Solar Power and STX questions
No, it's not a silly condo association. The Condo Assoc. doesn't heat water, individual owners do so they don't charge us extra. The tankless water heaters are working great for some owners & have dramatically reduced the cost - but not the ones from Home Depot, the ones that are ordered from the States. My condo is sold with cash payment. I did OK.
"as in your moving or dying? I hope moving haha"
Both, actually which I'm sure you'll be happy to hear.
Cory: One of the most annoying things to long term residents and bahn heres is to have new people tell them how things should be done. If one wishes not to be annoying, it is a good idea to keep one's mouth closed and eyes open.
Trade: If you leave, who am I going to annoy when singing "that song"?
at least until you're registered voter
Today in the local Phx, AZ newspaper there is an article about a couple in Bullhead ( on the Colorado River next to CA) that erected two wind turbines. Now there are fighting with the city about them.
I know it isn't solar, but it is off the grid power. So I guess if you are interested in turbine power, you should make sure they are legal.
i think the rule here is that you have to have an acre in order to erect wind power, and thats in case it falls over,they don't want it hitting anything on the neighbors property which is a way to force people to stay "on the grid". i have a half acre and i'm pretty sure nothing would get hit if it fell
Thanks for your kind words Mr long term resident East Ender....
Do you see in any of my posts telling people what to do? NO
Sorry if you think i am being annoying. I lived on STT for 7 years and have been visiting the carribean since before i can remember. I am finally turning a dream into a reality, i am finally moving back to the USVI, a place that i truly love and i have found that solar power is the way for me to get back there, make a living and help people. Last thing i need are snooty replies from "long term" residents. I am here to learn more about STX, becasue i know very little and to talk to people about solar power. If you dont like it, dont read it.
If one wishes not to be a forum troll, its a good idea to keep one's mouth closed and eyes open.
Good advise. I hope you take it.
Cory: I wish you much luck.
Snooty face EE 😉
Cory - sounds like you will enjoy St Croix - after 7 years in STT
honestly solar is a great idea but once again the start up costs are just way too much for someone like me, and i just don't need to hear all the blah blah blah about it, if you have the 10 to 15 grand to get me started on solar good,i'll take it, there are alot of people here on island that are in the same financial category as myself and we just don't need to hear all the promises unless we get help setting it up, so unless you can offer us "average" income people something your solar idea basically sucks
"there are alot of people here on island that are in the same financial category as myself and we just don't need to hear all the promises unless we get help setting it up, so unless you can offer us "average" income people something your solar idea basically sucks"
All i can say is wow... you guys are harsh.
That's OK though, cause i am here to teach and educate about solar the best i can.
You said that "my" solar idea basically sucks. First of all its not "my" idea, and it doesn't suck. You said it yourself "honestly solar is a great idea"
People consider renewable energy for many reasons, for most people it's more of a financial decision than anything. A renewable energy system such as a solar thermal(solar hot water), or solar electric system(solar electricity), makes great fiscal sense. In the VI, you have incredible natural resource in the sun coupled with WAPA's almost criminal electric rate. Solar Power makes sense more than ever before...especially with the new net-metering/grid connection and the VI Energy Office rebates.
This is the troubling part:
The cost of energy today in the territory is about .36/kWh. The next increase is right around the corner(about 7cents/base rate not LEAC). Electricity cost for the territory is directly related to price of oil, which closed @ $115 a barrel today. The current rate of electricity set by WAPA is based on $80 per barrel of oil. Oil is projected to possibly hit $150 a barrel this year! WAPA is in serious financial trouble.
Where do you think the price of electricity is going? How much do you think you will pay for energy for next 5 years? For the next 25 years? These are questions that you cannot answer only speculate. Personally i would bet that prices aren't going to go down and that the territory and WAPA has some real challenges ahead.
Yes the initial costs are the worst part. I like to think of it as paying for my energy in advance for the next 6-8 years. After that you are still producing your own power for free. When rates go up, you are still producing the same amount of power. You are protected against the next rate hike and your payback time goes down.
So yes a 10-15 grand investment is tough to swallow, but after 6-8 years you will have more money in your wallet for the 25 years after that....and the investment is all under failure and efficiency warranty.
Average Income? Don't have 10-15 grand under the bed, ever think of financing? Got decent credit?
You can pay less to your bank in the form of a loan than you would to WAPA in the form of electric bill, yes you can actually lower your bills. The downside to this is that instead of 6-8 years free and clear you are paying interest so your payback time is extended.
You are guaranteed in the long run to save a considerable amount of money, not to mention all things good about going green.
