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Going Solar
Old 05-25-2016, 02:25 PM   #1
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Going Solar

Just had a quote for a solar energy system installed. A 3.6 KW system with 200 sq-ft of panels, 25 year warranty, 17 grand up front, 5 grand Federal tax credit and a 6.5 year breakeven. Survey guy will be out tomorrow to verify the roof and the estimates.

Pretty cool. I'll be able to use the air conditioner more in my old age -

I love taking advantage of these government hand outs for the middle class!
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:28 PM   #2
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you must have pretty expensive electricity - I think my breakeven was 20 years
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:36 PM   #3
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Mine was 15 years assuming 0% interest and 25 years assuming 5.5% interest. I passed.

$23k cost with $9k state and federal tax credits and average 16 cent/Kwh cost of electricity.
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:56 PM   #4
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I think ours is about 9 cents a Kwh. We have this thing called the Snake River and it has a lot of dams in it....
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:01 PM   #5
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Here the lowest cost tier is 18 cents/Kwh and the highest is 38 cents/Kwh.
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:33 PM   #6
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Keep in mind that the federal tax credit is limited to taxes owed. If you don't owe any federal tax, there is no credit. If you owe $1,000 in federal taxes, then that is limit of your credit (absent any carryover options).
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:46 PM   #7
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The pay back period for us on solar was pretty long. We decided to put some money into conservation and energy efficient appliances instead. Last month we used 354 kwhs of electricity, where the national average is around 900.
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Old 05-25-2016, 04:26 PM   #8
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I'll just do more Roth conversions to use up the credit. As it stands, my Federal liability will be around 2 grand, so we will get all this done at end of year appropriately.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:47 PM   #9
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My pay-off was 17 years. Average electricity bill is $140, with an average cost of 21 cents/Kwh. When we run the AC a lot we get up into the higher billing tiers, but that usually only happens for 1 or 2 months a year. I couldn't justify the upfront cost with that long a payoff.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:02 PM   #10
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I replaced the HVAC with a qualifying high efficiency model during the "tax credit - rebate" years. Got a 7 grand bill down to 4 grand. That took my energy bill down a lot. They were going to eliminate the solar tax credit and decided to extend it, so I decided to jump. I don't see energy getting cheaper in the future, so I'm gonna take the money and run!

Not to mention I find as I age that somehow (go figure) I like it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than I did when I was young.

I'll just be kickin' it here in my nice small paid off house in the central valley of CA with the low energy bills -
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:54 PM   #11
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RobbieB,

How old are your existing shingles/tiles? Did you get more than one estimate for the solar pv system? CA solar costs seems a bit high, 3+ years ago I paid less than 3.25 per watt installed, but that was in FL. I have a 9.6kw system and will reaching payback on initial investment within the next 2 yrs. About the time I'll be out of warranty on the inverters...
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:06 PM   #12
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Roof is good, recently re-done with Certainteed "Shangles" a double sandwich asphalt composite with lifetime guarantee.

Not interested in more quotes, 1 is enough. I don't care if I pay a couple of grand more and you are not the first to suggest that. But it's a complete Sun Power system with micro-inverters and everything parts, labor and install is warrantied 25 years.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:26 PM   #13
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RobbieB, my net cost in 2006 was about the same as yours for a slightly smaller system in northern CA (higher cost, more rebates/credits). My payback with Time-of-Use PG&E was at 8.5 years. I am now into the Return-on-Equity portion of the investment. So far there have been zero maintenance costs, and very little degradation of output (<5%). I've paid a total of less than $1000 for electricity over the past 10 years!

Welcome to the solar club!
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:36 PM   #14
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Roof is good, recently re-done with Certainteed "Shangles" a double sandwich asphalt composite with lifetime guarantee.

Not interested in more quotes, 1 is enough. I don't care if I pay a couple of grand more and you are not the first to suggest that. But it's a complete Sun Power system with micro-inverters and everything parts, labor and install is warrantied 25 years.

A warranty is only as good as the company that backs it... who knows if the company will be in existence in 25 years...


