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Solar Power for Home Cost & Savings


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tomaw

I'd like to hear from anyone using solar energy in The Philippines. Mainly I'd like to know the cost of setting it up and the savings on your electric bill. Thanks.

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Davaoeno

I'd like to hear from anyone using solar energy in The Philippines. Mainly I'd like to know the cost of setting it up and the savings on your electric bill. Thanks.

 

 

What would it cost in California and how much would you save monthly ?  [ so I have something to compare to when someone answers your question ]

Edited by Davaoeno
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tomaw

 

What would it cost in California and how much would you save monthly ?  [ so I have something to compare to when someone answers your question ]

I don't know exact prices but I do know with most companies there is no money down and your electric bill goes down. It's no money out of pocket and a lower electric bill.
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Paul

People think that by going with off grid or hybrid solar systems, they are saving money. Let me let you in on a secret here, folks. Your solar array cannot produce power, and store it, as cheaply as your local power company can. That, currently, is impossible. Yes, the cost of panels are coming down. Yes, controllers are more efficient these days. But, the cost of batteries and their life expectancy is still not there. A good quality MPPT controller can also cost you from $300 to $800 USD, just for the controller! So, if your intention is to save money by having a cheaper way to generate power, then do not even start with solar.

 

  • Solar power, off grid applications, will provide power where there IS no power. It is not cheap. It does, however, guarantee that you have power in an area where no mains power is available to you. 
  • Solar power, grid tied applications, is currently the way to get the best bang for your buck. HOWEVER, when the grid is down, YOUR power is still down as well. After all, you have no other storage - like an off grid battery bank.
  • Solar power, hybrid systems, is the best of both worlds. You will have power 24 / 7 / 365. If you have a cloudy day, your mains can charge your batteries. If you have a sunny day, your array can pump power back into the grid. If you have a power cut, your battery bank will provide back up power (hopefully) until mains power has been restored. 
Edited by Paul
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Irenicus

 

 

Solar power, hybrid systems, is the best of both worlds. You will have power 24 / 7 / 365. If you have a cloudy day, your mains can charge your batteries. If you have a sunny day, your array can pump power back into the grid. If you have a power cut, your battery bank will provide back up power (hopefully) until mains power has been restored. 

 

I had a full array for a few months.  Batteries were on the way out but the thing supplied power to everything in the house.  Batteries were old, so if you used the water heater at night, the controller would shut the batteries off.  

 

I was super impressed with the system overall but like Paul said, the batteries just ain't there yet, tech wise.   That said, if I ever settle down for good in the RP, I am definitely going for a hybrid system with a limited number of batteries - just enough for lights and fan during extended brownout. It was sooooooo nice to have power when the rest of the barangay was lighting up their lanterns..... 

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Mikala

I've been off-grid at my ranch in Hawaii for several years, but I've got micro-hydro, 3-phase inverter bank, huge battery bank and a 13kW Cat Diesel Generator. Kind of overkill, but I've never had a power outage and my voltages are rock steady 24/7/365. Someday I want to add solar, but it's completely unnecessary with micro-hydro (not to be confused with my micro-condo) running 24/7.

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Paul

I've been off-grid at my ranch in Hawaii for several years, but I've got micro-hydro, 3-phase inverter bank, huge battery bank and a 13kW Cat Diesel Generator. Kind of overkill, but I've never had a power outage and my voltages are rock steady 24/7/365. Someday I want to add solar, but it's completely unnecessary with micro-hydro (not to be confused with my micro-condo) running 24/7.

 

How much cheaper are you generating your power, than the mains can provide locally?

Edited by Paul
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Mikala

Big Island power is about 43 cents per kWh lately. I generate my power for free (hydro). Base cost of the equipment was.... pricey. Probably had $14,000 in the genset, $8,000 in the battery bank, maybe $5,000 in the inverters, $1,200 in the hydro, another $1,200 in pipe (penstock). So about $30k overall and I did all the installation myself. I worked at the electric utility and used scrap electrical wire from the yard (sitting out in the sun rotting).

 

I was always amazed that I'd have projects come up and I'd want to use some of the insulated electrical wire rotting in the yard. The warehouse manager would always tell me "oh no, you can't use that wire. We have no idea how long it's been sitting out there deteriorating in the Hawaii sun." So we'd buy all new wire and the leftover wire would go out into the yard to rot with the other wire. So wasteful!

 

Note: my battery banks are several years old, but the hydro keeps them topped off for the most part. I think I'll get 10 years out of them.

