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House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

  1. #1
    Pescador de Ilusões Eddie's Avatar
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    House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels


    Hi, I am considering buying a house with electric heat and solar panels. Stove, hot water and heat are electric, however I am being told that the solar panels are already paid for (not leased). I am told that those who put energy in the grid in the warmer months generally get that energy back to them in the winter months. Anyone have experience with this? The construction is new and only one side have panels, and there does not seem to be any structure or trees blocking the sunlight. The house is a new construction and has over 2700 sq ft. Should I be concerned with my electrical bills despite the solar panels? Thank you!! Eddie

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  2. #2
    Pescador de Ilusões Eddie's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    BTW, the solar panel area is 35x60 feet. Thanks

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    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Simple math if you know the watts generated

    There should be records at the electric company

    Note originally it was attractive that you got $$$ credit for generation. Now the electric company says
    it buys electricity wholesale not retail and soon it would be generator cost NOT delivered cost;; they compute saving annually


    I seriously DOUBT that solar will cover the electric heat the most expensive heat in the world

    PROPANE

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    Last edited by Stromper; 05-27-18 at 04:17 PM.
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    Senior Member TwelveGaugeSage's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Is it baseboard electric? That can get pretty expensive. If it is a mini-split system though, it might not be too bad. I've heard a lot of good about those and will likely be installing one in the addition we are adding onto our house, supplementing the oil heat the rest of the house uses.

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  5. #5
    Pescador de Ilusões Eddie's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromper View Post
    Simple math if you know the watts generated

    There should be records at the electric company

    Note originally it was attractive that you got $$$ credit for generation. Now the electric company says
    it buys electricity wholesale not retail and soon it would be generator cost NOT delivered cost;; they compute saving annually


    I seriously DOUBT that solar will cover the electric heat the most expensive heat in the world

    PROPANE
    It is a brand new house, so no history of electric cost.

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  6. #6
    Pescador de Ilusões Eddie's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by TwelveGaugeSage View Post
    Is it baseboard electric? That can get pretty expensive. If it is a mini-split system though, it might not be too bad. I've heard a lot of good about those and will likely be installing one in the addition we are adding onto our house, supplementing the oil heat the rest of the house uses.
    Unfortunately it is baseboard electric. I did see a propane tank outside but will have to inquire what it is doing there. I suppose that I could look into the cost of converting to oil or propane or adding mini-split heaters throughout the house. Guess I am trying to determine what to expect in terms of energy efficiency having the solar with the current electric heating. Thanks

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  7. #7
    Senior Member TwelveGaugeSage's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    I doubt any kind of forced air would be cost effective. Is it a boiler system or straight up electric for the heating? If it's a boiler system, conversion might not be too bad. Someone with more HVAC experience than me could give you a better idea. Either way I think you are fine with electric stove and water heater. Its the home heating that would worry me.

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    Member Zero's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    How many panels? How many kva do you typically use in your current situation? MA has the 3rd highest electricity rate in the country.

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    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    We kept our Ski place at 45° one winter with electric heat, the next two with a propane Rinnai wall unit. We had new, hydronic baseboards installed. We prepay the Propane to get the cheapest rate.

    The electric heat was double or more what it cost for propane. We use it only as a last-resort backup or to warm rooms farthest from the wood stove or Rinnai. Based on that experience I would not buy an electric-only heated house. Much prefer Propane stoves as well.

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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    We kept our Ski place at 45° one winter with electric heat, the next two with a propane Rinnai wall unit. We had new, hydronic baseboards installed. We prepay the Propane to get the cheapest rate.

    The electric heat was double or more what it cost for propane. We use it only as a last-resort backup or to warm rooms farthest from the wood stove or Rinnai. Based on that experience I would not buy an electric-only heated house. Much prefer Propane stoves as well.

    How much solar electric does your ski house produce and are your panels paid off or do you lease?

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    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    I am amazed ANYONE would build a house with electric heat now

    Does it have a basement, if its on a slab I assume it would be VERY difficult to add base board. Check if there is natural gas in the street
    would be cheapest today.

    Either way it is stupid the contractor/builder trying to get away cheap.. Ask around for someone with electric heat and see their bills for the winter
    a little research would tell you if the solar panels offset a majority. We have oil which is going up, 1800 square feet and spend $400/mo dead winter

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    Member Zero's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Here you go:

    Mass. Projected Household Heating Costs | Mass.gov

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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    Pescador de Ilusões Eddie's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromper View Post
    I am amazed ANYONE would build a house with electric heat now

    Does it have a basement, if its on a slab I assume it would be VERY difficult to add base board. Check if there is natural gas in the street
    would be cheapest today.

    Either way it is stupid the contractor/builder trying to get away cheap.. Ask around for someone with electric heat and see their bills for the winter
    a little research would tell you if the solar panels offset a majority. We have oil which is going up, 1800 square feet and spend $400/mo dead winter
    I agree. It does have a basement. I am guessing that some kind of conversion won't be difficult to do. Thanks

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  14. #14
    Pescador de Ilusões Eddie's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    We kept our Ski place at 45° one winter with electric heat, the next two with a propane Rinnai wall unit. We had new, hydronic baseboards installed. We prepay the Propane to get the cheapest rate.

