Solar power is a highly recommended source of green power. Policymakers and green energy experts always insist people go solar in order to save a significant amount on power bills. Is solar power really worth its cost? Of course, this is a widely discussed subject in hundreds of blog posts, articles, research journals, and more.
Nobody has any doubt about the ecological advantages of any natural source of energy, including solar. As we all know, the ecological impact incurred in the production of energy through traditional sources is very huge. But it costs big to install a solar power system to power your entire home and so here we have the question of whether solar power is worth it.
Here, we would like to make an effort to dig out all the popular solar user reviews on Youtube to see how solar systems have worked for the respective Youtubers, who, I think, are some of the best ‘historical reviewers’ of solar systems. Though I am personally a satisfied solar user, it will be nice to check out what other original users have to say in various conditions.
1. 15.6kWh Grid-Tie Power System by FrugalRepair – Pennsylvania
|Annual Production: About 9MWh
Total Cost w/o Tax Credit: $22,921
Installation Year: 2019
The most watched home solar review video on YouTube, as of writing this article in August 2022, is from Reese on his channel FrugalRepair. It is a massive 15.6kWh grid-tie power system that he himself set up on his home roof to get huge financial benefits, which he compares to achieving benefits from a high-return stock with an ROI of 16.2%.
Mr. Reese started working on the solar project with the goal to bring his home power bill down to net zero.
Having no prior experience in installing a solar system, he made a rigorous effort to learn the basics from the Internet and his friends in the industry. In the beginning, he made use of PWWatts to calculate the estimate of a full-fledged solar power system based on sunlight exposure in his locality and compared it with his power bills for the past three months.
The PWWatts estimate suggested that he could produce as much as 18161kWh per year if he could fill his home roof with solar panels and it would end up in no power bills for more than 25 years. It could make him realize that a period of five to seven years would be enough to pay back the cost incurred and enjoy complete energy freedom for the rest of the years.
The Process and Materials Used
For the project, Reese used solar panels from Panasonic, which, according to him, gave the freedom to neatly arrange the panels in three rows atop his home roof, while the standard and rather cheaper solar panels could only make him get two rows, limiting the total capacity required for the project.
Each panel was fitted with a unit of SolarEdge Power Optimizer DC/DC converter to ensure increased power efficiency and connect to a central inverter easily. As an added advantage, the power optimizer would allow him to track the performance of each solar panel individually.
The solar panels were lined up over sturdy aluminum rails, which were attached to heavy mounts that were flush-mounted to the roof after removing the shingles to prevent possible water leakage. Moreover, each hole of the mount was perfectly filled up with roofing caulk for additional leak proofing.
Mr. Reese finished the final connections with the help of an electrician and the inspector from the power company was quite satisfied with the project and appreciated his professional approach to DIY solar installation.
What is SolarEdge Power Optimizer? It is a DC/DC converter that can turn the PV panel in your power plant into smart modules by boosting power output through the constant tracking of MPPT. You need to install a module with each panel in your solar power system. Apart from increasing output, the optimizer can also help track the performance of each panel.
The Performance and Power Bill Savings
Two years after the installation of the solar project, Reese could achieve an output of around 19MWh of solar power, which took down his monthly power bills of $180 to about 7 dollars, i.e. $84 a year.
Thanks to a pair of solar power credit programs, including SRECTrade, he could meet that expense also and even manage to make an earning of around $400 out of his solar project a year.
What is SRECTrade? It is a cloud-based platform to manage solar energy assets and offer environmental incentives to end-users. You can earn an SREC credit for the production of 1000kWh of solar power and a 10kWh project will enable you to earn around 12 credits a year. One SREC credit is valued at an average of $27 depending on supply and demand factors.
The Total Cost and Tax Credit
When it comes to the installation cost, Reese has broken down the solar installation project into five categories; permits, racking, inverters, solar panels, and B.O.S – Balance of Service. It cost him $722 to carry out all the required paperwork and get the project approved by the power grid company.
