Residential Solar

chalupa81

HR All-State
Gold Member
Apr 14, 2005
623
661
93
Waukee, Iowa
Had a guy stop at the house today to give his sales pitch for solar on our roof. Had been thinking about it for a number of years so his recommendations made sense. I think I will entertain the idea and get a quote from him. Currently in the Des Moines metro with two nice south facing roofs that could hold a good amount of panels.

Has anyone else done this recently that can give me any tips, things to watch out for, cost comparison?
 

Cougar63

HR Heisman
Oct 4, 2004
7,948
6,148
113
Omaha, NE
Had a guy stop at the house today to give his sales pitch for solar on our roof. Had been thinking about it for a number of years so his recommendations made sense. I think I will entertain the idea and get a quote from him. Currently in the Des Moines metro with two nice south facing roofs that could hold a good amount of panels.

Has anyone else done this recently that can give me any tips, things to watch out for, cost comparison?
Slightly off topic but my fiancee (no pics) and I are buying a house here before the end of the year and have agreed on solar just because our house is going to be 2-3 times bigger than our current apartment.
 

ichawkeye

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Jan 11, 2003
5,226
3,068
113
Had a guy stop at the house today to give his sales pitch for solar on our roof. Had been thinking about it for a number of years so his recommendations made sense. I think I will entertain the idea and get a quote from him. Currently in the Des Moines metro with two nice south facing roofs that could hold a good amount of panels.

Has anyone else done this recently that can give me any tips, things to watch out for, cost comparison?

I would use the first contact as your baseline, and seek a couple additional bids. This will allow you to compare and compete costs, warranty, capacity, and technology.

The goal is to install capacity that counters your electrical consumption and bill. You'll want to understand how excess electricity produced serves into your current/future electric bills, as you don't want to pay for a system that generates electricity beyond what benefits you.

Details to ask - cost of system, warranty of system, estimated solar production, estimated monthly electric bill impact, tax credits gained from purchase of the system.

Solar doesn't offer the best ROI, but we have it and we're glad we do. The system is paid for, we have no electric bill (beyond the minimum monthly "connection" fee), and we know the electricity we consume is offset by a renewable source.
 
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Slappy Pappy

HR Heisman
Nov 24, 2007
6,218
7,392
113
I just had rooftop solar installed, but in California, so little of my experience will be relevant to you. Besides looking at your actual current electric bill, you might want to estimate eventual conversion of any gas appliances to electric for use and savings.

One other thing, I'd strongly look at getting an electric car in the future. Both because you won't have to pay for either gas or oil changes or 50k or 100k mile "services," thus essentially making the car close to having been "free" after 10 or 12 years or so of savings, but also because if you buy a car set up for "2 way charging" (right now only Nissan and I think Hyundai), you will soon be able to use your car battery to power your home appliances once the sun goes down, just like you would if you bought a $10k Tesla Wall home battery.
 
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Hawkman98

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Mar 31, 2007
5,889
8,765
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Make sure to contact your city about permits. Many cities have started requiring this and homeowners don't realize it.
 

The Tradition

HR King
Apr 23, 2002
114,741
87,255
113
My son used to work for a solar company and he said that there's no way the roofs won't start leaking after a couple of years with the way they install them.

And then when you need a new roof, you have to call them out to take them down and put them up again.

No thanks to all that.
 

Slappy Pappy

HR Heisman
Nov 24, 2007
6,218
7,392
113
My son used to work for a solar company and he said that there's no way the roofs won't start leaking after a couple of years with the way they install them.

And then when you need a new roof, you have to call them out to take them down and put them up again.

No thanks to all that.
That's completely ridiculous and untrue about them leaking. It is smart, however, to get them installed when you get a new roof, or shortly after.
 

theiacowtipper

HR Legend
Gold Member
Feb 17, 2004
14,752
13,267
113
Had a guy stop at the house today to give his sales pitch for solar on our roof. Had been thinking about it for a number of years so his recommendations made sense. I think I will entertain the idea and get a quote from him. Currently in the Des Moines metro with two nice south facing roofs that could hold a good amount of panels.

Has anyone else done this recently that can give me any tips, things to watch out for, cost comparison?
Our local guy put on a presentation for our professional development day about solar. He said the key to financial payback is the rate your electric utility pays for your excess generation. I’m probably going to mess this up, but I believe it was Alliant that pays you the rate it charges it’s customers. Other companies pay the rate they pay electric producers

I would go with an established local company, even if you end up,paying a little more.
 
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Gimmered

HR Legend
Nov 9, 2005
14,197
7,861
113
McCook Nebraska
My son used to work for a solar company and he said that there's no way the roofs won't start leaking after a couple of years with the way they install them.

And then when you need a new roof, you have to call them out to take them down and put them up again.

No thanks to all that.
I have room for a ground mount, that would be ideal for me. There is absolutely no pay back for me. I would have to do it on principle. My monthly bill jus fell to $112 a month budget. A bit of that is a line service charge that I would need to pay every month anyway.
 
