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October 02, 2022, 01:37:47 pm
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Author Topic: Solar Installers  (Read 4081 times)
patric
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These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For


« on: April 03, 2022, 09:38:34 pm »

Anyone have experience dealing with solar power contractors?
Im more up on the tech than I am up on the roof, but just googling for installers is so discouraging when you cant get past some bot that wont let you ask questions without opting-in to something that sounds very spammy.
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patric
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These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For


« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2022, 10:47:23 am »

Filling out the ADT/Sunpro form gets you put on high-rotation robocalls.  Directly emailing them gets you random 'bot responses that just hang on a few keywords:

Congratulations on your new home! It's a very exciting time for you. When a homeowner makes the decision to go solar, not only will they receive great benefits, but you will also add value to your home. Our consultants are well-trained and equipped to provide you with all the necessary details. They build a customized solar system for your home using the square footage of your roof, the amount of sun exposure your roof receives, your kilowatt usage on your electric bill, and other determining factors. The consultants are able to provide you with the most accurate quote once your home is completed. We would love to provide you with information at that time.

Thank you,

Courtney Burris
Retention Agent
(o) 866.450.1012
goadtsolar.com


...and of course, no link to the consultants or any clue why they think my home is new.  Note that "Courtney" is "save team" that typically tries to keep customers from leaving.  I have no idea if Sunpro was this bad before ADT.
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"Tulsa will lay off police and firemen before we will cut back on unnecessarily wasteful streetlights."  -- March 18, 2009 TulsaNow Forum
swake
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2022, 12:04:23 pm »

Filling out the ADT/Sunpro form gets you put on high-rotation robocalls.  Directly emailing them gets you random 'bot responses that just hang on a few keywords:

Congratulations on your new home! It's a very exciting time for you. When a homeowner makes the decision to go solar, not only will they receive great benefits, but you will also add value to your home. Our consultants are well-trained and equipped to provide you with all the necessary details. They build a customized solar system for your home using the square footage of your roof, the amount of sun exposure your roof receives, your kilowatt usage on your electric bill, and other determining factors. The consultants are able to provide you with the most accurate quote once your home is completed. We would love to provide you with information at that time.

Thank you,

Courtney Burris
Retention Agent
(o) 866.450.1012
goadtsolar.com


...and of course, no link to the consultants or any clue why they think my home is new.  Note that "Courtney" is "save team" that typically tries to keep customers from leaving.  I have no idea if Sunpro was this bad before ADT.

Ugh. ADT.
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buffalodan
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2022, 03:29:39 pm »

I have gotten offers from Sunpro, Shine Solar, and have a call with Radical in an hour. For our house, it seems like we are really counting on the cost to borrow money being less than the costs of energy. Its about even over the 25 year lifespan, just depends on increases for PSO.

www.shinesolar.com
https://radicalsolarenergy.com/



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patric
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These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For


« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2022, 04:34:07 pm »


Ugh. ADT.


Yeah. First thing that came to mind is what at&t did to DirecTV, or Generator Supercenter gobbling up all the Generac installers.
It was serendipity that the later gave me the runaround because I later discovered that Generac standby generators produced terrible power with noise spikes and drifting frequency.  Thats the main reason Im only looking at inverter-based power backup.

Great links buffalodan, im going to try to get bids from them, too, but Im tending to favor the ones more local.
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2022, 09:56:42 pm »

I later discovered that Generac standby generators produced terrible power with noise spikes and drifting frequency.  Thats the main reason Im only looking at inverter-based power backup.

Thanks.  I've been thinking for quite a while about whole house generator/back-up. I am on the end of a feeder and am frequently without power when folks across the street are fine.  I don't think I want to go solar yet.  $15 solar.  Haha, with taxes the 1 KWH consumption at my hangar is $22/mo.  Is there a good IC engine on natural gas option?  I laugh at the TV ads that say I could save $thousands/year.  Even in the summer, my PSO bill is typically near $200. (Well, it was before the price of gas got crazy.)  Same for thermal windows that could save me thousands when they are on sale for $hundreds off list price.
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tulsabug
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2022, 07:36:25 am »

Thanks.  I've been thinking for quite a while about whole house generator/back-up. I am on the end of a feeder and am frequently without power when folks across the street are fine.  I don't think I want to go solar yet.  $15 solar.  Haha, with taxes the 1 KWH consumption at my hangar is $22/mo.  Is there a good IC engine on natural gas option?  I laugh at the TV ads that say I could save $thousands/year.  Even in the summer, my PSO bill is typically near $200. (Well, it was before the price of gas got crazy.)  Same for thermal windows that could save me thousands when they are on sale for $hundreds off list price.

