Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by MacGyver » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:36 am

Shawn wrote:I think I'd be able to add to the price of the house if I had to sell though.
If you keep good records/data and you can show how much the new owners would be saving with them, then yeah you could defo add to the price of the home and they would indeed be valuable added extras.
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Fenrig » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:58 pm

I've never sold property but if you think you can increase your property's sale price because of the panels or even that you can actually talk to the prospective buyers or show them any data you've compiled, I'd advise you to check with a real-estate agent first.

I don't think that any of this logical-thinking applies.

IMHO if you put in solar panels, they are a sunk cost and there is nothing for it but to wait it out for years in order to reap a profit.

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Wage Slave » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:15 pm

I think that overstates it. I agree that people who think that they can recover the full cost or even make a profit on things like a new kitchen are sadly mistaken. It might enhance the value slightly and it might make the house more saleable but that's it.

At the other end of the spectrum are things like land tax that has been paid for the year in advance. The seller simply adds the the cost form the date of sale to the end of the year to the amount of the sale.

I think solar panels would be closer to the second category because you can show a clear income stream from them. You do run the risk that it might put off a buyer or they may decide to play hardball over it. In that case you always have the option of calling their bluff and/or finding another buyer of course.

Anyway, there is no problem with communicating what is and isn't included in the sale. That's normal and necessary to achieve an agreement. What the market will bear in terms what you paid for it is another question but as there is an income stream in this case my feeling is that it shouldn't be too problematic.

Still, it is something worth factoring in to your calculations before spending the money that's for sure.
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by MacGyver » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:23 pm

Wage Slave wrote:What the market will bear in terms what you paid for it is another question
Yep that's the rub. An awesome example is a mate of mine is currently trying to sell his apartment in an up and coming part of town that is becoming extremely popular and a sort after place to live. He bought for 39 million and the only thing he has done is replace the floorboards but he and his realtor thinks (due to the above) that he can sell it for 47 million. Can he/will he? No idea but I do think he's dreaming but only time will tell. Point is he can only get whatever someone is prepared to pay no matter how awesome he thinks the place is....
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Shawn » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:16 pm

Wage Slave wrote:It might enhance the value slightly and it might make the house more saleable but that's it.
I'd say that's about right. No way solar panels would noticeably increase the price of the house, but it would certainly be a selling point.

The potential of solar panels is now becoming more apparent to me. A few of my neighbors have systems of varying size. If you had an entire neighbourhood with solar panels and hooked everyone together, you could dramatically reduce your need for TEPCO. :clap:

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Wage Slave » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:10 pm

That's true. Just to motivate you further I hear that the likes of TEPCO absolutely hate the fact they are compelled to buy power from householders. They complain they have to build capacity to cover the periods when demand is high but solar can't contribute much to the supply but then have to scale back production at their plants to buy in expensive power from householders when the sun is shining. Tough titty.

The nice thing about solar is you know that a good chunk of the production will marry up with high demand. In other words when it is hot you are going to be producing lots of power for the air conditioners and refrigeration units. There will be considerable benefits over the summer months and that means that the installation has a lasting and predictable financial value. I think as well as a selling point it will add some value to a home. How much and under what terms will be a matter for the market to sort out. My guess is that it won't be highly marginal in the same way fitting a new kitchen or decorating the place with designer wallpaper is though.
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by MacGyver » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:27 pm

Shawn wrote:If you had an entire neighbourhood with solar panels and hooked everyone together, you could dramatically reduce your need for TEPCO. :clap:
Well, I've been saying for quite a while now in regards to reducing our dependence on coal and nuclear power we need a paradigm shift. Instead of having a central power station, if every roof was fitted with solar panels, we wouldn't need power stations. Now, that probably strictly isn't true but it would reduce our dependence on them greatly. And I also don't know if it would be possible resources-wise to fit 500 million houses/apartment buildings with solar panels. Furthermore, not all places in the world would get much advantage from solar power. But again the idea is we reduce dependence on unsustainable/polluting sources. Maybe one day we could have sustainable energy in every part of the world but certainly in the short to mid-term, this would be an awesome start.
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Edogaijin » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:37 pm

