Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

I need advice from the experienced members of this forum.

I am considering this Sure Temp Manufacturing proposed system for my 18 year old home. Orientation is true south , pitch is 6/12, no shading.

40 Evergreen ESA210 Panels & a Fronius IG 7.5 Inverter

$259 month + 3.9% increase annually after the first year. 15 year Lease

I average 65 kw per day in August & bill was $215 including all taxes. I assume this is due to the 2 new solar water heating systems & 2 New 16 SEER Trane A/C's
Previous bill was $290 including taxes. I was expecting an average of $250

Additional energy saving appliances (induction cooktop, convection oven, dishwasher) & lots of additional CFL lighting (all 75 watt par30 halogen high hats in ceiling replaced with 19 watt dimmable cfl) have been added in the last week.

Since 1992 my FPL (Florida Plunder & Loot) electric bill has increased 138%. This averages out to 7.8% per year. So my bill will be $400 if this continues in 15 years.

Is this a good deal? Am I making the right financial "system" decision? Any and all thoughts & your time are greatly appreciated!
«1

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,070 admin
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    I think you are on the correct path with conservation--it is almost always cheaper (and better) to conserve a watt than to generate a watt.

    Insulation (what is is R49+ for the ceiling/roof). Double pane windows, energy efficient appliances (less heat in the home, less heat for the A/C to move outdoors).

    There are now electric water heaters that are basically reverse refrigerators... They take heat from the air and use it to heat the hot water. Great for warm climates and you may get "free" de-humidification too.

    Your current bill is around $0.13 per kWH--still cheap by my standards... Which is around $0.40 to $0.60 per kWH for > ~1,000 kWH per month...

    With GT solar setup--you can approach those $0.14 per kWH or less (with tax rebates and the ongoing price erosion of solar installation costs).

    My only other suggestion is regarding the heating devices (ovens, stove, etc.)--and if propane is a viable solution for you?

    If you wish, there are people here with a lot of experience from Florida that can talk with you about ongoing conservation efforts... Once you have reached the point of diminishing returns for conservation, we can talk Grid Tied Solar.

    There is a recent leasing thread here where the economics (and even a bit of the politics) was discussed.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    Insulation is R30 in attic since 1992
    The water heaters are 2 year old GE's that are off, first heat recovery(inthe old days) and now solar heating.
    Please no more humidity, this is south florida.
    No tax rebates this is a lease.
    Propane is not an option.

    I need to know if the lease is realistic?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,070 admin
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    Sorry--that was supposed to be de-humidification...

    Take a look at that other thread and look at the issues. Lots of discussions on how to look at the costs vs returns. With leases, there can be lots of hidden issues.

    The other thread, I think, required a lower overall out of pocket costs than yours--but I am not sure.

    A lot of us here are not really that hot on leases--we prefer to own. But the advanatages a leasing company has (tax write offs, depreciation, green credits, the ability to play creative accounting of overcharging capital costs and writing off losses, etc.) can end up with lower costs for you (and a good return on "investment" for the company)...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    Oops forgot 1/4" tinted glass in all windows since 1992 and all 120volt interior wiring is 10 gauge romex not your typical 14 gauge. My electrician still hates me:cry:

    I agree with purchase but FL solar rebate fund is broke and we can not afford the purchase.

    Most homes in my neighbor have 40%-60% higher electric bills than me, except for those who have propane stoves & dryers with similar square footage and occupants. Theirs are 10%-20% higher than me.

    I looked into spraying the attic roof with Insulstar Plus CCF but after the salesman tested my attic, saw the current insulation, the attic fans and the most recent bill he concluded it wouldn't lower my bill. Provide better structural integrity but no energy efficiency. $9024 is alot to lower your bill $10-$20
  • nvysealnvyseal Solar Expert Posts: 108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    Lets first start off with your 18 year old home. What condition is the roof in Has it ever been replaced and what is the warranty?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,070 admin
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    When Solar Guppy drops by, I hope he can reply here... He has a lot of experience helping folks in Florida...

    I live in a completely different climate (SF Bay Area) where we have a very temperate climate so our heating bills are not that much and we really don't need A/C.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    nvyseal wrote: »
    Lets first start off with your 18 year old home. What condition is the roof in Has it ever been replaced and what is the warranty?