Are you on the Average Payment Plan with PSO? Our house, which is uninsulated as hell only rolls about $120 on the APP. Our shop which is 3-phase barely hits over $200 and that's with 2 x 5 ton AC units.
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patric
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These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For


« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2022, 09:24:15 am »

Thanks.  I've been thinking for quite a while about whole house generator/back-up. I am on the end of a feeder and am frequently without power when folks across the street are fine.  I don't think I want to go solar yet.  $15 solar.  Haha, with taxes the 1 KWH consumption at my hangar is $22/mo.  Is there a good IC engine on natural gas option?  I laugh at the TV ads that say I could save $thousands/year.  Even in the summer, my PSO bill is typically near $200. (Well, it was before the price of gas got crazy.)  Same for thermal windows that could save me thousands when they are on sale for $hundreds off list price.

You want your backup power to come from an inverter rather than an alternator if you want any sort of stability.  That rules out the Generac backups that run off of NG.
Generac actually uses drifting frequency as a "feature" to signal their "Smart Management Modules" to shed heavy loads like HVAC when under generator power (which has the added benefit of sparing the HVAC's computer from the dirty generator power).

State-of-the-art solar is also built on Inverters (some are actually located at the solar panels) but you can find Inverter generators that will run off of different fuels like propane.  Why propane when NG is so plentiful in Oklahoma?
The winter storm two February's ago when we had rolling blackouts in Tulsa because Texas ran its electric grid into the ground was a sort of a warning flag not only for our electric supply but the reliability of NG as well.

You can get NG conversion kits for many fossil-fuel generators if you want to stick with that, but consider LPG for this reason:  https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/17/22287130/texas-natural-gas-production-power-outages-frozen

This example:  https://www.lowes.com/pd/DuroMax-9000-Watt-459cc-Dual-Fuel-Digital-Inverter-Hybrid-Portable-Generator/5001851473 will run your 240V stuff but if you only need 120V the price comes down considerably.

« Last Edit: April 20, 2022, 09:32:50 am by patric » Logged

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Red Arrow
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2022, 10:17:00 am »

Are you on the Average Payment Plan with PSO? Our house, which is uninsulated as hell only rolls about $120 on the APP. Our shop which is 3-phase barely hits over $200 and that's with 2 x 5 ton AC units.

I'm not on the Average Payment Plan.  I looked at PSO's offer a few years ago and it cost more for the year to be on the APP.  No surprise there.  My average for the last 12 bills is $120.  The kicker is that my April bill for last year was $88.  This year it was $105 and I actually used a few less KWH this year. 
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buffalodan
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2022, 10:30:08 am »

Our average bill was $70 or so. We have a pretty efficient house and don't use a ton of electricity. But were quoted $4/KW of installed solar panels, so I think we will go with it. I would give radical and shine solar a call. They are two pretty different companies. Radical is much smaller and not as polished, whereas shine solar had fun web apps and all that jazz.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2022, 11:23:51 am »

You want your backup power to come from an inverter rather than an alternator if you want any sort of stability.  That rules out the Generac backups that run off of NG.
Generac actually uses drifting frequency as a "feature" to signal their "Smart Management Modules" to shed heavy loads like HVAC when under generator power (which has the added benefit of sparing the HVAC's computer from the dirty generator power).

State-of-the-art solar is also built on Inverters (some are actually located at the solar panels) but you can find Inverter generators that will run off of different fuels like propane.  Why propane when NG is so plentiful in Oklahoma?
The winter storm two February's ago when we had rolling blackouts in Tulsa because Texas ran its electric grid into the ground was a sort of a warning flag not only for our electric supply but the reliability of NG as well.

This example:  https://www.lowes.com/pd/DuroMax-9000-Watt-459cc-Dual-Fuel-Digital-Inverter-Hybrid-Portable-Generator/5001851473 will run your 240V stuff but if you only need 120V the price comes down considerably.

Inverter technology is a good idea.

I have a gasoline powered emergency generator.  About 5500 running watts, I think. (10 HP motor) It runs the refrigerators, freezer, water well and a small TV.  I run the TV through a computer UPS which is plugged into the generator.  I don't want to run the furnace from it due the the computer stuff in the heater.

I am thinking of whole house backup with automatic transfer switch etc.  The location of the circuit breaker panel is not convenient for selective circuit backup. The transfer switch would have to be outside the house by the electric meter.  As far as natural gas outages, one of the goals for the backup is to have heat in the winter.  I have NG heat.  Air conditioner is 240V.  Stove, cooking oven, clothes dryer, water heater are NG.