MacGyver wrote:
Shawn wrote:If you had an entire neighbourhood with solar panels and hooked everyone together, you could dramatically reduce your need for TEPCO. :clap:
Well, I've been saying for quite a while now in regards to reducing our dependence on coal and nuclear power we need a paradigm shift. Instead of having a central power station, if every roof was fitted with solar panels, we wouldn't need power stations. Now, that probably strictly isn't true but it would reduce our dependence on them greatly. And I also don't know if it would be possible resources-wise to fit 500 million houses/apartment buildings with solar panels. Furthermore, not all places in the world would get much advantage from solar power. But again the idea is we reduce dependence on unsustainable/polluting sources. Maybe one day we could have sustainable energy in every part of the world but certainly in the short to mid-term, this would be an awesome start.
I think they could make solar power compulsory for new houses costing more than x in certain favorable locations (southerly aspect?) and offer some kind of tax rebate in exchange. ie. If you're going to spend too much on your house it should at least have solar panels on it.

We went with a flat roof Sekisui BJ which is cheaper than a sloping roof...with the savings we put 18 panels on the roof. The panels are sloped of course. We then also went for the more expensive stainless steel roof to prevent leakage if there was to be any in having a flat roof. Our other option was to put a huge deck on the roof accessible by a spiral staircase off the balcony. with views of Mt. Fuji. I decided that I can still see Fuji from the balcony and didn't need the roof-top setting. And you can only get a good look at Fuji on cold winter mornings anyway..

People who don't want to make use of the sun have the option of living in cheaper shady land. :luck:

Also, nice figures with your profit/loss Shawn. Do you use gas as well?
With my sons. the house is on fire electrically 24 hours a day so my 5000 to 7000 yen rebates don't often make a big enough dent in the 18000 to 28000 yen electric bill. ( we have no gas so all cooking and bath water is electric )

Floor heating only charges up on nightly off peak power between 11pm and 5 a.m. Stores the heat in 6 large metal boxes that release the heat when the thermostat tells it too. The house is warm as toast all winter.
The floor heating has 3 settings. If we put it on the 2 higher settings it eats into the electric bill...if we keep it on one it's almost no change. And one was good enough all winter except for 2 nights we bumped it up to 2.

My wife also has a habit of drying all the clothes in the shower on off-peak power every night. There is a dryer installed in the roof of the bathroom. This also cuts down on mold and allows a nice warm room for a wake-up shower in winter mornings. Dishwasher also only goes on after 11p.m.

When and if the kids move out of home our electric bill should halve.
:pee: my money away...

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by allblacks » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:00 pm

When and if the kids move out...

Im afraid the only way is tough love. Otherwise you are stuck with them for ages. Hikikomori anyone?

Personally, I got kicked out at 18. I wasnt really ready but thems the breaks. I dont see my kids living with me past 20 years old.
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Shawn » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:11 pm

MacGyver wrote: And I also don't know if it would be possible resources-wise to fit 500 million houses/apartment buildings with solar panels. Furthermore, not all places in the world would get much advantage from solar power. But again the idea is we reduce dependence on unsustainable/polluting sources. Maybe one day we could have sustainable energy in every part of the world but certainly in the short to mid-term, this would be an awesome start.
Retrofitting 500 million homes is not likely. It's all case by case as you suggest. It's wiser to choose the renewable energy that suits your locale. This is why Denmark is going great guns with wind power instead of solar. Solar has become very affordable and the benefits of installing panels on your house, if you can, make solar a no-brainer, IMO.

