inches of exterior Styrofoam over the sheathing before the stucco and used a mini split AC/heat pump with 3 zones to control the consumption better. We dumped the high usage desktop computers for Mac Mini's, switched the TVs for flat screens and upgraded all the appliances to Energy Star rated. All the lighting is either CFL or LED. We sort of looked around for the obviously unneeded Vampire loads as well.

    Of course we didn't do all that in a day or a month, but made a plan and executed it while watching how our consumption was better controlled using a TED.

    Not sure of your location in Maryland but use PVwatts to determine your possible production over the year.
  • thrasherxthrasherx Posts: 9Registered Users
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland
    solar_dave wrote: »
    Have you investigated the net metering plan with your utility? First and foremost, read it carefully and understand how excess power generated is credited to your account.

    Secondly I have a 2500 sq ft house in AZ that only consumes about 20,000 kWh a year with a swimming pool and the huge AC bills associated with our summer extremes and we charge 2 Chevy Volts as well, We have a second building that is Air Conditioned part time in summer that acts as an office, hobby machine shop and Harley garage/home (man-cave).

    Our solar system is 12.5 Kw and reduced our billing by over 90% while we added loads of the 2 EVs and the new building. BUT we did low hanging fruit conservation as well. Increased attic insulation, Swapped out low seer AC units with much better ones, switched out our pool pump with a programmable VFD model. When we built the new building we used low e windows, 2X6 construction with 2 inches of exterior Styrofoam over the sheathing before the stucco and used a mini split AC/heat pump with 3 zones to control the consumption better. We dumped the high usage desktop computers for Mac Mini's, switched the TVs for flat screens and upgraded all the appliances to Energy Star rated. All the lighting is either CFL or LED. We sort of looked around for the obviously unneeded Vampire loads as well.

    Of course we didn't do all that in a day or a month, but made a plan and executed it while watching how our consumption was better controlled using a TED.

    Not sure of your location in Maryland but use PVwatts to determine your possible production over the year.


    If you look at the first line of each plan (12kW and 18kW) it lists the PV Watts estimate. You went all out with energy savings. I have ~95% LED lights in my house. I have considered more attic insulation. Here are numbers suggesting that the majority of electrical usage comes from A/C.

    Here's a breakdown of my energy usage by month:

    January: 2202 kWh / 429 hours heat
    February: 2421 kWh / 390 hours heat
    March: 1829 kWh / 313 hours heat
    April: 1567 kWh / 4 hours cooling / 70 hours heat
    May: 750 kWh / 43 hours cooling / 15 hours heat
    June: 1400 kWh / 128 hours cooling
    July: 1945 kWh / 255 hours cooling
    August: 1629 kWh / 130 hours cooling
    September: 1308 kWh / 68 hours cooling
    October: 899 kWh / 5 hours cooling / 80 hours heat
    November: 1340 kWh / 313 hours heat
    December: 1776 kWh / 273 hours heat

    Assuming a monthly energy usage of 500 kWh from everything but A/C, cooling uses an average of 8.31 kWh/hour and heat uses 4.1 kWh/hour on average. I'll have to look into alternatives heating method, and have considered getting a liquid propane gas log. For $8000, it seems like adding more solar panels would be of more value than upgrading A/C and insulating. Thoughts?
  • solar_davesolar_dave Posts: 2,335Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    You would be amazed at how much some extra insulation will make and a set of infrared photos will tell you about tightening up and sealing your place. Our utility offers a full blown energy audit for $99 which includes a blower door test to see leaks. So far conservation is still always cheaper than generation.
    Both will be well less than $8000.

    I used an infrared hand held probe and just walked around inside and found quite a few issues when the outside temp was at a high differential before I did the energy audit. My house was built in 1997 and I thought it was pretty good, but the AC units were "builder grade" 10 seer and after 14 years were pretty tired. I actually had one fail. So I did them both, the repair would have been cheaper but I figured they were EOL anyway.

    Still check with your utility on their net-metering plan, it could be like mine and the night time usage is not included in the daytime solar generation when on a TOU plan. Also check with the permitting department, mine now required installs to not run all the way to the ridge but stop 3ft below the ridge to allow for Fire Department venting the attic in case of fire. That would eat up some of your roof real estate.
  • thrasherxthrasherx Posts: 9Registered Users
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland
    solar_dave wrote: »
    You would be amazed at how much some extra insulation will make and a set of infrared photos will tell you about tightening up and sealing your place. Our utility offers a full blown energy audit for $99 which includes a blower door test to see leaks. So far conservation is still always cheaper than generation.
    Both will be well less than $8000.

