Solar Power company recommendations

User Forum Topic
Submitted by HelloImaMac on September 28, 2014 - 1:11pm

Hello,
After working out the economics my wife and I decided its time for solar- also kind of feel the need to reduce our carbon footprint.

We are looking for solar company recommendations. Anyone that has use a specific company's services, please care to recommend.

we are looking for a full scale consultation and installation company.

The only company I have heard of and familiar in San Diego is Sullivan solar power.

thanks

Submitted by jimmy1977 on September 29, 2014 - 9:59am.

We used sunline energy, no pressure sales and competitive prices. The guys who did the install were very professional.

I spoke to Gerry from Sunline energy. Is easy going and explains every step in detail. Comes by at inspects everything that gets done.

--
Jimmy

Submitted by joec on September 29, 2014 - 6:59pm.

Would love to hear more reputable solar companies...I think the federal credits expire in 2016...

Submitted by olegy on September 29, 2014 - 11:09pm.

http://transworldsolar.com/
Instelled 6K system about a year ago.
Just a hint - if total cost of a standard installation exceeds $4/W - you are getting ripped off. No matter what they say about premium panels, etc.

Submitted by Escoguy on September 30, 2014 - 11:18am.

We did one prepaid lease with Sungevity: 3KW for $8800 about a year ago. It produces 4500 kwh/year. Avg cost/kwh= 9.5 cents.

I'm doing a second regular lease with them for a 4.9KW system. I put $1000 down and have a flat $85/month for 20 years. It will produce about 8000 khw/year on average. Avg cost 8 cents.

For two other smaller rentals, I priced 3KW systems as leases from Solar city, they were in the $55/month range. They were more competitive for small systems.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on October 2, 2014 - 2:04pm.

Talking about energy efficiency, I replaced all my lights with Philips hue bulbs. I think that I can light my apartment for the equivalent of 100W.

Very cool and amazing what we can do these days for just a few hundred dollars. 20 years ago those lights were luxury items that only architects would specify.

I really can't believe that some people are still hanging on to the incandescent light bulb.

http://www2.meethue.com/en-us/

Submitted by UCGal on October 3, 2014 - 7:11am.

I don't need smart lightbulbs. But we have been phasing over to LED and have seen a drop in the power bill. (we targeted the most used fixtures first.)

Not sure why I need a lightbulb that can flash, change colors, etc, though.

Submitted by thejq on October 3, 2014 - 12:31pm.

I suggest that you go to http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/forum.php It's a great place to learn and ask questions. There're many experts who will guide you to get the best system for your needs.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on October 3, 2014 - 2:51pm.

UCGal wrote:
I don't need smart lightbulbs. But we have been phasing over to LED and have seen a drop in the power bill. (we targeted the most used fixtures first.)

Not sure why I need a lightbulb that can flash, change colors, etc, though.

To be able to control lights on the iPad is great. The flashing and changing colors is an ancillary bonus that's already built into the product. But I agree with there are lots of gimmicks.

I remember that in the early 2000s, home automation cost a fortune. I was wow to see a house with a central control panel.

I have LED light strips under my bathroom and TV cabinets that are hung on the wall. I remember back in the old days, you had to get special fixtures to create that shadow effect. They were halogen or fluorescent, used lots of power, and created heat.

I foresee lot of improvement in home automation and energy efficiency in the next decade. Right now, all the stuff doesn't work together.

Submitted by CDMA ENG on October 5, 2014 - 7:50am.

UCGal wrote:
Not sure why I need a lightbulb that can flash, change colors, etc, though.

You are soooo not cool! :P

CE

Submitted by CDMA ENG on October 5, 2014 - 8:16am.

Escoguy wrote:
We did one prepaid lease with Sungevity: 3KW for $8800 about a year ago. It produces 4500 kwh/year. Avg cost/kwh= 9.5 cents.

I'm doing a second regular lease with them for a 4.9KW system. I put $1000 down and have a flat $85/month for 20 years. It will produce about 8000 khw/year on average. Avg cost 8 cents.

For two other smaller rentals, I priced 3KW systems as leases from Solar city, they were in the $55/month range. They were more competitive for small systems.

So what happens if they go under?

CE

Submitted by FlyerInHi on October 7, 2014 - 11:00am.

The physics Nobel prize goes to work on LED.
LED is the lighting source of the 21st century!
It will improve the quality of life of millions, perhaps billions of people.

I feel like my life is more pleasant with LED. You can achieve lots of lighting effects in your own home -- something only professionals were able to do before.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/08/scienc...

Submitted by FlyerInHi on October 8, 2014 - 12:24pm.

No sure how good they are, but Solar City is now providing loans.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireSto...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/uciliawang/2...

Submitted by joec on October 8, 2014 - 6:19pm.

I would love a no underwriting loan for solar...

For people who watch the news, even Ben Bernanke mentioned he couldn't refi (easily) since his income was not consistent/stable/w2.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/201...