    Metro Roof Products Installed March 2006 after Wilma damaged original Elk Prestique Plus Shingle Roof

    http://www.metroroofproducts.com/metroshingle.cfm

    Metal Stone coated Shingle Light Gray,
    Underlayment tar paper tin tabs, 1st layer
    Grace Chemical Ultra Peel & Stick Underlayment insulation 2nd layer
    Steel Shingles, screwed to 5/8" cdx plywood 3rd layer

    50 year warranty
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,070 admin
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    You might check with your roof about their take on various types of solar mounting done with your roof... (our local roofer is looking into installing solar GT systems himself because he spends so much time fixing other messed up installs---fwiw:roll:)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    Your R30 from 1992 is now more like R15, regardless of what the spray foam salesman said, the fiberglass settles over time.

    I would suggest you get the entire attic re-blown on top of what you have to a finished depth of 16" ( including the garage ) and if your duct work in in the attic ( likely as that's normal around here ) have then blow what ever it takes to bury the duct work. I did this for my 2600sf home and cost was 900 bucks.

    If your air handler is accessible, box it in in 2 layers of ridged foam ( RMAX )

    9K for the spray foam is nuts .. it does help keep the roof together and water tight even if the shingles fail in a hurricane, but that price is outrageous

    You should have a bill around 120-150 as that about what my home uses in equivalent kWr ( I have a pool as well ). If you have a pool, look into the variable speed pumps another big saver.

    Once you have done all of this, then start doing the math for PV in Florida, also check to see if your power company has net-metering, most don't and force dual meters so you only get whole rates, not retail in Florida
  • nvysealnvyseal Solar Expert Posts: 108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    Do you have a good WRITTEN estimate of everything they will do and what your total costs are? Can we see it?
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    West Broward here. How many sliding glass doors do you have? Any facing East - West? Do you have dark tint or titanium silver film on them? Dark tint turns glass into multi-Kilowatt radiative space heaters when sun angle is low. How are your door weather seals? I just replaced them on our 15 y.o. house and what a difference, no more air leaks. Check air duct leaks in attic, at my house I found one big hole that rats chewed trough.
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    Your R30 from 1992 is now more like R15, regardless of what the spray foam salesman said, the fiberglass settles over time.

    I would suggest you get the entire attic re-blown on top of what you have to a finished depth of 16" ( including the garage ) and if your duct work in in the attic ( likely as that's normal around here ) have then blow what ever it takes to bury the duct work. I did this for my 2600sf home and cost was 900 bucks.

    If your air handler is accessible, box it in in 2 layers of ridged foam ( RMAX )

    9K for the spray foam is nuts .. it does help keep the roof together and water tight even if the shingles fail in a hurricane, but that price is outrageous

    You should have a bill around 120-150 as that about what my home uses in equivalent kWr ( I have a pool as well ). If you have a pool, look into the variable speed pumps another big saver.

    Once you have done all of this, then start doing the math for PV in Florida, also check to see if your power company has net-metering, most don't and force dual meters so you only get whole rates, not retail in Florida

    Thanks I will check into having the attic reblown, so at 5031 sf of home I would expect $1800.
    My air handlers are in closets inside the air conditioned home.
    Since my home has twice the square footage I don't see how I'd have a $120-$150 electric bill, but if you say so.
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    AntronX wrote: »
    West Broward here. How many sliding glass doors do you have? Any facing East - West? Do you have dark tint or titanium silver film on them? Dark tint turns glass into multi-Kilowatt radiative space heaters when sun angle is low. How are your door weather seals? I just replaced them on our 15 y.o. house and what a difference, no more air leaks. Check air duct leaks in attic, at my house I found one big hole that rats chewed trough.

    French doors with 1/4" E glass only. All french doors face south and are protected by the porch roof.
    I will look into door seals.
    Ducts are fine.

    Do you have PV in west broward? Really looking for south florida PV experience
  • RoderickRoderick Solar Expert Posts: 253 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    I'm no financial expert, but what would be on my mind with a lease is whether there is a performance guarantee. If the lease is fixed price, what incentive would there be for the company to install things well, or fix it should it break? I would want something that says if the system doesn't deliver x amount of energy in a given year, through no fault of mine, that I have the option to terminate the agreement with no penalty.
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    nvyseal wrote: »
    Do you have a good WRITTEN estimate of everything they will do and what your total costs are? Can we see it?

    My total cost to begin leasing is $999 security deposit, first 2 months at $259 per month =$1517

    40 Evergreen ESA210 Solar Panels
    Fronius IG 7.5 Solar Inverter
    DC Disconnect
    AC Disconnect
    Unirac Mounting Hardware
    Related Wire & Conduit

    They take care of FPL, Palm Beach County Building Department, etc
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    Roderick wrote: »
    I'm no financial expert, but what would be on my mind with a lease is whether there is a performance guarantee. If the lease is fixed price, what incentive would there be for the company to install things well, or fix it should it break? I would want something that says if the system doesn't deliver x amount of energy in a given year, through no fault of mine, that I have the option to terminate the agreement with no penalty.

