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Here's my idea; buy a couple (or 3 or 4) cheap solar panels from Amazon or some other supplier. Mount them on my garage roof and use them just to charge my Volt; nothing else. Maybe spend $1000 on the whole deal.

How doable is this? Will it work? Can I charge my Gen 1 in a reasonable time? Who knows about this stuff?
 

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The short answer is no it won't work. You would produce at peak ~400 watts. Also you'd need an inverter to change it from DC to AC. You would need a much bigger system. Better to go with a grid tie system and let the power company handle the added load.
 

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A gen1 volt needs about a 4,000 watt system to reliably run a 240 volt charger, or a 1,500 watt one to run a 120 volt charger. Each panel puts out roughly 240 watts with maximum sunshine, so you will need about 18 panels for the 240 volt system, or 7 panels for the 120 volt system.

I just purchased panels for $100 each , including shipping and tax. You can get a 3,000 watt continuous duty inverter for about $300, which would be enough to handle the 120 volt system, and cost about $1,000 total, but you would also need a battery system to stabilize the voltage, plus another few hundred for the mounting hardware and another few hundred for the special 12 gauge wires and special connectors that are used for solar.

So, even that 120 volt system would cost nearly $2,000 in parts, and the 240 volt one would probably run close to $4,500.

I am not trying to discourage you, just want you to have a realistic idea of the cost and work required for a system that would handle it.
 

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We started with 5kW and added to this in phases until we are at a bit over 11kW now. Starting small isn't a bad idea. I really like micro inverters, they make it very simple to install and adding to the system as you go.
 

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Most people work during the day and charge at night. Not sure how solar panels can help in this situation if you are only charging the volt. I would just install a big inverter or a bunch of microinverters and feed the power grid using net metering. Then when there is sun, you are offsetting your electricity bill and when it's cloudy or dark, you use the power grid. Or add a few powerwalls to store any collected sun, but then the price keeps going up.

I've wanted to go solar for years, but the ROI just isn't there when electric rates are low. So the only reason for me to do it is to pay to be green. I plan to build custom metal solar panel array stands shaped like a flower on a stalk, but this would be just to avoid the monotony of rectangular rows and columns of solar panels. I'll do this after the house is paid off and I don't have a payment in the world, and I'll be doing it for fun, not really to save money as I will likely spend more than it will return in my lifetime.
 

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Most people work during the day and charge at night. Not sure how solar panels can help in this situation if you are only charging the volt. I would just install a big inverter or a bunch of microinverters and feed the power grid using net metering. Then when there is sun, you are offsetting your electricity bill and when it's cloudy or dark, you use the power grid. Or add a few powerwalls to store any collected sun, but then the price keeps going up.

I've wanted to go solar for years, but the ROI just isn't there when electric rates are low. So the only reason for me to do it is to pay to be green. I plan to build custom metal solar panel array stands shaped like a flower on a stalk, but this would be just to avoid the monotony of rectangular rows and columns of solar panels. I'll do this after the house is paid off and I don't have a payment in the world, and I'll be doing it for fun, not really to save money as I will likely spend more than it will return in my lifetime.
You mean like this : http://smartflowersolar.com
 

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Especially in SoCal the logic of solar if you have TOU and an EV isn't the watts, it's the time.

Power is expensive in the day, cheap at night.

Solar works during the expensive times, EVs charge at night. It's a force multiplier.

We pay .33/kWh during the day and .13 at night. Another plan is .45 and .13.

So for a 2016/2017 Volt, it sucks down a maximum of $2.10 a night including losses assuming you drain the charge completely each day. Scale things down if you don't use 14 kWh of car EV power a day.

To generate $2.10 a day, I need to create $63 per month of electric, so during the day, 189 kWh a month. A 1.3 kW solar system will completely neutralize the cost of operating a G2 Volt that needs a full charge 30 days a month. When pricing remember, 30% of parts and labor is a tax credit.


DOH!! You posted G1 Volt, so 1 kW solar system completely removes any possible electric cost of a Volt in SoCal served by SCE.

REMEMBER to file for your $450 SCE credit if you have a Volt in SCE area, any year, any number of Volts.
 

