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DIY grid-tie photovoltaics from Amazon for $10K

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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 11:48 AM
Original message
DIY grid-tie photovoltaics from Amazon for $10K
Edited on Fri May-27-11 11:49 AM by pscot
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
1. Better be free delivery for the $9,999.99 sticker price n/t
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ejpoeta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. it is eligible for amazon prime so I assume it would qualify for the super saver shipping for those
that don't have the prime. and i would say i hope the heck so. there are some things on there that aren't that are pretty pricey.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. "The future" is beyond my current budget
And I'd guess beyond the budgets of most Americans at this point, due to the financial beatings we've been taking over the past few years.
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angstlessk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 02:25 PM
Response to Original message
4. How many days of sunshine to make this pay for itself in say 5 years?
I haven't seen the sun in about 6 months! well occasionally it peeks out from behind a cloud, but not consistently!
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. If it even paid $30/month it would take 30 years. That's an expensive kit.
But it could be useful if you were going over baseline where the cost of electricity starts to skyrocket.

We're getting there. But we've got a way to go.
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. Well, there's that.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-28-11 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #4
19. That's going to be tough with the current batch of solar panels
MIT (IIRC) has one in the lab that gathers energy on cloudy days and even at night through some nano-antennae... way over my head but sounds cool.

But for the real answer: do a google search how many days of sunshine in (your city)
Dallas says 234 days of sunshine, Austin says 300 (the same as Denver, go figure).

Wisconsin doesn't fare quite so well:
http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Wisconsin/annual-days-of-sunshine.php

Clouds, fog, rain, smog, etc., will affect the actual output of your solar panels and therefore its payback time.

Solar City offered to "lease" me 5.5 kW of solar panels (and said it would pay half of my electric bill) but they wanted $13,000 down and I would have to continue to pay the same utility bill as I pay now. 20 year transferable contract. On the one hand it's good because I'd be locking in my electric rates for 20 years. On the other hand... who the heck has $13,000 burning a hole in their pocket right now???
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
6. The cost is gonna have to come down a LOT before this is feasible for the population at large.
Gee, if only we could subsidize alternative energies somehow.
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tinrobot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. You should be able to get 30% back from the federal govt.
Probably more from state/local as well.

Some research might reveal that the price is a lot less than you think.
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intaglio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
7. I suspect that like computers
the right time to buy photovoltaics will be 6 months after you've bought them.
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. True that! n/t
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tinrobot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. Costco sells the same kit for $1000 less
Here :

http://www.costco.com/Common/Category.aspx?ec=BC-EC10617-Cat3241&pos=1&whse=BC&topnav=&cat=90897&eCat=BC|114|3241|90897&lang=en-US

Still a little expensive, but nice to see competition. If you can get government rebates, the price could possibly come down a lot more.
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Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
12. Friend of mine installed a similar system.
His included battery backup. He figured at the time a 10 year break even point. But, after working hard to get every benefit he could, it's already paid off some 3 years (yes, only three) after its installation.

Word to the wary: Such a kit isn't a complete DIY kit, at least not for most people. At the very least you should get a competent, licensed electrician familiar with the codes in your area to handle the grid tie portion of this, and to look over any other electrical work you took on yourself.
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I don't understand the math.
Did he miscalculate his usage or the cost of electricity? Going from 10yrs to 3 is a pretty big difference.
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Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. He got every rebate from the government possible.
He really did his homework, and refused to allow any bureaucrat to drag their heels or not do what they were supposed to do. He literally was teaching some of them how to do the very jobs they are supposed to be doing, just to get what the rules say he was SUPPOSED to get.

He wound up getting more than he had estimated at first (assumed he would be denied some rebates due to red tape etc.) Found some things he hadn't been aware of until he got into it. And he found he was able to DIY more than he thought. (Partially because he has a large group of friends with varied skills who were interested in his project, and willing to help in order to learn more about it.)

Because he put in such a large effort, I don't think his result would be typical. However, I do think 5-7 is reachable, if you're willing to do some homework and pester bureaucrats on the phone.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-28-11 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. Do you know the kwh charge where he is?

And does the region get a lot of sun?

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Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-28-11 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Don't know his rates.
Just north of DC.
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-28-11 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. There are youtube videos
that show you how to do all that stuff. Piece of cake.
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Yo_Mama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
13. It's not really DIY
First, you need cables and fuses and so forth, and second, generally both building codes and qualifications for reimbursement require a certified installer, and almost everywhere I think you have to get a licensed electrician for the fuses and grid tie-in.
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
16. That's getting pretty close to just grab it and go prices.
When that thing hits 5k, its mine.

Hell, if you can get enough of these kits, you won't need to replace your roofing tiles ever again.
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