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Redpoint,
Thanks for the discussion. Very interesting.
If you are moving forward, and will *eventually buy an EV, you ought consider the power consumption for your EV as well.
Since we have 2 EVs, our vehicle power is about 1/4 of our total electric usage. So we upsized our solar system by 1/3 to account for EV consumption too.

My solar panels are going up next week.
16.8kW system (21,500 kWh annual production)
$45,500 system cost ($2.7/W, $2.12/kWh)
No local incentives (huge bummer, but it's Texas, y'all).
Federal tax credit = $13,650 (system purchased in 2019, yes a stretch)
$31,850 net system cost ($1.9/W, $1.48/kWh)
PV panels - 45 375w LG NeonR (25 year warranty)
Solar Edge inverters (12 year warranty, upgraded to 25)
Assuming $0.12/kWh it is something like a 12.5 year payoff.
But retail electricity is cheaper, more like $0.09/kWh, so maybe more realistic to expect a 16 year payoff.

I did give Tesla a late comparison shopping. They were more competitive on a cost/W basis.
But given our system size, they were not able to sell a system large enough to meet out needs (XL package has 48 315W panels).
Also, those panels are 20% larger than our LG panels and could not be optimally located on our ridiculously faceted roofline.

For me this decision was a bit about the Federal credit, using it while it exists.
But it really is more about knowing where my electricity comes from.
In TX, we choose our electric provider, and I have always bought renewable power plans, but still know that most of my electrons were sourced from the coal plant 20 miles away.

Good luck!
 

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Redpoint, if you get an EV your payback time will be shorter. Plus as electricity prices increase, your payback will decrease as well. I would get a larger system if you decide to get an EV, cars take a lot of electricity...
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I'd probably go with an 8 kW system for myself since that's what it takes to max the local subsidies and give me a little headroom for extra consumption. One reason I would consider micro inverters is the ease in mixing/expanding the array in the future. I can max out the subsidies now, and then add used/cheap stuff in the future myself, as needed.

I'll have to take another look at Tesla. I'd get a quote from them but they have a $100 non-refundable (sorta) deposit.

I will be putting 2 local companies bids against each other anyhow, so perhaps I'll end up at the Tesla price. I dislike the lack of information and customization options on the Tesla website. It's like the iPhone of websites; too simplistic to be extremely useful.
 

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I'll have to take another look at Tesla. I'd get a quote from them but they have a $100 non-refundable (sorta) deposit.
For what it is worth, they did refund my $100 deposit, even after doing initial design work on my system.
It was refunded about a week after I cancelled the project on their system.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
I just found out my HOA wants the project to review even though the CC&R says nothing of PV (only roofing, paint, trees/shrubbery). I expect that to go through since 4 houses away a neighbor with a much more conspicuous roof has an ugly system installed.

Tesla emailed me back, so maybe I can get some of my basic questions answered and a rough estimate of cost before plunking down the cash. The site does say they will refund the deposit "if you feel strongly about it".

Local company #2 is stopping by in an hour.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Tesla reviews are atrocious. I don't think they can win my business at this point. Here are the latest bids:

Company 2 pricing is higher because they exclusively use SunPower products:

Parents 7.848 kW ground mount:
$30,810 total cost = $3.93/W
10,270 kWh annual production
$1,232 annual value of solar production @ 12 cents
Oregon incentive -$5,000
Energy Trust -$9,000
Out of pocket $16,810
Federal tax credit -$4,371 @ 26%
Net $12,439 $1.58 watt
10 year payback from electricity alone assuming no inflation

SunPower SPR-E20-327 x24
String inverter Fronius Primo 5kw

My roof mount 5.559 kW roof mount:
$18,890 Total cost = $3.40/W
6,825 kWh annual production
$819 annual value of solar production @12 cents (4% less than above)
Oregon incentive -$1,112
Energy Trust -$1,668
Out of pocket $16,111
Federal tax credit -$4,189 @26%
Net $11,922 $2.14/w
14.5 year payback from electricity alone assuming no inflation

SunPower SPR-E20-327 x17
Sunpower Micro-inverter SPE-E20-327 x17

The very tempting yet dangerous sounding option is Tesla. Here's the online quote:

