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Posted: 10/21/2004 8:51:14 AM EST
I was looking at my electricity bill yesterday, cursing my 60watt lightbulbs and TV, and for some reason I was reminded of a product I saw at Home Depot a year or two ago. They had a vendor out front of their store selling Solar Panel roof shingles. I thought it was a heck of an idea. Primarily the benefit seemed to be that instead of sucking power from the grid you're generating power for the grid. This offsets your power consumption, bringing down your bill each month.

So, does anybody have this installed on their home or know somebody that does? Kindof looking for 1st or 2nd hand info on whether it's really worth it, how much it stuff like this costs and just general feelings about this product.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 8:55:33 AM EST
I don't have specific experince with photovoltaic shingles but I work in roofing manufacturing sales. You might try Goolging "photovoltaic shingles" or "photovoltaic roofing."

From what I have heard they work, but it is relatively new technology (used as roofing, anyway).
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:45:09 AM EST
Thanks for giving me the correct term. Photovoltaic roofing came up with some good hits for the layman. Namely THIS ONE.

I guess I'll have to do my legwork and figure out just how much something like this would end up costing for installation. Obviously it would cost more than reroofing a home in normal asphalt or tile. Something along the lines of your average 3br townhome for instance.

Here in San Diego we get a lot of sun most of the year and I don't think the law requires we have any specific type of roof other than wood shingles nolonger being allowed. (fire danger)
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:21:08 PM EST
Still very expensive, and if your utility company cannot buy the surplus from you, or unless you are completely off the grid, or are a huge SHTF-fan, not worth it.
Shopped the issue in detail a couple years ago, for an installation on a 2nd home in the mountains. House is unused 25days a month, and thought to generate some $, but the local util isn't set up for such a thing.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:30:00 PM EST
hang on. Prices will drop a bunch in the next 18 months.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:32:12 PM EST
Wait for Congress to renew the reusable energy bill that provides tax credits


even then, you'll probably have a 15 to 20 year payback period
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:32:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 12:32:54 PM EST by Cape_hunter]
Not worth it IIRC. I think the payoff on the engery is lost in the cost of the shingles and install. IIRC it was somthing like 20+ years before they would pay for themselves. Now if your just offsetting the cost between a normal roof and these it may be shorter.

Have to do some looking.
CH
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:35:54 PM EST
I checked them out before. NOT CHEAP!
Now using solar power to heat up a room full of rocks in your basement with a heat exchanger/pump and heating/cooling your house that way.....
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:37:43 PM EST
make sure your power company provides for you to sell power to them during the day when they're charging. I looked this up once. Still not cost effective, though its better than it used to be.

Otherwise you'd have to buy giant batteries.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:46:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By rayra:
Still very expensive, and if your utility company cannot buy the surplus from you, or unless you are completely off the grid, or are a huge SHTF-fan, not worth it.
Shopped the issue in detail a couple years ago, for an installation on a 2nd home in the mountains. House is unused 25days a month, and thought to generate some $, but the local util isn't set up for such a thing.



or so they say if they know they will be BUYING from you.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:52:08 PM EST
I challenge anyone to find a utility provider that WILL buy an excess from you. I suspect that is simply a marketing ploy that people buy into until they try to "sell" their excess.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:00:12 PM EST
Just keep in mind you're not just buying shingles but batteries as well. Also if you're living in a Townhouse i'd guess that your homeowner's association would have some say in it.

I am a huge fan of green building products and renewable resources and alternate power sources, and we need people to take the plunge and test these things out while they are still fresh. As long as you aren't expecting to actually save any money I'd say go for it. Who knows, as the prices of fossil fuels keep going up you might make your money back quicker than you think.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:03:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By ArmedAggie:
I challenge anyone to find a utility provider that WILL buy an excess from you. I suspect that is simply a marketing ploy that people buy into until they try to "sell" their excess.


My friend up in NorCal is building a home with a solar cell roof and the utility company there is buying his excess power.

