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LARGEONE

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I wouldn't make a decision based on the credits expiring, necessarily. That reduction was done by Trump which will be reversed if I had to guess. In fact, I would guess that the rebates and exemptions will only get better over the next few years.

Anyway, I have thought about solar as well since I just put a new roof on, and my roof is totally south facing! However, 15-18 year payback you will already be buying replacement components by then. Probably someone else's problem, but these system components don't last forever.

I may still do some solar, just because I believe energy prices are going to double or triple from here, and I'd like to be partially capable of creating my own.
 

Heckraiser

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I've been wanting solar for years, but we've been contemplating moving and didn't want to go through the hassle on a short-term house. We're moving again and hopefully we'll stay put for a while, so this is back on the table. Also thinking about a powerwall since I usually charge the car in the evening.

I'm a residential Realtor and I will just say that some (not all) solar leases and "finance options" are total garbage. I would recommend financing through your local credit union (Elevations Credit Union has special rates for solar) or HELOC at the bank. Solar leases are a good deal but can be a real challenge when it comes to transferring and getting your house sold. I had a client with an owned system financed through Tesla and the owner transfer process was so onerous, he ended up having a roofer remove the panels from the house in order to get the place sold (he took them to his new house). Nobody was willing to adopt the loan.
 

nakman

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so the person who was supposed to come on Sunday didn't show up. I don't remember the company, but they're out. Then I saw some more ads for Project Solar so I'm now looking into them pretty hard... you can run through a little quote wizard on their site for an initial estimate https://projectsolar.io/ I also filled out something where I'm supposed to get an email site plan. but looks to be as advertised, around 1/3 the cost of the other guys especially if I'm willing to do most of the install.

The big difference in equipment here is their panels all have micro inverters, rather than one string inverter. So the power is converted to AC right behind the panel. I found this article which does a pretty good job and explaining the difference, and some of the consequences https://www.solarreviews.com/blog/pros-and-cons-of-string-inverter-vs-microinverter

One of the possible downsides of micro inverters is if one fails you might not know which one it is, but I learned today the Enphase inverters they use come with an app called Enlighten, which offers you panel-level monitoring. I downloaded the app, but haven't messed with it yet, suspect it won't be that exciting without any inverters to monitor.

pretty interesting read on their faq: https://projectsolar.io/pages/faq
 

rover67

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I did a single inverter with power optimizers. Check that kinda setup out.
 

nakman

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Yes that is exactly what the Empower guys quoted. 22 panels (Silfab SIL 370NX), 22 optimizers (SolarEdge P370), and 1 inverter (SolarEdge SE6000H-US). for about $20,500 cash or $30k financed.

You could literally buy this off the internet today... (22*$173.90)+(22+$87.13)+(1*$1529.99)= $7272.65

370watt offbrand panel https://www.acosolar.com/ht-saae-370w-solar-panel-ht72-156m-370w-mono-sliver-frame.html
320watt Silfab panel: https://www.acosolar.com/silfab-320w-solar-panel-sla-m-320-mono-60cell-all-black.html
optimizer https://www.amazon.com/SolarEdge-P370-Power-Optimizer-370W/dp/B07C5QTYG2
inverter: https://www.acosolar.com/solaredge-se6000h-us-6-0kw-single-phase-inverter-with-rgm.html

Only difference above is the panel- those Sil Fab panels command a premium, as they are the big name brand right now. So the off-brand panel will deliver probably 95% of the performance as the Sil Fab, may not even be able to measure the difference. What compels me on the micro inverter system from Project Solar is their total price, installed, is going to be close to parts alone from the Empower deal. Empower also very similar to Sunrun, and some of the other guys.
 

rover67

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You are missing racking from those quotes. I used Ironridge, they have an online builder/quote tool that's nice. You need to take into account wind/snow loads for your area. the permitting folks need that info and proof you are designing/building to it.

That's the same inverter/optimizer combo we have, they aren't terrible expensive as you can see.

Also the schematics for permitting I just got from wholesale solar (now unbound solar?) who are the folks I got a lot of parts from. I cut and pasted their schematics to make it what I needed in the end but that was easy.
 

