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O.T. My Backyard


Paul K

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Seriously for a moment: I use solar powered fencers, the units that provide the juice to my electric fences. They're always fully charged and have paid for themselves in saved electricity costs. They provide a pretty good jolt and the stock won't challenge the fences now.

 

How much of your house are the panels powering?

 

O.K., now back to the nincompoopety.

 

 

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The panels supposedly will provide about 72% of my electricity. More if I get off my butt and replace the 20 year old fridge we have. Even more when I get a couple four dump trucks of junk to fill my swimming pool. It needs a new liner and coping, and I just don't want a pool that bad. In fact, I hate that goddamn pool. The meter runs backwards on sunny days, so I sell power back to the electric company when I generate more than I use.

 

Break even point is supposedly about 7 years if energy costs only rise slightly. The project would be totally unthinkable without the federal and state rebate things. There are probably wiser investments that I could have made, but this one makes me feel good and is totally passive on my part: I don't have to decide when to sell, etc. And I won't have to pay income taxes on the "found" money.

 

edit...(I could be off on the 7 year break even thing: Seat of the pants calculations has me at 10 years...I dunno....)

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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I think all I have to do is show up. Maybe squeegee the panels if they get dirty; you know how birds can be. As the sun's angle changes, I'll have to change the angle of the panel (which is an advantage of the pole mounted panels vrs roof), but that should be pretty easy from the looks of the back of it. I Just wouldn't want to do it on a windy day. That, and plant some grass seed where they put the cable into the ground.

 

The crew needs to return once more (but I don't know why), and my local electric utility needs to show up once to inspect the whole thing and install the type of meter that runs backwards. I've been told they tend to be tardy in this task. Bastards.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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Seriously for a moment: I use solar powered fencers, the units that provide the juice to my electric fences. They're always fully charged and have paid for themselves in saved electricity costs.
We got the pathway lights with solar panels on top. Worked great for one year; now they don't. It appears that the AA rechargeables (two per unit) went bad. That's an awful lot of rechargeable batteries for me to be chucking into a landfill every year!

 

I was talking to a buddy about going solar. He said we don't get enough sunshine for that to break even. (Eventually the cells need replacing, no?) Maybe with some government funding that picture changes?

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We're not self sufficient as we don't have a bank of batteries, so we buy from the electric company when we need more, and sell to the electric company when we make more than we need. And we still need propane for the furnace, stove, and hot water.

 

It was sunny today; I think we generated about 22 killowatt hours. But I'm not sure 'cause the computery thing reset itself for tomorrow. I could look it up on the web, but I'm not that much of a geek: I care, but not that much.

 

The federal and state subsidies paid for about 60% of the project; without it, the deal would certainly be dead in the water. We'll see in March if Turbo-Tax will give me a tax deduction for what I had to pay; that'd be cool. I know that if I go ahead with the hot water on demand thing, NYS will give me a chunk of change back as a tax rebate, not just a tax deduction.

 

Radio Shack will take your used Ni-Cad's for recycling. I've replaced them in other cheap solar lights, but didn't have much success as the rest of the light was sort of crapping out at the same time. And I've got a bunch of them now that do a relentless blink on and off disco thing. Might be cheaper for me to replace the whole unit if I find them on clearance, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to take them apart and give them a good cleaning before shitcanning them.

 

The panels have an expected lifespan of 30 years, which is longer than I expect to live here.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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  • 4 weeks later...

OK, so today's electric bill is for $-9.32. Yup. Negative number. It's sort of a pain in the ass to figure out since the utility estimates every other bill, so you've got to get out the last two bill so figure out what you actually used. But pretty cool, nonetheless.

 

 

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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