Solar Panel Update #illumedati

Hi guys, this post is kind of late, but here it is for Whatever Wednesdays… my Solar Panel Update.

Stock Photo from: Pexels

So I originally talked about solar power in my prior post Solar Power and Tesla. My original plan was to have the roof and panels both in and functioning by the end of 2016. This would have allowed me to claim the tax credits on my 2016 Taxes. Well, it’s already 2017… so that didn’t happen. As such, I needed to start Trimming the Fat.

The good news is that my panels are up on my roof now and are functional. It was set up so that there was only one puncture to my new metal roof. My roofer has already come out and made sure the puncture was watertight and sealed up well. I also let my solar company know of my (eventual) plans to put in two batteries. With this knowledge they placed the inverter in my garage along the back wall so there will be adequate room for two batteries to be mounted on the side wall.

What kind of system did you buy?

So, from my experience, buying solar panels is kind of a guessing game. You have to estimate how much power you and your family will consume during a normal day. With the current net metering program in effect here in Hawaii, it is not efficient to produce too much excess energy.

However, I had a few additional things to consider when I initially put in for my permit in 2016:

My in-laws were going to come live with me.

This will increase my normal energy consumption during the day by some amount that I had to estimate. I used a relatively conservative estimate of a 30% increase in consumption.

I eventually plan to buy batteries and go (mostly) off-grid.

In preparation for this, I probably have more panels than I need (currently). However, I made estimates based on how much energy I would need to produce daily. I wanted this amount to cover normal daily energy costs as well as store enough excess to cover energy consumption overnight.

I think the car of the future will be electric.

To me, it’s not really a matter of how, but when. If Elon has his way, everyone will have his Solar Roofs with Teslas in their garage. I am not quite that optimistic yet. However, I do believe that within the next 5 years I will trade in my Rav4s for electric cars. My 3rd Car, the 2011 Honda Fit, will probably stick around till it dies. I don’t feel too horrible about this since the gas mileage it gets is pretty good, and I only drive it the 5 miles to work. Like I said, I’ll be surprised if it gets 5000 miles a year. My current estimate it will be driven maybe 3000 miles a year.

With all of the above in mind, this is the system I have:

SunPower x21 345 (29 panels)
SolarEdge Inverter 10000a

According to my (and their) estimates, this should generate 39 kWh/day, which should be more than enough.

So are you going to buy a Powerwall 2?

Like I said in my Solar Power and Tesla post, I would need two Powerwall 2s for my current setup. I am optimistic that battery tech will get better in the next 3-5 years. In its current iteration, Powerwall 2 is very early on the product adoption curve. I am hopeful that Powerwall 3 will be more for the consumer market.

Remember that I would not be using this battery for just “battery backup”. The plan is to store excess energy I generate from my panels to my own batteries and then utilize that energy at night. In this sense, I am trying to rely on the grid as little as possible.

What Tesla(s) would you buy?

Well, I think I would like to have whatever the next generation of the Model X is. Since it’s my family and my in-laws now, we have a total of 4 adults and 2 children. Once the kids get older, we will really want to have a 6 (preferably 7) passenger vehicle. As I’ve said before, my wife refuses to buy a mini-van. Having a 7 passenger SUV would be good for when the whole family wants to go out to dinner or for all going to the beach.

As for the other Tesla, that will be kind of up to my wife. It’s up to her whether she prefer whatever the next generation of the Model S is or would opt for the Model 3. She would mostly just use this Tesla for commuting too and from work. We’ll see.

So then what?

Well, the dream is:

Panels generate enough power for normal daily energy consumption.

Excess power goes to the batteries for night consumption.

Excess power is enough to charge the Teslas.

Electricity bill $0 and gasoline bill minimal (from the Honda Fit).

Decrease my carbon footprint.


Solar Panels are in and I’m generating energy.

Phase two is Powerwall 3 (or other battery).

Phase three is two Teslas (or other electric vehicle).

The dream is $0 electricity bill with a minimal gas bill and decrease my carbon footprint.

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