    The electric heat was double or more what it cost for propane. We use it only as a last-resort backup or to warm rooms farthest from the wood stove or Rinnai. Based on that experience I would not buy an electric-only heated house. Much prefer Propane stoves as well.
    Thank you very much. I suppose I best shop around for full conversion to propane or gas. Thanks

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    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    How much solar electric does your ski house produce and are your panels paid off or do you lease?
    We don’t have them. Having minimized electrical use, and because it’s a vacation house, the investment is not very good. For one thing, we have tons of hardwood available: we don’t even harvest any trees, we just cut up the blow downs. So when we are there our heat use from propane or electric is lower than when we aren’t there.

    It would be much better in Boston, and we are going to examine the economics of buying panels outright over the summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    I pulled out the tables showing the comparison.

    The first table is projected seasonal expense with the amount of heat normalized. About as expected, with electric double the cost of propane. We heat with NG in Boston.

    The second table is the cost per million BTU’s.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels-1d1f2d66-1a77-4495-a6e9-14bc043ddbcc   House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels-464882d8-9173-4d46-ae6c-96f8259feac7  

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    Last edited by Garandman; 05-28-18 at 04:08 PM.
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  16. #16
    Pescador de Ilusões Eddie's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    We don’t have them. Having minimized electrical use, and because it’s a vacation house, the investment is not very good. For one thing, we have tons of hardwood available: we don’t even harvest any trees, we just cut up the blow downs. So when we are there our heat use from propane or electric is lower than when we aren’t there.

    It would be much better in Boston, and we are going to examine the economics of buying panels outright over the summer.

    I pulled out the tables showing the comparison.

    The first table is projected seasonal expense with the amount of heat normalized. About as expected, with electric double the cost of propane. We heat with NG in Boston.

    The second table is the cost per million BTU’s.
    That's great. Very awesome chart. I didn't realize that oil could be a less expensive than propane. Based on your chart, it looks like oil is about 50% more expensive that gas, and propane being 150% more expensive than gas. Very helpful. Thanks

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie View Post
    That's great. Very awesome chart. I didn't realize that oil could be a less expensive than propane. Based on your chart, it looks like oil is about 50% more expensive that gas, and propane being 150% more expensive than gas. Very helpful. Thanks
    in general, unless you have NG or will in the future, oil is the way to go, although LP can be advantageous over oil in some situations especially off grid

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  18. #18
    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    The energy guys are like drug dealers. When a fuel source first appears like propane it is priced cheaper than the dominant
    option which around here is oil. Propane used to be burned off at oil refineries as waste products, so source was considered free.

    After enough business occurs either there is a true shortage or more likely the simply raise the price to what the market will bear.

    Currently natural gas is in this phase and simply is priced to attract new users. Between trenching and the boiler a natural gas conversion
    would probably about $7000. I would predict that 10 years down the road it would only be comparable to oil.

    I am a TRUMP fan but I am not a fan of USA exporting oil which would have shielded us from some OPEC fluctuations

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  19. #19
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    To your original question, yes you'll get credits for your power that you don't use or sell it back to the grid. In this case, you'd be better off getting credits so you get full rate equivalent.
    The size of your panels would indicate it is about 31,000W of power or equivalent to a 105,000 Btu/h boiler. That size boiler would probably not heat a 2700 sqft house unless the house is very efficient, and of course you get nothing at night. But you have all summer to build credits for winter use. But that is also affected by how much electricity you typically use in day to day (lights, cooking, TV, washer/dryer, hot water, etc) and how much you have left over.

    Electric heat in a solar home is actually becoming popular as then your house can be a zero emissions home. You would be better off with heat pumps of course (except in dead of winter, they aren't efficient) but electric can work if you conserve power on everything else to build enough credits. But be sure to check with that local provider to make sure they offer credits in a manner that will make the economics work.

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  20. #20
    Pescador de Ilusões Eddie's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    To your original question, yes you'll get credits for your power that you don't use or sell it back to the grid. In this case, you'd be better off getting credits so you get full rate equivalent.
    The size of your panels would indicate it is about 31,000W of power or equivalent to a 105,000 Btu/h boiler. That size boiler would probably not heat a 2700 sqft house unless the house is very efficient, and of course you get nothing at night. But you have all summer to build credits for winter use. But that is also affected by how much electricity you typically use in day to day (lights, cooking, TV, washer/dryer, hot water, etc) and how much you have left over.

    Electric heat in a solar home is actually becoming popular as then your house can be a zero emissions home. You would be better off with heat pumps of course (except in dead of winter, they aren't efficient) but electric can work if you conserve power on everything else to build enough credits. But be sure to check with that local provider to make sure they offer credits in a manner that will make the economics work.
    Thank you Falko. I like your power generation vs btu usage analysis/logic. From what I am reading from you and others, I suppose that my best bet would be to not rely on solar power credits for offsetting my electric heater bills for the winter months. It is nice having the panels, but I'll try to convince the seller to converting the house to oil before closing. Worse case scenario I can do the conversion on my own, but the electric heater will definitely be a point of negotiation for the close. My uncle, who is a contractor, is coming to the house with me today to let me know what he thinks. Thanks to all, Eddie

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  21. #21
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: House Economy for Electric Heat with Solar Panels

    My friend has 10kW worth of solar at his house and he has an abundance of power generation, probably makes 2x what he uses. But he doesn't use that much, no AC, limited TV usage, smaller home, etc. That house you are looking at is about 3-4kW. So you may have enough to run your house, but heating with electricity might be difficult.

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