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Thread: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

  1. #1
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    Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    I've seen this Ad (Power4Home) for a "DIY home solar/wind power instruction build kit". The guy is an electrician who claims we're being gouged by the gov & electric companies because they can. According to him the average Joe/Jane can build an alternative energy supply with home made solar panels and a wind turbine.

    Is it possible that for $200+ and windpower we could be eliminating electric bills, saving the environment and reducing our dependence on coal and the grid?
    Last edited by grip; 05-25-12 at 11:15 AM.
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    Re: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    My AP Environmental Science teacher started doing this a few years ago. Put solar panels on his house, had his plumbing changed somehow to make it so the water heater is used less. He said that for an noticable difference to be felt (basically once everything pays for itself) you will need to be in the house for a few years. Granted he changed a lot, not simply adding in windpower.
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    Re: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    Quote Originally Posted by soccerboy22 View Post
    My AP Environmental Science teacher started doing this a few years ago. Put solar panels on his house, had his plumbing changed somehow to make it so the water heater is used less. He said that for an noticable difference to be felt (basically once everything pays for itself) you will need to be in the house for a few years. Granted he changed a lot, not simply adding in windpower.

    Apparently ADDing solar panels alone is not enough to cover all the electric needs. It must take more than the average roof holds on one side or it's simply too expensive to be cost effective for years. But the AD I posted says you can build better, cheaper panels yourself from the hardware store. And even a few (4-8?) panels will cut the bill 2/3rd's.

    Where I live almost every other house has a few solar panels now. Some are black PVC pipes for heated pools and others just for the hot water heater, which is a huge drain on the electric bill. I installed a water heater with 10 less gallons of water from 40 to 30 and saved an average of 1/3 off my electric bill.
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    Re: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    Quote Originally Posted by grip View Post
    I've seen this Ad (Power4Home) for a "DIY home solar/wind power instruction build kit". The guy is an electrician who claims we're being gouged by the gov & electric companies because they can. According to him the average Joe/Jane can build an alternative energy supply with home made solar panels and a wind turbine.

    Is it possible that for $200+ and windpower we could be eliminating electric bills, saving the environment and reducing our dependence on coal and the grid?
    "
    Is it possible that for $200+ and windpower we could be eliminating electric bills, saving the environment and reducing our dependence on coal and the grid?"

    Yes, but for $200 you could not be eliminating very much. The first rule is to insulate a home like a walk-in cooler. including the basement. After you have reduce your power needs to a minimum, then build a small windmill with a four foot prop, buy perhaps 130 watts of solar PV from Harbor Freight ($500), a large number of small inverters ($50 each) to convert DC to AC because the windmills and PV charge batteries to store your power to use when you actually need it. You'll need 4 or 5 storage batteries ($100 each). The largest need is hot water and that can be for heating and potable use. Buy a small gasoline powered electric generator ($400) and plumb the exhaust pipe into a hot water heater ($160). That will give you lots of hot water and you can run your large electric demand (motorized, refrig, washer) items while the generator is running and the excess can charge the batteries. 75% of the energy from each gallon of gas is waste heat out the exhaust, so this little item makes big power and savings. Also switch light bulbs to LEDs. If you do all of these things you will no longer need the Electric company, but I think the cost will exceed $200. Nevertheless, even $200 can do small things. That's the best I can explain this simply.

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    Re: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    Quote Originally Posted by grip View Post
    I've seen this Ad (Power4Home) for a "DIY home solar/wind power instruction build kit". The guy is an electrician who claims we're being gouged by the gov & electric companies because they can. According to him the average Joe/Jane can build an alternative energy supply with home made solar panels and a wind turbine.

    Is it possible that for $200+ and windpower we could be eliminating electric bills, saving the environment and reducing our dependence on coal and the grid?
    Of course we're being gouged - becaue they can. I don't know about anything else he's stated but it's an obvious truth.

    If everyone in my town pays the same amount of electricity that I do (for fun let's say - $150/month on average in a year) . . . x 2,500 some odd residents = $375,000 per resident *per month* paid for electricity . . . nevermind the number of businesses that use electricity also (maybe 30 businesses in his small town) . . . so $375,000 x 12 = $4,500,000 (4 million 500 thousand) per year - just for my small town.

    Damn! I wish I didnt' do that to myself just now.
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    Re: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    The had an article the other day about homeowners disgusted...few years ago they spent a fortune on solar being installed...yanno the sunshine state and all that...and they were sold a bill of goods...from what the article said they willnever get thier money back...showed a picture of one house that entire one side of the roof was panels...

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    Re: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    I thoroughly investigated having my home run on solar power. As it tuned out for an initial investment of approximatley $60,000 I would have a portion of my home run on solar power and the rest would be on what I already have. I use wood, oil and electricity. Thereafter, I would get my initial investment back, assuming there were no replacements of solar panels, in 30 years or so IIRC.



    There was just no real incentive to convert or have this done to my house. Yes we are being gouged by every means of power except wood in my case I chop it myself ...
    Last edited by Connery; 05-25-12 at 11:22 PM.

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    Re: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    It's horse crap.

    You can NOT do away with your electric bills with $200 worth of solar and/or wind turbine power... Unless maybe you only want to have electricity for one or two light bulbs.


    Start up solar costs are high, typically in the tens of thousands of dollars to run a small efficient house on. Wind turbines are only cost-efficient in certain areas, and even then they have maintenance issues that make them problematic... and the wind don't always blow.

    He's a con man.

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  9. #9
    Light△Bender

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    Re: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    I think the correct answer is "it cost too much out of pocket to initially set up a solar system." So this guy is most likely selling a con.

    Though there are some good ideas here like "insulating the house better" a proven method to save energy. Add fiberglass to the attic and have the windows sealed and covered in summer and exposed in winter. Smaller hot water tank (if possible), cfl light bulbs, energy star appliances, wood burning heating systems, more efficient cooking devices. I bought a small infrared oven no bigger than a microwave that has replaced 90% of my oven preparations. Want see your power meter spin like crazy? Cook something in the oven and go watch the dial turn like a hamster wheel.

    Using these and other techniques you'd be amazed how much you can cut your bill.
    Einstein, "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

  10. #10
    Light△Bender

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    Re: Are We Being Ripped OFF?

    I found a 1175kw Westinghouse Solar Kit on Ebay for $4700, plus you get a 30% (-$1000) Energy Efficiency tax credit off from the Feds. Also about $200 for conduit, combiner box, wire for home run and AC disconnect. Installers can cost more than the system, so it's best to get a DIY type like this Westinghouse Instant Connect with 80% less parts than other systems. Something like this is a fully-integrated plug-and-play system that with the help of a friend or off work electrician could easily set up.

    My house 1770 sq ft, averages between 1200 and 1500kw, so a system like the one above would save me almost the entire cost of my electric bill, paying for the system in about 2 yrs. Not as bad as some professional installers want to charge $30k - $60K.
    Einstein, "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

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