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Mine went online 7/14. $30000 cost,no loan, $7000 fed tax rebate plus others, no batteries. My calculations indicated they would pay about 5% a year on that $30K. Similar to the interest on a Municipal bond. If you hold the bond to maturity you get the investment back. But when the panels are done you will have to pay disposal costs. I then bought a Tesla electric car. So I will eliminate gas costs on my daily driver. But had the additional $1500 cost to install a wall charger. My solar installer sized my panels to cover the car charging and conversion to electric clothes dryer. The old gas one went bad even before the panels went in. Plugging in the car every afternoon is easier than going to gas stations. From what I can tell the charging uses a lot of power.
All the calculations to compute the final value is difficult. I always appreciated that the utility companies would make all the infrastructure investment and then let you pay it off month by month. By installing solar you pay your electrical bill 25 years in advance and lose the income on the principal invested. Yous assume the cleaning and maintenance cost, not much. I have always thought that there is no such thing as a free lunch. But I went ahead anyway. I would think break even at the best.
 

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Mine went online 7/14. $30000 cost,no loan, $7000 fed tax rebate plus others, no batteries. My calculations indicated they would pay about 5% a year on that $30K. Similar to the interest on a Municipal bond. If you hold the bond to maturity you get the investment back. But when the panels are done you will have to pay disposal costs. I then bought a Tesla electric car. So I will eliminate gas costs on my daily driver. But had the additional $1500 cost to install a wall charger. My solar installer sized my panels to cover the car charging and conversion to electric clothes dryer. The old gas one went bad even before the panels went in. Plugging in the car every afternoon is easier than going to gas stations. From what I can tell the charging uses a lot of power.
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Hey ODFRANK, how far can you drive before your Tesla needs a charge, and how long does it take to recharge the battery to full? I've a nephew that wants to get a Tesla, he lives about 800 miles from me, I was wondering how long it would take him, with charging his car, to get to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
..... I then bought a Tesla electric car. ...
Hah!
Good idea.
In fact, IF one owns a Tesla, considerations for auxiliary power sources (solar, etc) change quite a bit in favor.

Also, I never though a Tesla could be that missing "battery" in 100% on-line system.
But in fact, an electric car very well could be that "battery" if in a pinch.

1 4k screen (2 amps 120v AC) + 1 switch + 1 router + mac laptop power: WORKS !
Yippee, thanks to my model 3, I can work remotely despite the fact that my electricity company shut the power down for the day.
https://forums.tesla.com/discussion/169764/using-12v-lighter-sockets-to-power-appliances

Even better - Using Camper Mode in the Tesla Model S P100D to Power House:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcqUhbsP3FE
And even more:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADqk4IjzjXs

Still, not buying a Tesla just for that.
Especially now - best way to just not be driving at all.
LOL
 

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Hey ODFRANK, how far can you drive before your Tesla needs a charge, and how long does it take to recharge the battery to full? I've a nephew that wants to get a Tesla, he lives about 800 miles from me, I was wondering how long it would take him, with charging his car, to get to me.
Mine goes 316 miles on a full charge. Google map Tesla charging stations between you and him. Add one hour per charge. The car and other apps can calculate all that.
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
So I did a little more research regarding this "solar company".
While there are many excited comments on the Facebook (majority are niceties about how quickly they installed the stuff, how small their first electric bill is, how cool is the phone app, and junk like that - LOL - as-if this is the most important part; these people are really something)

But this one Facebook communication I noticed:
Commentator:
This company is shady, deceiving and dishonest. They will lie about the value your solar panels will give your home, fail to mention that they will put a lien on your house when you sign on the dotted line and you will not be able to sell your house without losing thousands of dollars.

Company:
We are sorry that you have had a negative experience. We would like to clarify that there is not a lien on your property. We will be reaching out within the next 24-48 hours to discuss any other misperceptions that may have been portrayed. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention, and we look forward to speaking with you. Have a wonderful rest of your afternoon!

Commentator:
...... unfortunately you can call it whatever you want, but it is a lien. The lender calls it a lien and if anyone is looking to sell or refinance your home with this “whatever you want to call it” ties to your house, you won’t be able to. That’s the facts. And the value of the system does not equate to what your house value increase will be, so good luck finding someone that will pay more for a house that appraised for less. Just being honest.

