Let the rays of the sun shine down on me...

Every day that I see the shining sun on my solar PV panels it makes me realize that the energy at our fingertips is amazing.  It follows through to the proof on the SunnyBoy inverter in the basement that shows how much energy the panels are making on a daily basis. 

Sizing solar for a new construction home is a difficult task since it is not for sure what the house electrical consumption will be.  When we looked at this we did our best to size the ground mounted solar PV to be approximately 40-50% of the load.  Overtime we can see that every year brings different challenges to the solar.  Some winters are very stormy and a lot of snow, and some springs have brought rain and clouds; all of which affect the solar output. 

I had an unusual situation that allowed us to maximize on the production capacity of the system.  We were able to ground mount the panels up the driveway that was positioned at the exact latitude needed for the panels to sit at all year long.  Many times people install the solar PV on the roof since ground mounted systems often take up a lot of space and also are more costly up front to install.  On my particular house a roof mount was not possible since the house was facing the wrong direction, mostly due south to southeast.  In addition to this there would not have been enough space for the twenty-two panels we installed to be put on the roof. 

I am very happy with the outcome of the system, however the payback on the solar is still lengthy and the investment upfront was expensive.  My system was $30,000 for what you see below and it makes on average of 6,000kw in a year.  That is about $960 worth of power per year when the electric rates are at $0.16/kwhr.  I am still very happy with my solar but after tax credit and rebates it will be about a 15 year payback.  Compared to my geothermal system, which has a 5 year payback solar will just take longer to recognize the investment, but still worth it!