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I'm thinking you'd want something like a Tesla Power Wall to capture your solar generated electrons and then use that to feed your EVSE. But now you are looking at SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS in hardware.
 

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I'm thinking you'd want something like a Tesla Power Wall to capture your solar generated electrons and then use that to feed your EVSE. But now you are looking at SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS in hardware.
or 10s of thousands if you get 3 or more. That pays for a whole lot of electricity... about 4 years worth for me.
 

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Especially in SoCal the logic of solar if you have TOU and an EV isn't the watts, it's the time.

Power is expensive in the day, cheap at night.

Solar works during the expensive times, EVs charge at night. It's a force multiplier.

We pay .33/kWh during the day and .13 at night. Another plan is .45 and .13.

So for a 2016/2017 Volt, it sucks down a maximum of $2.10 a night including losses assuming you drain the charge completely each day. Scale things down if you don't use 14 kWh of car EV power a day.

To generate $2.10 a day, I need to create $63 per month of electric, so during the day, 189 kWh a month. A 1.3 kW solar system will completely neutralize the cost of operating a G2 Volt that needs a full charge 30 days a month. When pricing remember, 30% of parts and labor is a tax credit.


DOH!! You posted G1 Volt, so 1 kW solar system completely removes any possible electric cost of a Volt in SoCal served by SCE.

REMEMBER to file for your $450 SCE credit if you have a Volt in SCE area, any year, any number of Volts.
Is it wrong to wish for higher electric bills in order to justify solar? If I take my entire power bill and divide by my KWH used including all the taxes and surcharges my latest bill comes in at 9.7 cents per KWH, with no changing rates for days vs. nights. I cannot justify going solar based on the calculator, it's got to be emotion of doing the right thing for the environment to drive this decision. Since I have a geothermal system, the power company tells me if I switch to tiered rates, it will actually hurt my bill, not help it - which can help justify solar, but artificially (kind of like chopping off your finger so you can enjoy pain and suffering).
 

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At least where we live, you are wasting money if you buy more than ~33% peak kW worth of solar equipment. Powering you entire needs is hard on the budget, and can even make a solar system a net loss (never pays for itself).

You want your panels to only cover the highest $/kWh rate tier or TOU window. Anything more stretches out your return on investment out over a long number of years.
 

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Is it wrong to wish for higher electric bills in order to justify solar? If I take my entire power bill and divide by my KWH used including all the taxes and surcharges my latest bill comes in at 9.7 cents per KWH, with no changing rates for days vs. nights. I cannot justify going solar based on the calculator, it's got to be emotional of doing the right thing for the environment to drive this decision. Since I have a geothermal system, the power company tells me if I switch to tiered rates, it will actually hurt my bill, not help it - which can help justify solar, but artificially (kind of like chopping off your finger so you can enjoy pain and suffering).
No, tiered or TOU will actually make the solar pay for itself sooner, even though you have cheap power without it.

Why? The TOU/Tier plan will have a rate less than .097/kWh. This is where you will buy nearly all your utility supplied power at.

So the power you purchase from the grid will cost less per kWh that what you are paying, AND the panels generate kWh to boot. Double whammy.

Our business TOU just raped me, but I get no choice. It's $17.32 per kW DEMAND (not kWh) measured at the peak time, of the peak day, for the entire month. So say my normal peak is 30 kW at the hottest part of the day. And I plug in 2 Chevrolet Volts during that time. That's $121 rise in the monthly bill BEFORE counting any electricity the Volts actually charge with. Even if I do it just 1 time a month, and use only 1 kWh of charging for both cars that day.

Sadly I was going to buy a solar system a few years ago, but the sales guy sort of got me worried and played with the ROI numbers so I balked. Now I regret it and will do it this year. My power bill sometimes hits $2500 a month now. A $20,000 system would cut it in 1/2 or less.
 

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No, tiered or TOU will actually make the solar pay for itself sooner, even though you have cheap power without it.

Why? The TOU/Tier plan will have a rate less than .097/kWh. This is where you will buy nearly all your utility supplied power at.