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Shawn » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:22 pm

Edogaijin wrote:We went with a flat roof Sekisui BJ which is cheaper than a sloping roof...
Oh those Japanese and their bizarre porn...
:bye:
Edogaijin wrote:Also, nice figures with your profit/loss Shawn. Do you use gas as well?
Yes. Good that you bring this up because it was a big factor in the purchase of the panels. Had we gone full electric with IH cooking and a water heater, the cost would have been over Y2 million as oppose to the Y1.4 million I paid. Keeping gas is kind of like a backup plan in case the power goes out in a disaster. I should at least be able to boil water and do some cooking. I'm not really a fan of IH, either. Just not used to it I guess. Adjusting the intensity of a flame is just so much easier.

At the moment, my gas bill is pretty low since my kids are still young. That will probably change as they grow up. :(

Edogaijin wrote:Floor heating only charges up on nightly off peak power between 11pm and 5 a.m. Stores the heat in 6 large metal boxes that release the heat when the thermostat tells it too. The house is warm as toast all winter.
Interesting setup. My next project is to look into floor heating. The floors are cold during the winter and I wonder if floor heating or some extra insulation will help cut my heating bills in the winter.

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Wage Slave » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:33 pm

And I see from testing that the panels are expected to work for 30 years - nice.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8386460.stm
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Wage Slave » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:40 pm

Shawn wrote:My next project is to look into floor heating. The floors are cold during the winter and I wonder if floor heating or some extra insulation will help cut my heating bills in the winter.
Insulation! All depends on how old/good quality the house is but the benefits could be dramatic. The only problem I can see is that it makes a devil of a mess as you have to tear all the plasterboard out and replace. You could do it room by room though. I saw some nice videos on You Tube of an American guy working through an older house here. It had absolutely no insulation at all when he started :roll: .
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Shawn » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:52 pm

Wage Slave wrote:Insulation! All depends on how old/good quality the house is but the benefits could be dramatic. The only problem I can see is that it makes a devil of a mess as you have to tear all the plasterboard out and replace. You could do it room by room though. I saw some nice videos on You Tube of an American guy working through an older house here. It had absolutely no insulation at all when he started :roll: .
I like my floors. Don't know what kind of wood it is, but it's nice. I have access to the crawl space under the house, so adding insulation from below would save me from having to do anything to the flooring itself. I hope.

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Wage Slave » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:07 am

Yep, that sounds doable but the walls lose lots and lots of heat too. And the roof of course though it may just about be possible to squeeze into the loft to insulate there. I'd be interested to hear what you discover-I haven't seen loft, floor or any insulation in the DIY sheds - maybe I haven't been looking hard enough. I have wood floors too that I quite like but they get cold enough to need slippers all winter. I got chilblains last year so got a proper pair from the UK for this year.
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Shawn » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:15 pm

Wage Slave wrote:Yep, that sounds doable but the walls lose lots and lots of heat too. And the roof of course though it may just about be possible to squeeze into the loft to insulate there. I'd be interested to hear what you discover
I have roof access and found to my surprise that it has a layer of real insulation! :clap: Don't know about the walls, though. I'll have to see what I can do with the floors, as, like you, I have to wear slippers all the time to keep my feet from freezing. It's warmer now, but the winters are bad...

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Wage Slave » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:58 pm

You inspired me to go and have a look at mine. Access would be easy except for the fact they decided to hide it in a cupboard. Not so bad, so far - And then built a shelf into the cupboard just below the hatch - Well still I'm skinny and with a bit of contortion still OK. And then fitted a bracing rod that runs diagonally over the top of the hatch. There might just be enough room to squeeze past that but no way with the shelf in place. :evil: Idiots!

Anyway I was able to poke my head in and all looks very good up there. Steel roof supports all covered in shiny paint, no evidence of moisture anywhere, no bad smells, very little dust AND about 50mm of insulation. I see though that at least 100mm and preferably 270mm is recommended in the UK. I have a feeling I will be looking to cut a new access hatch and at ways of increasing that to at least 100mm. A fold down loft ladder would be way too much to ask for, no doubt. In the UK you get government subsidy up to 100% to do this - but here of course the big companies/METI aren't interested so .......In fact the big companies believe you should be consuming more electricity not less as it can all be made here in Japan via nuclear.

