Home Solar thread

doc holiday13

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Messages
529
Location
VA
Had a solar guy roll through my area and he got my attention so I listened to his spiel. I got the dude some basic info and basically a 8.76kw system will get me 120% of my peak usage.
it sounds like it's going to be string inverter type instead of a micro inverter. I.I don't consider it to be that bad considering I have zero shade. ts a basic grid tied system because i live in a very reliable power grid area so battery back is not necessary. it seems like during the summer months I'll bank enough credit to make up for the winter months.

I'm mostly looking at this as a "value added" option and based on financing it seems like a decent way to keep my cost of electricity at a fixed rate. What am i missing?
 

IowaNative

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
23
His estimations may be based on perfect conditions, which is rarely the case. Subsidies and tax credits only work when you make enough money to "credit" your bill. Some utilities don't allow banking of credit and/or selling additional power. Of course this all is based on local area's and contractors but something to consider.
 
OP
D

doc holiday13

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Messages
529
Location
VA
I'm calling my electric company this week for sure to get clarification on credits
 

Titan

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 13, 2016
Messages
477
Location
Texas
As a tax preparer, I see these guys use the “tax credit” as their main selling point. Problem is that they tend to target neighborhoods where residents wouldn’t normally get any use out of the credit.

Some deals require that “tax credit” to be paid in a lump sum at 18 months. The payment amount is made up using those figures. There is premium to get that low interest rate. I had a guy come out just to see what his sales pitch was- that fee for 0% was $15k on top of the “cash” price.

Not knocking on the product or use, just the sales tactics. My guy knew nothing about the credit, just told me what his program was spitting out.
 

mooretitan

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 28, 2018
Messages
243
Location
CA
Heard the same thing. Better plan for your true up bill. There will be one
 

go4thegusto

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 16, 2012
Messages
2,140
Location
Fargo ND
Looks like big credits are coming in the Climate bill going thru congress. I would read up on that. When we did geothermal 12 years ago we got 40% Federal and 15% state tax credit all applied in 1 year off our taxes so system was less than 1/2 price. Been loving it ever since...
 

jimh406

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 6, 2022
Messages
263
Location
Western MT
Solar is ok, but keep in mind that it can take 20 years or more for break even based on people I've spoken to/listened to. That's assuming no issues with the equipment.

It seems like your peak usage is pretty high. Have you looked into reducing your power usage before doing the solar conversion?
 

Binz17

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
29
I'm an appraiser. I see these things all the time. I had a guy come to my house and quote me so I could under stand the whole thing since the sales tactics make it look tempting. 20-25 year payoff doesn't make financial sense. Take the money you'd spend, put toward something that appreciates, a rental house, IRA, whatever you want and I bet you'd crush any perceived value you'd get from fully depreciated panels after 20-25 years. Not to mention your stuck with $$$ for disposal at the end because once all those panels reach the end of their economic life, the company that put them there will be long gone. Don't even get me started on leasing them.
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
2,157
Look to see if your utility charges an infrastructure maintenance fee each month if using solar. Here in Phoenix that’s about $35-50 per month. Really eats into the ROI.
 

P Carter

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 4, 2016
Messages
446
Location
Idaho
Regulatory uncertainty. The whole program is subject to change by the utilities commission where you live, the state and federal legislatures, or both.

I’d say go for it, or don’t, based on whether you think it’s worth it for non-economic reasons. As a pure economic decision, find something with a greater return, less risk, more fun, or all three.
 

Runningwater

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 11, 2016
Messages
777
Location
Broomfield, CO
I work for an electric utility. Most are changing their rate structure away from a traditional energy rate for residential customers to energy, peak demand, and also a meter fee. This basically gets the savings you get back from the provider back down to what the solar energy is worth, and no longer a cross subsidy with non-solar owner customers. So unless you are in a state that requires a utility to bank the energy and buy the excess back from you at an inflated rate, it's probably not going to make economic sense. Still may be something you want to consider for other reasons - just not to save money. My 2 cents.
 

Michael Rankin

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
284
The company that was selling in my area made zero economic sense for me. As others stated ,if everything went perfect weather wise I would save a little money mostly in the summer. It also was a lease. I was responsible for all equipment from the roof down. If I remember correctly the power inverter is around $5k to replace, and only had a 5 year warranty. They also got all of a majority of the tax credits.

Under this lease, if I was ever going to sell my house, the buyer would have to sign on to the lease.

The whole pitch was full of vague info. I had to repeatedly ask for the most basic hard facts and the guy tapped danced around simple answers over and over.

It was so bad I figured there would be a class action lawsuit on the news in the next 5-10 years. By the time all the equipment starts going bad, the company will have made a bunch of money and disappear.
 
