Attended a seminar from my power company

vcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
My power company had a seminar yesterday about energy conservation and solar installs.

The first part was a presentation by the power company about rebates and grants that are available to offset costs for energy efficiency. One example is refrigerators. They will take away an old refrigerator for free AND pay you $30. They also have a rebate for buying a new one that meets certain energy specifications. That interested me because I'm thinking about doing away with the fridge we have in the garage.

Second part was put on by a local solar contractor. I will have to say I was pretty impressed with these guys. They have done a little over 40 installs so far. Almost all were 4 to 5k residential systems.

One thing I did not know is that Outback, the inverter folks are making panels. They spun off a company called Silicon Energy. For me it is significant because my state has incentives for using local made panels. They said they used to use Evergreen panels until they changed hands and started making them in China.

My state has a rebate program that each June they read the meter on your panels. They pay .36 per Kwh generated if the panels were WA made. They pay .15 if not. This rebate lasts at least until 2020.

They showed average build cost as being $35k for a 5k using out of state panels and the same cost for a 4K using SiE panels. The SiE panels are more expensive but after looking at them I can see why. First off they look different. They are sandwiched between clear glass. They also have an integrated mounting system. Lastly they are tough, really tough.

There is about a $10k rebate and tax credit for the installs. Average annual rebate for a 4K SiE setup is about $1800. That is more than I spend on power now. I figure with the reduction in power bill plus rebates it would put my break even at around 10 years.

Like everyone here keeps saying, grid tied is the best bang for the buck. I had not really planned on doing a system for this home but I'm starting to think it would be a very good investment.


  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Attended a seminar from my power company

    just looked at the panels specs. Interesting, even though the Voc is 29.9 to 30.1 v the Vmp is 24.7 to 24.9 v. I am thinking this is not good enough for a 24 v system...

    Six bypass diodes per module provide improved performance in partial shade

    Electrical Characteristics SiE160 SiE165 SiE170 SiE175
    Rated Power (Pmax) Watts 160 165 170 175
    Maximum Power Voltage (Vmp) 24.7 24.8 24.8 24.9
    Maximum Power Current (Imp) 6.5 6.7 6.9 7.0
    Open Circuit Voltage (Voc) 29.9 30 30 30.1
    Short Circuit Current (Isc) 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.8
    Maximum System Voltage 600 600 600 600
    Series Fuse Rating Amps 15 15 15 15

    Probably designed for GT

    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    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
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Attended a seminar from my power company

    i wouldn't say those specs are a big problem with today's mppt controllers as you only need to put at least 2 pvs in series with more possible to derive for a 24v battery system. many pvs have odd voltage values and it isn't necessarilly that they are designed for gt in that i don't think they are purposely trying to thwart the use of the pvs with batteries. i believe it to be harder to configure pvs with specific battery voltage goals within workable physical layouts.
  • vcallaway
    vcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Attended a seminar from my power company

    Their market is certainly grid tied.

    As of January 1st a voter initiative kicked in that requires power companies to buy more "green" power generation. While most states consider hydro to be green energy Washington does not. There is a movement to shut down hydro under the guise of being hazardous to fish.

    The incentives for a company to build panels in this state are pretty good. It is about the only business that is NOT being run out of here.

    I did find out that I don't have to have the contractor do the install to get the rebates. This company will work with homeowners to do the paperwork and act as a consultant to make sure everything is done right. I'm considering doing a big chunk of the work myself. Not so much as the cost savings but for the experience.

    Now I just have to work out how to pay for it....
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Attended a seminar from my power company

    sounds good for you and i wish you luck in getting it. it's nice that washington has allowed a means to make it more affordable to more people by addressing the diy crowd rather than just fatten only certain installer's wallets. pa insists on certified installers so i think the bulk of the rebates are eaten up by the higher prices these installers charge. i'm not getting down on all installers, but the system pa setup that allows price inflating.
    if you get something keep us informed as to what it is and how it's doing.:D
  • a0128958
    a0128958 Solar Expert Posts: 316 ✭✭✭
    Re: Attended a seminar from my power company

    TX is likewise. No rebates from utilities are avilable to DIYers.

    Best regards,