Looking for advice: is this a fair price?

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we0dx
we0dx Registered Users Posts: 1
Hello,  New to the forum and I'm looking advice for a new system. I'm considering going solar, and I got a quote for a 6kW DC solar system (with no battery backup) for $47k. That's before the tax credit and the goodies that they put on the paper to sweet the eye. I live in Kansas City, MO, and I know there are a lot of details to look for, but wonder if this is a high price or reasonable market price. Most I look around says it should be in the $16k range or $3-5 per watt, but this one falls in $7.96 per watt... and I still don't have the batteries which I would like include it... It seems is one of the best reviewed companies and seems is not one of the cheap ones, but Any opinions? Should I keep looking around?

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  • Vic
    Vic Solar Expert Posts: 3,208 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2023 #2
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    Hi (Joel, I think),  welcome to the Fourm.

    IMO,  you should get several quotes on a system that meets your needs.

    I assume that you are an Amateur Radio person,  so,  even with modern Digital modes,  RFI from solar systems can limit your ability to copy weak signals.  And, solar power systems can create horrible RFI,  particularly in the HF frequency spectrum.

    Again, IMO, for Grid tied, PV arrays on the roof of residential structures (these are the most common designs) you should probably AVOID any solar system that uses Optimizers on the PV modules.  These are often used to comply with Rapid Shutdown,  to help protect Firefighters who may need to access rooftops, when fighting fires.  BUT,  these optimizers are DC to DC converters which usually have minimal RFI suppression for the HF frequency ranges (below 30 mHz) and usually create intolerable RFI throughout the HF spectrum.   AND,  since these optimizers are not connected to the AC Grid, their emissions, below 30 mHz are not required to be tested.

    So please get three-ish, or more qoutes on a system that will meet your needs,  speak with neighbors, and friends when considering which company you should approach to do the work,  and so on.

    Many Hammie friends have had very good results with PV systems that use Microinverters (usually one per PV module),  creating no measurable RFI (probably because these inverters connect to 240 VAC grid power, and can perform rapidshutdown without using optimizers).  Since microinverters DO connect to the Grid power they ARE tested for emission compliance for frequencies between approximatrely 150 kHz and 30 mHz.  Some Ham friends with systems using optimizers (or even with neighboring systems) have reported horrible RFI,  when the sun shines from systems using these "Optimizers".

    [Edited to remove an editing widow,  typos and a redundancy, etc]

    YMMV,  IMO,  and so on 73, GL,  Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH X2@48V, 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • OutsourcedGuru
    OutsourcedGuru Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭
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    we0dx said:
    I got a quote for a 6kW DC solar system (with no battery backup) for $47k.
    Honestly, I'm surprised at how high these bids are coming in for installed systems. On the panel side of things, you're looking at maybe 14 @ $200 each or approximately $3000 in that area of the install. A pair of Victron Multiplus 24/3000 Inverter/Chargers is maybe $2500, a Victron SmartSolar 150/100 at $800 (or one of the new fancy Quattros) and perhaps eight 6V deep-cycle lead acid batteries in series/parallel to present 24V to both systems at $1600 with a BOM price of around $8500 with the accessories.

    Personally, I am a fan of the do-it-yourself installation. Do the work. But first do the research. A few tools are useful like a hydraulic crimp tool ($50). So I make cables that would cost a lot more if purchased pre-made, say, at O'Reilly's or Tractor Supply, etc.

    Regardless, there are tax incentives at both federal and state levels. Save your receipts. I've found the salespeople at NAZ to be helpful in designing systems. I personally don't see the value in lithium batteries, to be honest. I'm the kind of guy who'd use a welder to desulfanate a lead-acid battery at the five-year mark but maybe I'm special...
    I'm a low-cost installer of solar in western New Mexico.
  • littleharbor2
    littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 2,056 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2023 #4
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    I personally don't see the value in lithium batteries, to be honest. 
    I built my 11.5 kwh LFP battery for under $2,000 . Of that 11.5 kwh, about 10kwh is useable. You would need 20kwh of lead acid batteries to get that much useable power. Thats about 16 golf cart batteries. Have you priced golf cart batteries lately?   I, personally DO see the value in lithium batteries. Oh and by the way, with the kind of usage I put mine under, (about 30% dod) , I expect somewhere north of 5,000 cycles. How many cycles are you getting from your lead acids?