BritKLR

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We have solar. It was already on the house when we purchased it in 2012. Moving from Missouri to Colorado I had no clue or knowledge about solar but, it's turned out to be a hell of a deal (ever have to pay summer A/C bill in the midwest?) Now, we are at 8300 feet so we don't have or need A/C. We heat with propane and all other utilities are electric. Our system feeds to the net. We pay an annual $75.00 admin fee (we pay 3 years in advance) and haven't had an electric bill in the 9 years living here. I don't know the details of our agreement with excel but do have the paperwork showing the previous owner paid $30k for the system.

My only complaint/issue is they mounted it on a 25 year old mountain weathered shingled roof and I'll need to have the system removed and remounted to replace the roof......Anyone experience this scenario and have any advice and possible costs?
 

nakman

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My limited experience so far Paul says it'll be a $1000-$2000 upcharge, when you get your roof replaced. And most roofing companies are used to this by now. Of course I was being fed this info by a guy wanting to sell me solar and minimizing my concern to replace the roof first. I was also told by Empower that they would send a team out at a future date to remove/reinstall the panels for $1000, as part of the contract with them, should I get a new roof in the future.
 

nakman

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I got my initial quote from Project Solar...
Total System Size: 4.8kW
Full service install price: $7,690.47
DIY price: $5,914.47
Full service install monthly payment: $50.71
DIY monthly payment: $39
*Prices factor in the 26% federal tax incentive, but do not include any state or local incentives that may be available in your area.

So right at $10k for full service install, and $7500 if I want to install it myself. they also sent me this nice little video: https://www.loom.com/share/79702be8fb1546df8866403fc90fc934

I would have thought the system size would be bigger though? My 12 month usage is 7000 Kilowatt Hours, does that not mean I want at least a 7kW system? Or 8.4kW if I multiply by 1.2? Next step is I pay them $100 for those answers.. I actually like that sales process, I'm sure it culls the tire kicking down quite a bit and their conversion rate must be a lot higher.
 

RayRay27

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I got my initial quote from Project Solar...


So right at $10k for full service install, and $7500 if I want to install it myself. they also sent me this nice little video: https://www.loom.com/share/79702be8fb1546df8866403fc90fc934

I would have thought the system size would be bigger though? My 12 month usage is 7000 Kilowatt Hours, does that not mean I want at least a 7kW system? Or 8.4kW if I multiply by 1.2? Next step is I pay them $100 for those answers.. I actually like that sales process, I'm sure it culls the tire kicking down quite a bit and their conversion rate must be a lot higher.
If you hook up the system yourself, do you have to set up the inter-connection with Xcel or do they (Project Solar) do that for you? Also if you are net-metering Xcel has to install the new net-meter correct. Not sure you're allowed to do that yourself or not? I am interested in the self install process and how it all plays out.

I was dreading the process with Xcel. I have heard horror stories when it comes to dealing with them. Anything from them not wanting to install the net meter until a certified electrician and the city had accepted all electrical install work. I read one review where an individual was going on 6 months of waiting because they were waiting on Xcel to essentially flip the switch on to allow the system to start flowing to the grid. Xcel gets very pissy if you go turn the box on yourself before they do it. Our installer said not to do it even though its just a simple on-off throw handle.
 

RayRay27

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This thread has me relooking at Solar

On your system, I understand the savings. The people I talked to also made big claims about earnings which I think is Net Metering. How much did you earn back vs saved if you dont mind sharing

It was also stated in this thread that Net Metring is going to end. I couldnt find anything about thyat. Does it end completely or do people who get Solar this year get to keep it going? More details on this please
Net metering is not going to end, at least not in Colorado. If you dump net metering there is no incentive to owning a solar system. I know states like Arizona and Nevada are trying to limit the net metering benefits because of the energy and coal lobbyist trying to prop up a dying industry.

I haven't seen the total money back savings yet because the system has only been on since October 2020 and has been operating in the fall and winter months. Once we hit the summer months and early fall I should really see the cost savings and the excess energy that I am producing start to add up and roll over month to month. Now granted we are in the spring months were it tends to be pretty mild and doesn't require heating or cooling during the day or at night that much or at all. Also we have a whole home house fan for the warmer days that we can run in the mornings and at night to help cool the house if it gets too warm. But I just got my latest Xcel bill and it was only $38.95. I only paid .28 cents per day this month as apposed to last year when I was paying $2.97 per day. Nat gas prices are what's kicking are asses now.

