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Does anyone here use solar?

Last post Mon, Aug 27 2012 7:06 PM by ogram. 21 replies.
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  • Sun, May 20 2012 11:16 AM

    Does anyone here use solar?

    Do any of you use solar energy?  Was it worth the investment in savings?  Has it been reliable for you?

    I have been considering getting a solar panel on our shed in the backyard.  The covenants in the subdivision prohibit them on the "visible" side of the roof, which is, of course, the west side that gets all the afternoon sun.  The shed roof is a little lower, but still gets that same sun.

    With all the rising costs, I was wondering if it might be worth it, as a form of cost-control.

  • Sun, May 20 2012 2:14 PM In reply to

    • Helene
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Aug 24 2009
    • Posts 721

    Re: Does anyone here use solar?

    Here in Israel, I believe every single house has a solar water heater on the roof!!! NO exceptions! (OK, I just read it is 90%!)- Over time it most certainly saves us electricity, because we have horrific electricity prices over here! (And price hiked again on April 1st with 9% from one day to another...)

    For our conditions over here, solar power works very well. For shady days, an electric water heater is needed as a complement, and also during the winter.

    If you are interested in finding out more, here are a few links to start with:



  • Sun, May 20 2012 2:48 PM In reply to

    Re: Does anyone here use solar?

     I don't have major solar for electric or hot water on my home (rental mobile home), but I use a solar battery charger, solar cooker, and poor-man's solar hot water (black hose wound on plywood and hooked to the outdoor faucet).  Even that sort of application saves me a bit.  One man I used to work with put 3 solar panels on the south side of his pole shed with 1 converter and 3 deep cycle batteries, the whole set up cost him under 500$, and he was able to run an office in that building all year with just the solar energy, no generator.  He had 2 12-volt lights (came with the panels), 1 laptop computer, 1 large external monitor, 1 large exteral keyboard with mouse, and a printer.  It saved him the 10,000$ to hook to the power lines and raised the value of his building and the land by several thousand dollars.

  • Wed, May 23 2012 4:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Does anyone here use solar?

    If I were considering solar panels, I would calculate the cost vs savings. How much will they cost you, total.. purchase/installation, etc. How much will it reduce your bill? How long (how many bills/months) do you plan to live there?


  • Wed, May 23 2012 4:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Does anyone here use solar?

    How long (how many bills/months) do you plan to live there?

    I plan to live here until I die. 

    How much it will reduce my bill is a moving target, since the "estimates" they quote to you assume the sun will shine 365 days a year, which it does not.  Hence the question of whether or not anyone has experience.

  • Wed, May 23 2012 6:48 PM In reply to

    • rolo
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 4 2007
    • Michigan
    • Posts 1,932

    Re: Does anyone here use solar?

     Be sure to check with your local utility provider and the IRS for credits if one installs alternative power sources. 


    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~~ Dalai Lama XIV -

  • Wed, May 23 2012 8:59 PM In reply to

    Re: Does anyone here use solar?

     Yes I do and so des dad we use it for the shed lighting and it works great I think it runs on 12 volts.

  • Sun, Jun 3 2012 12:32 AM In reply to

    Re: Does anyone here use solar?

    I have had solar panels (10) installed on the south side of my garage for 4 years.  I live in Illinois and one year the state gave a rebate as well as the their was a tax credit of $2000 that year.  That made it more affordable.  With the state rebate you had to be on the grid.  They also buy back your excess electricity.  Sounds like a good deal, right? 

    Well, it's not.  I have yet to not receive a monthly bill.  I think I average a savings of under $10 a month. Except for the refrigerator, there is nothing that draws electricity all the time.  Anything that might draw electricity on a ghostly nature is not directly into an outlet but on one of those strips that you shut off entirely.  The electricity the electric company buys back is at a reduced rate from what they charge me for their electricity. They installed a special meter and I can see it running backwards much of the time.  So where the electricity goes is a puzzle to me. 

     In the winter with snow on the panels there is no electricity generated as well as the cloudy days.  Also, you said you plan on living where you are forever.  These panels only have a 25 year life expectancy and about halfway through their life, they start dying off.  So, that might be something to think about.  My panels were made in Arizona.  Now China is a huge manufacturer of them.  I don't know if they are made in the USA anymore.  I don't know if that would factor into your decision. 

    The panels were installed on the garage because that faces south and that is the direction they need to be placed for the most sun, not the west as I believe you stated in another post. 

    But you are talking one panel on a shed.  It might work fine for you.  Let us know, please, if you choose to go that route and your satisfaction with it. 

  • Fri, Jul 6 2012 11:01 PM In reply to

    Re: Does anyone here use solar?

     Solar World still makes solar panels here in the USA.

  • Sat, Jul 7 2012 12:03 AM In reply to

    Re: Does anyone here use solar?

     Hi greeder I know that I have about 4 panels of solar one we do use the others when we go off the grid type camping in the woods we go for more then a week we do take on panel or two we leave the others at home in case one breaks so then we won't be screwed.

    2 weeks ago I made a solar oven for my sister sissy and we did a pan cookie in it took a bit but it came out ok.

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