For self employed folks, good luck finding folks who will bother working with you to do a loan...especially if your income is low due to larger write offs from a business since self-employed lending is now off your net income and not gross.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-be...

He can probably use a smaller bank, but I think smaller self-employed folks would have a tougher time.

When we purchased, I remember we could've put > 50% down and a lender wouldn't even bother responding to us.

Submitted by Escoguy on October 8, 2014 - 8:38pm.

We have a second system with them on a different house where we pay a monthly lease fee. $85/fixed for 20 years for a 5 kw system.
So if they go under we can stop making payments on the second system and have power from both.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on October 9, 2014 - 9:40am.

joec wrote:

When we purchased, I remember we could've put > 50% down and a lender wouldn't even bother responding to us.

Just curious how you got the financing to buy, or did you pay cash?

Submitted by joec on October 9, 2014 - 6:08pm.

Large down payment, wasn't self employed back then...

Submitted by montana on October 10, 2014 - 12:54pm.

When I went through the solar analysis and due diligence, I vetted Solar City, Sunrun, and Sungevity. After careful analysis and consideration, I chose not to buy or to do a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), but rather a Lease. We then made the determination to do a prepaid lease vs. a monthly lease for 20 years.

A few considerations that we took into account in deciding to go with a prepaid lease:

-If we were ever to sell our home, we wouldn't have to ensure the new buyer could get credit approved to have the lease assigned to them.
-If we were ever to sell our home, we assumed a buyer may be more comfortable with a lease vs. a owned unit if they no little about solar.
-If anything goes wrong with the panels, inverter, etc., the lessor will address.
-We expect to be in our home at least another 10 years and our break even point is 5.5 years, our 10 year base case returns are expected to be 10%, our 20 year base case returns are expected to be 16.5%, and our 20 year cost is $0.08/kWh.
-If I ever refer somebody to Sungevity, they have the best referral bonus, of $1000. One referral pops my 10 year return to 12%.
-The effective interest rate for a monthly lease ends up being 7-8%, which was too rich for me and turns the analysis into an NPV play vs. an IRR play which I was focused on the latter to increase the return on my investment.

If I were to rate the different companies, I would have given Sungevity 4/5 stars, Solar City 3.5/5, and Sunrun 3/5. Sungevity didn't blow me away, but they got the job done. They contract with Mulholland Electric who is a locally family owned SD company for installation which did a great job. I definitely would recommend their installation.

Submitted by joec on October 10, 2014 - 6:32pm.

Don't you not get the federal tax credit for leases? a 30% tax credit for people in a high tax bracket could be worth a a bit.

Submitted by montana on October 10, 2014 - 10:07pm.

We received the tax credit immediately within the pricing of the prepaid lease. We did the lease in April, so therefore pulled the tax credit forward about a year and didn't have to file any paperwork or wait for the govt to issue my tax credit.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on October 14, 2014 - 5:00pm.

Does anyone look at the utility company's billing estimate?

I just did that and I'm wondering how they generate the pie chart estimating who much energy is used for cooling, lighting, etc...

Submitted by ocrenter on November 4, 2014 - 10:09pm.

olegy wrote:
http://transworldsolar.com/
Instelled 6K system about a year ago.
Just a hint - if total cost of a standard installation exceeds $4/W - you are getting ripped off. No matter what they say about premium panels, etc.

is that $4/watt prior to tax rebate or after tax rebate?

Submitted by moneymaker on November 4, 2014 - 10:59pm.

I paid $25,000 for a 6.2KW system, labor was $6200, tax credit will be $7500. System was turned on in May and have already generated 5.81 MWH. I'm happy, now just need to add it to my homeowners policy.

Submitted by skerzz on November 5, 2014 - 3:05pm.

I am getting a 7.7K system installed by Sullivan Solar Power (based in San Diego County) as I type this post. Everything has worked out excellent thus far and it should be a good return on investment (I purchased the system outright) with a break even point of 6.5 -7 years. If you are interested in getting a quote from Sullivan send me a private message.... Sullivan will give you and I both a $500 referral bonus (check/cash , not a reduction in contract price) once you install the system. Sullivan provides a system production guarantee for 10 years (with web based production monitoring), 10 year system insall warranty, and 20-year warranty on the inverter (I hear they typically go bad at 10 years). Sullivan wasn't the cheapest quote I got (they were close), but they were very professional/knowledgeable and have excellent reviews -- plus they are a local San Diego County based company and an Ernst & Young EOY semi-finalist http://www.ey.com/US/en/About-us/Entrepr...

Submitted by ocrenter on November 5, 2014 - 10:06pm.

moneymaker wrote:
I paid $25,000 for a 6.2KW system, labor was $6200, tax credit will be $7500. System was turned on in May and have already generated 5.81 MWH. I'm happy, now just need to add it to my homeowners policy.

