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Warren
Great discussion, especially considerations about "what to buy when it is time to replace" generator and/or xfer switch.  My story is a mixed one.  I installed a 20KW "whole house" air-cooled, natural gas Generac unit, purchased from Generators Direct in 2009.  Since I have an EE background, I have done all the install and maintenance myself.  At the time, I had the mistaken notion that I could easily "come up to speed" on the lore.  To be blunt, over the years, this forum "saved my _ss".  Bottom line, the generator still operates fine, has taken us through several long (in excess of a day) outages, and a myriad of short (under 15 minutes) ones.  There have been no large repair expenses, despite some early fixes required to work around deficiencies/failures in some of the original design peripherals.   Total run hours = 240; one valve adjustment.  On the couple of occasions where it ran for more than a day, I shut it down for a daily oil check. (no significant consumption).  However, as a perusal of my posts on this forum shows, the "ownership effort" has far exceeded what I originally anticipated.  A short take away from the "if I had it to do over"  follows.  Attempts to ferret information from Generac or Generators Direct were useless.  I should have purchased from Ziller (of whom I did not know existed at the time).  Next purchase, I'll look for a unit that may be $5-$10K more expensive but better designed (on a score of issues) and probably not air-cooled.  Ideally, my next unit won't come with a warning "Not intended for use as Primary Power in place of utility or in critical life-support applications."  I agree with the concept that it is "better to throw money at such problems" but have  found, over the years, that bucks spent do not necessarily equal effectiveness.  My experience indicates that a balance of study, hands dirty work effort and money (being penny-wise but not pound foolish) accords most satisfaction, aka mission effectiveness.
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Cobranut
DanS26 wrote:
Those two arrays produce 24 Mwh of energy a year which is twice my actual usage.  I sell the excess to REMC at wholesale rates and buy it back at night at retail rates.  That is why I have to over produce to make money.  It's called "net billing" as opposed to the more common "net metering" arrangements.


That's about 2.7kw average output for that array. 
That certainly illustrates just how much PV area is required to generate power. 

Your house must be extremely efficient to have that low annual consumption.  That or you use gas or oil for heat, hot water and/or cooking. 

I keep seeing an ad on YouTube for a portable battery pack, advertised as 20,000 mAh (20 Ah) that has about a 3x6" solar panel.   They claim that the panel will recharge it in 60 minutes. LMAO
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DanS26
The average American home usage is around 1,200 Kwh per month or 14.4 Mwh per year.  My annual usage is around 12.2 Mwh per year so I'm just slightly below average. I do heat my house and water with propane.

My arrays are by now old technology using 240 watt panels. They produce 17,280 watts DC in full sun and feed two 7,500 watt AC inverters.  With new state of the art panels now are over 350 watts, performance has increased and cost has dramatically decreased since 2011.

Yes the retail homeowner solar industry is full of huskers and snake oil salesmen.  Buyer beware......but if you are handy and can DIY solar makes a lot of sense.
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Cobranut
DanS26 wrote:
The average American home usage is around 1,200 Kwh per month or 14.4 Mwh per year.  My annual usage is around 12.2 Mwh per year so I'm just slightly below average. I do heat my house and water with propane.

My arrays are by now old technology using 240 watt panels. They produce 17,280 watts DC in full sun and feed two 7,500 watt AC inverters.  With new state of the art panels now are over 350 watts, performance has increased and cost has dramatically decreased since 2011.

Yes the retail homeowner solar industry is full of huskers and snake oil salesmen.  Buyer beware......but if you are handy and can DIY solar makes a lot of sense.
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Cobranut
True.  Thanks for the info. 
My usage averages about 1200 kWh per month, but everything is electric, plus I have A/C in my shop and one of my garages, and I have 2 wells that feed two rentals as well as my home. 

I think that with the high efficiency of my home, I wouldn't see the break even point until I'm an old man. Lol
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murphy
I have 10 kW of PV solar panels on the roof of my house.  They were installed in September 2013.  Since then they have generated 77 MWh (77,000 kWh).  At 16 cents per kWh that is $12,320, which is about 50% of my cost for the panels.  June, July, August and September electric bills will be the fixed cost which is about $8.00.  I own the panels.  I had no interest in renting my roof to some company for 20 years.
 