So, i don't accept your comment of "your solar idea basically sucks", first of all cause its not my idea and 2nd of all it makes great sense for mother earth, and your wallet in the long run.
oh blah blah blah do you honestly think that people like me have that kind of money set aside, if you do you're nuts, when we do have any money set aside it generally goes for dumb ass emergency's like a car dies and we need a new one,or it's slow at work and we need the cash for the mortgage and utilitiies and yes we have credit but hey if solar is so good why should'nt you finance us, give it to us for free or help finance us at a base rate for supplies and then let us sell you our excess energy back and then you in turn sell it to wapa,and oh no that would never happen because you're a entoupener(sp) and you care about people and the enviroment so much,please stay home and give me a break
and honestly no i am not bitter,i'm just tired of people like you trying to "save "us, i've seen too much of that over the years
TRW, you dont know me and i dont know you. I dont appreciate your "bitter" tone and your judgment of my character. I am an entrepreneur, I want to make a living on my own, does that make my moral character bad? I want to come there to make a living and a difference, to help people and the environment. Nothing i can say will change your view im sure.
Judge me for who i am, not what i am. You sir are in no position to judge me. You are obviously burned by some people in the past of "people like me" trying to "save" you. Well maybe....just maybe i am not a loaded, money hungry, self centered con artist like you imply.
PS. Just cause you test my moral character.....
We are working a way for us to buy down loan percentrage points to lower income families. We are in talks with financial institutions mainland and locally. I am also working on a benefit with local musicians to come play to raise money for solar power to get put on schools and the hospitals, but i only have 2 musicians so far and wont be able to do alot ore until i get down there.
Have a good night.
PSS, id be happy to meet you when i get down there, so you can properly judge me and my moral character, but until then, you give me a break.
I too get put off by people coming down and trying to change the way things are done to the way they are done in the states because they think it's better.
But...trw, and others, that's not the same as what Cory is bringing to the table. He isn't saying the way they do it in "America" is better than the way we do it, and that we need to adopt stateside ways. What he is bringing is also new(ish) in the states and other countries, as well. The whole world is realizing, more than ever, that we must explore alternative energy, and we actually have better natural resources here than a lot of places, and we definitely have a greater need because of our WAPA situation.
I know a lot of people (probably most) here can't afford the initial investment, and that really is the part that sucks. The people who can afford it are the same people who can afford to pay their WAPA bill. I haven't explored energy credits, and that sort of thing, so I don't know what is available, if anything, as far as financial assistance, etc. That would certainly be worth looking into. If there isn't a program in place to assist, then maybe that would be a good platform for our esteemed senators to jump onto. But with a government run electric company, well I don't expect too much.
Anyway, enough soapbox! Also, I'm not saying Cory's company is the way to go. I don't know him and haven't talked to him. There may be other and/or better companies available to us, but do keep an open mind.
I take that back...I did talk to him, but it was about apartments.
Cory, I still want to talk about solar even though you didn't rent from me.:)
hey like i said,i'm not bitter nor am i judging,you just need to make stuff like this affordable for the majority of people that live here,and all the blather in the world about payback in the long run does no good,make it cheap upfront and take your profit on the backend of the deal and you'd probally got more people interested,or do the financing yourself so people don't have to run to the bank and deal with them
I will be very interested in hearing from Cory after he comes for his visit. Please post and tell us how you did.
Cory I recently built a small house and tried to find a way to incorporate solar or wind but I just couldn't afford it.
If there was a program to affordably finance and install a system I would be psyched to be informed about it.
I think tha t why some people will not go for the long term investment, is that they are not here for the long term. A year or two, a few years, maybe ten years. Of course some stay forever, but I think not the majority.
I'm interested in Solar energy, but have some questions and concerns that maybe you can help us understand:
- help us understand the basics here. Let's say (just for a simple example) we have 1000 sqft of roof area:
- how much of that roof area is suitable for solar panels (angle of roof, weight concerns, construction issues, zoning laws, etc.)
- how many kW of power can be generated in USVI latitudes
- in today's dollars, what would the approximate material and installation costs be
- (maybe some people without solar power can post their electric bills/1000 sqft of roof area)
- what are the maintenance needs of solar panels in the USVI?
- if the solar cells go on our roof, that also collects our drinking water, do we need to be concerned that the materials (enclosures, tubing, caulking, etc) may leach toxins into our drinking water?
- given 100+ MPH hurricane winds, how well are the solar panels protected from wind forces (lifting the panels or ripping connections) and flying debris?
- isn't this technology still in kind of an "early adopter" stage, where there could be significant improvements in longevity and power output in the next 10 years that would make the 6 year payback period much less relevant? I know this gets to be a bit subjective, but since you've studied this more closely than many of us, I'd be interested in your thoughts.
- are there good online forums for solar panel technology (there must be!)? How about online magazines, or paper magazines?