 

No problems with the inverters or any other equipment so far. I over-sized everything at least 200%. Tried to future-proof the equipment against loads I might want to add later.

 

So the cost would be the price of the battery banks every 10 years, added to the cost of the up-front equipment.

 

No heating of the equipment since my ranch temperature ranges from 55-80 deg. F (13-27 deg. C). I only see 55 in the winter on a cold night.

Edited by Mikala
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tomaw

Thanks guys. It looks like solar power /hybrid systems are the way to go as Paul pointed out. I guess that's what most people have in The US that have solar power for their homes. As I said, no money out of pocket and your electric bill goes down. Is that the way it is in Cebu?

Edited by tomaw
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Knowdafish

 

People think that by going with off grid or hybrid solar systems, they are saving money. Let me let you in on a secret here, folks. Your solar array cannot produce power, and store it, as cheaply as your local power company can. That, currently, is impossible. Yes, the cost of panels are coming down. Yes, controllers are more efficient these days. But, the cost of batteries and their life expectancy is still not there. A good quality MPPT controller can also cost you from $300 to $800 USD, just for the controller! So, if your intention is to save money by having a cheaper way to generate power, then do not even start with solar.

 

  • Solar power, off grid applications, will provide power where there IS no power. It is not cheap. It does, however, guarantee that you have power in an area where no mains power is available to you. 
  • Solar power, grid tied applications, is currently the way to get the best bang for your buck. HOWEVER, when the grid is down, YOUR power is still down as well. After all, you have no other storage - like an off grid battery bank.
  • Solar power, hybrid systems, is the best of both worlds. You will have power 24 / 7 / 365. If you have a cloudy day, your mains can charge your batteries. If you have a sunny day, your array can pump power back into the grid. If you have a power cut, your battery bank will provide back up power (hopefully) until mains power has been restored. 

 

 

I agree with most of your post but......

 

The vast majority of power companies do not "store" electricity. They generate it based on demand. 

 

While solar power is not inexpensive, it can be less expensive in the long run than commercial power. It's just that there is a payback period. It takes years to get to the break-even point and save any money. This does not mean it is not cost effective. If you use junk equipment you will likely never get to that break even point, before a costly failure occurs.  

 

Grid tied systems are the most cost effective (no battery bank needed) and the payback period is often shorter but that depends on the electric company you are dealing with (some pay a decent rate for the electricity you generate and others do not pay well, or not at all)  and your location (is their a "grid" to tie into?).

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agent17

I've got an estimate years ago.  It wasn't worth the investment.  Aside from the fact that it will take decades to break even, it's the thought of displaying all that expensive panels on your roof will only attract theft.  Who will look after it when you're out of town?

 

Replace your A/C with inverters, insulate your rooms.  Replace your ref with the newer inverter ref.  Never use an electric oven or electric stove.  Replace your bulbs with LED bulbs.  All these can cut your electric bill in half.  That's all you can do.  Aside from that, just accept the high electric cost as something inevitable.

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Paul

I agree with most of your post but......

 

The vast majority of power companies do not "store" electricity. They generate it based on demand.

 

Yes, I know. I was just trying to keep things as simple as possible here. I do that because I am starting to confuse myself these days. I am a blonde after all.

 

 

While solar power is not inexpensive, it can be less expensive in the long run than commercial power. It's just that there is a payback period. It takes years to get to the break-even point and save any money. This does not mean it is not cost effective. If you use junk equipment you will likely never get to that break even point, before a costly failure occurs.  

 

Grid tied systems are the most cost effective (no battery bank needed) and the payback period is often shorter but that depends on the electric company you are dealing with (some pay a decent rate for the electricity you generate and others do not pay well, or not at all)  and your location (is their a "grid" to tie into?).

 

Here, I disagree. In many areas, especially where power can be sent to customers fairly cheaply, it will be very difficult for solar to compete with (utility) mains provided power, until storage costs can come down. The life expectancy of batteries simply is not there yet. The costs involved in purchasing a new bank can be astronomical. 

 

You are looking at an over all efficiency, from harvesting the Sun's energy, to powering your AC powered appliances, of - oh, 52% to 55%. I am taking in account solar loss from capture (a panel is far from 100% efficient, as we know), wire and line losses, battery bank efficiency, inverter efficiency, etc.

 

I do agree, as previously stated, that a grid tied system would be your best investment, IF you can get the associated tax breaks and payments for power generated by way of your array. However, even if I lived in the US, I would never go grid tied, unless I could make it a hybrid system. My reasons for solar power have never really been about cost savings. Rather, they have been about having continuous, clean power provided for my home - convenience. It just does not make sense to me, to have a grid tied system - all those panels sitting on the roof, generating power that is of absolutely no use to me when a power cut happens.