It is absolutely crazy how fast the prices have dropped over the last 2 years.

I was quoted $22k on a 3.8 kw system exactly 2 years ago. After rebate it would have still been $15k, with breakeven at about 10 years.

Just got a quote of $14k on the same 3.8 kw system now. After rebate will be looking at just a little under $10k with breakeven at about 6.5 years.

Will be purchasing out right, just makes a lot more sense to me.

Submitted by ocrenter on November 6, 2014 - 8:26am.

skerzz wrote:
I am getting a 7.7K system installed by Sullivan Solar Power (based in San Diego County) as I type this post. Everything has worked out excellent thus far and it should be a good return on investment (I purchased the system outright) with a break even point of 6.5 -7 years. If you are interested in getting a quote from Sullivan send me a private message.... Sullivan will give you and I both a $500 referral bonus (check/cash , not a reduction in contract price) once you install the system. Sullivan provides a system production guarantee for 10 years (with web based production monitoring), 10 year system insall warranty, and 20-year warranty on the inverter (I hear they typically go bad at 10 years). Sullivan wasn't the cheapest quote I got (they were close), but they were very professional/knowledgeable and have excellent reviews -- plus they are a local San Diego County based company and an Ernst & Young EOY semi-finalist http://www.ey.com/US/en/About-us/Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneur-Of-The-Year/SD_Semifinalists

I just signed the contract with another solar company just yesterday! argh!

Did the calculation and we will be looking at break even at exactly 6.5 years. Totally agree it makes sense to purchase outright. Why pay interest on a lease for 20 years when break even is at less than 7 years?!!

Submitted by ocrenter on November 9, 2014 - 8:14am.

These couple of threads on solarpaneltalk.com have been the most helpful:

http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showthread.php?15809-Sanity-check-for-a-new-system-(San-Diego)

http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showthread...

The SD related thread metioned this eletric rate analyzer in figuring out how much you need:

https://energycenter.org/california-sola...

The OC related thread above shows that OC folks are averaging at less than $3.5/watt pre-rebate. With a lot of folks actually getting $3.1/watt pre-rebate. Most of the OC homeowners had large over 5000 watt systems.

I originally was going to go with a 3825 watt system, and got a quote for $14000, for a pre-rebate price of $3.68/watt. I then upped my system to 4335 watt for just $600 more. But ultimately with an extra panel at just $200, I'm going to settle with 4845 watt system for $15000, which will get me a pre-rebate cost of $3.1/watt. Very much in line with what OC homeowners are reporting on the forum.

Submitted by barnaby33 on June 1, 2015 - 10:12am.

Since this is the last thread on Solar I'll ask here first. Does anybody know the about installing solar on a roof on a townhouse? My building is 3 units per structure, house-like but still a condo.
Josh

Submitted by FlyerInHi on February 2, 2020 - 10:01pm.

Here’s a guy in LA with a Tesla solar roof. Over $30k. Not bad.

https://youtu.be/LRPy8UZv9V0

Submitted by svelte on February 4, 2020 - 11:51am.

A few comments about Tesla solar roof:

1) Notice they chose the simplest roof configuration possible. A straight gable roof with zero valleys. Don't see many of those in San Diego.

2) I also notice these are very glossy and straight-edged panels, Seems like they showed a more traditional roof tile look when they first unveiled the solar roof a year or two back. Or maybe my memory is bad.

3) These tiles look very slippery - good luck to any repairman that should need to get on your roof for vent repair, etc.

4) Don't know if you caught it, but he said the entire roof is made up of "solar CAPABLE panels". Do you know why he said that? Because there are california laws about where on the roof you can put solar panels! Back when I had mine installed, there had to be a 3ft setback from all roof edges and ridges. I just looked it up and now they've relaxed it a bit, but it is still significant:

https://www.renvu.com/Learn/New-Californ...

If you look closely, those non-solar panels along the edge aren't 18 in wide, so I bet that means that the first actual solar tile along all edges won't be active either. That means a lot of inactive tiles!

5) One of the things I like about my panels sitting up off the roof is all the heat generated from the sun hitting the black panels doesn't radiate directly into my attic...there is an air buffer that can dissipate the heat before it transfers. In fact, I actually thought my attic fan (which activates when attic reaches 120 degrees or so) was broken because it hasn't come on it a couple of years. However, it did kick on once recently so I am thinking the solar panels with the air gap have actually reduced my attic temp!

I'm wondering how hot that guy's attic is gonna get with a shiny black surface sitting right on his roof's plywood.

6) Just imagine the number of electrical connectors required to join all those tiles. All of those connections getting beat by the heat in the attic or on the roof. How many of those do you think are going to go bad over the course of 25 years? Even if they are under warranty, there is still downtime waiting for Tesla to repair them, and let's hope that one bad connection doesn't disable all panels downstream...

Is a solar roof a good idea? Yes, I think so. I'm just not convinced all the drawbacks have been considered and addressed.

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