11 September 2017

Most Retarded Green Thing

OK, you decide you wanna buy solar panels to generate some electricity.


When the local electricity making utility goes tits up, how do you want your spiffy solar panels to behave?

Do you want them to power what they can while the mains are out?

Or do you want them to become decorative shingles?

Turns out, if you go with nearly every solar power installation in Florida, you're buying a power generation system that is offline when the mains are down.


Turns out their real purpose is to feed the mains grid, not to power your house.  This does reduce the amount of power you have to purchase from the mains, but you're making payments on the installation that nearly equals the savings.

But, at least at the end of the payments you're now saving money from what you're selling back to the mains; right?

The term of the loan is identical to the expected lifespan of the panels.

Net savings: zero.

This makes buying a set of panels with this paradigm pointless.

Good news, though, you can have an electrician come out and install an automatic switch that will allow the panels to run your house while the mains are down.  I suspect there's warranty language that forbids it though.

One wonders why this simple and cheap switching system isn't part of the install.


  1. So they'll only do a grid-tied system for you? I thought you could just put up panels and were not required to tie to the grid. I used to work with a guy who did his own. I'll have to try to track him down.

    1. I know that it's not difficult to find a company to sell you a non-tied system. But they aren't the people who've sold a bunch of systems to the McMansion clusters east of here.

  2. Same issue here in Oz - no grid power means no solar power.

    AND, I have just discovered that the local electricity supplier aims to hold grid voltages higher than the standard solar inverter is set to provide.

    This means that the expensive system that you bought is in fact NOT supplying to the grid AT ALL unless and until the voltage drops below what the inverter is set to generate.

    I say, bring on cheap batteries that I can charge with alternately sourced energy, and I'll tell the utility company to pound sand.

  3. I'm sure the contract is longer than when your roof that will need replacing, extra cost there. And then holes in your brand new roof.


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