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Anyone have any experience with solar panels

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by xroads, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. xroads Veteran Reefkeeper Vendor

    La Porte City, IA
    +1,014 / 6 / -0
    I have been thinking about putting some solar panels on my roof. 
    Does anyone have any experience with them.  I know you have to run them through an inverter.  I also seen where a few people did a DIY.
  2. B-Rad

    B-Rad Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0
    I don't have any experience with them, but have also thought about solar to run my tank room.
    At least my lights and main pump.
    It is pretty pricey though. But it depends on what you plan to use on it. (wattage)
  3. Benji

    Benji Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0
    i have setup 2 grid tie systems on our houses in NoCal and Colorado.  you will definitely save a lot of cash diy. 
    you should do a cost/benefit analysis before hand because in nocal and boulder the systems paid for themselves in 3 and 5 years respectively with local and state rebates.
    however, here in iowa, electricity is so  cheap per/Kwh [relatively] and there is little, if any, state money available for rebates.
    in cedar rapids, iowa i figured it would take approx.  47 years for a 3000w to pay for itself.
     a few years ago there were a lot of zero interest loans up to 250,000 but unfortunately they usually go to universities and non profits.
    here are a  few vendors i have worked with;


    Phone: (515) 967-1510



    Phone: (641) 472-4277

    Decker Manufacturing Co

    312 Blondeau St

    KEOKUK, IA 52632

    Phone: (319) 524-3304

    Fax: (319) 524-2814


    Clinton,IA 52732

    (563) 242-2179



    Phone: (515) 266-8883

    Solar Dynamics Inc

    212 Gateway Drive

    OTTUMWA, IA 52501

    Phone: (641) 683-1834

    Fax: (641) 683-3031

  4. Benji

    Benji Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0
    i forgot to add.  whether you buy a kit, diy, or have a ''solar'' professional do the installation make sure you have a ''licensed'' electrician inspect it or tie it in and request a written report when they are done.  make copies and send them to your mortgage holder[if applicable] and home owners insurance co./underwriter to have policy amended.   if, by chance you have a fire, flood, or other disaster an off-grid or grid tied system that they are unaware of can void a home owners policy and they will not cover incidences that are related and unrelated to the alternative energy source.
  5. xroads Veteran Reefkeeper Vendor

    La Porte City, IA
    +1,014 / 6 / -0
    Thx alot,

    I cant believe how ungodly expensive that stuff is. I would like to see if I could make a few panels myself & then hook them up to a bank of batteries with an inverter. My thoughts are to run the inverter to a small breaker box & hook a few circuits of lights up to it. I may even add a small wind turbine to it.
  6. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    Clarksville, IA
    +19 / 0 / -0
    Everything I've read online about solar is that it's so expensive to get going that it takes way to long for it to pay itself off and it's not worth it. I never really read up on the DIY stuff so that may help out the pricing of it, or in another market such as Cali. and stuff where electricity is through the roof.  I've actually thought about looking into a small wind turbine for when we build out in the country but haven't really read much on them yet.  I do know that as a renewable energy source your local utility company is required to buy back any electricity that you over produce.  But unfortunately they buy it back at wholesale price and that's about 1/4 of what we pay for electricity.  They are actually trying to get that changed through congress right now to help encourage more renewable energy.
  7. xroads Veteran Reefkeeper Vendor

    La Porte City, IA
    +1,014 / 6 / -0
    Ya a full scale wind turbine will cost about 35,000 for a rebuilt one.

    The reason they buy it at wholesale (about 3 cents) is because the rest covers lines, poles, maintenance, etc.

    I have trying to find something on hydro since I have the big creek going through my land, not much out there for that though.

    I am going to try & start small & build it up.
  8. Benji

    Benji Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0
    it's not so much that they are ''ungodly expensive'' it's just that power in the midwest is ungodly cheap. it's all relative.
    it can definitely be done the way you mention for a lot less cash if you do it  that way.   depending on your experience, i would recommend  buying a few small solar powered landscape lights or a solar attic fan; take them apart to get a feel for the setup.  they are all the same just on smaller scales.
    these fans are made here in iowa.
    here is a method to detirmine cost/benefit  or ROI.
    So if you need 150 KWH per month works out to 5 KWH per day.  [MOST HOMES 2,000 SQ. FT.  USE 12-15KWH/DAY]

    Solar panel size = (5000 x 1.2)/4 = 1500 watts. If by chance you want off-grid for battery you need 1900 watts.

    For grid tied multiply $9 to $10 per watt = $13,500 to $15,000

    Battery $13 per watt = $24,700

    You can do the math and
    cost analysis to determine if it is worth it or not to you. Basically
    50 or more years to break even to replace 5 KWH per day @ 15-cents per

    bottom line, imo, the current cost of energy from the utility provider is just too cheap to justify a full scale solar source in most parts of the midwest.  also, utilities in the midwest purchase a large portion of their power from wind fields in MN, KS, SD, IA, and WY.  but, if money is not a concern, i would encourage alternative sources of energy.
    on the other hand, you can be almost certain that energy costs will continue to rise in the future.
  9. xroads Veteran Reefkeeper Vendor

    La Porte City, IA
    +1,014 / 6 / -0
    wow, i use anywhere from 70-100 kwh per day.
  10. ruggerkc Experienced Reefkeeper Board of Directors Leadership Team GIRS Member

    North Liberty , IA
    +183 / 3 / -0

    Wait till you get you hube tanks set up.LOL

    Carrie mentioned the other day how cheap our electirc bill was.
  11. Benji

    Benji Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0
    i just returned from a conference in IC and found out about another option you may want to look into depending on your location rural/urban.
    they have a a good rep. and hold a large market share of the residential wind turbine manufacture/installation...these are only 9,000 installed;

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