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Going Solar

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The Latinist:
My new house has a beautiful unobstructed southern exposure and enough roof space, if I'm calculating correctly, for a 12 KW array that would provide completely for my electrical needs.  And I'm in CT, with good incentives and net metering laws.  So I'm thinking about taking the plunge, but I'm not sure what the best way to go about it is. Buy and finance? Lease? Something like what Steve Novella talked about? And how do I find a good, reliable company to design, install, and service my system?

Has anyone gone solar?  Do you have advice or recommendations?  I'd appreciate any advice or information anyone cared to share.

moj:
It will be interesting to see what comes out of the Tesla/solar city deal because they seem to have very different pricing models. Solar city use to have little to no upfront cost but they took a cut of money/power that generated. The new Tesla panels look great and seem to be something you have buy upfront. We have also thought about it but don't get that much direct sun so it may not be worth it for us. I'm just happy to see it become a cheaper more popular option.

http://buffalonews.com/2016/11/18/musks-solar-roof-may-not-pricey/

daniel1948:

--- Quote from: moj on November 21, 2016, 11:15:48 AM ---It will be interesting to see what comes out of the Tesla/solar city deal because they seem to have very different pricing models. Solar city use to have little to no upfront cost but they took a cut of money/power that generated. The new Tesla panels look great and seem to be something you have buy upfront. We have also thought about it but don't get that much direct sun so it may not be worth it for us. I'm just happy to see it become a cheaper more popular option.

http://buffalonews.com/2016/11/18/musks-solar-roof-may-not-pricey/

--- End quote ---

Tesla sells cars, and will sell the "solar wall" for storage of electricity. Solar City installs solar panels on your roof at no cost to you, and then sells you the electricity, and sells the excess to the grid. These are two different businesses. The merger makes them into one company, but I would expect them to remain separate businesses.

Solar City can install the solar panels at no cost to you because those panels produce income, since you buy the electricity, and the grid buys the excess. A battery wall produces no income, so it stands to reason you'd have to buy it outright. The benefit would be for homes/installations that are off the grid, or possibly for places where the grid pays too low a price when it buys excess power, or does not buy excess at all. (When I was living in North Dakota, the utility company owned the power lines and they simply would not buy excess power from homeowners.)

The merger would make it easy to do a package deal (if that is your choice) where S.C. installs the panels and sells you the electricity, and Tesla sells you the battery wall.

Caveat: Although I own stock in both, I have no idea what their actual plans are.

moj:
Did you click the link? Tesla recently introduced a line of roof top solar panels that are clear and look really awesome and are claiming it will cost the same as regular roofing.

Friendly Angel:

--- Quote from: The Latinist on November 20, 2016, 05:14:23 PM --- So I'm thinking about taking the plunge, but I'm not sure what the best way to go about it is. Buy and finance? Lease? Something like what Steve Novella talked about? And how do I find a good, reliable company to design, install, and service my system?

--- End quote ---

1.  I don't trust any of the lease/finance/service agreement contracts.  There's just too much that can go wrong, too many unknowns, and too many shady practices.  (selling your house?  hail damage?  change in electric rates? contractor goes out of business?)

2.  I'd only do it if I could pay for it up-front and own it.  And I'd do it at the same time as I replace my roof so I wouldn't have to re-do anything.

3.  I estimated I could use a 6.5kW system and the installed price would be about $25,000 and simple payback would be about 15 years.

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