I have never understood why Japanese people don't use the loft for storage as is near universal in the UK - there's masses of unused secure, dry space up there. I'll have to look at boarding over a section near the new hatch for that too.

Here's a nice bit of info an loft insulation and using your loft:

http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/In- ... insulation

Floor insulation looks a fair bit trickier although you have the advantage in Japan that there is a crawl space under the house. I think it should be doable - Just a matter of stapling boards to hold insulation in place underneath. You will need to be nice and organised though - It's more a very uncomfortable slither space in my house.

A bit more info here:

http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/In- ... insulation

If you have an airconditioner fitted or changed it is a perfect opportunity to assess your wall insulation because they need to make a decent size hole or you can have a feel around the old hole. In our case there was about 20mm in there plus a little more on the exterior panels. This was thought to be pretty good by local standards but again is substandard really. Apart from ripping out the interior plasterboards and fitting rockwool I don't think there is any way available here to improve it.

However, I see that in the UK you can insulate this type of wall the same way as you do solid walls.

http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/In- ... insulation

Perhaps, just perhaps there are some Japanese companies beginning to specialise in this kind of product and work. If they put their minds to it I am sure we would see a variety of innovative and clever solutions. Do let us know the results of your research - I wish I had the language skills necessary to do it myself.
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Shawn » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:02 am

The bill for April:

Consumed: 149 kWh @ Y4,454
Generated: 234 kWh @ Y9,828

The bill: Tepco will be paying me Y5,374 this month! :clap:

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Wage Slave » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:06 am

Very good!
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Tall Tall Tree » Thu May 09, 2013 10:28 pm

DEAD THREAD RESURRECTION
Shawn wrote:Keeping gas is kind of like a backup plan in case the power goes out in a disaster. I should at least be able to boil water and do some cooking.
So your system just pushes the juice it generates out the wires to TEPCO? You don't have any batteries or other ways to store or immediately use the juice locally?

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Shawn » Thu May 09, 2013 10:57 pm

Tall Tall Tree wrote:So your system just pushes the juice it generates out the wires to TEPCO? You don't have any batteries or other ways to store or immediately use the juice locally?
I toyed with the idea of a battery, but a 5kW system costs around 2 million yen. Right now, my excess electricity goes to the grid. But as I've posted before, most months TEPCO ends up paying me.

It's been a year since I installed the panels and I generated around 130, 000 yen worth of electricity. My annual electric bill was around 86,000. At this rate, my panels will pay off in about 12 years. I have the date on another computer and will dig it up. After looking at it, my immediate reaction was that you need to buy the largest system you can afford if you want to recover your costs in a reasonable time frame. I think solar is the way to go, but if you're going to buy it, go as big as possible. As it stands now I generate about 95% of all my power, but that percentage can change depending on the weather.

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by sirwanksalot » Thu May 09, 2013 11:47 pm

Shawn wrote: I generate about 95% of all my power.
:wnw: One day I hope to be able to do the same!

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by MacGyver » Fri May 10, 2013 11:09 am

sirwanksalot wrote:
Shawn wrote: I generate about 95% of all my power.
:wnw: One day I hope to be able to do the same!
:agree: Me too. My sis-in-law in Nags is on solar and while I've never asked her the ins and outs I defo like the idea of solar. (Prolly repeating myself at this point.) Although I won't get it unless I build a new house. Don't see any point in retro fitting my in-laws 40 yr old house at this point considering we are considering of either building (elsewhere) or rebuilding (pull the house down and build a new place in the same spot).
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by angryboy » Fri May 10, 2013 12:10 pm

My Mum, in Oz so maybe not applicable to this , got solar panels last year
and with the government rebates , the leccy co. now paying her a small
amount (10-15 bucks only but it all adds up) and the savings in bills she
estimates they have all but paid for themselves.
That is even taking into account the small loan she took out to get them.
She was in no hurry to pay it back as even taking the interest into account
she was still well on top
Last edited by angryboy on Sat May 11, 2013 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Tall Tall Tree » Sat May 11, 2013 1:04 pm