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rover67

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I installed the net metering meter box and excel put in The meter when they approved my application. The whole process with excel was mind boggling-ly ridiculous and difficult. We also installed new power to the house at the time and they also cut through our propane line and wires from the generator to the house and our phone line which were all marked. They literally trenched through everything. So there all that :/
 

nakman

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@RayRay27 If I choose to install it myself I am limited to just bolting the panels up to the roof and running the wires, their installers still do all the connections, and they also handle Xcel and the permitting. I am leaning towards having them do all of it, as I don't want to be in the middle of any timing/coordination issues with Xcel. Plus, their final payment comes after the grid tie & final inspection is complete.
 

DaveInDenver

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Net metering is not going to end, at least not in Colorado. If you dump net metering there is no incentive to owning a solar system. I know states like Arizona and Nevada are trying to limit the net metering benefits because of the energy and coal lobbyist trying to prop up a dying industry.
It's propping up a dying monopoly generally, not necessarily a method of generation. Arizona, Nevada and California are just seeing the economic/government issues first since they have the highest peak sun hours. Eventually Xcel in Colorado and PacificCorp in Utah will have to follow suit as long the State's PUC allow them to be the middleman. Public utilities are in the catbird seat since the government makes it illegal to disconnect from the grid and if you generate too much power the utility can tell you the power you generate on your roof isn't yours to use and they can refuse to buy it. California already has had to dump excess solar power a few days in the winter to Arizona because people generate too much but aren't allowed to use or sell it locally. The problem is Arizona and Nevada don't have to deal with nearly as many customers with serious winters, whether trying to generate enough electricity at higher latitudes (fewer peak solar hours) or heating their homes (they can consume natural gas for overnight power generation instead of burning in their furnaces as we must). So it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. Coal and gas generation must be a part of Colorado because Denver's winter nights are darker longer and considerably colder than LA or Phoenix. So if we don't do it at Craig, CO, then we'll have to pay the higher price to import it from Huntington, UT, where they won't be closing their coal mines or power plant anytime soon.
 
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RayRay27

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It's propping up a dying monopoly generally, not necessarily a method of generation. Arizona, Nevada and California are just seeing the economic/government issues first since they have the highest peak sun hours. Eventually Xcel in Colorado and PacificCorp in Utah will have to follow suit as long the State's PUC allow them to be the middleman. Public utilities are in the catbird seat since the government makes it illegal to disconnect from the grid and if you generate too much power the utility can tell you the power you generate on your roof isn't yours to use and they can refuse to buy it. California already has had to dump excess solar power a few days in the winter to Arizona because people generate too much but aren't allowed to use or sell it locally. The problem is Arizona and Nevada don't have to deal with nearly as many customers with serious winters, whether trying to generate enough electricity at higher latitudes (fewer peak solar hours) or heating their homes (they can consume natural gas for overnight power generation instead of burning in their furnaces as we must). So it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. Coal and gas generation must be a part of Colorado because Denver's winter nights are darker longer and considerably colder than LA or Phoenix. So if we don't do it at Craig, CO, then we'll have to pay the higher price to import it from Huntington, UT, where they won't be closing their coal mines or power plant anytime soon.
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DaveInDenver

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Here's a couple of articles discussing political policies with respect to net metering. Also going forward the courts are probably going to have to hear cases regarding the PUC if it tries to move its path away from community solar in favor of the major utilities. Colorado is currently amongst the most consumer friendly in this regard but the problem stems from rigid definitions of who is a customer and who is a generator. Xcel and Black Hills (the two major electric utilities in Colorado) want the roles to be the same as they ever were. They make the power and you buy it.

So far the number of people grid-tied with solar panels and storage hasn't been significant enough to really do anything but help them achieve mandated installation numbers by the government. But they don't like the prospect of being shut out of the loop if the tide turns and they can't stay in front of a shift behind the meter that happens too fast.

Eventually energy production will be decentralized and they would rather it be that you subscribe to them like you do the cable company instead of everyone doing it themselves or competing against tons of small installers (that become essentially mini utility companies) which thus far have not been serious competitors to the majors. No one honestly ever figured the majority of the base generation would ever be anything but grid scale and thus PUC-regulated via rates.

Grid coordination doesn't really differentiate who is generating power just as long as the Code is met. But the regulatory burden also works against individuals because Colorado is also one of the most expensive States to get a residential installation permitted and the interconnection fee is relatively high but those things can't be avoided since availability and connection to the grid and your certificate of occupancy are intertwined.

