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Mar 21, 2017

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Mike Jones

FAR from Thorium Salts: We have a 7.8kW Solar PV array of 30 panels on the south facing roof of our house in rural Weld Co, Colorado. We purchased it from Solar City and they installed it as a grid tie, net metering system, no storage. It works when the sun is shining and the power is on, it will not work during an outage. It has a system monitor on it that is connected to our wireless network and will give us instantaneous and archived power data. I just pulled it up on my phone, It is 5:12pm 3/21/2017 and it is generating 1.4kWh, the house is presently using 1.4kWh. So far today, there has been 24.6kWh produced and 11.3kWh used for a 219% energy offset. The avg cloud cover today has been 52%. From Jul 2 2015 until Jan 1 2017 the system has averaged a 70% energy offset. It will be paid off next month. The system was $28K, so the payoff was me, not all the Sun. It was calculated when installed that it would pay for itself in about 18 years, depending on the price of electricity. As I retired in January, I didn't want a mortgage to live with, so now I owe something like $250 which I will finish off in April. The system has a 30 year bumper-to-bumper warranty on parts and labor. They told me that the inverter, now about $1800, will probably go south in about ten years and they will replace it. These systems now aren't yet the whiz bang things you see in movies, they are still being improved for both size vs output and length of life. The net metering arrangement means that the electric coop that I am a member of out here pays me for each kWh at the same price that I pay them. If I produce more than 125% of what I use, on a yearly basis, Jul 1 to Jun 30, they pay everything over 125% at the rate they commercially pay for power. The utility meter was replaced with a two-way remotely read electronic meter that automates how all of that is tracked by the utility. There is another meter, the old spinning wheel type that just measures what the PV array is producing. It is a REAL thrill to go out there and that old fashioned meter is spinning away and it is totally silent, you can only hear the money moving. LOL
I don't know if this is a kind of topic that anyone is interested in, but I'm a bit of a tech geek and I do, or have done, all sorts of oddball tech stuff, primarily electronic, since graduating from WHS in '68.
I want the system to operate during a utility outage, while I am running on a backup alternator. I emailed Solar City the other day, but haven't heard from them yet. I am constructing a controller that will start the generator and operate the transfer switch to transfer the load to the alternator. It isn't mandatory to utilize the solar array in an outage, it's a geek thing. MJones 3/21/17

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