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doublehelix747 said:   timbui said:   Is the install hard?

I think (but not sure) that you need professional install to get federal and utility incentives. Plus there is this shocking matter of connecting to the grid.


I do these installs.
You do not need professional installation on the federal incentives. Utility / City incentives often require an "authorized" installed - but inquire directly.

Margins on these systems are high, I see average of 40% in my area, but understand that the Sharp panels that I install typically cost over $2/watt...

This is a great deal.

Just FYI - this Sharp panel does NOT qualified for the Federal rebate program since they are class B panel. It is sad that junks made in china qualified for the federal rebate program.

Where you located?

Bestdealseaker- where are you located? I am in Novato and have an electrician that has experience doing these.
Dave

Tcool said:   Just FYI - this Sharp panel does NOT qualified for the Federal rebate program since they are class B panel. It is sad that junks made in china qualified for the federal rebate program.


!!!!!!!!!! Whould you like to point to where it says a blemished panel doesn't qualify for Federal Tax Credit?

I've been on the Solar forum for many years, indeed back before WWW, the Usenet days and haven't heard that one. ANy new panel that meets is installed to code, typically this means UL certification which these are.

Photowhit said:   hpmax said:   ...I think if you are expecting 50 year service life out of the cells you are probably kidding yourself anyway. I'd be shocked if the cells have not degraded to 50% by year 30, if not less. Basically, you're fear mongering..."

I actually have some 30+ year old French made Photowatt panels(made in they have a mfg date of 1979) that were producing 80% of their amperage after about 30 yrs (when I retired them to the shed) measured current off my Trimetric meter at solar noon. For those who haven't setup a solar array 85% is pretty good for new panels setup. I can't speak to wattage, as I was using PWM charge controller but they had at least charging voltage for the 12 volt nominal system. These are older thick cut rounds so I don't know about degradation of the current thinner silicon cells.


I have to second what Photowhit says here. Sharp and Kyocera actually have 40+ years of field(not pencil and paper) experience with their panels and have enough units installed that they can tell you failure rates and output curves with Sigma IV certainty at 35 years. It takes a whole lot of panels to provide certainty within FOUR standard deviations on your data. The French government bought Photowatt from ATS Systems of Canada so they are still in the market but not in North America. They also have a good reputation for quality and data to prove it.

As to fear mongering I think that the following story puts that to rest. Those of us in the engineering profession will admit (if we are honest with our selves) that predicted failure rates are at best a bad guess with no substitute for actual experience. This involves SW812 last year.
"The 737 Classics were supposed to have a safe service life of 60,000 flights. In fact, to meet that standard, they must be judged to be capable of flying twice that number, 120,000 flights—a safety margin, supposedly, of 100 percent. But the Southwest 737 had accumulated 39,781 cycles, a number so alarmingly below the bar set for safety that it has thrown into question the entire safety regime." http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/03/19/is-boeing-s-737... This is not a new issue in the aviation industry. I am old enough to remember DeHavilland Comets falling out of the sky for the same reasons in 1954 and the Air Force having tail sections of 4 B-52's fall of mid flight in 1963-4 and a 747 in 2002. The problem of materials failure in aircraft is an old one but not yet totally slved.

Here you have the micro inverters designed with an operating max of 65C (as per Enphase) mounted underneath a solar panel with a max of 90C. Then add the heat of their own operations converting DC to AC. Saying that doesn't create heat is like saying your computer can't get hot while you use it. I don't see any forced draft cooling fans installed on the micro inverter. That is like depending on natural air flow to cool your computer. Remember these units are rated at 215 watts which is like an ATI 4870 or nVidia GX 570 in heat out put with no fan. Conventional inverters have significant fans to cool them. If you don't mount the micro inverter UNDER the solar panel you will be mounting it in the direct sun which is worse for causing failure. Heat failure in electrical components is something we have even more history to work with.

nsdp said:   ...Remember these units are rated at 215 watts which is like an ATI 4870 or nVidia GX 570 in heat out put with no fan...

We do need to be fair here, They work at above 90% efficiency, so they are only consuming (converting to heat) 10-15 watts normally.

Anyone know where you can buy a single panel for a good price in the Bay Area?

Just wanted to throw out there that I purchased almost all of my Unirac rails and Fronius Inverter from Link. I had no problems and was actually surprised at how fast I received my product. I believe they are a cash only outfit (as I had to wire transfer), but it was very much on the up and up from my experience.

I also second the use of Fronius inverters. My research into choosing a grid tie inverter showed that Fronius provided the most flexible power inputs (and considering how many different panels I had been promised, this was pretty important).

I am currently in the process of a 4.5kw install with 20 Canadian Solar 225w A grade panels. My first string is up and will begin the second string today or tomorrow. I have also found Link to be a valuable resource (although subscription is required).

-TNTitans

I have been very interested in the idea of solar panels but I found I wasnt the right person to take this on
My job was too unstable, I would need assistance, it wasnt really going to increase my home value. This was all discouraging.

But I came up with an alternative plan, I purchased an energy checker and went around the house determining what things were using upenergy. I found that a large portion of my entertainment center was using alot of electricity to be on standby mode. I purchased a remote controlled power strip and my energy conservation plan started, I have made several other adjustment and though I am not using solar energy I have saved money and the plan moves with me if I have to change homes



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