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Home Charging – Solar Energy for the C-Max Energi

solar; home charging

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23 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   EVger

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:42 PM

I am starting this topic to encourage a discussion of solar charging at home.  I am planning to install solar panels to provide electricity for my home and to charge my NRG (and my next EV).  I would appreciate insights and suggestions of any sort, including equipment, installation, and pricing. 









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#2 OFFLINE   mikeb

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:25 AM

I can't provide technical advice yet, but I've started doing the research on solar myself.

There's a good website at http://www.windsun.com/, they have a forum full of informed people as well as a store with a good selection of solar panels, mounts, charge controllers, inverters, etc. Go there and start browsing.


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#3 OFFLINE   Tdefny

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:37 AM

I have done some PV projects on schools, but no residential yet. My best advice is make sure your roof is in tip top condition before you start.

#4 OFFLINE   dr61

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:46 AM

We have a 3.1 KW rated solar system on our roof that we installed in 2007.  Panels and inverters have improved greatly and are much cheaper now, so I suggest you get several estimates from reputable solar installers in your area.  For instance we paid about $26K for our system ($18K after incentives and tax credit), but I think today I could have the same system for about half that.  There are also leasing options that require little or no cash up front.

 

Our system supplies on average 120% of our electric energy per year.  We are currently paid for the excess by our utility.  I expect we will use all the excess through the year when we charge our Energi.  We will see how it goes the next year or two and maybe consider expanding our system, as we have plenty of roof space remaining.

 

The system has been trouble-free. The only maintenance I do is to hose off the panels occasionally and once a year I clean them with a long window-cleaning brush.  We are extremely satisfied with the system.



#5 OFFLINE   viajero

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:28 PM

I have done some PV projects on schools, but no residential yet. My best advice is make sure your roof is in tip top condition before you start.

 

I concur.  You don't want to put solar panels over an old roof (or inverters over old siding).  If you have to replace the roof or siding you will have to remove and reinstall the solar equipment.

 

If you have central inverters insist they install them in a shady place, or put an awning over them.  Heat will shorten their lifetime.

 

I've had my system for over 3 years and I never clean it.   Sometimes I see dust or pollen on the panels but the next wind or rain wipes it away.

 

Be sure to check what local/state incentives are available.  That may determine what you install.  For example, they may pay you a rebate up to a certain amount.  Or they may do net metering where you can offset your own use but get paid very little for extra energy you generate each month.  It depends on your state, city, and your utility.


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#6 OFFLINE   Frankman

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 09:36 AM

Photo voltaic systems and Electric cars are a perfect match.  Our Volt and Energi love our 7.6 kW PV system  :smile2:  Actually, they are a good match because if you switch to a Time-of-Use (TOU) utility rate plan it works out great.  Often utility companies offer a special TOU rate plan to EV owners.  These plans encourage Super Off Peak charging (normally midnight to 5 or 6 am) and offer lower rates during these periods when you would charge the vehicle.  However to compensate for these lower Super Off Peak rates, they often have higher Peak rates (normally noon to 7 PM or so).  Home's that have a PV system benefit by the high mid-day Peak period rate because that is when the PV system is usually pushing power back onto the grid and getting the most credit for the excess kWhs. Buy low and sell high!


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#7 OFFLINE   Valkraider

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 09:39 AM

There are companies which pay for and install and then lease you the chargers, if you don't want to do any work or research or spend any money upfront.

Although I am not sure if they are all over the country. We have them here in the NW...
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#8 OFFLINE   j762538

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:34 PM

I have a 2kw system and love getting a check from the electric co every month.
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#9 OFFLINE   lordryck

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:39 PM

SolarCity (www.solarcity.com) put a 9.3kw system on my house. I just pay them for the electricity. No out of pocket cost for installation or maintenance.



#10 OFFLINE   smangerer

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:52 PM

SolarCity (www.solarcity.com) put a 9.3kw system on my house. I just pay them for the electricity. No out of pocket cost for installation or maintenance.

What do you pay them compared to the utility?


Edited by smangerer, 05 April 2013 - 10:52 PM.


#11 OFFLINE   tlcj

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 11:30 AM

I installed 7 panels last year using enphase microinverters.  I had some shading issues and wanted to make each panel independent to help my total output. I believe my 7 panels (1.75kW) should be more than enough to take care of the Energi and leave me with a little left over until I can get some more panels up there.  Hope to pick up the car this week.  I installed the solar system myself buying from http://www.simpleray.com/  .  We have gray cloudy winters here in Cincinnati.


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#12 OFFLINE   Shorttack

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 05:53 PM

I installed 7 panels last year using inphase microinverters.  .


I too agree micro inverters are the way to go today. Results in immediately usable AC from the solar grid with lower inverter out and losses.

#13 OFFLINE   RBookman

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 07:01 PM

We have a 3.1 KW rated solar system on our roof that we installed in 2007. Panels and inverters have improved greatly and are much cheaper now, so I suggest you get several estimates from reputable solar installers in your area. For instance we paid about $26K for our system ($18K after incentives and tax credit), but I think today I could have the same system for about half that. There are also leasing options that require little or no cash up front.

Our system supplies on average 120% of our electric energy per year. We are currently paid for the excess by our utility. I expect we will use all the excess through the year when we charge our Energi. We will see how it goes the next year or two and maybe consider expanding our system, as we have plenty of roof space remaining.