Yeah, finally poeple are lightening up on Cory! He only had mentioned his purpose for coming aside from the obvious! Cory is not really introducing anything new to the VI. My finace' has delved in Solar for at least 15 years now if not longer! It takes time and you can move slowly and add as you can afford. We are always interested in the subject and thankful that we will have more options as the more compotition the better! Good Luck and keep us posted!
Landed today on STX @ 3:35, 2 weeks of fun in the sun and talking solar power!! Tomorrow off to pick up our solar panel at the energy office that we left here after the Ag-fair, and then off to spread the word. Thank you for all the positive and even the negative replies about solar power. If anything its good to see people talking about renewable energy 🙂 Speaking of good energy, who knows where we can go experience some live reggae. In February we went to a reggae awards show over at club 54, it was fantastic! The Ag-fair also had multiple stages with live music going on. Mada Nile and red-i band had everyone dancing on the last day. SO where is the red-i band playing, anyone know?
SO happy to be here!!!
As an engineer (and future WAPA customer), I wanted to understand the basics of the solar energy pay-back question. I posted my question to Cory, but then decided to just delve into it myself. I got some info from Cory (thanks Cory), and lots of info from the web. As you can imagine, there are MANY “special” circumstances, but I just settled on what I thought might be a typical, vanilla, no thrills setup. Here is my “back of the envelope” look at this.
Let’s look at putting just one standard panel (2100 watt system = 150 sqft) on a USVI typical house:
- 150 sqft panel is roughly 20 ft by 8 ft, so lets say we have a south facing roof with:
- a clean roof section for that panel (no vents, stacks, etc)
- no big trees shading this roof section (or anything else that might shade)
- (note: this will not work well on an east, west or north facing roof)
- we’ll just put the panel flat on the south facing roof section, with no special angling because:
- at USVI latitudes, a typical pitch of 6/12 (22.5 degrees from horizontal) is 1-2% from optimum
- angling is a bit more expensive to do (labor)
- angling exposes the panels to winds more
- we could track the Sun, but that’s more expensive, so we won’t
- how much will it cost for this one panel system:
- with this typical setup there is no need for special cabling runs, or special angling of panels or safety gear for the installers
- let’s not use battery backup (we’re not trying to go off the grid, we just want to cut the WAPA usage)
- 3-4 guys will produce a final working system in 3-4 days
- labor and material for a system this size is about $25k
- USVI purchase rebate is about $7000 if you can buy/build this over two years ( http://www.dsireusa.org)
- Federal tax rebate is $2000 ( http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_tax_credits#s4)
- Total upfront cost = $25k - $7k - $2k = $16k
- how much energy will we get from this:
- we’ll get continuous 2100 watts of power as long as the Sun is out and directly on the cells.
- but the Sun is off angle in the early morning, late day, and Winter vs Summer; and there are cloudy days, and humidity blocks Sun power.
- So, let’s average to get “effectively” 5 hours of full Sun/day ( http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/pubs/redbook/)
- that gives us 5 hours * 2100 watts = 10500 watt-hours (10.5 kWh) each day (on average)
- how $much will we save each day by using this solar panel:
- WAPA currently charges $0.36/kWh
- So, we save 10.5 kWh/day * $0.36/kWh = $3.78/day (on average)
- How long does it take for the system to pay for itself
- $3.78 * 365 days = $1380/year
- if WAPA costs stayed the same then $16k cost / $1.38k savings/year = 11.5 years
- if WAPA rates go up, then of course the pay-off time is reduced
- what are some of the other issues to consider:
- the panels have to be taken down (and stored somewhere) if winds strong enough to lift rocks are anticipated (look for simple removal/re-install capability).
- if the roof needs to be replaced anytime soon, you probably want that done first.
- you probably want to clean the glass every month or so
- make sure that the mounting system meets/exceeds Dade county, Florida standards (the most stringent US standards for Hurricanes)
- the materials used have to be non-toxic because our drinking water is running over+around these panels.
- typical warranties are 20-25 years (cell failure, >80% efficiency); 5-10 year inverter warranty.
- financing will change the pay back period.
EngRMP - Thank you for that write up. While I'm not in the market for solar at this time I'm always interested in alternative ways to do things. That was the clearest, easy to understand explanation I've seen. Thanks!!!
The one factor you did not take into consideration is how much energy you are using during any period of time.
For instance my home, as I draft this reply , is currently using 400 watts of power. Any energy solar or wind energy I generate above this amount would be lost because a system without batteries can't store it. The savings would be just .4 x $.36 or $0.14 per hour. In the next hour if I turn on some appliances or do laundry I might be using 2,000 - 3,000 watts. Then I could use all the solar power being generated.
Unless you can coordinate your use of electricity with when the sun is shinning brightly you aren't going to be able to use your system's entire solar output. This is why many solar systems include batteries to store the excess energy produced when the sun is shinning.