Shawn wrote:
Tall Tall Tree wrote:So your system just pushes the juice it generates out the wires to TEPCO? You don't have any batteries or other ways to store or immediately use the juice locally?
I toyed with the idea of a battery, but a 5kW system costs around 2 million yen. Right now, my excess electricity goes to the grid.
You say your excess electricity… So your system does try to power your house locally first and just sends the excess through the wire, right? If that's the case, then given a sunny day, you should be able to use some appliances even if the local grid is down, right?

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Edogaijin » Sat May 11, 2013 11:21 pm

Tall Tall Tree wrote:
Shawn wrote:
Tall Tall Tree wrote:So your system just pushes the juice it generates out the wires to TEPCO? You don't have any batteries or other ways to store or immediately use the juice locally?
I toyed with the idea of a battery, but a 5kW system costs around 2 million yen. Right now, my excess electricity goes to the grid.
You say your excess electricity… So your system does try to power your house locally first and just sends the excess through the wire, right? If that's the case, then given a sunny day, you should be able to use some appliances even if the local grid is down, right?
Our system sends all power back to the grid for credits, but we do have one connection in the kitchen we can plug into should there be a black out and run directly from the panels.
7 years now and it's never been used.
Although, I've decided not to look too strongly at the credit payments ( as I have no control over them at all) , I can tell that the systems being sold now seem to be twice as powerful as when we got it 7 years ago... Technology will keep improving...hope the costs to install a better system in the future makes it worthwhile to do so...
Like computers...as soon as you buy one it is superseded...

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Shawn » Mon May 13, 2013 11:44 am

Tall Tall Tree wrote:You say your excess electricity… So your system does try to power your house locally first and just sends the excess through the wire, right? If that's the case, then given a sunny day, you should be able to use some appliances even if the local grid is down, right?
Thanks for bringing this up. What Edogaijin said. The panels do not directly power the house during the day. All power goes to the grid in exchange for credit. In my case, TEPCO pays me 42 yen/kWh for the next 10 years. It's easy (for me :oops: ) to miscontrue how the panels are working by looking at the LCD on the wall that shows how much you're generating, how much you are consuming, and how much you are selling. As Edogaijin says, I also have an outlet that lets me run directly off the panels if I swtich them to standalone mode. No doubt this would be handy if the power went out during the day.

I dug up the data for the past year...

Total generated: 2,642 kWh @ 110,964 yen
Total consumed: 2,691 kWh @ 79,104 yen
Over the year, I'm ahead 31,860 yen.
Average monthly income from generated electricity: 8, 536 yen
Average monthly electric bill: 6,085 yen

Overall, the numbers show 98% self-suffciency by simply comparing generated with consumer power. Most of the year, save for Dec, Jan, Feb when generating is low and consumption is high, TEPCO pays me. :mrgreen:

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by MrNoodle » Mon May 13, 2013 12:11 pm

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Last edited by MrNoodle on Wed May 27, 2015 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Edogaijin
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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Edogaijin » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:40 am

We've been getting fuck all refunds this summer, so I just got up on the roof to find one of the panels has been shattered and toasted by lightning.
I guess possibly effing up a few panels around it as well.

SHARP are coming out today to have a look. Hope it's not too costly to repair.

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Re: Solar Panels for Fun and Profit

Unread post by Edogaijin » Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:51 pm

They just did the inspection...

Probably not lightning but one panel has over heated and burnt out...causing half the grid ( 9 of 18 panels) to shut down the fuse.
Have to keep the fuse off till they can replace the toasted panel.

So we've been getting half value for since how long????

At this stage it will be a free repair. There was a 15 year warranty.

Could take one to two months depending on availability of that model panel....

Worst case scenario? They can't find that panel and have to upgrade all the panels to a new system!!! :moon:

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