Chevy Bolt EV Forum banner

1 - 20 of 65 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am planning on getting solar panels so I started calling and asking for quotes. My estimated monthly usage is 1,200 kWh.
Most of the quotes that I got uses REC panels which are above 20% efficiency and 92% output at 25 yrs. The Solaria XT panel efficiency is above 20% but the output at 25 yrs is 86.7%, the reason the guy said he can bring the cost per watt to $2.70.
Some uses Enphase and some SolarEdge. I am not sure which one is better. I am leaning towards micro-inverter or depends on the price.
The prices below are based on financing, so it has some added cost. The cost per watt are pretty close to $3 on most of the quotes that uses REC panels. I will try to let them beat each others bids to bring the cost down. Prices below are before federal tax incentives.
I didn't include the quote from Sunpower which cost $42,600 for 7.47kW system and 18 panels 415W. That is $5.70 cost per watt!

Here are the quotes that I got from different solar companies:

Company #1
22 x REC Alpha 360W
SolarEdge SE6000H-US inverter w/ Power optimizer
7.92kW (Annual prod: 13,298 kWh)
Price: $24,130
Cost per watt: $3.05

Company #2
21 x REC Alpha 365W
SolarEdge SE6000H-US inverter w/ Power optimizer
7.67kW (Annual prod: 14,007 kWh)
Price: $23,500
Cost per watt: $3.06

Company #3
17 x REC Alpha 72 Series 445W
SolarEdge SE7600H-US inverter w/ Power optimizer
7.565kW (Annual prod: 15,047 kWh)
Price: $28,000
Cost per watt: $3.70

Company #4
25 x Panasonic 360W
Enphase inverter
9.0kW (Annual prod: 14,503 kWh)
Price: $27,000 (Cash price)
Cost per watt: $3.00

25 x Solaria XT 365W
Enphase inverter
9.125 kW
Price: $24,637 (Cash)
Cost per watt: $2.70

Company #5
24 x REC370AA (370W)
Enphase IQ7+ inverter
8.88kW (Annual prod: 14,??? kWh)
Price: $26,976
Cost per watt: $3.04
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,900 Posts
Did you check Tesla? Since Tesla now only sells solar with batteries, you get 8 KW solar for $12K ($2.01 per watt) before incentives then buy 1 Powerwall to backup your 120V breakers in your house for $6800 before incentives. Seems for about the price of solar from the other vendors, you get solar plus a Powerwall.

The 120V breakers should include your regular 120v outlets and lights, along with your furnace fan - you need that if power goes out in the winter to run your gas heat. Anyway, these 120V items can run off the PowerWall during Peak and that will save you a good chunk more money.

Local solar installers get all upset when people bring up Tesla.

Another poster here is a Tesla+Powerwall owner. Hope he or she chimes in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: utsug and ChuckKaty

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Did you check Tesla? Since Tesla now only sells solar with batteries, you get 8 KW solar for $12K ($2.01 per watt) before incentives then buy 1 Powerwall to backup your 120V breakers in your house for $6800 before incentives. Seems for about the price of solar from the other vendors, you get solar plus a Powerwall.

The 120V breakers should include your regular 120v outlets and lights, along with your furnace fan - you need that if power goes out in the winter to run your gas heat. Anyway, these 120V items can run off the PowerWall during Peak and that will save you a good chunk more money.

Local solar installers get all upset when people bring up Tesla.

Another poster here is a Tesla+Powerwall owner. Hope he or she chimes in.
I have had Tesla Solar and Powerwall for over 1 year. Works great. I wish I had gotten about 3KW more of panels as I did not have the 2020 Bolt Premier when we had the solar installed. In Houston area, before Bolt , I had a running credit of $100 to $150. With Bolt closer to $10. My wife drives 240 to 280 miles per week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,875 Posts
The key is to keep presenting the lowest price offered to the other competitors to beat. I went through about 4 back and forths before I made a decision. 3 companies really competed for my business by continuing to lower their previous price.

I eliminated Tesla because it had abysmal reviews, required a non-refundable deposit, and wouldn't let you talk through any options before putting money down. On top of that, they were unlikely to secure a limited DOE subsidy which meant they wouldn't have been the cheapest option.

I went SolarEdge and power optimizers. Probably doesn't matter much, though I get the sense that optimizers have been holding up better than micros. I do think micros lend themselves to expansion more readily than optimizers since they don't require an inverter upgrade.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Did you check Tesla? Since Tesla now only sells solar with batteries, you get 8 KW solar for $12K ($2.01 per watt) before incentives then buy 1 Powerwall to backup your 120V breakers in your house for $6800 before incentives. Seems for about the price of solar from the other vendors, you get solar plus a Powerwall.
I just went to Tesla Energy website and their prices are cheaper than what I received and it includes 2 Powerwalls and 8.12kW system.