The original 2016 agreements contrasted with AZ and NV in particular:

The limiations of those 2016 agreements are discussed in this article from 2020:
 
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J1000

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IMO net metering has come about because of solar installations with no battery banks so there needs to be a place for all of the solar power that can be made to "go" when it can't be used "now."

If you add a battery bank then that power can just stay at your house and you can use it when you need it, like in the middle of the night to charge your EV or first thing in the morning to get the AC going before the sun rises enough etc. Then because you have a battery bank now you aren't even pulling power from the grid and your monthly energy bill is $0. The whole net-metering thing is always going to benefit the power company, even as it goes now you are taking the burden and cost to install all these panels and then at the end of the day you just get a "credit" against your bill, but the bill remains. Any slack that you need to make up like on an overcast day or before the snow melts off your panels you need to pull that slack from the grid instead of from your own battery bank.

Batteries are almost equally as expensive as the panels themselves and not as sexy, so I get why batteries are not included in the vast majority of installs. At the same time in my mind batteries are almost a necessity.
 

nakman

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Alright we'll I'm under contract with Project Solar- we decided to go with their installers... total cost about $12k for a 5.76kW system, which is 122% of my last 12 months' usage. If Xcel balks at the extra 2%, I can supply proof of purchase towards an EV, which gives permission for an additional 250 kWh per month allowance for new electric vehicles. Note 5 on this .pdf: https://www.xcelenergy.com/staticfiles/xe-responsive/Programs and Rebates/Residential/CO-SR-New-Customer-FAQ.pdf

My only other sticking point on the contract was making it clear that payment happens after both the final inspection and permission to operate are complete. Fingers crossed here, but just trying to avoid the situation where I've got an installed system I can't technically use, and the person who's supposed to remedy that has already been paid.

From an ROI calculation, figure $100/month in electricity savings on average, so 90 months or 7.5 years; factoring in the 26% rebate and my total cost is more like $9k. But the bigger ROI is on the resale side, our property will likely get $25k more than it would have without solar, also go for more having a system totally paid for than one where the next guy has to sign onto the contract. None of that matters if we don't sell though, so our real bang for the buck is cranking the AC this coming August. stay tuned!
 

RayRay27

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Alright we'll I'm under contract with Project Solar- we decided to go with their installers... total cost about $12k for a 5.76kW system, which is 122% of my last 12 months' usage. If Xcel balks at the extra 2%, I can supply proof of purchase towards an EV, which gives permission for an additional 250 kWh per month allowance for new electric vehicles. Note 5 on this .pdf: https://www.xcelenergy.com/staticfiles/xe-responsive/Programs and Rebates/Residential/CO-SR-New-Customer-FAQ.pdf

My only other sticking point on the contract was making it clear that payment happens after both the final inspection and permission to operate are complete. Fingers crossed here, but just trying to avoid the situation where I've got an installed system I can't technically use, and the person who's supposed to remedy that has already been paid.

From an ROI calculation, figure $100/month in electricity savings on average, so 90 months or 7.5 years; factoring in the 26% rebate and my total cost is more like $9k. But the bigger ROI is on the resale side, our property will likely get $25k more than it would have without solar, also go for more having a system totally paid for than one where the next guy has to sign onto the contract. None of that matters if we don't sell though, so our real bang for the buck is cranking the AC this coming August. stay tuned!
Hind sight being 20/20 and not that it matters at all now but if in past years you would have used more electricity or ran your A/C more, your electricity consumption would be higher and you could of justified building a larger system on your home. Because they probably averaged it off your past Xcel usage and bills they only built or estimated the size of your solar system based on your current and past consumption.

With all things not being equal, I am kind of surprised by the size of your system. I am not a engineer and by no means an expert, I can only go off my personal experience with our system but I have a 1350 sq.ft home and our system was sized at 7.245kW. This put us at 102%, and similar
with you we can expand our system to 120% if we purchase an EV and need the extra capacity.

Here is our project estimate showing the size of the system and annual production. Kool thing is when they did the satellite rendering you can see my 80 and my camper in the photo.

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nakman

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@RayRay27 yes you're totally right Ray, and that's all in the thread here. I had to push back for more as their first quote was 102% of past consumption, now I'm at an estimated 122%. And I'm able to add to this system in the future fairly easily, which once the grid tie is complete ought to be fairly easy to do myself, just need to buy more panels and inverters.
 
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