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^^^
Central WI only gets 3-4 hrs of useable sun per day (we'll give you the benefit of the doubt and call it 4), averaged over the year.....In WI we pay in the range of 17c / kW-hr. Your bill averages $400 per month, therefore you use 28,800kWhr/yr --almost 3x the usaeage of the average American household.

Solar Calculator According this site, you need a >26kW array to supply that, and according to this site Off-Grid Solar System Sizing Calculator you need a 45kW array (calculated specifically to Wausau - 2.97 hrs/d of sun).....

Somethng doesn't jive.

I'm not "against" solar. I just tthink realistically about it. It may make great economic sense to install it if you live in Phoenix. Not so much in WI, except for small, specific applications-- things like well pumps and heat. Your life depends on those. You don't need to be watching Ophra or Wheel of Fortune on your big screen TV when the SHTF and MadMax is coming to kill you for your potatoes.

Relatively small solar or wind can be installed for chump change and will only add a few $hundred to your grid energy bills over a lifetime. I figure my solar for water will add only ~$500 to my energy costs over 20yrs (I should live that long) and less tthan that to my costs for a small wind generator for the heating pumps. a small price for the security gained.

OTOH- a 15kW system would cost me $42,000+ installled and last no more than 25 yrs-- that's $1700/yr, not counting battery replacement costs every 5 yrs...but my grid costs are only $1200.yr now-- with no worry about replacement costs or repairs.
Doc:
I have no idea if those #s you quoted are accurate for our area of wide open spaces.
(And actually Phoenix is too hot to maximize the use of solar. "Although solar panels use sunlight to produce energy, they do not require heat in any way. In fact, solar panels may run about 10 to 25 percent less efficient on warm, dry days reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The hotter the ambient air becomes, the less efficient your solar panels will be." Does Temperature Affect Solar Panel Efficiency? | Energy Saving Pros.)

Re our high electric bills:
So THE HOUSE,WHILE PASSIVE SOLAR, IS CATHEDRAL CEILINGS THROUGHOUT 22' tall. Without our wood stove, our electric needs, heating and a/c costs brings that to $400/month approximately except if we have tons of sunny days in winter. We have tested this several times. We have tons of windows because we can. Super insulated but still, all windows leak air. If we run the wood stove, then the cost drops. But we built knowing we would age here GOD willing, and want to not worry about costs.
Fully electric homes are not cheap to run. 2 huge stand up deep freezes, 50'x40' pole barn and all the electric boy toys you can imagine. All must be charged. I cook for tons of people who cannot or need help. All electric stove. 3 canners. Well pump. We irrigate 1.5 acres. You get the picture.

1.We have 5 acres cleared around the solar. Our solar engineers gave us optimum siting for our 100 foot array. And solar hot water array. And for our roof overhangs.
We placed the array 100% due south No blockages or shadows during peak hours (looked at 40 parcels of land before buying this one to garner clear sunshine).
2. Your cost estimate is off for us.
Our electric costs are not with a big utility. We must clear making $51 each month to just begin to save on our bill:
We are forced to belong to a "coop" for electric and internet/phone (2 coops) and we have each month 2 large add on cost; one fixed and the other floats up but rarely down. No options unless you want to be completely off-grid which is not our choice right now.
a. There is a $32.40 "facility charge" on us each month for being allowed to use the grid.
Never had that in Milwaukee area.
b. EVERY MONTH THE COOP ASSESSES OR CREDITS A "POWER COST" amount. It is $.03 (3 cents) per KWh we generate in addtion to the actual power cost to us that all pay. (Unlike Milwaukee and I believe Madison --WeEnergies & Alliant)
This month for 5/9-6/8 that was a "cost" of $18.57. It has nothing to do with our solar generation; it is the cost of the Utilities buying power for that time frame.

So that raises the cost of our bill before we generate to sell back $1 to $51.
So our actual bill would be $350 without those costs. But they exist so I count them in.
c. WI non-taxeable program adds 3% taxes on top of that!

Anyhow, we have all our records. We netted out each year once we got the full array installed (did in those 3 segments to get the state $$ & fed tax rebates.
We love our system and it is not for everyone. Not terribly simple but it is turnkey. We do no work, just call our solar guy. In 10 years we have never paid him another bill. We do fill large coolers with beer, frozen homemade foods and steaks done rare).
 

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we are in the process of getting a 10KW system installed with 17kw battery. We are in Wisconsin on 40 acres.
we are not doing it to save money but to be independent. It's a big cost and we will have to replace batteries in the future and planning for it.
 

