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Return on Investment is not achievable with solar or wind Options
#1 Posted : Tuesday, April 13, 2010 11:41:57 PM
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Hey Dan,again I will say this as I've said many times.ROI(return on investment)is all in the way you look at it.You say your monthly usage was $200/month before you started saving energy getting ready to go off the grid with panels I take it.Your old habits were your OLD baseline.You now have saved $100/month changing your OLD habits,good job!Now one needs to keep up with the NEW habits.Conserving is a lot of what we're all talking about.Of course yes,that means your new ROI will be twice as long as your old ROI would have been,your now currently using half the value of energy than what you were.Great I say.That's an ROI I'd like to see.See I live in NH.Its cold up here.We normally burn for the normal 1200 square foot house $4000 worth of diesel fuel a year.I put in a woodboiler worth $5173 in 2003.Its paid itself pack 4 times over since I put it in.My labor cost for gathering the wood I estimated to be $63/hour compared to the $3.39/gal propane cost I pay here this year for 9 months out of the year.Do your math differently,you may see some suprises.

John Edward Mercier
#2 Posted : Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:02:31 AM
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I would only wonder whether your current $100/month could be reduced further. Though it may take investing some of that $100 savings per month from your old habits.


John Stiles
#3 Posted : Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:51:53 AM
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Having run solar I agree it ain't worth it. Don't get me wrong I support using it but it ain't worth it. It will cost more than you think i.e. batteries, batteries, batteries. But the panels are very  long lasting. The wiring is too complex for me.

If you pumped water up hill and used it to power a small turbine when you needed the power it might work in the warmer seasons.

#4 Posted : Thursday, April 15, 2010 2:14:27 AM
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I could'nt agree more with solar,its not worth it.Simply put,the sun's out only a max of 14-16 hours a day if it's out at all.And winds' variable,really variable..there may be times it wont be windy for days,weeks.Batteries really kill solar/wind a lot,if they were AC systems then the ROI comes closer by a lot.If you are grid connected there is'nt all that much advantage to having a battery system if only for emergency backup,they are messy and dangerous.Sometimes I think it may be cheaper to run a gas/heating oil/biodiesel turbine or engine system,use the waste heat for heating/AC and generate electrical power using batteries when the house load is less like at night.Never did that comparison.

Pat Miketinac
#5 Posted : Monday, April 19, 2010 4:30:54 AM
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For me, solar is important in case of a major blackout or storm. We could lose power for weeks here from a hurricane. My home does not require power for heating or cooling, so I only need a small panel to keep batteries charged for basic power for lights and electronics. I plan to get a larger panel though with a modified sine wave inverter so that I can run a refrigerator. As for wind power, if you can DIY like the guys do at otherpower.com, it is worthwhile in a windy location.

Don Abel
#6 Posted : Monday, December 05, 2011 11:47:39 AM
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Posts: 134,494

I have ~6k in my initial install. (512 watts of panel, 4-golf cart batteries, C-40 charge controller, misc. wire, connectors, mounts, ect) That was 12 years ago. I've replaced the battery once since. ($440) My system is totally 12 volt D.C.

This system has supplied me with everything I "need". (lighting, entertainment, pumps, ect.) I don't have a 60" plasma TV but I do have a TV with surround sound. I live a comfortable life. I don't have all of the "bling" a standard grid powered home has but I don't miss it a bit..

I would say my system has paid for itself many times over and the panels are still working fine. The only other burden I have is propane but for ~$70/every 2 months for a fridge and hot water isn't bad.

It depends on how frugal you want to live. Most folks can't imagine not having all of the
Bling". That bling cost money and if you want it, you gotta pay..

"If it Don't.. I'll Always Think it Shoulda.."
#7 Posted : Monday, December 05, 2011 11:47:39 AM
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Posts: 134,494

OK, I did the math, studied quite a bit, even talked to my ele co-op. The verdict is in: After comparing the savings on the energy (electric) bill, Solar and Wind are NOT worth the investment.
Just a small sampling of killing factors are:
1. Longevity of the equipment
2. Installation
3. Risk of injury
4. Initial price
5. Rental equipment
Remember, the energy savings need to be calculated based on the lower amount of energy that you are now, or will be using after installation. For example, my electric bill is $200 per month based on my old habits. I change my habits to what they will be with solar, and we're now at $100 per month - great job. Now, $100 per month is my new baseline, NOT what it was when I was consuming more! With this new (fair and accurate) baseline, my time for ROI is doubled! My payback is now 40 years instead of 20. Now, you go figure what you're really saving. The only (percieved) advantage to this whole exercise is saving Mother. Since I am not of that stripe, my only "payback" is having fun learning.  

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