This is SUNPOWERs monitored system. Live Data.
My yearly KWH usage was 14k, at $0.10 KWH that's $1,400 a year saving. Now after 3 years a savings of $4200. After rebates and incentives the cost was $22k. My payoff is 15 years at todays rates. The rates will go up and my payoff will be sooner. Rates have gone up 4% a year for the last 12 years.
I do over generate. Why did I over buy on solar panels? There's a 1% loss on solar panel production a year, up to 20 years. Then it holds steady. I generate 18k a year now that's a 23% over generation.
Up to date
My new plug-in car
Real cleaning system - All pipe, one inch schedule 40. Installed ball valve on West end of deck at 4 feet. Four hose connections on west end of deck, with hose and nozzles attached. Adjust panels four times annually... Cleaning - close drain down, open supply valve, walk to deck. Clean four rows of panels. Then close supply valve, open drain valve. All done.
Panels are SunPower 40 - 230w panels, (40 x 230 = 9.2kw). Efficiency 18.5%. The platform is in an irrigated area. So the height of the platform is for tractor weed control, equipment storage, maybe new shop or even a garden out of Arizona sun. Why SunPower? With other panel manufactures I can't get production I want with limited deck space. The SunPower 315kw is what I wanted, but price range is out of site. The 315kw panels could have got me to 10kw, same space (30' x 36').
Stairs in middle north end of platform. Walk-up stairs to landing, access to deck is two 4' trap doors. Unlock and push doors to side. Climb to platform, close trap doors to seal walkway. Railing on stairs and north most walkway. I will weld-up custom hinges, nothing protruding from walkway. No tripping allowed Walkways are for cleaning and adjusting 8 array tilt rack system. Walkways made of 3/4" plywood 4' wide 2' on centers. When panels are cleaned, water will run off panels 9 feet to ground missing walkways. I moved 2 - 4' x 8' walkways around so you can see rough stair location, below.
This is the surface area of platform 30 ft x 36 ft x 9 ft. It's got to be build before third week of Dec 2009. It's just dirt arena behind house now, see progress videos above. 50 feet South of 200 amp power box. Array equipment, combiner boxes, 2-5K SMA inverters and array disconnects, located under deck. Will place my own 50 amp sub panel on equipment board. Will install 5 double flood motion lights under deck in all directions plus stairs.
This is the summer tilt. We just had the longest day of summer, so the suns angle will be coming back across panels. Next will be the tilt change for Fall. The Solar Lift project will be well underway by then, I hope.
The leg heights of each row is for the winter tilt, 4", 8", 12", and 16" legs. The panels are only 4' apart and at 30 degrees, no shadow overlap yet (Nov 2011) If I had built it on the ground, of course I would of had plenty of room to spread panels out, but very little control over who had access to the area.