I know that this is an old and long thread that has gone on for years based on the date of the original post and the last post I've read.
I'm now going ask a similar question as the original poster, but add my own special twist. Why? B/c I understand that new technology has come out or is about soon on this whole solar stuff (with the idea of smaller, faster & cheaper in mind - read: gross assumption on my part) and there may be new answers to provide that haven't been given before.
Being a newbie as well, I'll have a host of regular stupid questions to go along with my post, so please bare with me.
I want to build a solar panel for power use during the day w/ batteries to use at night and have it hooked to the main power grid to get the excess juice my home made solar generator produces to have cash flow to my back account. The house is a 4/3 with darn near everything electric except the hot water heaters and Central heat, two units, the house is zoned.
Is solar energy more expensive to pipe into your house than regular TU electricity, Reliant, Cirro, etc... provided energy? I ask b/c I'm sure there is so much up front costs that must be paid off over time, but in time, it will be free energy more or less, there will be on going maintenance costs, what ever that will be.
Ok, that’s the plan. Now, lets say I want to design and build everything that is required.
I want to design and manufacture each solar cell in each panel of all the panels I will have to calculate I'll need, along with how many batteries I'll need. I understand that equipment that makes semiconductors would be required if I wanted to make a precise and powerful unit for max power per square inch. I understand there is something called an inverter, I guess this is a device that takes the juice coming off the solar cell and turns it into A/C power and sends to the house, and overflow to the main power grid to get paid for by whom even you have an agreement. I guess meters of your own will need to be put into place to get all that straight and you know what’s going on. This will also require computers to monitor things, and to know when to take or give juice from the solar genie or a electrical co-op, whoever.
I want to build every bit of this myself. Lets say I know enough people and have enough contacts that I can acquire the equipment used to build it all, that and electrical plans and access to the parts to manufacture the whole solar power generating operational to meet my goals mentioned above. I understand that there will be something I can't do, like hook to the power grid, I must have someone like TU do that, and I understand that there will be licenses( please tell me what all they are), and permits and loads of stuff like this that must be acquired as to not break any laws, and chiefly, try and not electrocute myself or others, and make it safe around kids who may want to play near the area, (tall fence with razor wire and a sign that says "electrified fence".
I think this is enough to get people out here started to, a) laughing at me, and b) pointing out all the pitfalls, and what’s realistic or not, what’s best practice, how to start off small and grow it bigger, etc...
I'm in the Ross Perot mode, I'm all ears, so I'll be listening to what everyone’s input is on this.
One last question, if the suns light is free, why is solar energy not used by the big electrical companies, why more people do not use it to power their own house? Is it really not cost effective in the long run? What is the big part of the puzzle that is making it so expensive as to why this has not taken off since the big energy crunch of '72 which I certainly remember and was affected by, and all the issues of pollution today.
Oh, and tax breaks if I made a giant solar energy plant as a business in some sun shinny place (can that be possible, is it worth it?), what are those tax breaks? Any other benefits besides the obvious renewable free energy source (unless Mr. Burns from the Simpson’s blocks out the sun), no pollution, etc… that I might be missing?
My thanks to all.
mailto:john.quinn @ comcast.net