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Somethng doesn't jive.
I meant to mention this earlier when I saw your calculations. There is a real thing called "cloud edge effect." Some times you don't have direct sunlight. But what there may be is refraction. It happens when clouds move by and the edge of the cloud throws you some good charge even without the panels having direct sun hitting them. It also happens on misty or foggy days depending on conditions. The bottom line to my point is that I have gotten a quarter of the total panels' output just from the effect. It's a pretty cool thing to have the sun behind the trees at the top of the canyon and still get a solar charge....

Also to the point, did you know you can even get some solar collection on a brightly moon lit night? It may not count for much of anything but it does happen.
 

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As I said. output from a solar cell decreases linearly with solar illuminescence...With no clouds in the sky, for those 3-5 hours in the middle of the day, a 4 kW array will put out 4kWs for those 3-5 hrs (12-20kW-hr)....But with a 50% cloud cover, it'll only put out 2kW. With overcast skies, it'll only put out 1/2 kW or less....That means the average family would still use 30 kW-hr/d, but only be producing 2kW-hr on the many cloudy days in WI's winter....After 7 straigh days of no sun (not uncommon in Jan in WI) that average family is 196kW-hr in the hole...To put that in perspective, a typical car battery holds 600 W, so you'd need a battery bank of 327 car batteries to keep the lights on, or a 60kW (!!) solar array.
 

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Not enough at the moment but we would like to make it happen next year probably.
I have intentions to speak with the dte energy on this website and discuss them our possible options. They definitely have more experience and maybe will be able to help us.
 

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Not enough at the moment but we would like to make it happen next year probably.
I don't get it. With all the back and forth on this thread, why would you do solar? Not like this thread is the final word by any means but why? Are you in a sun rich environment? Are you technical?
 

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My neighbor, who has a much larger roof area than mine and quite a bit more sun, just got their system hooked up a couple weeks ago. They don't know if the system will pay for itself before it loses it's efficiency yet. We'll all find out in a couple months.
 

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I would never put solar panels on my roof. If I get a foot of snow over night, it can't slide off if it is anchored by the solar panels. And if you go up and try to shovel or sweep it off you could easily damage the panels. Every array of solar panels around here in set up on the ground, or on a post or rack standing alone beside the house.
 

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I would never put solar panels on my roof. If I get a foot of snow over night, it can't slide off if it is anchored by the solar panels. And if you go up and try to shovel or sweep it off you could easily damage the panels. Every array of solar panels around here in set up on the ground, or on a post or rack standing alone beside the house.
Everybody's situation is different.

The advantage of roof top installation is that it doesn't take up any land not already taken up anyway. The panels can also help shade the house and keep it cooler....Many disadvantages-- As you note, difficult access for routine maintenance, but the places they work best don't usually need to worry about snow removal.....Putting on a new roof when needed becomes a nightmare of extra work and expense.
 

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I would never put solar panels on my roof. If I get a foot of snow over night, it can't slide off if it is anchored by the solar panels. And if you go up and try to shovel or sweep it off you could easily damage the panels. Every array of solar panels around here in set up on the ground, or on a post or rack standing alone beside the house.
To shed snow a lot depends on the pitch of the roof, the distance between panels and of course the temperatures. Even if it gets well below freezing over night, during the day the sun, even through moderate cloud cover, will cause the snow to sag enough to expose some of the panel at the top. The panel will then heat causing more sag and so on and they often self clear. The problem is if the panels are far enough apart that the snow builds up between them and makes a dam. Or if it continues to snow and stays well below freezing.

But, yeah, sometimes you're just plain screwed and out comes the ladder and a 25' window washing pole. Especially with a foot of the stuff. Its no fun on a wet or icy steel roof unless you have a big thick pile of the stuff to fall onto:
Snow Sky Building Window House
 

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My neighbor is about to go 100% off of the grid. Contractors are at his house as I type. I will try to get over there later and get the specifics on his system.
 

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I have 2 cabins on the property. The first I call the "Utility Building" or "Gate House" which is grid tied. My second house would have cost $30K to get grid power to it so I Invested $24K on a big enough system to run the house. Will use Propane for cooking there as well, no clothes drier and wood for heat. No AC needed as the seasonal temps stay very comfortable and with a full underground basement we can hang out down there in that living area if it gets warm. Propane generator for backup and a second Solar Generator that is big enough to power the fridge and other things in case all goes dead. Can take the solar generator and plug into the utility building to charge if it stays cloudy too long.
 
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