DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Walls and Ceilings > Vaulted Ceilings and Solar Panels




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Old 08-03-2014, 05:21 AM  
costelme
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Default Vaulted Ceilings and Solar Panels

I am getting ready to settle on my house, small house a little out of the way. My parents have been toying with the idea of solar panels and I have looked at them for my house as well, mostly to save on energy costs as I have well water and will use extra power just for that.
The problem I have seen is that all my ceilings are vaulted, straight up to the roof. A nice touch aesthetically but a possible nightmare for solar panels from what I can tell.
First, how can I go about reinforcing the ceiling/roof for solar panels (inside beams? build an attic?)?
Second, about how much should I budget for this (ballpark is fine obviously no one can give me an exact)?
Third, can I live in the house while this reinforcement goes on?

This is not something I plan on doing right away but I seriously want to make sure I get the most out of the property for the duration of my owning it and then be able to make a decent return. I don't want some shoddy job, I would love to increase is aesthetic charm while reinforcing the structure itself.
Thanks.



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Old 08-03-2014, 09:30 AM  
CallMeVilla
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Maybe things are different in NJ, but here in the land of solar power, nobody reinforces their roofs to install solar. Have you consulted with solar companies about this? I have seen full roof installations on all manner of roof lines with no restructuring required.

Start with solar company assessment of your roof before going crazy.



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Old 08-03-2014, 09:58 AM  
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I used to work for a solar panel manufacturer and the saying was "you'll be dead before you see a payback on your investment".
20 years is the break even point on a solar installation.

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Old 08-03-2014, 10:04 AM  
costelme
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Yikes...okay then. Thanks for the advice. Probably not something I would ever hear from a solar company I was soliciting for quotes.

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Old 08-03-2014, 06:07 PM  
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Well, KOK, that was in the old days ... when you had to buy banks of batteries to store the power. Modern solar systems benefit from state and federal rebates PLUS the power is fed back into the utility grid which "banks" the excess kW in credit to you!

No expensive batteries. There are multiple plans available:

1. Lease the equipment and let the power generated be credited. The solar company retains the rebates.
2. Buy the entire operation and you keep the rebates. You also let the power credit or debit get handled through your electric meter.
3. You buy NOTHING but contract with the solar company at a set rate per kW for 20 years which is decidedly under the rate now being charged by the local utility. The company is responsible for upkeep and repairs. They also keep the rebate (but you never spent a dime, so who cares).

Option #3 might be the best ... Times have certainly changed, haven't they?

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Old 08-04-2014, 12:48 AM  
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All roofs are not equal. If a roof is designed for a heavy snow load it will have much more structure in it and they limit how many layers of shingles because of the added weight so having the roof checked for the added weight would be a good idea.

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Old 08-04-2014, 07:30 AM  
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My son recently installed solar panels on his home. Since I have always been a neigh-sayer about wasting money on this, he has been documenting his bill for me. His Electric bill was averaging ~$350 a month, but his last three summer electric bills were all under $1.00. With the zero percent interest for the solar panels and installation, along with the tax rebates, he is actually saving ~150.00 a month.

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Old 08-04-2014, 08:38 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havasu View Post
My son recently installed solar panels on his home. Since I have always been a neigh-sayer about wasting money on this, he has been documenting his bill for me. His Electric bill was averaging ~$350 a month, but his last three summer electric bills were all under $1.00. With the zero percent interest for the solar panels and installation, along with the tax rebates, he is actually saving ~150.00 a month.
How much was his initial outlay in $ ?

There's no denying that you will see an immediate reduction in cost of utilities but, how long will it take to get your total investment back?

As far as I know, energy credits for solar installations have expired thus, the demise of the company that I worked for.
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:47 AM  
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It is a 15 year loan, and after credits, cost him ~ $20K.

I believe the difference is the fact that his house is over 4000 square feet, with a huge pool and Jacuzzi. My little house would never justify this expense, and with summer electric bills running less that ~$150 a month, would not be worth it.

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Old 08-04-2014, 08:49 AM  
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The biggest factor for my son was the fact that electric prices will never go down, and only up. He is banking on the fact that in 10 years, electric bills will probably run in excess of $500 a month, but for him, maybe ~$3.00?

You also need to consider this house is in Southern California, where the average price per home is $3/4 million, and the installation of the solar panels will be a great perk for any new home buyers.



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