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric,  460 Ah. 24 volt LiFePo4 battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • OutsourcedGuru
    OutsourcedGuru Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭
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    I built my 11.5 kwh LFP battery for under $2,000 . Of that 11.5 kwh, about 10kwh is useable. You would need 20kwh of lead acid batteries to get that much useable power. Thats about 16 golf cart batteries. Have you priced golf cart batteries lately?   I, personally DO see the value in lithium batteries. Oh and by the way, with the kind of usage I put mine under, (about 30% dod) , I expect somewhere north of 5,000 cycles. How many cycles are you getting from your lead acids?
    Basically, the battery assemblies inside a Tesla are essentially like what you built, a bunch of small Lithium batteries welded together. The subassemblies at Tesla are replaced as a unit when individual cells go out because they're a pain to quickly repair one.

    In fact, feel free to watch all the YT videos of the people demonstrating how to replace individual dead cells in the 20VDC batteries typical within the power tool market. In my experience, these stacked Lithium cell battery arrangements are a recipe for problems within five years, as combined with a fair amount of down time while you're troubleshooting which cells are dead. And yes, I've watched the videos where people are building what you built. If I did go that route, I think I would build modular subassemblies rather than putting all my eggs in one basket.

    A lead-acid battery can be desulfated with a welder at the five-year mark, not so with your Lithium cells.

    I price deep-cycle batteries all the time since I install solar systems for customers. I prefer to buy from Continental Batteries in Albuquerque because they have full pallets of the ones I like. The price I pay is less than $200 each since I'm a veteran and frequent customer.
    I'm a low-cost installer of solar in western New Mexico.
  • littleharbor2
    littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 2,056 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2023 #6
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    I built my 11.5 kwh LFP battery for under $2,000 . Of that 11.5 kwh, about 10kwh is useable. You would need 20kwh of lead acid batteries to get that much useable power. Thats about 16 golf cart batteries. Have you priced golf cart batteries lately?   I, personally DO see the value in lithium batteries. Oh and by the way, with the kind of usage I put mine under, (about 30% dod) , I expect somewhere north of 5,000 cycles. How many cycles are you getting from your lead acids?
    Basically, the battery assemblies inside a Tesla are essentially like what you built, a bunch of small Lithium batteries welded together. The subassemblies at Tesla are replaced as a unit when individual cells go out because they're a pain to quickly repair one.

    In fact, feel free to watch all the YT videos of the people demonstrating how to replace individual dead cells in the 20VDC batteries typical within the power tool market. In my experience, these stacked Lithium cell battery arrangements are a recipe for problems within five years, as combined with a fair amount of down time while you're troubleshooting which cells are dead. And yes, I've watched the videos where people are building what you built. If I did go that route, I think I would build modular subassemblies rather than putting all my eggs in one basket.

    A lead-acid battery can be desulfated with a welder at the five-year mark, not so with your Lithium cells.

    I price deep-cycle batteries all the time since I install solar systems for customers. I prefer to buy from Continental Batteries in Albuquerque because they have full pallets of the ones I like. The price I pay is less than $200 each since I'm a veteran and frequent customer.
    I don't build my batteries out of 18650 cells like a Tesla battery. Mine are built with prismatic cells. A 48 volt battery has 16 cells, a 24  volt has 8 and a 12 volt battery has 4 cells. I'm pretty sure most of the DIY lithium batteries you read about on this site are similar builds.

    I am getting ready to build a couple 48 volt banks for friends. One friend just ordered her 16, 305 amp hour cells and BMS today and her bill including delivery was just over 1,750 dollars.It would take you 8 golf cart batteries to build a 210 amp hour 48 volt bank. That's going to cost the average joe about 1,600 just for the batteries and it would yield 1/3 the usable power. 

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric,  460 Ah. 24 volt LiFePo4 battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • OutsourcedGuru
    OutsourcedGuru Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭
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    I don't build my batteries out of 18650 cells like a Tesla battery. Mine are built with prismatic cells. A 48 volt battery has 16 cells, a 24  volt has 8 and a 12 volt battery has 4 cells. I'm pretty sure most of the DIY lithium batteries you read about on this site are similar builds.

    I am getting ready to build a couple 48 volt banks for friends. One friend just ordered her 16, 305 amp hour cells and BMS today and her bill including delivery was just over 1,750 dollars.It would take you 8 golf cart batteries to build a 210 amp hour 48 volt bank. That's going to cost the average joe about 1,600 just for the batteries and it would yield 1/3 the usable power. 
    I hope that works out for you and your customers. It sounds like this for 48VDC. So, $1100 for 48V @ 100Ah versus $800 for  four  6V deep-cycle marine batteries 24VDC @ 225Ah. At least there is some modularity in the prismatic cells. A set of sixteen of the lead-acid would then be $1600 for 48VDC and it sounds like it's still less than $2200 for the prismatic at just 200Ah, right?