    I used an infrared hand held probe and just walked around inside and found quite a few issues when the outside temp was at a high differential before I did the energy audit. My house was built in 1997 and I thought it was pretty good, but the AC units were "builder grade" 10 seer and after 14 years were pretty tired. I actually had one fail. So I did them both, the repair would have been cheaper but I figured they were EOL anyway.

    Still check with your utility on their net-metering plan, it could be like mine and the night time usage is not included in the daytime solar generation when on a TOU plan. Also check with the permitting department, mine now required installs to not run all the way to the ridge but stop 3ft below the ridge to allow for Fire Department venting the attic in case of fire. That would eat up some of your roof real estate.

    You bring up a good point. We had an HVAC guy come inspect our system a year ago. He mentioned looking for leaks in the ducting coming from the attic air handler. I should look into inexpensive ways of making my system more efficient. We have two zones (one for the basement and first floor, and the other for the second floor). The biggest problem is our two-story foyer. I put some recessed lights in last year, and should go seal them from the attic-side.

    This graph illustrates the breakdown of my estimated energy usage:

    Attachment not found.

    My utility company did their free energy inspection earlier this year. Full-disclosure: I did it for the free smart power-strip. I should check the insulation around windows and doors.

    I'm on a mission now.
  • SulfurSulfur Posts: 62Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    I have a somewhat similar system to what your proposing, see signature below. I have been happy with SMA so far except their real time trending capabilities are weak. If you are capable of installing it yourself, I highly recommend it since it will cost about 1/3 as much or less. I bought Sharp panels on Ebay and inverters on Ebay, one used one new old stock, all have worked great. I bought some of my panels from mlsolar on ebay, I was pretty happy with that seller, I bought some others from a different seller that I did not care for. Golf cart batteries at Sams club, Sunny Island from SolarHome. I have an all electric house (in MT), so I use a lot of electricity (probably 24MWh annually).

    I have 2 strings of 14 panels on a roof at 17 degree angle and 2 strings in the yard at 32 degree angle. You can see production stats for my system at link below. I grew the system a bit so it was not complete till May of this year even though I started making power in 2012. Sunny Island is usually turned off so there is almost no data for that hardware. Sunny Island and batteries in my system are only used if the grid goes down. Are you planning to want to be able to produce and use power when the utility grid is down?

    http://www.sunnyportal.com/Templates/PublicPageOverview.aspx?page=6c250b01-cc65-45fb-b2ba-844482f3f367&plant=fcd8d862-94dc-4111-8afe-94093c625323&splang=en-US

    Do you get snow where your at? If so, there is a lot to be said for putting the panels on the ground. The max I have seen my system produce in a day is 100 kwh, a marginal day like today it made 18 kwh. One thing I like about SMA is that, on or off grid, the panels and inverters can feed my house with 240VAC without going in or out of batteries. I have fed the house off grid with 10,000 watts without pulling anything out of the batteries, but I was able to make the System choke trying to start the 4 ton heat pump because the compressor in rush current load was too much for the batteries and SI to handle even when the rest of house was not using much power. Luckily I have a wood stove, so if grid is down I can heat whole house with that since my solar system will not start heat pump, I could get 2 SI's and it would probably work but it is not worth it to me, I know how to burn wood fine.
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,096Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    Sealing the duct work? get the silver duct sealing tape , a bit pricey and seal every join you can find, especially the ends, then go around and use the back of your hand to see if you got them all.

    Hardest to do is where a round duct comes out of a square one...fidgetty
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
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    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • solar_davesolar_dave Posts: 2,335Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    Hey Sulfur, that is way cheap for that hybrid system, less than $1.25 a watt. :D
  • SulfurSulfur Posts: 62Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    The Sunny Island, Autoformer and batteries were $5440, all of which are unnecessary if a person does not want off grid capability, so it could be much cheaper for grid tie only capability. Although my panels were made in USA, the Chinese slave labor market has really driven down the cost of panels, I try to buy as little Chinese stuff as possible because of their brutality, although like everyone else, I buy plenty of Chinese crap. I did not buy any racking, the roof panels are mounted with lumber and the yard panels are mounted with lumber and steel fence posts, they have seen some very high wind and so far no problems. Yard panel structure is very rigid, no flex to it at all. I put a rod through the bottom of the steel post and anchored it in a little concrete, 3' under ground to prevent uplift.

