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Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

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Old 06-22-2010, 02:56 PM
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Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

Solar hot water is one of the most cost-effective ways to generate energy.

http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/500/Solar_Panel_Installation_Reginal_Enterprise_Tower.jpg
Catherine Welch - NPR - June 21, 2010

Semper Fidelis. Listen to the Story --Ed.

On the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina, large, reflective rectangles line the rooftops of some of the homes.

But they're not some high-tech military gadget or even a satellite dish to get the latest TV channels: They're solar panels for heating water.

So many of these panels have gone up in one neighborhood that the community is quickly becoming the largest in the continental U.S. to heat water with solar energy... [Read More]
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:12 PM
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Re: Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

Good for them. Especially going for solar water instead of solar electric.

Depending on options, the payback for a solar heater vs standard electric is on the order of 5 years. Really a no-brainer.

The payback for PV electric panels is much longer.
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:23 PM
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Re: Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

Pretty easy do-it-yourself, too. If you have the sunshine. See www.builditsolar.com
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:23 PM
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Re: Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

I had one on my last house, and I put one on this house. It's criminal that Florida doesn't mandate it on new houses. Solar electric is still far away I fear.
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:53 PM
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Re: Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

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Originally Posted by southerncannuck View Post
I had one on my last house, and I put one on this house. It's criminal that Florida doesn't mandate it on new houses. Solar electric is still far away I fear.
It's criminal that many other things aren't mandated. While safety mandates are to be lauded, more efficiency mandates are required.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:59 PM
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Re: Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

Well - in florida, a wiser choice is a system hooked to the a/c. It is cheaper and it makes the a/c a tick more efficient. It works as long as the a/c is running which it is most of the year at least in Southern Florida. Costs less than $2000 and basically reduces energy use as much as solar.

What is criminal is that there are only incentives for solar and not other efficient modalities. FWIW - I installed solar last year and with the incentives, the payback is probably la bit more than 5 years. But the cost benefit is a bit reduced because I have NG available but the backup for the solar system is electric. The backup doesn't run much but still the cost for NG isn't bad - probably $300 a year for us before the solar system. If you have efficient washer machines and dishwashers and don't take baths or long showers, then the heat requirement is not that high. At $6500, that payback would have been 20 years without incentives.

My only point is that if you have NG available and are wise with your hot water use, then solar payback is pretty long - despite being far better than PV. The PV payback, even with all incentives is just over 10 years. That is with a large state incentive and a system to sell the electricity at over retail rates. The crazy thing about the system (which I don't have yet) is that you sell all the electricity you generate for $.16 and buy the electricity you use at about $.10. Take that bizarre incentive away and payback is close to 20 years. And that is with nearly 60% fed and state combinec tax credits. Take that away and you are getting over 40 years.

Hybrid cars pack back much faster despite all the debate on the subject.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:18 PM
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Re: Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

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Originally Posted by 300TTto545 View Post
Hybrid cars pack back much faster despite all the debate on the subject.
I just don't drive a lot, and my car is a FIT. Changing cars won't do much, other than draining the bank account. My solar system cost less than $5500 without rebates. I think that a system can be had for less than $3000 if you are a do it yourself person.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:18 PM
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Re: Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

I think it is a good thing to have the military seeking energy efficiency. Energy usage by the military is tremendous. Also they have the opportunity to reach and educate a great number of people.

Solar hot water is somewhat more expensive in the north country. It is the next thing we need to do to reduce our energy usage but some trees need to be gone first. It is not about ROI.

People will worry about ROI, on a solar hot water system for example, and then go out and buy the biggest flat screen TV that will fit on their wall. No ROI analysis is done on that expenditure.


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Old 06-23-2010, 09:59 AM
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Re: Green Marines: Camp Lejeune Buys Into Solar Power

I forgot to add that when the solar panel was installed, I was sold a solar attic fan. I was suspicious, but I got it anyway. It turned out better than I expected. The attic temp is now within 5 to 10 degrees of outdoor ambient. It was at 155F-160F in the early afternoon before. The AC vents are in the attic. I wish I would have measured the output temps at the grills before, but I didn't. However, I can tell all who will listen that it is a lot cooler.

Money well spent.
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