Company:
I apologize for the misunderstanding regarding this subject, but see the explanation of what a UCC is directly from the LoanPal site (it is NOT a lien):

“We secure your Solar Loan through a lien on the solar equipment itself by filing a UCC-1, or Uniform Commercial Code Financing Statement, and county fixture filing. The filings are not a lien against your home, so we do not hold any formal position in your home (first, second, or otherwise). You will, however, find a UCC-1 fixture filing on the title of your property. We file UCC-1 and county fixture filings to protect our rights as the financier of the system. If for whatever reason your mortgage on the real property forecloses on your home, the UCC-1 filing protects our security interest in the system, while preventing your mortgage lender from taking ownership of it.”

Commentator:
ok, like I said, call it what you will, banks are viewing this as a lien and unless LoanPal agrees to lift the UCC-1, you are unable to sell or refi through those banks, such as wells Fargo, US Bank and Chase. All reputable banks. And still no information on the actual value increase on the house. I will investigate further.

Company:
.... all you need to do is email [email protected] and they will lift it within 7 days, usually quicker. This is a process they are very familiar with. Let us know if you have any issues with it!

Commentator:
thank you I will look into it.

Commentator:
...not a true process and unless you pay off the entire loan, the value is not included in an appraisal. This was not covered or even mentioned during the sales pitch. This is something you all SHOULD cover as it will lock people into their homes for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
OK, doing some basic math.

0)Option #0 (current consumed electricity) at $103/month average - $24,720 in 20 years (very optimistic low ball)
00)Option #00(very bad case - I let the costs double tomorrow and stay so) at $206/month average - $49,440 in 20 years (very pessimistic high ball)
Mid point between the low ball and high ball - $37,080 in electricity costs for 20 years

1)Option #1 financing - 20 years - ($182*12)*20 = $43,680 - the total cost of the project (before any credits, grants)
The tax credits and grants might shave-off 2-3K of the total project cost.
OK, $40K is estimated total cost.
Be lucky IF break even.

2)Option #2 financing - 15 years - ($223*12)*15 = 40,140 - the total cost of the project (before any credits, grants)
Blah.....

This is before any unpredictable issues and costs and sub-performing system (almost guarantied).
And the company going "poof" for the support/warranty issues - 20 years is a long time (and them some).

In general, lucky IF break even - my hunch.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
that was my question does it add or subtract from the resale value of the house?
Good question and no-one will ever tell it, IF they are honest.
Interestingly (per my Facebook quote above) - one may has to pay off the outstanding balance BEFORE attempting to sell the house.
That's a drag IF true (very possibly true).
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Adding more holes to your roof increases the risk of a leak thru the shingles
I hate holes in my roof, even if patched.
No holes is the best.

Now, my current roof is 15 years old (asphalt shingles).
Had one bad hail too - I did not replace at that time, but just keeping it in mind.
Now, somewhere in 10 years time, I estimate the useful life of this roof will be running out.
Now, the solar panel installation in place will complicate things.

Properly, you want to replace the roof BEFORE you put up the panels (just a common sense and the recommendations too).
So, throwing away 15 year old roof NOW and installing a brand new one at $5-7K out of pocket - not a pocket change AND a big immediate cost.
Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

OK, the sales pitch was not to worry as they just take care of it (how exactly?)
I would worry a big time.
For sure, replacing a roof with solar on it seems like a complication and additional cost - why wouldn't it cost more?
 

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But this one Facebook communication I noticed:
That quote sounds about right from what I heard from a friend. As I remember/understand it he had to add 5-10K to his house loan above the purchase price because he had to pay for the solar panels that were already installed on the house by the previous owner.
 

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>Properly, you want to replace the roof BEFORE you put up the panels (just a common sense and the recommendations too).

You want to install the supports for the solar as the roof is installed. The roofing material then wraps up around the supports. The panels go on after the roof is finished. This picture shows the supports before the panels are on. The solar installers came after the old tar and gravel was removed. The bored thru existing insulation and screwed stems into ceiling beams. The cone drops over the stem and layers of roofing are placed around the cones. If you fly into SFO look for my red roof and solar panels covered with bee poop.



 

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Discussion Starter #31
>Properly, you want to replace the roof BEFORE you put up the panels (just a common sense and the recommendations too).

