New 6kw system up and running.

Hi all, Greetings from west central Florida. I'm not as adventurous as some of you hands on guys, so I had a system installed. And it works! After a year of talking & thinking about it, we went for it. My system consists of (24) 250W American Choice solar panels, and an Aurora Power One PVI 6000 inverter. All this is monitored by TED 5000C. I went for a solar water heater at the same time. With an AET Solar 40,000BTU collector & 80 gallon storage tank. The system has been up and working for close to four months now. Our electric bill has dropped from over $200 per month to under $100. June 2010 electric bill was $244, June 2011 was $99. I also recently replaced the older energy sucking pool pump with a variable speed unit. I think we're headed in the right direction. I welcome any comments, suggestions, advise or criticism.
Dave

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,989 admin
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    Sounds like you are doing well...

    R40+ Insulation in ceiling? Double pane windows, heat pump type water heater (if you still need backup heat--getting close too, or even less energy costs than natural gas)? Other conservation measures (CFL lighting, reducing in-house power usage like laptop instead of desktop computers, etc.)?

    Many folks in Florida/southern US would be very happy to have your power bill.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    Nice setup, does your utility have Time of Use plans, they might reduce that bill even further.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,232 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    Does the drop in the bill offset the payments for the system ? Avoiding future rate increases ?
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Aging GeezerAging Geezer Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    The windows and insulation are on my do do list, eventually... The hot water tank has an electric auxiliary heater, but the breaker isn't on. Probably never will be. I did install a radiant barrier (silver mylar film) on the underside of the roof, stapled to the trusses. And with the addition of 2 Solar Star solar attic fans, the attic temp decreased from over 120 to right around 100 degrees with it sunny and low 90's outside.

    No Time of Use plan. We have what's called a two tier system.

    I can't say about the payments. The money was sitting in the bank doing next to nothing. We just put it to use as an investment in our future. A little pre planing for retirement.

    Thanks for the comments, I hope to learn more about this as I go. I feel guilty for having this house for over 20 years and not doing something sooner. I wasted a lot of sunlight...
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    How does the tiered system work? initial usage = $XX and anything over = 2 x $XX ??
  • Aging GeezerAging Geezer Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    That's correct, one rate up to a certain KW usage, then a higher rate for anything over that. Before the solar and other improvements, we were always in the higher tier. Now we're safely under.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    I hear you about the retirement planning, I want no fuel based implications on my fixed income when that time comes (soon I hope).

    We just added a Chevy Volt to the car fleet, and charge that off Solar power for the most part. I did hit the limit on the utility and had to finally pay them something this month, first bill of the year for $88, because of AC usage in our off peak TOU plan. We still have 2500 kWh in the on peak part of the plan. Sounds weird but I am looking for stuff to move to the on peak hours where the power is 3.5X the night time rates.
  • SevenSeven Solar Expert Posts: 292 ✭✭
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    How far are those panels mounted off of the roof?

    I did not see any soffet vents under the eaves of the house. Adding those will help with keeping the attic temps down by letting the vents work more efficiently. More cool air in, more hot air out.

    That is a really nice setup you have there. It is very close to what I want my system like when it is finished.
  • Aging GeezerAging Geezer Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    The electric car has been looked into. She likes the Tesla Model S. But no dealers, no cars. We really need a 200 mile range to pull it off.

    The panels are mounted about 5" off the roof. We needed a new roof anyway, so we opted for lifetime shingles, and a rubber underlayment. The attic is vented all the way around the house, the soffets are perforated & stretched aluminum. There is also a huge vent on the north side of the roof that pulls in fresh air to exhaust out the two solar fans. The fans dropped the attic temps by around 20 degrees.

    So far our best production was 30KW in a day. Our average production is in the low to mid 20KW range, per day. Our average use is around 35KW.
  • FrxddyFrxddy Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    Congrats on the new setup! It should serve you well.
  • nvysealnvyseal Solar Expert Posts: 108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    Really nice system you have there.

    I was just wondering, Do you get a lot of shading, clouds, bad weather or which way your panels are facing?

    seems to me you should be generating mid to high 40's per day on good sunny days
  • Aging GeezerAging Geezer Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    All of the above, partial shading in the morning. Afternoon clouds and rain almost every day (west coast of Fla.) The house is angled so the panels face more east than south. The southernmost facing side was too small for all 24 panels, and had some shading issues. I get about 8 hours of decent production per day, by 5:00 or 6:00PM it's over. I could attack some 100 year oaks to get a little more sun in the morning, but that's not an option. I'm not complaining. I'm delighted with what this has accomplished for me.
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 885 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    AG,
    Will the 100 year oaks develop missiles during hurricane season? Hate to see the damage to the system, and new roof, that wind and wood can produce.

    Ralph
  • Aging GeezerAging Geezer Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: New 6kw system up and running.

    An interesting question... The oaks are far enough from the house so gravity won't be an issue. I suppose anything can and will become a missile with enough energy behind it. But it's also depends on the wind direction. And our homeowners insurance has been adjusted accordingly, reflecting the new roof, the wind mitigation certificate, and the solar panels. I can only hope for the best. Mother Nature has been kind to us. Over 20 years in this house and I haven't lost a shingle.
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