The racking process by using aluminum rails and several mounts cost him $2362. The next is the inverters, which included two central inverters and 48 pieces of SolarEdge power optimizers took away $5940.
As you see, the solar panel is the costliest part of the project. As it was set up with premium Panasonic solar panels with an efficiency of 19.4%, it cost a total of $12,386 for Reese. Finally, the balance of service cost $1511, which covered the cost of wires, cables, copper, conduits, and the fee of the electrician.
The overall cost of the 15.6kWh home solar project was $22,921, of which he could save 30% with the state tax credit to take the total cost down to $16,045.
|48 Solar Panels (Panasonic)||$12,386|
|Power Inverters (Including 48 Power Optimizers)||$5940|
|Permits and Paperwork||$722|
|Aluminum Rail Racking||$2362|
|After 30% Tax Credit||$16,045|
You can check all these figures in detail in the video of the creator. I have embedded the second part of the video below. Its first part, where he elaborates on the installation part of the project has an incredible viewership with around 5M viewers becoming one of the most watched solar installation videos on Youtube, as of writing this.
FrugalRepair is a YouTube channel run by Reese, a passionate electrical and computer repairer. With a degree in Computer Engineering, he has been into helping out people repair and fix new projects. As of writing this, he has 160K subscribers on YouTube and he is active on Facebook, Instagram and he has a website, where he reviews solar power stations.
2. Grid-Tie Solar Power System by Two Bit da Vinci – San Diego
|Installation: Professional Installer.
Location: San Diego, California.
Annual Production: About 2.1MWh
|Total Cost w/o Tax Credit: $10000
Installation Year: 2013
Another most-watched original solar review on YouTube is by Two Bit da Vinci, a channel hosted by Mr. Ricky, who focuses on the future of technology and energy. In 2017, Ricky posted a video with a detailed review of his experience with home solar power for a period of five years, which could attract around 2.7 million viewers, as of writing this in August 2022.
In multiple follow-up videos later, he has taken time to describe how the solar power system helped him cut down on utility bills over years. In the first video, Ricky was talking about the solar power plant he installed in his home in 2013. It was a grid-tie system made out of five units of 235W solar panels and an Enphase M215 micro-inverter with each.
The project, which was installed by a professional, cost him $10000, which may look quite exorbitant as of today’s cost of the same output system. As you see, solar technology was almost two times costlier at that time compared to what it cost today for a homeowner. As per Ricky, today it would cost only about $4500 for the same system.
The Performance and Power Bill Savings
Moving ahead to the crux of the matter, Ricky could harvest as much as 10.5MWh of power in five years from his grid-tie power system on a daily average of 4kWh during the winter and 7kWh to 8kWh during the summer. The data shows that he could produce 100kWh a month in the winter and almost double in the summer.
Next, he talks in detail about the power bill savings. By displaying the power bills for a few months, Ricky concludes that he could save around $65 a month from his energy bills over the entire year, which would enable him to pay back the total cost of solar installation in around eight years. The power to be produced by the system for the rest of the years reflects in the account of profit, which makes him think that solar installation is a great investment with a decent ROI.
The Total Cost and Tax Credit
|Total Cost||$10000 (Individual Expenses Not Available)|
|After 30% State Tax Credit||$6400|
Below is the part of the video where Ricky discusses the performance of his home solar project and the power bill savings. He has also done multiple videos regarding the project on his channel here.
About Two Bit da Vinci
It is a YouTube channel owned by Ricky, who focuses on the future of technology, power, and transportation in his videos. He has created a lot of interesting videos on a variety of tech topics and he has around 300K subscribers, as of now.
Vahid Vee is a full-time blogger who is highly passionate about off-grid and sustainable power systems and is an expert at researching and exploring new topics, checking facts, and presenting things in simple language. As an avid observer of the global off-grid power and battery market, he is really excited to share with you the latest trends, fresh products, and other developments in the markets. #Contact Email @ email@example.com – LinkedIn – Full blog profile.