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Going Solar

By Quigley following x   2018 Apr 8, 8:54am 1,770 views   14 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    


So I was approached by a solar company who wants to put panels on my roof and become my new electric company. They say they’ll install for free and give me free electricity for a year. Sounds too good to be true, so is it? Anyone have personal experience with such a setup? Is the kilowatt hour charge less than Edison? How much does it vary? How about winter electric bills? I’d appreciate any advice or anecdotes.
1   BlueSardine   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 8, 9:00am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

How's that gonna work when you sell the house and the new owners don't wanna pay solar co. rates?
2   FortWayne   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 8, 9:06am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Never do kw/hr thing, it’ll rip off long run. Main complaint everywhere.

These are only worth it if you outright own them. Otherwise you get screwed long term.

Easiest is get plans approved by city, diy or pay installer. Cheapest way of doing it and solar won’t fuck you over.

Warning again: kw/hr where they own panel is equivalent to inviting them to screw you willingly.
3   MbS   ignore (3)   2018 Apr 8, 9:10am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

It's a so-called PPA (power purchase agreement). I was offered one and decided against it: if something is to sit on my roof I should be the one owning it.

Besides, this way you will not get the fed and state tax breaks - the PPA company will.
4   FortWayne   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 8, 9:13am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

https://m.yelp.com/biz/vivint-solar-los-angeles?osq=viventi+solar

Look, read all those complaints. People who got this PPA thing, all really fucked now. Solar companies do have shady practices.
5   Malcolm   ignore (1)   2018 Apr 8, 9:33am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Don't do PPA. I got a great deal when I put solar on my house years ago. I can hook you up with the guy who did mine. In my opinion, the only legit solar contractor in S California. The solar industry is the most disgusting industry I know. They prey on people's good intentions, which sucks, because solar is actually a great investment, but a nightmare if you get ripped off.
6   Tenpoundbass   ignore (11)   2018 Apr 8, 10:27am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Florida Power and Light, gets their pound flesh regardless what you do.
Big Solar pulled a "Net Neutrality" con job on the Florida voters in 2016.
They got signatures to put the right to have solar on the ballot box. Nobody never read the proposal they just signed it.
When I went over it, I noticed you had to tie into FP&L you had to pay to tie into FP&L and the reduction you got didn't make a dent in the cost of even just buying the solar panels.


The right to have solar panels if installed by licensed professionals and tied into the electric grid for safety reasons. They made it sound like what you got in return, the Condo association couldn't tell you, that you had no right to do it. Nor could a city pass ordinances prohibiting you from owning Solar.
Everyone just saw the measure would stop mean old City Hall telling you can't have Solar.
They never got to the part that stipulated what kind of Solar they were limiting the consumer to.
The same way people were gaslighted and rolled into thinking Net Neutrality was a great deal for them.
7   FortWayne   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 8, 10:31am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Malcolm says
Don't do PPA. I got a great deal when I put solar on my house years ago. I can hook you up with the guy who did mine. In my opinion, the only legit solar contractor in S California. The solar industry is the most disgusting industry I know. They prey on people's good intentions, which sucks, because solar is actually a great investment, but a nightmare if you get ripped off.


Do you know an installer in LA area who can do this? Solar companies here are very shady or expensive. Tesla charges an arm and a leg. Others are just low quality, try to push customers into that PPA scam.
8   Automan Empire   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 8, 10:33am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

You want to own the system, own the rebates, and own the sellback of excess power to the power company. You do NOT want to sign these over to a third party.

On a budget, you could build a scaleable system. Get a system installed with wiring and electronics for a fullsize system and all of the roof brackets, but install a minumum number of solar panels now. Later you can add a few thousand more worth of panels and possibly DIY the installation. Cost of panels is still falling year over year.

Also add upgrades as you go, like a battery backup system. I've heard of off-grid hackers finding used forklift batteries at scrap lead prices that perform well for years in a home solar setup.
10   Quigley   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 8, 1:53pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Thanks for all the feedback guys!
Sounds like the power plan is not so great. It would be a bit of a hassle to depend on the grace of a corporation for my power.
11   Hircus   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 8, 2:40pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I get very detailed when I evaluate the economics of stuff. I've written software to model the effect of solar on the electric bill, and it's resulting investment performance. Something I've convinced myself of over the years is that solar isn't a good investment, for most people in the SF Bay at least. There's so many variables that change due to location, power company, state / municipality etc...so it's hard to make statements like that about other places. The one good exception to that rule though is households that use a lot of power - in these cases, they usually pay tiered rates and/or high usage penalties, and so their average cost per KWH is very high, making the economics of solar much more appealing and very worthwhile. But, by obvious definition, most people use an average amount of power, and so pay a very average power bill.

If you're trying to decide if solar is worth it, make sure that the math you're using includes the opportunity cost of money. Most online calculators, solar companies / salespeople, and people doing the math for themselves don't usually include that factor because either concept is too advanced for them, or they purposely want to leave it out because they know that solar doesn't look to be worth the money if you include it. But, skipping it is lying to yourself.

The typical $15-20k cost of an installed solar system can take a lot of years to pay itself off, especially when you consider that your electric bill doesn't become $0, it just gets smaller than it was. The question is, if you took that $15-20k and invested it in another way, which choice would yield you better returns over the expected 20-30 year life of the system? There's no doubt a smaller electric bill saves you money, but other investments may prove far superior.

Don't trick yourself into thinking solar is a low risk investment either - there's a lot of uncertainty with equipment failure / warranty, future municipal rates, and municipal policies such as net metering.

Smaller solar systems are more like to be worth it. This is because they have a smaller initial investment, and give great bang for the buck due to the way most power companies bill people. Since most bills use tired rates, where the last 100KWH costs more than the first 100KWH, it complicates the math in the same way to marginal federal tax rates work. The first few panels you add will be reducing your bill in the higher tiered section of your bill. Then, the next few panels will be reducing the middle tiers, and the next few panels will be reducing the lower tiers. And, this is why the smaller systems are better bang for the buck - because even a small system is usually enough you knock you back in total usage enough so that your bill is mostly comprised of lowest tier billing, aka cheap electricity.
13   P N Dr Lo R   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 8, 3:30pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Automan Empire says
a few thousand more worth of panels
What is the economic effect when you need roof repairs?
14   MrMagic   ignore (11)   2018 Apr 8, 3:36pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

FortWayne says
Never do kw/hr thing, it’ll rip off long run. Main complaint everywhere.

These are only worth it if you outright own them. Otherwise you get screwed long term.


Satoshi_Nakamoto says
if something is to sit on my roof I should be the one owning it.


Satoshi_Nakamoto says
Besides, this way you will not get the fed and state tax breaks


Automan Empire says
You want to own the system, own the rebates, and own the sellback of excess power to the power company. You do NOT want to sign these over to a third party.


Automan Empire says
Also add upgrades as you go, like a battery backup system.


These are the correct answers.

You want to OWN the system, and sell excess power back to the power company. Also, plan for a battery back-up system to be installed at the same time, so you have a poer source whet the grid loses power. Most solar panel systems today leave your house dark if the grid goes down. It really sucks to have a roof full of panels, and to sit in dark house when grid power goes down.

Finance the system outright. Many systems have a payback in like 5-7 years this way. A PPA will go on 20 years, and you'll never own the system or the credit and tax advantages.




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