The key is to keep presenting the lowest price offered to the other competitors to beat. I went through about 4 back and forths before I made a decision. 3 companies really competed for my business by continuing to lower their previous price.

I eliminated Tesla because it had abysmal reviews, required a non-refundable deposit, and wouldn't let you talk through any options before putting money down. On top of that, they were unlikely to secure a limited DOE subsidy which meant they wouldn't have been the cheapest option.
I am in the process of doing that and hopefully they try to outbid each other so I get the lowest price as possible.
Reading all these reviews on Tesla makes me nervous but the price is really cheap and I get 2 Powerwalls for a 8.12kW system. One of the solar company I talked to was offering me a Powerwall for $15k. He said I need it since I will be switched to SCE TOU rate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,900 Posts
There is also the option of just getting a AGM based home battery system (About $20K for 20KWh storage), if your utility allows that... charge it during super off peak and use it during peak. You can charge the 48V battery pack from your Bolt EV's 60KWh battery pack with a "12V DC to 120V AC inverter" plus a "120V AC to 48V DC battery charger" and "refill" the home battery at 1KW rate. 24 hours and it's 24KWh. Can come in very useful if the utilities start load shedding again this summer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: redpoint5

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,875 Posts
It was easy for me to calculate payback on my solar system because we have a flat rate (no TOU) and an annualized net-metering. There is no benefit having battery backup in my case because it doesn't offset any TOU cost, and could only provide a few hours of backup power during a power outage.

If I was on a TOU plan and could load shift with batteries, I'd seriously consider it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
It's been almost 6 years since I went solar in SoCal. I went with a full-pay lease, which let them take the tax credit and depreciation, but they still own it so they insure and maintain it for 20 years. 12 cheap panels with a clear southern view gave me 5 megawatt hours/year when new and I'm on track for about 4.9 for year 6.

One feature I wanted was the SMA inverter with a built-in outlet. During power outages I've been able to run the fridge, router, computer, etc. or slow-charge the car during the day. Obviously a battery would be far superior but costs a lot more. I have neighbors who recently added Tesla batteries to their solar and they are extremely pleased.

My system is with Sunrun. They have a $1000 referral bonus right now, which I'd be happy to split with anyone who went that way. PM me if interested.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,900 Posts
It's been almost 6 years since I went solar in SoCal. I went with a full-pay lease, which let them take the tax credit and depreciation, but they still own it so they insure and maintain it for 20 years. 12 cheap panels with a clear southern view gave me 5 megawatt hours/year when new and I'm on track for about 4.9 for year 6.

One feature I wanted was the SMA inverter with a built-in outlet. During power outages I've been able to run the fridge, router, computer, etc. or slow-charge the car during the day. Obviously a battery would be far superior but costs a lot more. I have neighbors who recently added Tesla batteries to their solar and they are extremely pleased.

My system is with Sunrun. They have a $1000 referral bonus right now, which I'd be happy to split with anyone who went that way. PM me if interested.
When the inverter fails, see if they can replace it with a hybrid inverter that works on 48V and add 4 12V AGM batteries. This will give you some power after sun down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
It's been almost 6 years since I went solar in SoCal. I went with a full-pay lease, which let them take the tax credit and depreciation, but they still own it so they insure and maintain it for 20 years. 12 cheap panels with a clear southern view gave me 5 megawatt hours/year when new and I'm on track for about 4.9 for year 6.

One feature I wanted was the SMA inverter with a built-in outlet. During power outages I've been able to run the fridge, router, computer, etc. or slow-charge the car during the day. Obviously a battery would be far superior but costs a lot more. I have neighbors who recently added Tesla batteries to their solar and they are extremely pleased.

My system is with Sunrun. They have a $1000 referral bonus right now, which I'd be happy to split with anyone who went that way. PM me if interested.
Full-pay lease is the same as PPA where you pay a lower fixed rate per kWh. I will let you know if I decide to do a lease to split the referral :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,875 Posts
I'd avoid a lease altogether. It's a huge burden if you sell the house because the new owners might not want to assume the lease terms, or there may even be a fee for transferring the lease. If it's profitable enough for a company to lease it to you, it's profitable enough to just purchase it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,900 Posts
Leasing solar, overall, is no different than leasing a car. Difference is depreciation for tax purposes. To the individual, that's probably the marginal tax rate. If your marginal tax rate is 22%, then $1 item actually costs 78 cents. Whether you are better off or worse off, of course, depends on the deal. If the company charges 15% for cost of money, add more fees and then a disposition fee, then that cancels out the savings and then some.

Problem with PPA is it tend to have annual increases. Decade ago, solar sales would say annual energy price will increase 15% annually so sign here now. Ten year later, I see that the actual energy price increase has been NEGATIVE 17%!