    I agree but it isn't in the lease. Remember they are the only ones offering leases in South Florida, and only accepting first 1000 qualified applicants
  • dreesdrees Solar Expert Posts: 481 ✭✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    If your current electricity bill is $215/month and the lease is $259/month it seems pretty clear to me - don't do it until the lease rate matches your bill!

    Heck if you go to their website, they plainly state that the combined lease + electricity bill should be less than what you're currently paying.

    Does your utility charge you at a flat rate or is it tiered based on usage?

    It looks to me that the specified system is way too large for your usage. What type of annual usage did the spec the system on? What's your annual usage been before all your efficiency updates?
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    ...Do you have PV in west broward? Really looking for south florida PV experience

    I do not have rooftop grid-tie PV, i got few panels off-grid in backyard. I've recently noticed new PV system installed along I-595 on north side, across from Davie road exit.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    8.4kw I believe is undersized, not over sized, I have 14 kw on my roof and I just about net out over the year,

    For the OP, that's about 20K in hardware if bought from a local seller ( www.sunelec.com ) using the "B" grade evergreens, take another 30% off for the tax credit and you net cost ( hardware only ) is about 13,200 ... Get a local installer to do everything an I can't see that costing more than 25K net installed, payback about 8 years to break even.

    5000sf is large, insulation is even more important, also, radiant barrier is a big help, though a pain to install when not new construction, and yes large windows and or sliders can lose a lot of energy. Based on your sf and bill you are doing well, but I believe you can do better with the ideas suggested here

    On the lease payment,, that's seems about 2X what the PV will create for energy, using FPL's kwhr rates ( your system might make 35kw day averaged over a month ), our rainy seasons can take a big bite out of annual harvest for PV
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    My compounding interest calc may be wrong, I used this.

    $259 per month x 12 mo. x 15 yr. x 3.9% compounding per year = $69,699.18
    $69,699.18 / 8400W = $8.30 per watt. And after 15 years you own the system?

    Wow, this 3.9% annual increase really gets you. Without it, total is $46,620.00

    From sunelec:
    42 x 200W Evergreen B panels = $19,572
    SB8000U = $3328
    Various BOS parts = $4000 (wild estimate)
    Total: $26,900 + labor + permits - 30% tax credit - REC sales

    This company is making serious bucks...
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    Thank you Solar Guppy& Antron X. Now I know how to approach them concerning their cost verses my needs

    I was hoping for a 50 kw per day fpl with all improvements. Seeing that a good day would net 35 kw from pv leaves me with cost out of pocket of $259 + $70=$329 per month

    My current bill of $215.35 and 1877 kwh for 29 days (avg 65 per day), would be
    $259 + $95.50 = $354.50

    If I can find a split point and I can stay under 1000 kwh per month then I will go ahead with this company but will have to resize the system. Or hope more companies enter into the leasing busy at a later time.

    under 1000 kwh the rate is .08556 cents
    over 1000kwh it jumps to .10556 cents

    Damn I thought I could make this work :cry:
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    AntronX wrote: »
    My compounding interest calc may be wrong, I used this.

    $259 per month x 12 mo. x 15 yr. x 3.9% compounding per year = $69,699.18
    $69,699.18 / 8400W = $8.30 per watt. And after 15 years you own the system?

    Wow, this 3.9% annual increase really gets you. Without it, total is $46,620.00

    From sunelec:
    42 x 200W Evergreen B panels = $19,572
    SB8000U = $3328
    Various BOS parts = $4000 (wild estimate)
    Total: $26,900 + labor + permits - 30% tax credit - REC sales

    This company is making serious bucks...

    It appears that way
  • dreesdrees Solar Expert Posts: 481 ✭✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    I was hoping for a 50 kw per day fpl with all improvements. Seeing that a good day would net 35 kw from pv leaves me with cost out of pocket of $259 + $70=$329 per month
    It's pretty easy to see how much a system will produce on a yearly basis using PVwatts so you can make sure the company isn't over estimating output.
    My current bill of $215.35 and 1877 kwh for 29 days (avg 65 per day), would be
    $259 + $95.50 = $354.50
    The system is never going to pay off as long as the lease rate is higher than your current bill.
    If I can find a split point and I can stay under 1000 kwh per month then I will go ahead with this company but will have to resize the system. Or hope more companies enter into the leasing busy at a later time.

    under 1000 kwh the rate is .08556 cents
    over 1000kwh it jumps to .10556 cents
    You may be able to get a slightly better rate of return by building a system that only offsets your higher rate electricity - but in this case it's not significantly better as it can be in other parts of the country.
    Damn I thought I could make this work :cry:
    I wonder how many other people they are ripping off. It's pretty clear that it does not make sense at the lease rate they are proposing. It doesn't even come close to the sample on their web site!

