Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Solar install Again this time in NM

We decided to have a Solar Power System put on this house.  I looked into it and it made sense.  I wanted to do it myself but the permitting process here is laborious and ridiculous.  I also wanted it to be all “official” so there aren’t any problems 10 years from now when we go to sell the house. I basically knew what I wanted since I did this before in our San German, Puerto Rico house.  We did not need battery backup here because the power is so reliable and clean.  I decided on a 2.75KW Grid Tie system with Enphase M215 Micro inverters.  11 pannels and 11 inverters ballast mounted at 10 degrees. Micro inverters are basically as cheap as central inverters are now and with this being the 4th generation of them I think they will be reliable.  I also didn't want a central inverter humming loudly in the garage.  The inverters we used are M215.  They peak at 225 Watts each.  Now if you’re paying attention you will say “you have 2750W in panels but only 2475 for the inverters”.  That is correct and I will lose some power because the inverters will clip the peak power.  This all becomes a wash for various reasons but the main reason is that the panels are at a 10 degree angle and thus will never be optimal.

“Why 10 degrees” you ask?  Because that makes installation much much simpler.  This is a ballast mount system and as you can see in the picture without panels that these tinny aluminum frames are just held down by small garden paving blocks.  That means very simple install and no penetrating the roof.  Ideally I wanted a 30 – 35 degree mounted system.  That is our Latitude and would have provided the maximum yearly harvest without adjusting the panels twice a year.  

The install was very fast and simple.  Basically two guys for 6 hours and an electrician for 2 hours.  That was it.  It really doesn’t get much easier.  But then comes all the inspections!  5 of them!  It was a headache for 3 of them where someone had to be home and the inspectors wouldn’t give a time when they were coming out.  That really is unacceptable and I felt like it was even worse than in Puerto Rico.

It took three months from start to finish but only one short day that any work was done.  It cost $11,000 but I will get back 40% in tax credits so the net cost to us is $6500.  It will be a 6 – 8 year payback based on savings however, it can be looked at as an immediate payback based on the value of our house going up at least $6500 right now.  With the crazy sun hours we have here our system is making around 18 – 19 KWH each day!  That is slightly more than we are using.

2016 is going to be tough for Solar installers as the tax credits go away along with rising grid connection fees for solar customers.  If you in NM now is the time to install solar!


Anonymous said...

Did you guys move to Mars?

Jeff and Katrina Kruse said...


First off I would love to move to Mars. I would do so in a heartbeat.

But as to your comment. I assume you say such a thing as to compare ecology of Albuquerque vs. Puerto Rico. Yes it is true that Puerto Rico has far more diversity in plant life as well as being very abundant. However Puerto Rico is very lacking in animal diversity. As far as mammals go in Puerto Rico all you will find is the starving or dead dog and cat. There are mice, rats, and mongooses to be found if you look hard along with monkeys in the South. There are plenty of bats. Then of course you will find Horses, Cows, sheep, and other farm animals.

Contrast that with the diversity we see here in the desert. The number of different kinds of animals we see here is an order of one or two magnitudes greater! Oh yea, and I haven’t seen a starving or dead dog yet. I did however see one dead cat on the side of road. That’s after ONE year here vs. one DAY in Puerto Rico.

So yah, it may look like Mars to you but you don’t know any better but hopefully you will learn how things can be from reading this blog. Thanks for your comment.