I have not yet gotten solar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
I'd avoid a lease altogether. It's a huge burden if you sell the house because the new owners might not want to assume the lease terms, or there may even be a fee for transferring the lease. If it's profitable enough for a company to lease it to you, it's profitable enough to just purchase it.
I'd stay far, far away from the standard monthly solar lease. Most suck you in with zero down and a starting payment that's just a bit less than your standard electric bill, but they have built-in increases every year and onerous exit terms. The full-amount lease is a single payment up front. I paid about $8k up front and since then I've gotten almost $50 back due to 3 years where it generated less than the performance guarantee. The only unknown for me is what they'll say in 14 years when the lease ends. If they ask for a couple hundred bucks I'll probably pay it to keep everything legit on paper, but I expect that I'd be able to tell them I don't want to pay them anything more and they'll decide it's not worth it to come take it back and just abandon it to me. I like that they insure and maintain it. I don't like that I can't modify the system to add panels or a battery without getting a new contract with them.

Sunrun offers cash purchase, financing, and full-pay or monthly leases. Avoid the monthly lease. You can get quotes for the purchase and full-amount lease and see what the difference is. For me it came out to be a few bucks cheaper to do the lease than to buy it and get the tax credits back. I have no idea if that's still true today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,875 Posts
Problem with PPA is it tend to have annual increases. Decade ago, solar sales would say annual energy price will increase 15% annually so sign here now. Ten year later, I see that the actual energy price increase has been NEGATIVE 17%!
Any rate increase calculation is junk because on average it will increase at the same rate as inflation. That means in real terms prices are fairly steady.

The solar companies liked to quote me an amortization schedule that factors in rate increases. They didn't factor my losses from not being able to invest that money...

At best, the heavily subsidized (3 different subsidies) solar at my place is a break-even proposition.

... if I had put the $10k I spent on solar last May into the stock market, it would be worth $14k today. Opportunity cost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,900 Posts
Any rate increase calculation is junk because on average it will increase at the same rate as inflation. That means in real terms prices are fairly steady.

The solar companies liked to quote me an amortization schedule that factors in rate increases. They didn't factor my losses from not being able to invest that money...

At best, the heavily subsidized (3 different subsidies) solar at my place is a break-even proposition.

... if I had put the $10k I spent on solar last May into the stock market, it would be worth $14k today. Opportunity cost.
Yep, reason I never got solar yet. With TOU, it's break even or 1% return over 20 years at best. Not worth it for the additional risk of owning a power producing asset where that 1% can disappear and go negative. And, with the electricity rates dropping in nominal dollar (so real dollar is actually dropping even more), there is no ROI except to show off to the neighbors.

If I can buy the panels and inverters at retail price and hire an electrician to install it for less than going with a solar company, something is wrong. I think most of the rooftop solar price goes to overhead and commissioned sales. Right now, the going rate is about $3/watt here and $2/watt with Tesla. In Australia, they are below $1/watt INSTALLED!
 
  • Like
Reactions: redpoint5

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Another factor on the lease vs. buy discussion is failure of equipment. I have had 2 Sunny boy inverter replacements in 7 years on my Sunrun full pay lease system. Total cost to me $0 for the repairs -- of course some down time for shipping in the replacement unit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,900 Posts
Another factor on the lease vs. buy discussion is failure of equipment. I have had 2 Sunny boy inverter replacements in 7 years on my Sunrun full pay lease system. Total cost to me $0 for the repairs -- of course some down time for shipping in the replacement unit.
Depends on the purchase agreement, I would think installers would cover labor of replacements if a component failed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
The quotes that I received all have 25 yrs warranty on product and labor. So far none of them are going below $3 cost per watt. The other company that offered me $2.70 doesn't include panel upgrade cost, so after adding the panel upgrade cost, it went to $3 as well.
Only Tesla offers below $3 cost per watt but their bad customer service reviews worries me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
The quotes that I received all have 25 yrs warranty on product and labor. So far none of them are going below $3 cost per watt. The other company that offered me $2.70 doesn't include panel upgrade cost, so after adding the panel upgrade cost, it went to $3 as well.
Only Tesla offers below $3 cost per watt but their bad customer service reviews worries me.
I can only speak for me, but my TESLA customer experience has been excellent. They installed within 3 weeks after I ordered. Took 2 days to install. Panels 1st day, Electrical boxes 2nd day. They also fixed some storm damage I had on my roof where they were going to install panels. Longest part was waiting for HOA approval. I had my neighbor who installs TESLA equipment (for a competitor) install the charger for my wife's Bolt. He said he thought the installers had done a great job.
 
1 - 20 of 65 Posts
Top