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grsthegreat
You pay .16/kwh......we pay 0.05/kwh for hydro electric. Thats why its never going to happen on my home. I just looked at our electric usage from bill. This last month 1360 kwh, 2 months ago 2100. We must be electric hogs....wifes fault. Heats greenhouse and garden sheds and her horse water tanks.
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Cobranut
grsthegreat wrote:
You pay .16/kwh......we pay 0.05/kwh for hydro electric. Thats why its never going to happen on my home. I just looked at our electric usage from bill. This last month 1360 kwh, 2 months ago 2100. We must be electric hogs....wifes fault. Heats greenhouse and garden sheds and her horse water tanks.


Wow, that's cheap.  I thought our rates were pretty good, at around 0.10/kWh, including taxes and surcharges.
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BillM

I tested my generator last night, for 30 minutes, full load test.  I have 1575 watts of exterior outdoor lighting, incandescent.  I tested dimming it from 20% to 100% in 5% increments and noticed no flickering.
My backyard uses old fashioned dual bulb flood light receptacles which have in them each, 2 Sylvania LED Night Chaser Dimmable PAR38 Flood Lights.  They are 25w (250w equiv according to 'them') and I have 4 sets for a total of 8 bulbs back there.  They did not show any sign of flickering but I did not dim them, forgot to.
My interior lights, mostly can lights all have LED floods in them.  They do not dim, no flickering there.  The garage has 4 foot fluorescent fixtures, 6 total units for a total of 12 bulbs, I think I noticed some flicker there but I can't be certain.  Will try to look at them tonight.  They are old fixtures, old bulbs so not sure I like them as candidates for a test.  I have a 5 ton AC unit, it did kick on for just a little over half of the period, the car did NOT charge during it.

As for the side solar conversation:
My plan is to run a ground based solar array with Tesla Powerwalls to achieve the following goal:

Zero grid use during PEAK energy (Time of Use) period.
Reduce my OFF PEAK grid energy usage.  I would 'like' to reduce it to zero.
I will 'sell' excess solar energy back to the grid but quite frankly could care less.  It's not technically in the scope of the project.  My utility provider is anti solar.
My average kWh consumption based on 18 previous billing cycles is 1875 per month.  442 per month on average ON PEAK.  1433 OFF PEAK.  I pay $ 0.08568 off peak and $0.19325 on peak.
Phase 1 will just be 2 Powerwalls + Solar.  I will rough out for a total of 4 Powerwalls to keep the Tesla engineering team happy, since they want 4 so I can sustain a 7 day continuous outage on Powerwalls alone.  I have the 22kW Guardian still and will always have that in the equation though I will replace it with a liquid cooled model when that goes belly up.  Phase 2, if needed will put more solar up and possibly another Powerwall since I have 1 EV vehicle now and expect that number to go to 2.

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Brian Baughman
grsthegreat wrote:
no solar ever for me. i have yet to see an install that has paid for itself over the years. its amazing how much that stuff costs. even Generacs new solar is SPENDY. i have no info on Tesla power wall....but hopefully it does not catch fire like the wallmrt tesla units did


Generac does not sell solar, they sell a DC Coupled Multimode System.  The PWRcell equipment, DC couples an energy storage system (ESS) to the PV system on the DC side of the inverter.  Solar and storage can be an excellent investment if the system is properly sized.  Many customers chose to finance the installation, and many renewable energy loans are 20-25 years at 1.9-5.9% interest.  There is also a federal tax incentive of 26% of the total system cost.  In many cases the utility savings will pay the monthly loan payment.

Many utilities no longer buy back excess production, and unless the excess PV production is stored in an ESS and is discharged every night, the system payoffs take forever.  

The Generac PWRcell multimode inverter will switch to "off-grid" mode during an outage and will allow the DC coupled PV and ESS to continue to operate as an optional standby system to provide power to a 8 kW backup loads subpanel.  Unlike grid interactive only systems, Generac's keeps working until utility power returns.
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