Solar Panels

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Chris Chris
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Solar Panels

I've got an extra 1.5-2.5 acres of land that I'm throwing ideas around in my head as to what to use it for.

My first thought is to use it as a small tree nursery to plant spruce and other desirable landscape trees (I could expand the acreage if we wanted to go larger).  

It's been shared that Xmas trees are silly if you have good soil (loam)... Why plant a tree with a return of $75 in 8 years when you can sell them for landscaping and transplant for $500+ in 10 years?

Pro's here is low startup and pretty easy maintenance.  I don't really see any cons.

Second thought:
Dive into Solar and do a 1-2 acre solar plot.  I know folks on here have residential panels, does anyone have experience with small solar farms?

It's my understanding that National Grid will not PAY me for my power, just give me credit's.  I would think with 1-2 acres of panels I would have more credits than I would know what to do with, so I'd like to actually get cash flow from it.

Pro's- Run house so it's a Net 0 home, I like the idea of solar, while tech will quickly be outdated I like the idea of helping the bigger cause toward better systems and being a vote toward green energy and also cash flow?

Cons- Technology is only getting better in 5 years we'll be using old tech, much more permanent (concrete pads, lots of steel etc...), high start up costs, how much negative am I doing to the environment with the production of panels etc vs how Green they really are.


I'll be interested to see where this goes.
The day begins...  Your mountain awaits.
D.B. Cooper D.B. Cooper
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Re: Solar Panels

I know someone who worked on a Christmas tree farm.  The trees require pruning every year.  I can't imagine a landscape tree farm is much different.  Zoning and agricultural rules probably come into play.

For solar farms - and you're talking photovoltaic as opposed to solar thermal - you could have ground mount (includes rooftop) or tracking.  A tracking installation is more money because the motor turns the collection of panels to track the sun throughout the day.

It sounds like you would have the panels "behind the meter" meaning that you would consume first with any excess being uploaded to the grid.  The alternative is "in front of the meter" meaning that you upload strictly to the grid.

Solar panels are more efficient if you clean them at least once a year.

How about this.....depending on the zoning, popularity of your area (tourists) and your need for privacy, build a small container home and rent it (monthly, Air B&B).
Sent from the driver's seat of my car while in motion.
ScottyJack ScottyJack
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Re: Solar Panels

Call Apex solar out of glens falls. Maybe do both ideas. Solar nursery for power and landscape plants.  Make sure you go ny native plants. Big push for native plants.  I just dropped 600 bucks at fiddlehead creek nursery near argyle on perennials and native shrubs.  

People still use real trees for Christmas?  
I ride with Crazy Horse!
Snowballs Snowballs
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Re: Solar Panels

In reply to this post by D.B. Cooper
D.B. Cooper wrote
It sounds like you would have the panels "behind the meter" meaning that you would consume first with any excess being uploaded to the grid.  The alternative is "in front of the meter" meaning that you upload strictly to the grid.
Interesting D. B.  Any idea on the economics of those two arrangements ? Does it vary depending on who buys your power production ?

This is an important issue that hopefully will be resolved so that solar can become very common place. Seems like something as valuable and necessary as electricity combined with the very huge need to change the way it's produced ought to be able to be made economical now that the hardware is here.
MC2 5678F589 MC2 5678F589
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Re: Solar Panels

In reply to this post by Chris
Those sound like boring ideas.

How about an MTB skills course?

How about an aquaponic garden?

What about building a nice Par 3?

The Air B&B thing is a good idea, too.

My advice is to do what you'd enjoy most. If you enjoy pruning trees, cool. If you enjoy putting up huge, unsightly panels that might be replaced with roof shingles in 5-10 years, also cool. If you enjoy cleaning out a house for Air B&B guests, do that.

I guess you're doing the right thing by weighing the pros and cons. I've found that the costs of undertaking any project are usually not worth the benefits, but I'd be more inclined to enjoy the benefits if they were monetary (no power bill, Air B&B money).

A lot of things that people do (home brewing, gardening, etc.) don't make any real money so you have to find the joy in the act itself. If you can't do that with whatever idea you're considering, then I would advise against doing that particular project.
tjf1967 tjf1967
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Re: Solar Panels

If you want a long term investment without much work plant a bunch of walnut trees and harvest them for retirement.

https://www.profitableplantsdigest.com/growing-walnut-trees-for-profit/
D.B. Cooper D.B. Cooper
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Re: Solar Panels

In reply to this post by Snowballs
Yeah, it depends on what you pay per KWh versus what they would pay you.  Simple as that.  If you're behind the meter, I think the meter actually starts turning in the opposite direction.  Cool.

In the event of a power failure, I'm not sure that one's "outside the meter" panels would be able to power your house simply because they are nearby.  It may not be that simple.
Sent from the driver's seat of my car while in motion.
ScottyJack ScottyJack
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Re: Solar Panels

In reply to this post by tjf1967
I just booked marked that website. I see gourmet garlic and mushrooms 🍄 growing in raised beds out back with opie chasing jackson around the black walnut grove.
I ride with Crazy Horse!
Chris Chris
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Re: Solar Panels

In reply to this post by D.B. Cooper
All good ideas:

DB- This would definitely be a before meter farm.  It would be put into an LLC and I would then lease the land to LLC or LLC would purchase the acreage, leasing would probably make more since for taxes.  I didn't even consider zoning, I would need a variance but don't' think it would be an issue.  Thanks for that.

As far as AB&B etc... This is our "sanctuary" I do love making money but I don't want to deal with people invading our privacy, this land borders our primary residence.  We could make a very good profit with Air B&B (close to track/spac/broadway, and northway).... but again just too close to home.

The remaining acreage is going to be rec land.

SJ- In the coming months/years I'm going to talk with a number of companies- I like the idea of owning the panels vs leasing them.  I know different companies have different programs.

I agree 100% about native plans/shrubs!

MC2-  Single Track will be built... don't you worry!
Golf's for old people, I ain't there yet.  For now it's mtb, snowboarding, hockey, I still need the adrenaline!


TJF- I've thought about walnut, I'll take a gander at that link
The day begins...  Your mountain awaits.
Milo Maltbie Milo Maltbie
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Re: Solar Panels

Solar is not as simple as it seems.  The 2MW solar farms are not simple energy sales. You need to find a partner to take the energy, and the rules for new plants are way worse than for plants developed last year.  The new rules require the solar developer to make the utility whole for part of the revenue loss due to net metering.  I think that killed the business entirely.
For residential net metering, the excess energy is cashed out at the wholesale rate, so realistically you want to go to net zero but no additional cash out.  That means 5 to 7 kW for most homes.
Finally, net metering is going away in NY beginning in 2020.  Eventually, the PSC wants the utilities to buy back solar at wholesale plus the added value that it brings due to environmental or reliability improvements.  The expectation is that correctly pricing the value of solar will be better than net metering for the customer.  But that value depends heavily on the location of the solar panels, and I think the Adirondacks and most of rural Upstate NY will be low value for solar installations.  
Wait and see what the 2020 rules will be before you invest in a large solar plant.

mm  
"Everywhere I turn, here I am." Susan Tedeschi
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