CW
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:05:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By Mauser101:
I was looking at my electricity bill yesterday, cursing my 60watt lightbulbs and TV, and for some reason I was reminded of a product I saw at Home Depot a year or two ago. They had a vendor out front of their store selling Solar Panel roof shingles. I thought it was a heck of an idea. Primarily the benefit seemed to be that instead of sucking power from the grid you're generating power for the grid. This offsets your power consumption, bringing down your bill each month.

So, does anybody have this installed on their home or know somebody that does? Kindof looking for 1st or 2nd hand info on whether it's really worth it, how much it stuff like this costs and just general feelings about this product.


i've sent this post to my buddy who is building a place in NorCal that has solar panel roofing. I'll ask him if he would be interested in showing you what he has done.

CW
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:07:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By ArmedAggie:

I challenge anyone to find a utility provider that WILL buy an excess from you. I suspect that is simply a marketing ploy that people buy into until they try to "sell" their excess.




It's LAW in some states.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:08:49 PM EST
In WA at least they have to buy back the power.

But they require a pure sine wave which costs big bucks.

All you're doing is running the meter backwards. I doubt you'd be able to get a net negative in an occupied house anyway so it just reduces the bill.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:10:23 PM EST
They are expensive to buy
need lots of batteries
plus you need direct current lights and whatever or a conversion device


panels
need cleaned a lot - dust
bird crap
snow

In general cost more than electric and are a pain to maintain
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:41:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By Cold_Warrior:

i've sent this post to my buddy who is building a place in NorCal that has solar panel roofing. I'll ask him if he would be interested in showing you what he has done.

CW



I'd be appreciative of that. I didn't expect to get more than 2nd or worse opinions on the subject as it's still a pretty new thing...so 1st hand experience would definately be welcome.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 8:13:10 PM EST

Originally Posted By K2QB3:
In WA at least they have to buy back the power.

But they require a pure sine wave which costs big bucks.

All you're doing is running the meter backwards. I doubt you'd be able to get a net negative in an occupied house anyway so it just reduces the bill.


You also need to be synchronized with the grid. The equipment is expensive, the utility requires that you have a special insurance policy to cover any damage to their side of the connection, and they pay you the wholesale rate for the power you generate, while charging you the retail rate for any power that you use.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 9:13:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By MissouriBob:
hang on. Prices will drop a bunch in the next 18 months.



U have some inside info? Is this for solar panels in general?

S.O.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 9:27:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By cyanide:
They are expensive to buy
need lots of batteries
plus you need direct current lights and whatever or a conversion device


panels
need cleaned a lot - dust
bird crap
snow

In general cost more than electric and are a pain to maintain



You do need an inverter but you do not need batteries which can add 25% to the cost of a setup. Your power will be generated during the day, when the load is the greatest. For actual power outages buy a generator, more practical.

In some states net metering/buyback is law but the power companies can often decide how generous they want to be. Some aren't bad to deal with. If you own a business you can make it much more cost effective due to depreciation scheduling and other tax breaks and incentives.

Solar shingles while nice for some applications, do need to be cleaned as cynide pointed out and this can be a pain if you have a high roof and I am not sure if you can walk on them if you need to get on your roof, not mention they would be slippery as hell.

Taking steps to make your house more energy efficient will cost 1/6th the money as provide the same benies than going solar and keeping you inefficient lights/appliances. Go to HD or lowes and get some packs of compact flourescents of differnat wattages. They make 3 way compacts but not varitable ones for dimmers AFAIK. Put good weather stripping around doors and windows, replaced single pain or other crap windows etc. I believe you can also deduct home improvements so new windows, hot water tank, furnace boiler etc would allow you to double dip on the front end and back end.

S.O.
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 9:43:24 AM EST
My friend is declining to talk about his roof system right now because of patent issues, but hre is a link to a wesite of his that has a little info. Suffice it to say if done "properly", the home can e made self-sufficient and the local power company might buy back your power, depending upon location.

Solar Home link

CW
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 9:53:49 AM EST
interesting.
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