    Here on the Continental Divide it gets cold in the winter. I found that my MacBook refused to charge. I took it into Albuquerque and paid for a battery replacement. Got home and it still wouldn't charge. Jumped onto the Apple forum where hundreds of people were making the same complaint. Lithium batteries and their charging circuits don't seem to want to charge below a certain temperature. I ended up writing a program—I'm not kidding—which does floating-point arithmetic to warm up the processor just to get the MacBook's charging circuit to get above 60.8°F so that it will then charge the Lithium battery. Hopefully you and your customers are in a warmer climate than myself.
    I'm a low-cost installer of solar in western New Mexico.
  • Marc Kurth
    Marc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 1,145 ✭✭✭✭
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    I don't build my batteries out of 18650 cells like a Tesla battery. Mine are built with prismatic cells. A 48 volt battery has 16 cells, a 24  volt has 8 and a 12 volt battery has 4 cells. I'm pretty sure most of the DIY lithium batteries you read about on this site are similar builds.

    I am getting ready to build a couple 48 volt banks for friends. One friend just ordered her 16, 305 amp hour cells and BMS today and her bill including delivery was just over 1,750 dollars.It would take you 8 golf cart batteries to build a 210 amp hour 48 volt bank. That's going to cost the average joe about 1,600 just for the batteries and it would yield 1/3 the usable power. 
    I hope that works out for you and your customers. It sounds like this for 48VDC. So, $1100 for 48V @ 100Ah versus $800 for  four  6V deep-cycle marine batteries 24VDC @ 225Ah. At least there is some modularity in the prismatic cells. A set of sixteen of the lead-acid would then be $1600 for 48VDC and it sounds like it's still less than $2200 for the prismatic at just 200Ah, right?

    Here on the Continental Divide it gets cold in the winter. I found that my MacBook refused to charge. I took it into Albuquerque and paid for a battery replacement. Got home and it still wouldn't charge. Jumped onto the Apple forum where hundreds of people were making the same complaint. Lithium batteries and their charging circuits don't seem to want to charge below a certain temperature. I ended up writing a program—I'm not kidding—which does floating-point arithmetic to warm up the processor just to get the MacBook's charging circuit to get above 60.8°F so that it will then charge the Lithium battery. Hopefully you and your customers are in a warmer climate than myself.

    I will just say: Interesting post......
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • littleharbor2
    littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 2,056 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    I don't build my batteries out of 18650 cells like a Tesla battery. Mine are built with prismatic cells. A 48 volt battery has 16 cells, a 24  volt has 8 and a 12 volt battery has 4 cells. I'm pretty sure most of the DIY lithium batteries you read about on this site are similar builds.

    I am getting ready to build a couple 48 volt banks for friends. One friend just ordered her 16, 305 amp hour cells and BMS today and her bill including delivery was just over 1,750 dollars.It would take you 8 golf cart batteries to build a 210 amp hour 48 volt bank. That's going to cost the average joe about 1,600 just for the batteries and it would yield 1/3 the usable power. 
    I hope that works out for you and your customers. It sounds like this for 48VDC. So, $1100 for 48V @ 100Ah versus $800 for  four  6V deep-cycle marine batteries 24VDC @ 225Ah. At least there is some modularity in the prismatic cells. A set of sixteen of the lead-acid would then be $1600 for 48VDC and it sounds like it's still less than $2200 for the prismatic at just 200Ah, right?

    Here on the Continental Divide it gets cold in the winter. I found that my MacBook refused to charge. I took it into Albuquerque and paid for a battery replacement. Got home and it still wouldn't charge. Jumped onto the Apple forum where hundreds of people were making the same complaint. Lithium batteries and their charging circuits don't seem to want to charge below a certain temperature. I ended up writing a program—I'm not kidding—which does floating-point arithmetic to warm up the processor just to get the MacBook's charging circuit to get above 60.8°F so that it will then charge the Lithium battery. Hopefully you and your customers are in a warmer climate than myself.
    I can't tell if you are replying to my post or not. Your numbers aren't making a lot of sense. 

    I will say this, if you are living in severely cold country then lithium batteries probably aren't for you anyway.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric,  460 Ah. 24 volt LiFePo4 battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • MerloPaolo
    MerloPaolo Registered Users, Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 1
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    Hello everyone, I want to install LiFePO4 batteries in my camper. Has anyone heard of this company? Please give me some advice.
  • SteveK
    SteveK Solar Expert Posts: 387 ✭✭
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    Hello everyone, I want to install LiFePO4 batteries in my camper. Has anyone heard of this company? Please give me some advice.
    No, never heard of the company. But why would you waste $500 when you could get this at twice the capacity: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BR4C358?aaxitk=18c9a7887a01f01ad89c0ce237d78bd2&pd_rd_plhdr=t&ref=dacx_dp_587527529155468120_589024617415067534&th=1

    Ad posts don't always work out well. Good luck!