OP
D

doc holiday13

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Messages
529
Location
VA
So i originally typed this from my phone so i was disinclined to type out a larger thread

Per my power company they will credit me 1 for 1 on accumulated KwH. Assuming my energy use is fixed at 800kwh/m; if I use 800 kwh/month and generate 1000 over the course of 3 months; they'll accumulate a credit of 600 going forward. So in the winter I'd probably generate 600 kwh/month for 3 months and use up that credit. The power company does not charge me a fee as long as i don't generate an excess of 150% of my monthly usage AND i can sell off my credit at rate of ~1/3 of what they charge me

As for Savings.. I'm not looking at this as a way to save money in the immediate. Its more hedging against future increase in cost of energy charges by getting a fixed cost, because the power company has said they'll be increasing rates. I don't forsee myself being in this house in 20 years so it won't be my problem that far down the road. The financing option puts my money right on par with what i generally pay each month currently.

Additionally the county I live in gives about $500/year property tax credit for 5 years when solar is installed. And the last thing my state has is Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) which my State pays me for every Mw i produce. Its not a lot but it is something
 

jjohnsonElknewbie

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
1,239
Location
Western Iowa
Did you ask your utility what they will allow for maximum array size on your property? About 10 years ago I was near the finish line with a solar install with an average offset of 85% or so. The final step of the project was utility approval. They intentionally downsized the array size to an average offset of only 70%. This destroyed the ROI of the project and really left a bad taste in my mouth with the REC. Come to find out, several of the RECs in IA were in the midst of creating their own solar subsidiary, increasing their monopoly on rural energy management. They also no longer allow you to "sell back" overproduction at a premium rate. It is prorated across all customers similar to what others have shared.

After all this, I decided that if I ever go solar it will be an off grid system with batteries. On grid solar just doesn't make sense financially or as a SHTF option.
 

WCB

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
2,365
I guess I am confused why you would tie up a chunk of money to install something you are not going to get a return on even in the long term? If you don't plan on being there at the break even point (assuming you don't have equipment issues and dump more money into it) how is having a flat rate beneficial? Yeah you "know your cost" but you already spent money beyond any cost you would have incurred during that time period.

Also there is nothing to say in 5-10 years you don't get high restrictions or fees placed on your new solar powered system.
 

Marble

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
2,361
I have solar. I purchased it in 2017. It's a 15kw system. I do not recall my exact tax benefits but it was around $15k returned the first year on a $43k system. My energy (electricity) costs were ~$8k annually. First year I had a $1000 true up bill. I took out a few big trees and now have no true up. There is a minimal connection fee monthly, it's about $25 monthly IIRC.

Your power company could tell you what your annual costs have been over the past couple years to understand how long your break even date would be. Mine was 3.5ish years.

If someone quotes you on a certain size system, there are ways to get it above the standard 85% . Basically you increase your energy usage for a certain amount of time and it results in a higher need for more solar. You can also appeal size restrictions by stating you are adding things like a pool, shop, jacuzzi, switching to electric drier, washer etc.

Never ever lease. That's a total scam. And I myself would never finance something for 20 or 25 years. That's ridiculous. Think of it like buying a car and get that thing done way faster.



Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 

tony

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
149
Location
WV
My parents had solar installed about 6 months ago. My dad God love him gets sucked into fads and won’t research anything. Called the first shiny ad he saw. Well, I know better than to discuss it around my parents. Believe it cost them 50k and has had issues since day one. Still not inspected due the issues. One battery is faulty. Something with a box is wrong. Mom say they haven’t seen any change in their bill.
Only thing I can say, is do some serious research on what you need.
And the outfit doing the install, company history, customer feedback and what you might save.
 

11boo

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
1,496
Location
Grand Jct, CO
Those door to door sales people are the worst. Find a local Company that is experienced. They always figure way over realistic solar gain too.

Had one here last year, pretty young gal showing all her assets, and her brain was not it. Kept claiming a 5kw system would keep me from paying any electricity bills, forever.
 

RS_Non-Res

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 1, 2021
Messages
170
Looked at it several years ago. I let the sales guy estimate the payback period (ROI).
When I asked him about the warrantee period on equipment, I got radio silence.
No thanks.

A coworker has solar electric on his house b/c "I can afford to do my part." Has an electric car too.
I've got thermal solar for the pool though and that just lets the filter pump add free heat.
 

Okhotnik

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
2,025
Location
N ID
I'm an appraiser. I see these things all the time. I had a guy come to my house and quote me so I could under stand the whole thing since the sales tactics make it look tempting. 20-25 year payoff doesn't make financial sense. Take the money you'd spend, put toward something that appreciates, a rental house, IRA, whatever you want and I bet you'd crush any perceived value you'd get from fully depreciated panels after 20-25 years. Not to mention your stuck with $$$ for disposal at the end because once all those panels reach the end of their economic life, the company that put them there will be long gone. Don't even get me started on leasing them.
I lived off grid on solar. I doubt panels would last 20 years. Mine were replaced at 15 years due to weather damage. And they aint cheap to purchase and install. I would never mount on a roof. I mounted mine next to my battery she on steel poles. Would not do again
 
Top