I would probably already have the whole house system except that electricity is at one end of the house and NG is about 2/3 of the way toward the other end.  I would like to put the BU gen near the NG service and AC outside unit as it's away from the living areas.  Utility room and garage windows might make staying away from windows difficult without becoming a lawn mowing obstacle.
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2022, 11:47:18 am »

Our average bill was $70 or so. We have a pretty efficient house and don't use a ton of electricity. But were quoted $4/KW of installed solar panels, so I think we will go with it. I would give radical and shine solar a call. They are two pretty different companies. Radical is much smaller and not as polished, whereas shine solar had fun web apps and all that jazz.

My house was well insulated for when it was built in 1968.  I know the insulation in the attic has settled.  I haven't opened up an outside wall to see what's going on there.  I know my windows are energy wasters but doubt replacements would "pay for themselves" in my lifetime.  Plus, if I sealed up all the air leaks, I would need to modify the HVAC to introduce fresh air to the system.
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patric
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2022, 11:55:39 am »

Inverter technology is a good idea.

I have a gasoline powered emergency generator.  About 5500 running watts, I think. (10 HP motor) It runs the refrigerators, freezer, water well and a small TV.  I run the TV through a computer UPS which is plugged into the generator.  I don't want to run the furnace from it due the the computer stuff in the heater.

I am thinking of whole house backup with automatic transfer switch etc.  The location of the circuit breaker panel is not convenient for selective circuit backup. The transfer switch would have to be outside the house by the electric meter.  As far as natural gas outages, one of the goals for the backup is to have heat in the winter.  I have NG heat.  Air conditioner is 240V.  Stove, cooking oven, clothes dryer, water heater are NG.

I would probably already have the whole house system except that electricity is at one end of the house and NG is about 2/3 of the way toward the other end.  I would like to put the BU gen near the NG service and AC outside unit as it's away from the living areas.  Utility room and garage windows might make staying away from windows difficult without becoming a lawn mowing obstacle.

When I went a few rounds with the local Generac salesmen, my plan was to have the transfer switch at the electric meter and plumb into the gas line 12 feet away, but the installers wanted to add a thousand dollars of gas line directly to the meter on the other side of the house.  I had read the installers manual online and pointed out that the generator model I was asking for was well within specs for my existing gas, but they insisted on the largest unit they had in case I wanted to run everything in the house at the same time during a blackout.
IMHO, having every light on in the house when the rest of neighborhood is pitch black is more status-symbol than practical.  I can always bake cookies and run the dryer after the storm is over.

A transfer switch at the electric entrance is going to be logical regardless of what you choose to backup your power with, so think of that as your baseline.
As far as furnace, my owners manual specifically warns against generator power due to the spikes and poor THD ratings from alternator-based generators.
Inverters should give you as close to a rock-solid sine wave as you would get from PSO.
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2022, 02:29:04 pm »

When I went a few rounds with the local Generac salesmen, my plan was to have the transfer switch at the electric meter and plumb into the gas line 12 feet away, but the installers wanted to add a thousand dollars of gas line directly to the meter on the other side of the house.  I had read the installers manual online and pointed out that the generator model I was asking for was well within specs for my existing gas, but they insisted on the largest unit they had in case I wanted to run everything in the house at the same time during a blackout.
IMHO, having every light on in the house when the rest of neighborhood is pitch black is more status-symbol than practical.  I can always bake cookies and run the dryer after the storm is over.

Sounds like some greedy installers.  Max load on the generator should be handled by selected circuits in the transfer switch if you did that rather than whole house.  In my case, I think the electricians' fee for selected circuits would exceed the increased generator cost to go whole house.  I rarely have everything turned on though.  If I feel the need to "bake cookies", I can use the propane gas grill.

ONG moved the gas meter from the back property line to the house a few years ago.  I asked then about what I would need to do to add a generator.  They said they ran a big enough line to the meter to take care of it.


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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2022, 04:28:53 pm »

We have a pretty efficient house and don't use a ton of electricity. But were quoted $4/KW of installed solar panels, so I think we will go with it.

Are you sure you got the units (KW) correct?  240V at 100 Amp service is 24,000 VA which is pretty close to 24KW.  (Electrical guys please add power factor or whatever corrections.  It's been a long time since I took Electrical Power Systems at TU.)  I doubt you can get that in solar panels for $4/KW X 24 KW = $96.  What about the batteries so it works at night?
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