My roof mount 7.6 kW TESLA roof mount:
$17,000 Total cost = $2.24/W
? kWh annual production
At least $962 annual value of solar production (100% of my current usage)
Oregon incentive -$1,520
Energy Trust -$2,280
Out of pocket $13,200
Federal tax credit -3,432$ @26%
Net $9,768 $1.29/w
10 year payback from electricity alone assuming no inflation

Tesla doesn't list components used, and many people online say they use string inverters unless there is enough shading to justify optimizers, and it's unclear if that affects pricing. The real downside is the consistently scathing reviews left by customers even until recently. Difficulties getting attention of customer service, and waiting months to get problems fixed. Some reports of roof leaks following installation. It's unclear if they put in the effort to get the utility and state credits because that isn't quoted in the price. Probably not worth the risk to save a few bucks.

Tesla reviews:
Are Tesla panels the best solar panels to buy? | SolarReviews

EDIT: 2 more adjusted quotes from Company 2:

Parents 6.32 kW ground mount:
$24,740 total cost = $3.91/W
10,042 kWh annual production
$1,205 annual value of solar production @ 12 cents
Oregon incentive -$5,000
Energy Trust -$9,000
Out of pocket $10,740
Federal tax credit -$2,792 @ 26%
Net $7,948 $1.26 watt
6.6 year payback from electricity alone assuming no inflation

SunPower SPR-P19-395 x16
String inverter Fronius Primo 5kw

My roof mount 5.695 kW roof mount:
$18,960 Total cost = $3.33/W
7,065 kWh annual production
$847 annual value of solar production @12 cents
Oregon incentive -$1,139
Energy Trust -$1,709
Out of pocket $16,111
Federal tax credit -$4,189 @26%
Net $11,923 $2.09/w
14 year payback from electricity alone assuming no inflation
 

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I just had Vivint install 16 320W panels and the interface to the house. I'm going with a PPA agreement though, I have a 1200 sq house and use about 9300kwh a year. My Bills in the late summer early fall get around 400 a month her in Cali. Rates just went up again so instead of paying 37-42 cents a KWh I will pay 15 cents a KWh to vivint for what my panels generate. I wish I could of bought them outright like your looking at, but this gets the job done. I hope to pay less than half what I did last year.
 

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We installed our 5kw roof-mount system 5 years ago for $18k. 30% federal tax credit at the time. No other subsidies. It has been putting out average 25 kWh per day year round. In southern California the electricity rate is pretty high, about 25 cents per kWh on the average. The break even point is about 6 years, if we use up what it produces. We grandfathered in the old peak / off-peak schedule, so we have actually broken even by now.

I expect prices have gone down quite a bit after 5 years. But it doesn't sound like much. I'm surprised.

Break even period of more than 10 years is too long.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

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I had a Tesla system installed last July. My support for solar and electric vehicles
is based more on ecology than economy. I'm 71 and if I didn't do it now I probably
wouldn't be able to. Took out a solar loan and I guarantee that I will be gone before
it is payed off.
 

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Get more quotes Redpoint. Sunpower is overpriced. Look for local companies that install non brand name panels. You don't need LG, Sunpower, Panasonic. The cheaper brands like Mission and Canadian Solar are just as good. You should be able to get quotes for under $2.50 with optimizers if you look around.
 

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I had a Tesla system installed last July. My support for solar and electric vehicles
is based more on ecology than economy. I'm 71 and if I didn't do it now I probably
wouldn't be able to. Took out a solar loan and I guarantee that I will be gone before
it is payed off.
Semiconductor manufacturing produces a lot of toxic byproducts. Perhaps there are better and cheaper ways to support the ecology.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

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Our 5kw system comes with daytime backup feature. When the grid is down, it can still provide up to 1.5kw during the day through a dedicated 110V socket. It is enough to keep the fridge running and trickle charge one of our 2 EVs. During the night, an inverter on the car's 12V battery takes over. We have used that a few times during the power company's scheduled outages.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

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^ the new IQ8 Microinverters from Emphase are supposed to be "grid agnostic" and as I understand it.. they will let you pump 120VAC from your panels into your home without a battery, super-cap, etc... if the local grid is down. Of course you are still SOL if the grid goes down at night, but it removes the need for a home sized $$$$ backup battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Get more quotes Redpoint. Sunpower is overpriced. Look for local companies that install non brand name panels. You don't need LG, Sunpower, Panasonic. The cheaper brands like Mission and Canadian Solar are just as good. You should be able to get quotes for under $2.50 with optimizers if you look around.
I've reached out to 7 outfits so far. 2 have declined to submit a bid, and Tesla doesn't do ground mount (and apparently is awful).

