easports82
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:05 am
Location: Orange, CA

Trying to go Solar

Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:07 pm

I'm looking to go solar with either a purchase or PPA (which would essentially turn into a purchase down the line) and I'm trying to understand the differences in these companies and panels. Using the estimates of several companies, the basic outline is to get a system sized at approximately 5.75-6.3 kWh producing around 9500-10000 kWh annually. Here are the ballpark estimates, prior to site audits (which are in the process of being conducted) and tax credits:
    SolarCity: purchase at ~$32k (kWh charges of .16 and .11 before and after applying credit)
    SunEdison: purchase at ~$33k, financing TBD
    California Home Solar: purchase at ~$30k, financing TBD
    SunRun: purchase at $24k (includes a Costco discount; financing example has $99 for first 18 months to pay interest, then $117 or $160, if I surrender the tax credit)

Raw numbers, SunRun looks great. I don't understand how they come in so much lower. So a few questions to the community:
    1) Has anyone dealt with any of the companies above? Pros/cons?
    2) How is there this much variation for similar sized systems? (very loaded and general question...)
    3) CHS proposed a micro-inverter vs a single inverter; is there a noticeable difference?
    4) Any other information which would be valuable to making the decision?

Thanks
2014 BMW i3 REX
2015 BMW 428i
2012 BMW 528i
2012 BMW X3

Sparky
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:30 pm
Location: Bay Area, Northern California

Re: Trying to go Solar

Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:17 pm

I installed a 10,000kwh system 7 years ago. I purchased it outright with the fed and state credits and rebates. At the time, micro inverters were not proven to be reliable so I have two large inverters. The advantage of the micro inverter is that there is one for every panel, so if one panel is covered by a shadow or is failing for some other reason, only that panel's output is lowered. In my system, if a shadow moves across one inverters panel all of that inverters suffers lower output (they're in series).

If you do the research and find that micro inverters are just as reliable as the regular ones, go with the micro. Regular inverters like the ones I have are only warranted for 15 years.

websterize
Posts: 474
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:39 pm
Location: Maryland, USA

Re: Trying to go Solar

Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:18 am

The price-per-watt seems too high, even from SunRun. I purchased a 10.1kW array four years ago at ~$3.50/watt. I would think that price would be lower today.

If you haven't done so already, check out www.solarpaneltalk.com — larger sample of "experts," and lots of bid scrutiny.
2015 Tera BEV | Coding spreadsheet

easports82
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:05 am
Location: Orange, CA

Re: Trying to go Solar

Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:08 am

websterize wrote:If you haven't done so already, check out http://www.solarpaneltalk.com — larger sample of "experts," and lots of bid scrutiny.


Thanks for the link. Large knowledge gap to fill in to get a clear understanding of the posts, but information is king.
2014 BMW i3 REX
2015 BMW 428i
2012 BMW 528i
2012 BMW X3

websterize
Posts: 474
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:39 pm
Location: Maryland, USA

Re: Trying to go Solar

Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:18 pm

You bet, and good luck. There's nothing like driving a fusion-powered i3. :D
2015 Tera BEV | Coding spreadsheet

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