3 Types of Solar Panels: Pros and Cons

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Subject: MONO


Lee Barrett

Subject: Panel Type Analysis

Good overview but a few clarifications:

1. Mono types with discrete disks inter- connected require only one disk or inter-connect to fail to render the panel useless. Poly types have many parallel paths for current and resist damage consequences.

2. Mono types often have connections that resemble "worms" in appearance and if covered by a soft plastic or rubber coating, expect bird damage from pecking. Look for glass or hard plastics in coverings.

3. Thinking that panels still function under shade conditions is wishful thinking in all types.

4. Panels must be mounted facing true South at an angle of your latitude plus 10 degrees for optimum output. Panels mounted facing other directions do not function as intended.

Phil Teague

Subject: Update to some items

So to optimize your production, you would need to install the modules to our current latitude. Here in central Indiana we are at about 38deg latitude, thus a 10x12 pitch would be the most optimal for energy production. If these conditions arise, then it will get 4.62 direct sunlight hours on average per day throughout the year. (Jacksonville Florida gets 4.79!) If you have a lower sloped roof say a 4-6x12 roof, you can still get great energy production (4.58 direct sunlight hours, not too shabby).

The modules do not have to face due south, but produce the most energy production when they do. A low slope (3-4x12 pitch) EW orientated roof line will still get 4.02 direct sunlight hours on average per day. As the EW pitch increases, the production decreases.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.