I have a small farm in upstate New York (near Lake Ontario) that could really use a PV system. How much do you think I would have to come up with up front before we could start this?
I thought the tax rebates/credits were only available if the installation was performed by certified solar installers. I contacted a couple of installers and they told me they would not do hybrid grid-tied/battery storage systems.
That said, I'm still very interested in your "barnraising" proposal. I'd like to do the same with homestead/small gardening projects. I have knowledge/tools to double-dig a bio-intensive garden, build coldframes, hoop-houses, and a lot of woodworking tools. A skill/time share LETS system would facilitate formalized trading of time/skills/tools, but in the meantime, I'd be happy to do some informal bartering.
The federal solar tax credit is not dependent on the certified installer.
The NYSERDA rebate which is given per watt in NYS is dependent on a certified installer.
I'm working on getting that - in theory I've got the necessary number of installs, have the credentials, and I also have some contacts in NYSERDA. For my install I just made a deal with someone I used to work with. Are you in New York State? If you are, Alteris does do battery systems, and I believe Sun Dog does also.
The reluctance to do batteries, btw, is that sealed lead acid deep cycle batteries, which is the current type virtually everyone uses, have a short life, and are difficult to maintain. If you were truly off grid you'd have to have them and replace them every few years. Mine weigh 150 lbs each. They're also an ecological nightmare. Lithium ion is much better, but that product for house storage hasn't made it to market yet, though apparently a lot of companies are close.
Are you willing to come to Virginia when we can organize a "barn raise"? Dele
It's not a short enough process that I could do that... I'd be going by for a few weekends. I wouldn't mind doing skills transfer to someone who could run a group down there, though.