So the power you purchase from the grid will cost less per kWh that what you are paying, AND the panels generate kWh to boot. Double whammy.

Our business TOU just raped me, but I get no choice. It's $17.32 per kW DEMAND (not kWh) measured at the peak time, of the peak day, for the entire month. So say my normal peak is 30 kW at the hottest part of the day. And I plug in 2 Chevrolet Volts during that time. That's $121 rise in the monthly bill BEFORE counting any electricity the Volts actually charge with. Even if I do it just 1 time a month, and use only 1 kWh of charging for both cars that day.

Sadly I was going to buy a solar system a few years ago, but the sales guy sort of got me worried and played with the ROI numbers so I balked. Now I regret it and will do it this year. My power bill sometimes hits $2500 a month now. A $20,000 system would cut it in 1/2 or less.
Holy cow, my $150-400 per month bills are tiny compared to yours. You must have a really big place. I started looking at my power company's tiered rates as your points on TOU make sense, but I am having trouble finding any actual rate prices. With state and fed tax credit/rebates I still doubt I can get an ROI in any decent timeframe. I think I'm going to need a forced rate doubling or extreme price cut in solar panels or great increase in efficiency for the math to ever come close.
 

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I saw something interesting, an affordable grid tie inverter.

So it's a big deal to get hooked up to the grid and all but once you are all setup seems like you could add your own additional panels with your own inverter at other locations on your property.

Trying to investigate the feasibility of do it yourself add on.
 

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In CA it might make sense to go solar. In TX there is no way. Cheap wind and NG generation make home solar a non-starter.

My rate is 5.5c/kWh before transmission and taxes. Besides, my daughter pays the electric bill!
 

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I saw something interesting, an affordable grid tie inverter.

So it's a big deal to get hooked up to the grid and all but once you are all setup seems like you could add your own additional panels with your own inverter at other locations on your property.

Trying to investigate the feasibility of do it yourself add on.
In my state, you need to get an electrician to do the main grid tie work, but yes, the rest of the stuff you could do yourself if you are comfortable plugging in cables. The big decision is whether to do one more cost effective big inverter that you will need to upgrade later if you add more solar panels or go with more costly microinverters on each panel. If a microinverters fails, you can swap it out with any other brand in the future. But with the big inverter, you cannot mix and match solar panels of different capacities like you can with a microinverter-based system.
 

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In CA it might make sense to go solar. In TX there is no way. Cheap wind and NG generation make home solar a non-starter.

My rate is 5.5c/kWh before transmission and taxes. Besides, my daughter pays the electric bill!
Meanwhile forum user norm51 has solar panels in Texas, a huge water reclamation system to gather rain and store them in big tanks, and an electric riding mower. It may not make sense, but he's doing it anyway. I like his style...hope to follow suit in Il where cheap coal-powered electricity is the norm.
 

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In my state, you need to get an electrician to do the main grid tie work, but yes, the rest of the stuff you could do yourself if you are comfortable plugging in cables. The big decision is whether to do one more cost effective big inverter that you will need to upgrade later if you add more solar panels or go with more costly microinverters on each panel. If a microinverters fails, you can swap it out with any other brand in the future. But with the big inverter, you cannot mix and match solar panels of different capacities like you can with a microinverter-based system.
When I had my solar installed I didn't need to use an electrician. I worked with a non-profit organization who installed the system without charging for labor. They use volunteers, and I helped a bit with the install. So I saved a few bucks. I wasn't looking to save money on electricity but instead to reduce my carbon footprint. However, it turned out that I didn't pay for any electricity, as least for the last two years, even with 2 EVs. In all fairness, I do spend a lot of time away from home and use public and private charging sites.
 

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No, tiered or TOU will actually make the solar pay for itself sooner, even though you have cheap power without it.

Why? The TOU/Tier plan will have a rate less than .097/kWh. This is where you will buy nearly all your utility supplied power at.

So the power you purchase from the grid will cost less per kWh that what you are paying, AND the panels generate kWh to boot. Double whammy.
Heh. Skip the panels and just charge up your storage on the cheap power. Run the house on that until it's dry.
 
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