Sunpower is overpriced, but is just barely more than the other 2 companies. They have a premium panel that is more efficient and degrades less over time, so I'm likely to get 100% production from just covering the south roof. All other companies are looking to install on the west roof as well, which is a little less productive. I'm leaning to go with them for my house, and another company for my parents. Sunpower is the closest outfit to me being just 2 miles from my house. The other outfits are 1+ hours away.

I get the impression that pricing is not aggressive since the incentives have caused a boom in the market. After all, 1 company told me I'm outside their installation radius, being 45 minutes away.

I've reached out to every solar installer on the "Trade Ally" list that would be close enough to want to give me a bid.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Get more quotes Redpoint. Sunpower is overpriced. Look for local companies that install non brand name panels. You don't need LG, Sunpower, Panasonic. The cheaper brands like Mission and Canadian Solar are just as good. You should be able to get quotes for under $2.50 with optimizers if you look around.
The installers are getting more aggressive in reducing their bid prices. I was just about to go with Sunpower because they were only 10% over the other bids and offer a more premium panel and are local. Then the other companies submitted new bids that are 30% under. Lowest bid is down around $2.66 per watt with optimizers. I'm down to around $2.50 per watt if I go with an ugly commercial panel.

Tesla is putting more effort into this too. The temptation is that their pricing matches the lowest bid I've got WITHOUT the ODOE subsidy. If they can get that subsidy then they come in $1,500 less than the next closest bid. Their service can only get better, right? Anyhow, I'm tempted to give them another look. $17,000 for a 7.6 kW system before any subsidies is a great price ($2.24/watt).
 

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For that price I would consider Tesla. $2.24 a Watt before subsidies is a great price. Probably no optimizers, but if you don't have shading it isn't a big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
For that price I would consider Tesla. $2.24 a Watt before subsidies is a great price. Probably no optimizers, but if you don't have shading it isn't a big deal.
I do have shading, and Oregon law requires rapid shutdown, so that means optimizers or micros. I wondered if the online price would inflate once the micros were factored in. They won't bid the job unless you put down $100 non-refundable.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
For that price I would consider Tesla. $2.24 a Watt before subsidies is a great price. Probably no optimizers, but if you don't have shading it isn't a big deal.
I keep going back and forth on this one. Tesla's price can't be beat, but I kinda doubt they will get the ODOE subsidy because the funds are limited, and it requires the installers submitting their jobs right at 8am on April 15th, and each installer is limited to 10 submissions. That's $1,500 I'd miss out on, but that still puts me 5% below lowest quotes I've got from the local guys. The thing is, if I'm going to pay nearly the same amount, I'd rather go local and get good service than become another angry Tesla customer.

The best, most recent quote I've got other than Tesla:

6.4 kW system with optimizers. $16,600 = $2.59 per watt. After guaranteed subsidies including ODOE (they are eating the cost if they don't get it) is $1.55. If Tesla could get the ODOE subsidy, that would make their price $1.29/watt.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
All materials are sitting in my garage. Here's what I'm having installed tomorrow:

Nameplate output: 6.4 kW
Annual production: 7215 kWh
Silfab 320w panels x20
P320 Power Optimizer x20
Solaredge SE 6000H Inverter
$16,600
-$1,280 ODOE
-$1,920 Energy Trust
-$3,484 Federal tax credit

$9,916 final cost
$1.55/watt

2 weeks later my parents are getting:

Nameplate output: 8.88 kW
Annual production: 11,000 kWh
Hyundai 370W panels x24
Power Optimizer x24
Solaredge SE7600H Inverter
$23,000
-$5,000 ODOE
-$9,000 Energy Trust
-$2,340 Federal tax credit

$6,600 final cost
$0.75/watt
 
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