The Lovely Misses and I have been together in Arizona for maybe a month now. While apart (I was living in Vancouver BC meeting the residency requirement for Canadian citizenship; she’s less keen on winter drizzle), we schemed about things we’d like to do with the Arizona house. One of those decisions was to get solar photovoltaics installed. This is quite popular in the southwest, because we have no shortage of sunshine, and electric bills can be quite high due to air conditioning needs.
As a result, there are lots of solar installers, even if you just choose from the cream of the crop, there are still lots of solar installers. There are tax credits from the state and federal governments that are currently scheduled to expire.
We’ve got the interest, we’ve got the funds, and we’ve got the sun.
It was straightforward to get companies to visit and give us quotes, and since we had already “separated the wheat from the chaff” in terms of reputable companies, they all provided quality quotes, most within a day or two. The quotes ranged from about $10,000 to about $15,000, which sounds like a ton of money (OK, it is) – but there are a number of benefits (not the least of which is free electricity):
Here’s the gory details with some translation for the non-technical:
We bought a 4.77Kwh* PV (photovoltaic) system, using Kyocera cells (18 panels) and a SolarEdge Inverter with its “power optimizers”. In contrast to the traditional “string inverters” which arrange panels in series with performance limited to the lowest performer in the string, this has localized devices that manage each panel. This makes the inverter simpler and gives us performance information via web for each panel . The cell performance is guaranteed to 93% of its original performance (265W/cell) for 25 years. The inverter is warranted for 12 years, which is considered its average lifespan.
*The kilowatt-hour … is a unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt (1 kW) of power sustained for one hour. — Wikipedia
The system is over-configured – our average use is only about 60% of an average customer, because we’re both in British Columbia during the summer when temps here are in the high 30s (Celsius) (near 100F). The payback for the initial system (3.6kwh) was about 8 years, but we decided to provision it for the possibility that we (or renters) would be cooling during the summers (we usually set out thermostat at it’s highest setting – about 90F / 32C).
So what happens now that we’ve written the check?
Watch this space.
For the technically-inclined, here are the quote/configuration, and manufacturers’ information.