[QUOTE=dcJet;4488941]I have solar panels at my home. I installed them in 2009 with help from Obama's stimulus and a generous grant from my home state of Maryland. As I make power, I also sell solar credits called SRECS to aggregators, who sell them on the market to energy companies... it's a classic cap and trade program.
Even with all that help, I calculated a 15 year breakeven. Solars not cheap. I'll be back later with pictures and more details if anyone is interested.[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=bitonti;4251032]the rate of improvement on solar panels efficiency is similar to that of moores law improvement on processors. it's an exponential increase in efficiency.
that also means 10 years from now the technology should be far better than even today's improved technology.
you will be able to spray paint solar cells on your roof and just attach a wire to the paint. that technology exists it's just not mass marketed... yet[/QUOTE]
There will be no exponential increase in solar panel efficiency. The PV technology takes sunlight and converts a percentage of it to power. At best, the technology has a ceiling of converting 100% of the sunlight which is a dream.
I googled the spray paint solar cells. Wow, that would be a game changer. It seems that technology is stuck on the same issue as PV panels... efficiency and cost.
42 Panels. Each has 190 watt peak rating which yields a total of 7980 watts at peak. Rounded off, it's an 8 kilowatt system.
Power companies bill by the kilowatt hour. This array yields 7.98 kwh per hour peak.
The beauty of the array is you can point the panels to the perfect spot in the sky (both angle and position) to maximize the most direct sunlight on the panels. If you mount panels on the roof, you cant do this.
I like this so much better then drilling holes in a roof, must make it a breeze to maintain low to the ground like that. Of course not all have the size of property you seem to have.
So you mentioned 15 years to break even, what is the expected life span of your system?[/QUOTE]
The life span of he panels is 30 years.
The warrantee on the panels is for them to produce at least 80% of their peak rating for 20 years.
The weak link seems to be the inverter which converts the DC power to AC. The warrantee on that is 10 years. I have already had 3 of them break. I think the model they installed are cheap Chinese lemons. The last time one broke they replaced it with a different model, so I hope that one holds up better.
The maintenance on these is nothing. The only thing that impacts them is snow or pollen accumulation. I dont care about the snow because the panels do not produce much power in the winter anyway and they get hot so the snow melts off soon enough. As for the pollen, I just wait for the next rainfall to rinse them off. I don't have any shade or tree debris to worry about since they are in a field.
Notice the flimsy fence.... The county inspector initially passed the installation, then after further review at the office with other cronies, they decided that I had to have a fence to keep kids from climbing on it - similar to the laws when you have a pool. I swear, they make the sh!t up as they go.
I argued with them that there is no law on the books requiring a fence on a solar array but they refused to issue the completion certificate. Meanwhile, as we argued, the sun was shining on the panels and producing nothing.
So I had 2 choices... bow down to the mighty gov't and install the fence, or fight them in court. I caved. It really pissed me off.
Looking back at it now, I'm glad I have the fence. I don't care if the neighbor's kid gets fried, I'm just happy to keep the deer from rubbing on it.