    You would likely be much better off buying a system compared to this lease - but then you need to have the cash up front.
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    Total Out of Pocket for this system is $62771.20, and it does NOT belong to me.
  • dreesdrees Solar Expert Posts: 481 ✭✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    Total Out of Pocket for this system is $62771.20, and it does NOT belong to me.
    $7.47/watt is pretty high for an install that size these days.

    You should be looking at ~$6.00/watt and they can be found for $5.00/watt or even less these days.
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!
    ...and it does NOT belong to me.

    How much to buy out the system at the end of lease? You do not receive tax rebate and renewable energy credits, right? This company will probably make extra money by selling emissions allowances to fossil-fuel industry that your PV system will offset. I would recommend for you to save your money for few years and install your own system. Panels should get even cheaper in the future.
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    This mornings email letter to Sure Temp Manufacturing:grr
    I guarantee they won't even reply

    Good morning

    My wife & I reviewed the lease, very eye opening to say the least

    My home is very efficient. Our new A/C’s and Solar Water Heaters, have taken us from 100 to 65 kwh per day. New Energy efficient Kitchen Appliances & CFL lighting can reduce this further
    Our bills have dramatically decreased from averaging $300 to this august being $215.35 Total

    Our goal has been from the beginning to reduce our costs. PV CAN do that.
    $259 a month in year 1, ends up to be $442.50 in year 15 for a total of $62,771.20 That seems exorbitant for a system that still is not ours.
    Then if I did buy it would I get the tax credit? No. You get the 30% tax credit & your company will probably make extra money by selling emissions allowances to fossil-fuel industry that the PV system will offset. I know I would.
    $259 a month for a perfect scenario 35 kwh per day still leaves me with a 50% FPL bill at .085 cents a KWH to pay.
    That equates to $259 STM + 95.50 FPL = $354.50 or a monthly overpayment of $139.15 based on August(Hot Month) $215.35 bill. This overpayment would continue to increase with your 3.9% annual increase & FPL’s 7.8% annual increase. Where is the value in this system? I have reviewed contracts from California, Arizona & Texas these past 2 days and am shocked as to what is available in price & performance guarantees that STM does not address. And now with the social media addressing these issues the truth is there for all to see.
    Your website examples show the consumer saving money. How am I saving money?
    I for one suffered during 3 hurricanes just as you did with Charlie. Florida Plunder & Loot FPL was not prepared
    Seeing FPL not maintain the infrastructure, accessing a storm charge to please stockholders and the lies they perpetuate about supporting alternative energy sources makes me even more interested in a PV system to offset their false claims. Your website and this contract contradict themselves. I hope this isn’t a last ditch effort (home run) to help Evergreen Solar in Massachusetts stay alive by selling their products. Penny stock & wasting government subsidies are becoming all too common with Evergreen.

    Mr Griffin, Now that you know my thoughts, is there a system that will save me money on my electric bill and earn you money to support your business. I hope so for all our sakes.

    Thank you for your time
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    September usage bill arrived. $202

    32 days averaging 57 kwh / per day = 1818 total kwh

    Wow!, I wonder if I can get down to 50 kwh with the BaySeal Roof attic CCF due to be sprayed in November.

    Conservation is good
  • tonystewarttonystewart Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    October usage bill arrived $146.25
    29 Days averaging 46 KWH per day = 1320 total kwh

    Cooler night temperatures and consistent Solar Water Heating, new Miele Induction Cooktop, replacing 24- 60 watt globe bulbs in 3 bathrooms with dimmable 9 watt CFL Globe Bulbs and 5-75 watt par 30 halogen high hat bulbs with Ecosmart 15 watt dimmable leds.

    The BaySeal Roof attic CCF is scheduled to be sprayed December 13-15 . This and the addition of 2 new 40 watt solar attic fans. 10 watts doesn't do much. We are hoping that these 2 modifications may control summer cooling costs

    Our goal is still to have a PV system
    Conservation is very good.;)
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: Leasing PV System in South Florida, need advice please!

    The foam is good, but I'd still have R40 to isolate the living space ceilings from the attic

    And yes, conservation is fun and very cost effective!
Sign In or Register to comment.