    Attachment not found.
  • thrasherxthrasherx Posts: 9Registered Users
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland
    Sulfur wrote: »
    I have a somewhat similar system to what your proposing, see signature below. I have been happy with SMA so far except their real time trending capabilities are weak. If you are capable of installing it yourself, I highly recommend it since it will cost about 1/3 as much or less. I bought Sharp panels on Ebay and inverters on Ebay, one used one new old stock, all have worked great. I bought some of my panels from mlsolar on ebay, I was pretty happy with that seller, I bought some others from a different seller that I did not care for. Golf cart batteries at Sams club, Sunny Island from SolarHome. I have an all electric house (in MT), so I use a lot of electricity (probably 24MWh annually).

    I have 2 strings of 14 panels on a roof at 17 degree angle and 2 strings in the yard at 32 degree angle. You can see production stats for my system at link below. I grew the system a bit so it was not complete till May of this year even though I started making power in 2012. Sunny Island is usually turned off so there is almost no data for that hardware. Sunny Island and batteries in my system are only used if the grid goes down. Are you planning to want to be able to produce and use power when the utility grid is down?

    http://www.sunnyportal.com/Templates/PublicPageOverview.aspx?page=6c250b01-cc65-45fb-b2ba-844482f3f367&plant=fcd8d862-94dc-4111-8afe-94093c625323&splang=en-US

    Do you get snow where your at? If so, there is a lot to be said for putting the panels on the ground. The max I have seen my system produce in a day is 100 kwh, a marginal day like today it made 18 kwh. One thing I like about SMA is that, on or off grid, the panels and inverters can feed my house with 240VAC without going in or out of batteries. I have fed the house off grid with 10,000 watts without pulling anything out of the batteries, but I was able to make the System choke trying to start the 4 ton heat pump because the compressor in rush current load was too much for the batteries and SI to handle even when the rest of house was not using much power. Luckily I have a wood stove, so if grid is down I can heat whole house with that since my solar system will not start heat pump, I could get 2 SI's and it would probably work but it is not worth it to me, I know how to burn wood fine.

    I'd be lying if I said I'm not at least a little jealous of your setup. I'm on a 1/4 acre lot, so rooftop is the only configuration. We get snow a few times a year, and a blizzard every 5-or-so years. I'd probably just have to wait for it to melt in those situations as my roof is >25' and I want to be up there as little as possible.

    How do you like your Sharp panels? I saw some listings for "B" panels on eBay but I don't know what the difference is. I'm looking at Wholesale Solar and would like to get the highest production panels available (currently 300W), figuring real estate is limited.

    For now I'm not planning to do any off-grid setup, but would consider it in the future. We're on the same grid as the hospital and have few power outages since 2005. Could you elaborate more on your SMA inverter statement: "One thing I like about SMA is that, on or off grid, the panels and inverters can feed my house with 240VAC without going in or out of batteries."? Thanks.
    westbranch wrote: »
    Sealing the duct work? get the silver duct sealing tape , a bit pricey and seal every join you can find, especially the ends, then go around and use the back of your hand to see if you got them all.

    Hardest to do is where a round duct comes out of a square one...fidgetty

    I just searched around, and am planning a home energy audit for sometime in the next week or two. Assuming they don't do much for free, I'm already looking at mastic to seal ductwork, and am considering adding insulation to my attic. Thanks for the tip.
  • thrasherxthrasherx Posts: 9Registered Users
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland
    Sulfur wrote: »
    The Sunny Island, Autoformer and batteries were $5440, all of which are unnecessary if a person does not want off grid capability, so it could be much cheaper for grid tie only capability. Although my panels were made in USA, the Chinese slave labor market has really driven down the cost of panels, I try to buy as little Chinese stuff as possible because of their brutality, although like everyone else, I buy plenty of Chinese crap. I did not buy any racking, the roof panels are mounted with lumber and the yard panels are mounted with lumber and steel fence posts, they have seen some very high wind and so far no problems. Yard panel structure is very rigid, no flex to it at all. I put a rod through the bottom of the steel post and anchored it in a little concrete, 3' under ground to prevent uplift.

