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FROM CHEAP TO STEEP: “PV SOLAR SYSTEMS” DATE: April 01 2021
BY: John E Avenson Westminster CO.
There are several options available when considering Solar PV (PhotoVoltaic) for your home:
HISTORY: Starting January of 2006, Colorado began the huge state rebate program for PV which triggered low prices enabling many folks to invest in PV for the very first time. In 2021, these old systems have seen a few forms of degradation. The following happened to my house: 1) The squirrels chewed through my cables on the roof and this had to be repaired, 2) The Power Inverted failed just a few months after the warrantee expired and it had to be replaced. 3) NREL came to inspect my panels as part of a study to determine the average annual degradation of Solar PV collection efficiency. Their study showed that the average yearly reduction was 0.7% of the original rating. My old Sanyo panels depreciated by 0.6% per year.
The old 2006 my panels were only 170 watts per panel. Today I have a brand new system using 400 watt panels. SO! What do you do with the old PV system? It is still working but I had out grown its old capacity due to purchasing more modern luxuries plus I added an Electric Vehicle which requires more capacity of an additional 3 KW system to the house load.
1) CHEAPEST: Option 1: The cheapest way to get your first Solar PV system is: My PV installation company offered to remove and take away the old system and deliver it to folks who want to purchase an old used system. My old 4KW sold for $2400 and the company packed it up and delivered it to the new owner. Today, many folks are upgrading their old PV systems. Perhap you can put in a request to several PV installation companies and reserve an old 2nd hand system for your home.
2) MEDIUM: PV panels have greatly reduced in price since 2006. New panels have individual optimizers that allow the array to fully operate even when there is a shadow on one or a few panels caused by a Roof Gable or tree. A new 4K system may be only $10000 compared to 2006 when I paid $34,000 but with a huge rebate of $21,000. Today’s panels are so cheap that you can afford to place them on the east, west, and north sides of a roof in addition to the Optimum South side.
3) EXPENSIVE: This past February the snow storm put stress on the Xcel power grid and my neighborhood lost power EIGHT TIMES in two days. I ordered a BATTERY BACK-UP system in addition to my new Panels. A battery backup is more complex, involving a lot of wiring at the breaker box to customize which breakers I want to prioritize and remain on when the neighborhood goes out. I choose the keep the circuit that runs the house internet, The lights in Each Bathroom, the kitchen lights, Refrigerator
and garage lights.
With the coming of TOU “Time Of Use” billing, the new battery backup systems have the option to run your house from the batteries during peak billing hours. We can avoid the peak hours of billing in the near future. PS: Your Credit Union has low interest rates to finance Renewable energy upgrades.
The photo below is a graph of one day events for charging with Sun and clouds: 14KW system.