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chalupa81

HR All-State
Gold Member
Apr 14, 2005
623
661
93
Waukee, Iowa
Our local guy put on a presentation for our professional development day about solar. He said the key to financial payback is the rate your electric utility pays for your excess generation. I’m probably going to mess this up, but I believe it was Alliant that pays you the rate it charges it’s customers. Other companies pay the rate they pay electric producers

I would go with an established local company, even if you end up,paying a little more.

Good point. I have MidAmerican and I believe I get a an energy credit that I could use in future months to offset if I produce less than I use. So I am guessing I don’t want to have a huge excess as then I would just be giving it back to them for free.
 

Hawkfan_08

HR Legend
Nov 9, 2002
20,018
16,072
113
North Liberty
I bought solar panels last fall. We have Alliant as our electric company and they are pretty expensive per kWh. We are paying $30-70 less a month including paying back our loan on the panels. Or loan's interest rate is 0.49% as well. Once we pay off the panels, we will have to pay no more than $12 a month just to stay on the grid.
 

NorthernHawkeye

HR Legend
Dec 23, 2007
26,926
16,811
113
I have a home with a center roof line that runs north-south. Is it practical for the panels to be installed on the east and west side of a home's roof?
 

Gimmered

HR Legend
Nov 9, 2005
14,197
7,861
113
McCook Nebraska
I have a home with a center roof line that runs north-south. Is it practical for the panels to be installed on the east and west side of a home's roof?
That's where I'm at too. I know you lose a percentage, I would go to a ground base install on my North property line if I went solar. That would eliminate a lot of the concerns anyway.
 

CLUB215

HR MVP
Apr 28, 2015
2,160
1,972
113
Iowa City
Had a guy stop at the house today to give his sales pitch for solar on our roof. Had been thinking about it for a number of years so his recommendations made sense. I think I will entertain the idea and get a quote from him. Currently in the Des Moines metro with two nice south facing roofs that could hold a good amount of panels.

Has anyone else done this recently that can give me any tips, things to watch out for, cost comparison?
How old is your house?
 

HawkinK.C.1

HR MVP
Jun 20, 2013
1,492
2,893
113
I've seen a lot of roofs screwed up by the Solar guys.....and talk about an expensive and colossal pain in the ass when it's time to get the roof replaced. Trad's not as much of an idiot as suggested. Be sure to check with your insurance to see what you're new rate will be. Also, check prices. Most of the direct sales joints will rob you.
 
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SolarHawk

HR MVP
Jun 27, 2021
2,264
5,138
113
I've seen a lot of roofs screwed up by the Solar guys.....and talk about an expensive and colossal pain in the ass when it's time to get the roof replaced. Trad's not as much of an idiot as suggested. Be sure to check with your insurance to see what you're new rate will be. Also, check prices. Most of the direct sales joints will rob you.
Trad is an idiot for suggesting every roof will leak. I’ve installed over 500 roof top solar systems and we’ve never caused a leak. you are right about doing your homework and choosing a reputable business though.
 

l.todd

HR MVP
Dec 21, 2004
1,325
1,500
113
I have 2 smaller south facing roof lines, but they are not connected. Is it feasible to install on 2 separate areas, or should I stick with one, and then put some on a west facing roof, that is larger? Appreciate your knowledge and input Solar!
 
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Urohawk

HR Heisman
Sep 30, 2001
7,237
8,940
113
No, but it’s not always feasible to put panels on south facing roofs. Dude, I own a solar company. You’re not going to win this argument.
It's HROT. Don't let your expertise get in the way of someone's buffonery. It's the way of the world today: anti-science and anti-expertise. Your response didn't take into account what they read on social media or their feelings about it.
 

Urohawk

HR Heisman
Sep 30, 2001
7,237
8,940
113
I think this website is pretty good. Gives you an idea of how much sun your roof gets with solar.

Look at what tax incentives you get by state as some states are good and some are bad for solar. Also have to look at how your local power company treats your excess energy. I know last time I looked in KS they have one of the lowest $/kWh because the energy companies were protected by republican state legislators. They have solar credits which if you don't need any energy, they electric company basically uses what you generate for free.

If your house is a bad solar house then some energy companies allow you to subscribe. For example, I'm basically subsidizing building a solar grid at another location. I pay a little extra but lock in my rates for 20 years. All my house will be 100% offset by solar when the solar panels are constructed in a year.

I will have switched from a coal powered Tesla to a solar powered one.
 

BrunoMars420

HR Legend
Feb 14, 2016
12,756
14,562
113
What is the upkeep for solar panels?

As you can see I have been kicking the idea around for a couple of years lol. Appreciate all the info HORT!
 

CLUB215

HR MVP
Apr 28, 2015
2,160
1,972
113
Iowa City
It's HROT. Don't let your expertise get in the way of someone's buffonery. It's the way of the world today: anti-science and anti-expertise. Your response didn't take into account what they read on social media or their feelings about it.
Used to work with solar a decade ago, thanks
 

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