    Attachment not found.

    Racking is a necessity for me, so I'm bracing for the $4000+ cost associated with it. I'm looking at IronRidge, or Zep (depending on which panels I get), but don't know much about the pros and cons of different systems. Kudos to you for having a setp that allows you the flexibility of using other materials.

    I'm kind of a newb when it comes to batteries, since I'm not planning on running them. What can you power and for how long with your golf-cart battery setup?
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Posts: 2,490Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    Well with Grid Tie, You have to think two ways. If you have a outage will the PV panels be compromised and the GT unusable. If it is then you need a plan B and C. There is a new SMA Inverter 5000TL-US inverter will have a built in Up To a 1500 watt output when the sun is shining and the grid is down. This output could be used to charge a set of batteries that you could bring on-line with another Inverter at night or the sun is not shining.

    My Plan says the PV will be compromised, so I have a stand alone Inverter a small set of batteries ( 4 GC-2's ) and a Honda EU 2000. I can charge during the day and run some loads and run the Inverter at night with essentials ( Refrigerator & and a couple lights ). The Inverter is a 3000 watt, to large for that size battery bank, but the Inverter is just the Catcher for the loads. It has Generator Support and can supplement the Generator when necessary.

    All that said, If the 5000TL-US inverter was available, I'd of bought one and had it in my plan.
  • SulfurSulfur Posts: 62Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    I used painted lumber for my roof mounted panels as well, but the aluminum systems are surely better and look cooler. I only plan to be in this house another 15 years and I am confident they will last that long if I keep the exposed wood painted. My roof panels face a deep valley, so looks are not important, no one sees them.

    My panels are B grade, they are great in my opinion. The 300 watt panels will likely be larger unless they are significantly more efficient, which I doubt. The bigger and heavier the panel, the harder it is to physically wrestle up to your 25' roof, but they can be done. Mine were heavy too by the time I attached some lumber to them, which was before I put them on the roof. Roof mounting was MUCH faster for me than the yard panels since I did not have to build a structure that would resist blowing away.

    take good measurements of the roof and do a layout of both size panels, see what fits best. Keep in mind you still need to be able to walk up there, unless you plan on renting a manlift, which may be smart since your roof is so high.

    The battery system I have is small, Sunny Island recommends minimum of 100Ah capacity, mine is 208Ah @48VDC. I just keep a Iota float charger on them and keep the SI turned off. If I had a house that was off grid all the time, I would install a much larger battery bank. I installed a 200A manual transfer switch so I can isolate my whole house from the utility grid and power all circuits with the solar system off grid, rather than just critical loads, this is not the norm I would say. When on grid, the Sunnyboys will turn off with loss of grid, when transferred to the Sunny Island, the transfer switch isolates from the grid. SI has limited current capacity through its isolation relay, this is why I did it this way.

    Regarding your question about feeding house directly with 240VAC, most hybrid systems feed power into batteries and then invert to 240VAC, there are more losses with that method, so if your planning to be on grid most of the time, then SMA may be a good choice. If the grid goes down, my system does require interaction from me since my transfer switch is manual, most hybrid systems switch automatically, the SI will also switch automatically if you limit the circuits that are backed up and have them passing through the SI all the time. I am about to build another solar system at my cabin and will use this more traditional method at that site for phase 1, which is only 14 panels.

    If you plan to install the system yourself, hopefully you have access to a good electrician for advice, also read the installation manual carefully before you buy anything, so you understand everything very well. I am an engineer and brother is master electrician, it has been fun science project. It is not that complicated to install, system design probably takes more thought. You may want to post details of system design on this forum for people to poke holes in before you buy stuff, you might get some good ideas that change your design.
  • thrasherxthrasherx Posts: 9Registered Users
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland
    Well with Grid Tie, You have to think two ways. If you have a outage will the PV panels be compromised and the GT unusable. If it is then you need a plan B and C. There is a new SMA Inverter 5000TL-US inverter will have a built in Up To a 1500 watt output when the sun is shining and the grid is down. This output could be used to charge a set of batteries that you could bring on-line with another Inverter at night or the sun is not shining.

