1. #1
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    Default Solar Panels on the Firehouse

    With the cost of fuel/gas going up and who knows where it will end, I was researching solar panels, we have a GREAT south facing roof.

    Has anyone installed solar panels on their firehouse?

    What was the cost?

    How many panels or what portion of the roof was covered?

    How is it working out?
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Take a look over here BIODIESEL & SVO DISCUSSION FORUMS There is a fellow goes by the name of 12voltDan, I know he has installed some solar. It is pretty pricey up front. I believe I saw somewhere a 3.5KW system was about $13,000. The specs on the systems will tell the size of the panels. You should also be able to look at the meter on your house to see what kind of power you need and use.

    I'm considering setting it up to run air conditioners during the day. Just it will take a long tome to see a return on investment. Setting it up fro heat seems a more economical solution.

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    I've been doing research for a non-FD grid-tied solar project. In TVA-land where electricity is about $.07 per kWh, but can be sold at $.15 per kWh, the average household would need an initial investment around $60,000 to achieve net zero electrical useage - and there's still a 20 year payback timeframe.

    The time is probably not right yet, but it's likely to be here soon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ullrichk View Post
    I've been doing research for a non-FD grid-tied solar project. In TVA-land where electricity is about $.07 per kWh, but can be sold at $.15 per kWh, the average household would need an initial investment around $60,000 to achieve net zero electrical useage - and there's still a 20 year payback timeframe.

    The time is probably not right yet, but it's likely to be here soon.
    Yea, I'm coming up on some similar bad numbers... the 20 year payoff really scares me. Not sure I trust the equipment to last that long.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Did you consider wind powered generators?

    Also, for a public building there are incentives, grants and tax breaks to look into as well.

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    Recently, I saw a church with an entire side of its roof covered with solar panels, but one of the members of either my fire company or hazmat team said that it wasn't even worth it because it takes such a long time to get a return investment. I'm not sure who it was, but it was someone from one of them. I think it was someone from my hazmat team when we were returning from a hazmat incident a little while ago.

    I don't know if it's true, but I thought I would just pass along that information just in case.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Did you consider wind powered generators?

    Also, for a public building there are incentives, grants and tax breaks to look into as well.
    Our building is not a public (owned) building.

    I don't think they make practical wind powered generators that could produce enough energy to make practical.

    Most of those wind generators are actually very large and require quite a bit of maintenance.... or so I thought?
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    They come in sizes from blades of a few feet to blades of a couple of hundred feet. There is a wind farm on Tug Hill in NY Maple Ridge Wind Farm/ that has some pretty neat pictures. The beauty of wind is that it blows night and day. Solar only works during the day.

    It might be worth looking into some grants or other funding sources for such a project. You also wouldn't need a huge generator. If your house is used only for FD then you really don't have a lot of power in use all the time.

    Also, most of the time non-profits are lumped in with government

    I found a least at the NYSERDA web site

    http://www.nyserda.org/funding/funding.asp?i=2

    There is more also. poke around you might find a fit somewhere
    Last edited by ScareCrow57; 08-07-2008 at 09:45 AM.

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    Call Town Hall in Morristown they are doing a lot of research on the panels
    for the sewer plant project,Rumor has it that the new firehouse may have
    panels too.Cant hurt to ask.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    If your house is used only for FD then you really don't have a lot of power in use all the time.
    Also, when you are not drawing power, the windmill can charge a battery bank, to use as a reserve power source. Also, you don't have to have enough to completely power your house. With battery, you can wire in an auto transfer switch to go back to the grid when there isn't enough battery/wind power available. So many options...

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    My father-in-law put 3 sets of panels and 2 windmills at his house in Puerto Rico where they get a ton of sun year-round and since they're up in the mountains near the coast a good bit of wind. Also has a solar hot water system for half the house and the pool/spa. I think he's dropped somewhere around $60-75k doing it and still isn't at a $0 electric bill. The ROI is definitely long term on alternative energy but little things can add up. Plus considering how long the firehouse is supposed to be there it should be still standing and working in 20 years.

    There are some smaller wind generators that work in minimal wind speeds. Saw a Modern Marvels a while back and Jay Leno has one on his garage. Decent wattage on them too.

    All of these systems feed into a battery bank and I haven't seen one yet that doesn't have a transfer switch to take you back onto the grid when needed. That's a good part of the expense right there, if not most of it.

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    Solar is starting to become very popular in California because of all the hippies, the weather, and price of energy, panels are popping up on roofs everywhere.
    At my last department we actually had a company offer the department a deal where they would install the entire solar system with no upfront cost. They would take a look at what we were paying for our utilities, find an average monetary sum, add a small amount to it, and that would be the fixed rate for the next 20 years or something like that. The theory was that power was only going to get more expensive, and the department wouldn't really be paying anymore than it already was.

    I left before anything was finalized but it did seem like an interesting proposal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by catscratch View Post
    Solar is starting to become very popular in California because of all the hippies, the weather, and price of energy, panels are popping up on roofs everywhere.
    At my last department we actually had a company offer the department a deal where they would install the entire solar system with no upfront cost. They would take a look at what we were paying for our utilities, find an average monetary sum, add a small amount to it, and that would be the fixed rate for the next 20 years or something like that. The theory was that power was only going to get more expensive, and the department wouldn't really be paying anymore than it already was.

    I left before anything was finalized but it did seem like an interesting proposal.
    That does seem interesting, if you come up with the company name, can you pm me?

    Thanks
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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