Just as a comparison, I just signed for a new provider..... I estimate my total electricity cost for the next year at $1,100... my house also has many large pine trees so lots of shade... so solar is not in my future as long as I am living here...
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Old 05-26-2016, 06:56 AM   #15
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A warranty is only as good as the company that backs it... who knows if the company will be in existence in 25 years...


Just as a comparison, I just signed for a new provider..... I estimate my total electricity cost for the next year at $1,100... my house also has many large pine trees so lots of shade... so solar is not in my future as long as I am living here...


I think it serves the interests of solar users and non solars for it to remain a niche market. If it goes mainstream full speed, we will see increased rate hikes focusing on monthly "grid connection fees" instead of cost per KW.


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Old 05-26-2016, 07:17 AM   #16
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I know the OP just said they weren't concerned with getting more quotes and haggling over price, but just for reference (not to debate with OP), those $/Watt prices do seem far higher than what some other posters have mentioned recently for their installed systems.

$17 K ∕ 3.6 KW ≈ $4.72/watt before subsidy, and

($17 K − $5 K) ∕ 3.6 KW ≈ $3.33/watt after subsidy.

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Old 05-26-2016, 07:53 AM   #17
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I think it serves the interests of solar users and non solars for it to remain a niche market. If it goes mainstream full speed, we will see increased rate hikes focusing on monthly "grid connection fees" instead of cost per KW.
That's already happening here in Arizona and likely to spread. My local utility company is requesting approval of a $70/month fee from solar users for their share of the grid maintenance costs. They've been sending out emails to their non-solar customers to get on board and join the fight.

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Just a minute of your time could help us prevent 97% of our ordinary ratepayers from being charged millions of dollars to subsidize the tiny percentage who have solar units on their homes.

We have filed a request with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), which regulates electric rates in Arizona, to change our rate structure to reduce those subsidies.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:05 AM   #18
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I know the OP just said they weren't concerned with getting more quotes and haggling over price, but just for reference (not to debate with OP), those $/Watt prices do seem far higher than what some other posters have mentioned recently for their installed systems.

$17 K ∕ 3.6 KW ≈ $4.72/watt before subsidy, and

($17 K − $5 K) ∕ 3.6 KW ≈ $3.33/watt after subsidy.

-ERD50
I generally get quotes or price out major and many minor purchases. That's just the way I am. When I was considering a solar PV system the price range was from 5+ per watt installed. It was difficult to get more than 3 quotes in my area. I went with contractor who provided the best overall package. (price, guarantees (5 yr no leak, qualification for power company rebate, and annual cost savings) and service. I didn't haggle, but he did replace my old solar pool heating system with a new one in order to maximize the PV system placement on my roof.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:33 AM   #19
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I like solar power, but it just does not work for me.

1) The payback is a long time, because our electricity rate is a lot less than in CA.
2) My tile roof has caused me enough trouble with leaks, I do not want more complications.
3) My roof orientation is all wrong, and limiting the solar output will push the payback even further out.

If I had a large lot with an acre or two, I would put up a solar array on the ground myself to have something to play with. Solar components are getting so cheap that a $10K expense will get me something to occupy for a while.

I would build it as an off-grid system, so would not have to ask for permission from anybody (even if it means no tax subsidy). People spend much more than that for toys that have a shorter lifetime and do not payback dividends.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:22 PM   #20
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That's already happening here in Arizona and likely to spread. My local utility company is requesting approval of a $70/month fee from solar users for their share of the grid maintenance costs. They've been sending out emails to their non-solar customers to get on board and join the fight.


Maybe Nevada and Arizona "Suites" are hanging out together as NV is working hard to keep solar down. .....Nicely worded "informative piece" by the company. Pitting the majority against the minority, and implying they are getting a free ride off your back. Good strategy....As most people are in favor of solar usage. "Educating" the non users that they are paying for the others getting a free ride will eliminate a lot of that positive support for solar. And they have to get ahead of the curve to prevent that 3% from becoming 20%. ....We presently have a monthly fee, but it is way under $10. Forget exactly what it is. But I just paid monthly bill yesterday and it was $39. Considerably less than the $70 proposed "grid fee". Hmmm. Maybe we can get that $70 grid fee here and my bill will be even less!


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