The system has been trouble-free. The only maintenance I do is to hose off the panels occasionally and once a year I clean them with a long window-cleaning brush. We are extremely satisfied with the system.

In 2010 our 4.6 kW system cost ~$10k after incentives and credit. Our system covers 115% of our needs. We are using our solar panels to charge our Prius Plugin. We are looking at purchasing a second PHEV as a way to use our excess solar production.
Solar & PHEVs are a winning combination.

Get micro inverters if you need them! We have issues with shading.

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Edited by RBookman, 09 April 2013 - 08:03 PM.

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#14 OFFLINE   F big oil

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 06:14 PM

We are in the process of installing a 7.3 kw system on our house. I am a big do it yourselfer so I am installing it myself with the help of a couple of friends and family. I almost have my site plans finished and I plan to submit it to the county for approval this Friday. I went with wholesale solar to buy the complete system. $11, 902 plus about 1, 000 more for permit and a few other ancillary things. After that a 3, 900 federal tax credit and another 1, 500 from state. Will take 36 months to get back to even then after that its all positive cash flow.

Solar plus C Max Energi are a perfect match.
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#15 OFFLINE   dr61

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:59 AM

Welcome to the PV club, F!  Charged our Energi for the first time Saturday night; our PV system picked up 21 KWH each of the last two days, and the Energi took 2.6 KWH (still had 2/3 battery charge), the house used about 9.5, so we netted 9 KWH for that day.  This from a 3.1 KW system we installed 6 years ago for a lot more than your new one cost!



#16 OFFLINE   Pumpman

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:00 PM

I would not recommend solar system for the EV use at least here in San Diego. I have a 13.5kWH Solar system that produces a surplus but it is very seasonal. We lose about 50% of the power in the winter time when hours are short and the sun angle is low. So in the winter we would run a deficit and the EV would add to this total. That means a hefty bill @ .33 cents a KWh Since they look at the bill here in San Diego very month in the winter months that would begin to bill and the KWh charge very soon goes to  33 cents a KWH. Better to use TOU for EV which we will do when winter rolls around. Solar is great get it for your home but it may not be the most economical for EV where electric rates are high and tiered like in San Diego. Solar makes a lot of sense here but not sure for the extra EV use. IF you do get a system make sure to size is up to have extra power in the winter. I sized up from 10KWh to 13.5 but that is even not enough for our use with the EV now.

 

TOU here in San Diego is about 15 cents a KWh.

 

Richard



#17 OFFLINE   honemch

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:45 PM

I'm in SD with solar... Makes a lot of sense for me! I didn't go with TOU rates... With my system we produce approximately 30 kwh a day from May to September and then slowly decrease to 18 kwh a day in the winter. In the winter we would use a little more power than what we produced, but at 14.4 cents a kwh in tier one, out monthly bill only got up to $10.00. It's just about planning appropriately when designing your solar system.

For those of you thinking about solar, solar becomes more cost effective the more you pay for electricity.

#18 OFFLINE   Frankman

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:51 AM

Switching from DR-SES to EV-TOU2 made a huge difference for us in San Diego.  The first four years with our PV system we were on the DR-SES tiered rate schedule.  Our annual electricity bill averaged $230, without any electric vehicles in the house.  After purchasing an EV two years ago we switched to EV-TOU2.  Since switching, our average annual bill is -$200 (negative number), and this includes the charging of one EV for the year.  The swing from $230 to -$200 is not a result of the PV system producing different amounts of energy because it is the same system.  The difference is a result of time-of-use rates rather than a tiered rates.   We were able to see what the difference in the annual bill would be for past periods by using our FIDO energy use monitoring system by Ecodog Inc.  The monitoring system software allows you to run simulations using different utility rate schedules to see which one produces the lowest bill for you.    Note that to get the biggest advantage from a TOU rate plan the PV system needs to be producing the most electricity during the Peak period (Noon to 6 PM in San Diego), and of course you should not be consuming large amounts of electricity during the same period.


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#19 OFFLINE   Baja_Traveler

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 09:51 AM

I'm tiered right now with SDG&E and have had a 3KW solar system on my house for the past 13 years - I'll have to check into the EV-TOU2.

 

I just dropped another $3,000 into the system as my old Xantrex inverter started acting up and is no longer supported, so I replaced it. Other than that it is a pretty hands-off system - unfortunately my roof will need replacing next year, so I will be busy pulling 48 panels down...



#20 OFFLINE   scooter_scum

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 10:17 AM

The price of systems are dropping like rocks.  I think things will bottom out soon.  Starting to see Panel Manufacturing companies going out of business.  A huge surplus in panels lately.  I wrote up my experiences with Solar for IEEE Website at :

http://spectrum.ieee...ar-with-solar/0

I've been very pleased with our system.  The micro-inverters are new. It is interesting technology.  At some point any inverter will start to fail.  Question is -- do you one to change one, or go to each panel and change the inverter.  

 

The big piece is to size it reasonably.  Figure out your current consumption (KWh per year), Add in ~210 KWh/month ( 2,520 KWh/year) for the C-Max.  I figure the pay back for my house was about 4 years, taking into account the increased value of my house with solar panels.  Go with a mainstream vendor.  They will guarantee the installation for 15-20 years.  You want them to be around that long.  I went with REC Solar (http://www.recsolar....-solar-projects)  

 

I think it makes a lot of sense with or without an PHEV.  Go for it!!  Save a polar bear ;)






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