You want to install the supports for the solar as the roof is installed. .......
Thanks, od.
Pretty much confirms the same.
The roof maintenance/status should totally be integrated and synchronized with the solar project - they are going hand in hand.
Deflections of a sales person of my concerns (as if a non-issue) is exactly that - deflections of credible concerns.
A perfect match would be - the roof needing maintenance/replacement and the solar equipment installation at once.
Then roof and solar equipment will pretty much live on the same clock (conveniently, the useful lives are similar too - in theory).
 

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This is the complete array, Sunpower brand. Comes with a phone app so you can track daily performance. I downloaded four years of consumption from my utility and made my own computations on the repay value. My installer did not promote batteries as our grid is pretty reliable, and battery expense very high. Existing power grid in house would have needed expensive re organization as to connect batteries to the proper circuits. I requested a system big enough to add an electric car, which I purchased as soon as I had the solar on line. The car seems to use a lot of power from what I can tell going online to my utility account. The installer also took shading from nearby trees into consideration, and that the panels would lay flat. The only maintenance is washing a few times a year, which is easy with the flat roof.

 

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To verify an anticipated electric production for your very specific location, I would encourage you to visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory resource called PVWatts- https://pvwatts.nrel.gov/ Didn't read the proposal, but also worth exploring your eligibility for the federal tax credit for renewable energy, as well as any state resources, plus of course the offsets from net metering. Typical install costs per watt residential. Anything over $3.50 per watt installed in total is pushing the envelope of average costs for Wisconsin. Should be closer to $2.50 per watt. Renewable energy ties into my off farm work life research projects, doesn't make my opinion better but there ya go.
 

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Hey Greg, we put solar in late last year and had it come online in January. We've been very happy with the production and it's impact on our electricity bill. Ours is a 11.1kW ground mount, not on the roof. Our primary driver was to send less money to our utility company which has been playing a lot of despicable political and "emminent domain" land seizure games. I'm a big believer in renewable energy and as one of my friends very eloquently put it "we have to create the future we want for our kids". Financially we'll break even but that wasn't the primary driver.

If you decide to get serious about it the installer is going to be your biggest decision. Ours was recommended by a neighbor (had a great install) and had glowing reviews online. That said our install was a cluster and I came very close to cancelling the contract and walking away. I'd highly recommend you see if solar united neighbors (https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/) has any co-ops near you that you can check in with.

With our utility company we have a "smart" meter. The output from our solar panels feeds directly into the meter and any excess power we generate goes back to the grid. We have a basic rate and we're credited that rate for the power we feed back. I actually really like that system as we "bank" credits during months where we open the house and then use them when we run the heat or air conditioning. As a rough guess I'd say we'll probably bank credits for six months out of the year and consume them over the rest of the year.

I'll eventually put batteries in but I'm not in a hurry. I'd like to see that technology improve, prices come down, and maintenance be reduced before I jump into that. Speaking of maintenance we have almost none on our ground mount. A heavy rain generally does the cleaning and we've only swept them off when our black locust dropped a ton of blossoms. We have had trees trimmed back to reduce shading as we've learned this year but I don't expect to be doing any more of that now. By nature I'm a tinkerer so I kind of find it frustrating that I can't tinker with this expensive thing in the yard but they just sit there, generate power, save me money, and reduce my dependency on a company that I don't particularly like doing business with...

All that said I've been recommending to friends here in Virginia that they wait on solar. Our legislature has changed dramatically and are now much less adversarial to renewable energy. I think they'll be better incentives in the next few years, technology should incrementally improve, and that may also provide time for the installer business to shake out.
 

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Greg - we have Tesla solar w 2 Powerwall (PW) and love it. We went with Tesla cuz 3 yrs ago they were cheapest & w tax rebate the PW was almost free. CA currently have brown outs & PW automatically kicks in. Storm Watch looks out for weather - heatwave, storm or other emergencies causes higher probability of downtime, PW charges to max and waits until storm is over. When drunk driver took down electric pole that cause blackout for entire evening, we had uninterrupted dinner. We didn’t even know neighborhood was out of electricity until neighbor called to ask how our lights were still on. All this and with my calculations we will have broken even in 3.5 years and start saving lots of money by 4th year. Prior our monthly PG&E bill was ~$150-$400; now with true up it averages $50-$75. We’re still paying off solar loan but that just averages out a little more than what we would have paid for summer AC usage. With climate change our summer is getting hotter and longer summer season - looks like what they said in school in 80’s that Cali would burn down every year is now coming to fruition.
 
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