    My Plan says the PV will be compromised, so I have a stand alone Inverter a small set of batteries ( 4 GC-2's ) and a Honda EU 2000. I can charge during the day and run some loads and run the Inverter at night with essentials ( Refrigerator & and a couple lights ). The Inverter is a 3000 watt, to large for that size battery bank, but the Inverter is just the Catcher for the loads. It has Generator Support and can supplement the Generator when necessary.

    All that said, If the 5000TL-US inverter was available, I'd of bought one and had it in my plan.

    It may be smart to buy at least one 5000TL-US just for essential loads. Thanks for this idea. I suppose I could get a few of them, but at some point I would just go with a hybrid system.
    Sulfur wrote: »
    I used painted lumber for my roof mounted panels as well, but the aluminum systems are surely better and look cooler. I only plan to be in this house another 15 years and I am confident they will last that long if I keep the exposed wood painted. My roof panels face a deep valley, so looks are not important, no one sees them.

    My panels are B grade, they are great in my opinion. The 300 watt panels will likely be larger unless they are significantly more efficient, which I doubt. The bigger and heavier the panel, the harder it is to physically wrestle up to your 25' roof, but they can be done. Mine were heavy too by the time I attached some lumber to them, which was before I put them on the roof. Roof mounting was MUCH faster for me than the yard panels since I did not have to build a structure that would resist blowing away.

    take good measurements of the roof and do a layout of both size panels, see what fits best. Keep in mind you still need to be able to walk up there, unless you plan on renting a manlift, which may be smart since your roof is so high.

    The battery system I have is small, Sunny Island recommends minimum of 100Ah capacity, mine is 208Ah @48VDC. I just keep a Iota float charger on them and keep the SI turned off. If I had a house that was off grid all the time, I would install a much larger battery bank. I installed a 200A manual transfer switch so I can isolate my whole house from the utility grid and power all circuits with the solar system off grid, rather than just critical loads, this is not the norm I would say. When on grid, the Sunnyboys will turn off with loss of grid, when transferred to the Sunny Island, the transfer switch isolates from the grid. SI has limited current capacity through its isolation relay, this is why I did it this way.

    Regarding your question about feeding house directly with 240VAC, most hybrid systems feed power into batteries and then invert to 240VAC, there are more losses with that method, so if your planning to be on grid most of the time, then SMA may be a good choice. If the grid goes down, my system does require interaction from me since my transfer switch is manual, most hybrid systems switch automatically, the SI will also switch automatically if you limit the circuits that are backed up and have them passing through the SI all the time. I am about to build another solar system at my cabin and will use this more traditional method at that site for phase 1, which is only 14 panels.

    If you plan to install the system yourself, hopefully you have access to a good electrician for advice, also read the installation manual carefully before you buy anything, so you understand everything very well. I am an engineer and brother is master electrician, it has been fun science project. It is not that complicated to install, system design probably takes more thought. You may want to post details of system design on this forum for people to poke holes in before you buy stuff, you might get some good ideas that change your design.

    Good catch with the panel size. I should have known better than to assume they were 20% more efficient. I'm an Electrical Engineer myself, and am interested in the challenge. I'll make sure and vet plans through the site, as I've already learned a great deal in the last 24 hours. Thanks, all!
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Posts: 2,490Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland

    One thing I do in your case is to address your heating costs. I'd get a HVAC contractor out to come up with some suggestions they would stand behind. There many Thermostats that have many more options since you house was built for instance, that allow more adjustments to customize it more for your home. I added 6 remote sensors that average the temperature, that made a big difference in mine for $30 each.
  • thrasherxthrasherx Posts: 9Registered Users
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland
    One thing I do in your case is to address your heating costs. I'd get a HVAC contractor out to come up with some suggestions they would stand behind. There many Thermostats that have many more options since you house was built for instance, that allow more adjustments to customize it more for your home. I added 6 remote sensors that average the temperature, that made a big difference in mine for $30 each.

    I have a Nest thermostat for each zone.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Posts: 2,490Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland
    thrasherx wrote: »
    I have a Nest thermostat for each zone.
    Sounds like your covered there, it was just a thought. Even though it doesn't fit you, a lot of people that read this it might help them.
  • thrasherxthrasherx Posts: 9Registered Users
    Re: Rooftop Solar Planning in Southern Maryland
    Sounds like your covered there, it was just a thought. Even though it doesn't fit you, a lot of people that read this it might help them.

    I really do appreciate suggestions, critiques, and comments. Thanks!
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