 

 

I've got an estimate years ago.  It wasn't worth the investment.  Aside from the fact that it will take decades to break even, it's the thought of displaying all that expensive panels on your roof will only attract theft.  Who will look after it when you're out of town?

 

Replace your A/C with inverters, insulate your rooms.  Replace your ref with the newer inverter ref.  Never use an electric oven or electric stove.  Replace your bulbs with LED bulbs.  All these can cut your electric bill in half.  That's all you can do.  Aside from that, just accept the high electric cost as something inevitable.

 

Very true - back then. However, what you say about having more efficient appliances is a major step. Conservation is also a major step to take - both, prior to considering installing a solar array, if possible. 

 

Now, when you say, "years ago," how many "years" are we talking here? Prices for solar panels have drastically dropped over the past few years. By leaps and bounds since the 70's and early 80's. 

 

price-of-solar-power-drop-graph.jpg

 

Solar-Prices-Graph.png

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tomaw

I'm not sure what system it is but in S California through Valero along with several other companies, you have no money down , no out-of-pocket expenses and your electric bill is much less each month then before you got the system. This is a no Brainer., It's as if you're getting the system for free and paying the electric company less money each month than before you got the system! :-) Does Cebu or the surrounding area have anything like that?

Edited by tomaw
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newbster

Thanks guys. It looks like solar power /hybrid systems are the way to go as Paul pointed out. I guess that's what most people have in The US that have solar power for their homes. As I said, no money out of pocket and your electric bill goes down. Is that the way it is in Cebu?

I did some research here in the U.S. and purchased a solar system last year. I think the sweet spot was actually to put in some money because the no money down systems give you very little savings. I spent $7000 on a system that gives me guaranteed production level for 20 years and lets me purchase my power for a very low price from the solar unit.

 

Power here is priced at $0.124/kwh from the power company. The model that was used in the proposal assumed power cost rates would increase at a rate of 4%/year

I had basically 4 options, all guaranteed my solar install for 20 years:

1) no money down $0.116/kwh with 1.5% yearly increase in price, estimated savings $6572

2) no money down $0.126/khw with 0% yearly increase in price, estimated savings $7,745

3) $7200 upfront cost to me $0.055/kwh with 0% yearly increase in price, estimated savings $19,419

4) I purchase the full system which I didn't want to do because it cost quite a bit more and I'd have to self-file for all the credits, rebates, etc

 

If the install doesn't produce the guaranteed # of kwh/year then the company that installed it will give me a rebate to make up any extra cost to me.

 

If I sell the house, the warranty and savings and fixed cost of power goes to new owner. It's up to me to try to convince buyer that house is worth more to recover any upfront cost that I paid in (i.e. options 3/4 leave it up to me to price my house up to account for my cost already paid for the system).

 

I chose option 3 and I've been very happy with the install. There are no batteries, but there is a very significant power savings to me. The unit overall produces about 80% of my yearly power needs. During times when I produce more energy than I need the extra power is fed back into the grid and I get a credit that can be later applied to my power bill during months when I need to buy power.

 

To me a system like this would be nice to have in phils - what I mean is no batteries just extra power produced to offset the high cost of electricity there. You'd need a generator to provide power during power outages but wouldn't have to worry about batteries. If you could put in enough panels to provide 50% of your power needs you'd have a 50% savings on your power bill, and with the high cost of power there I think it'd pay for itself pretty quickly.

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Knowdafish

 

 

In many areas, especially where power can be sent to customers fairly cheaply, it will be very difficult for solar to compete with (utility) mains provided power, until storage costs can come down. The life expectancy of batteries simply is not there yet. The costs involved in purchasing a new bank can be astronomical. 

 

That is why I think a grid tie system is the most cost effective route. It allows the payback period to be that much quicker, and no batteries are needed. Once batteries are in the picture the payback period increases dramatically. 

 

With systems designed to last for 20 years or longer and the average payback period being between 6-10 years it is cost effective to go with a grid tie system. After the system has paid for itself the electricity that they generate is free. I'll take free electricity for 10-14 years (or even longer!). Wouldn't you? 

 

Some of the more sophisticated solar system calculators help the solar panel buyer figure out what is needed to run everything and what his payback period period is for his area. This takes the guesswork out of it and lets them know upfront what their costs are and how long it will take for the system to pay for itself (at the current electrical rate). 

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