Let's revisit solar leasing

solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
I just got a quote for a 3.4K add to my overall solar with a one time upfront payment of $1.95 a watt, Enphase microinverters using Solarworld poly panels. No residual on the 20 year lease includes full maintenance and insurance for the 20 years, and I own it, as is, where is after the 20 years. The transfer cost to a new owner is $0.

I am try to see the down side to this, my after rebate, tax credit costs for the same system is $2.52 a watt and I have to insure and maintain it.

I have a copy of the contract and will be reading closely tonight.

Volt power for pretty cheap! :D
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Comments

  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Monthly charges?

    Getting out in the event of death isn't easy.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,008 admin
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Look for other ways they can get money from you... You pay them, they pay the power company. If tax breaks/solar credits go away, they cannot recover money from you. What happens if a neighbor's tree or addition blocks sun, etc.

    Otherwise, it may be what they claim.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    russ wrote: »
    Monthly charges?

    Getting out in the event of death isn't easy.

    none, nothing ever again. Only risk I see is if they go out of business, the maintenance goes.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    BB. wrote: »
    Look for other ways they can get money from you... You past them, they pay the power company. If tax breaks/solar credits go away, they cannot recover money from you. What happens if a neighbor's tree or addition blocks sun, etc.

    Otherwise, it may be what they claim.

    -Bill

    Well needs to get filed on the current rebate rate from utility for that price. Zoning restricts additions to a height per offset from lot line, neighbor does have a tree but it only seems to impact for a couple weeks at winter solstice, hence the Enphase approach. They hit the Feds at $8 a watt installed. It includes a further derate of the subpanel to 150 Amps and a tie in to the existing solar production meter/AC combiner panel.

    I can't see any reason not to do it so far. Will know more after I pour over the contract docs. perhaps a quick scan and post as pdf to the group may be in order.
  • JburgessJburgess Solar Expert Posts: 130 ✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    solar_dave wrote: »

    It includes a further derate of the subpanel to 150 Amps and a tie in to the existing solar production meter/AC combiner panel.

    Does that involve tearing up your wife’s closet again for the wiring? :confused:

    If derating to 150 amps is an issue, you could consider replacing the 200 amp subpanel with a 225 amp one.

    A good chance to get that pesky AC disconnect replaced. ;)
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    I'd be interested in doing this too! Sounds like a win win situation.
    Care to share the contrat with me. I know you are in AZ and I'm in the carolinas, but mabye I can find a similar deal.
  • GreenerPowerGreenerPower Solar Expert Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    solar_dave wrote: »
    ... Only risk I see is if they go out of business, the maintenance goes.
    What happens if they go chapter 7 ? Panels would be sold to pay creditors, you are left with the down payment before it is recouped. Maybe you would be offered to buy it at cheap price then ?
    If doing your own cost 60c/watt more, I would do it myself or take a loan to do it, more control on my detiny.
    GP
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    These deals have little to do with Solar Power, thats just the cover for the real game. These systems are leased or sold on some kind of a conditional contract.

    This is called a long con. The same game was played with Computer Leasing during the Dot.com bubble.

    It works like this. You start a Solar Investment Company, one part is out selling the contracts and Installing the systems and service. The other part where the action is, you have General Partners (GP's )and You sell Limited Partnerships ( LP's ). The LP's are recruited by stock brokers across the country. You put up $10-$20,000 and get 3-5% interest on that amount, they'll pay the interest and you think the principle will be coming back in part ownership of the company or the end of your agreement. Meanwhile it's being sucked away by the GP's. The company's are set up where the GP's make all the money and get all the Government Funding. Once they milk out all the Profit and Assets, 5-7 years they liquidate the company and everyone else is left holding the bag with Zero. It's a classic pyramid.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^ what he said ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    leasing simple can't make economic sense ... there are lots of people who come asking about leasing and list lots of things like there in stone and can't change

    Its a con game, when it fails and how much you lose is the only real variables. Your think they will be around in 20 years? not a chance ... 3 max and the creditors come and strip the system off the house to try and payback the debtors. You get nothing but a roof full of holes
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    It's no more than the Housing Bubble. First you have to have a Home Owner willing to sign on the dotted line. That Contract becomes a Marketable Instrument in the Investment Community. As the competition heats up the deals will look better and better to the homeowner. I haven't saw any Free trips to the Bahamas yet, but the enticements will get larger and larger as they all chase the same mark. They are all looking for the Hook to motivate.

    In the end I doubt it will be the homeowner as the winner, he ends up with a cloud on the title of his property and in limbo till a court somewhere some place decides the outcome.

    I will say, I once had a car lease that ended too good from a bank, I owed $21,000 on a car and I offered them $14,000 and they took it rather than have to car dumped back on them.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Well this is a one time upfront cost, no residuals, I do think there is some risk of them going under and having the asset pulled, from what I read in the contract. They are the sole and rightful owners until the 20 years is up and then at THERE discretion they can award it to you (or a couple other options) .

    For $0.57 a watt difference installed that is just way to much risk in my book. The rub is they book the tax credit from the feds @ $8 a watt, not sure how that is legal as they have nowhere that much in it. I suppose they can all the lease value anything they want (within reason).

    As always if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • SwedeSwede Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Hi,

    My first post. I have a Sunpower 9.9kwh system, 20 yr lease ($28k installed, no pay until system was running and all paperwork done. We get state SRECs (currently about $129 per mwhr). They guarantee 14 mwhr production every year) rather than outright purchase for the simple reason - no maintenance. I realize that long term buying was better, given federal tax credits, etc but at our age (70's) we're into no hassle and we probably don't have that much a long run left {grin}.

    Turns out a good thing, system was up only 3 weeks and Sandy (hurricane) visited and submerged the inverter(?). Sunpower replaced it and we got back up and running by Jan 1. Inverter was 4' high, now is six. {grin}

    With SRECS and savings and (town owns utility) reimbursement for excess generation @9c (our town does not do Net Metering) I anticipate an 8 year payout on the outside, maybe sooner. Here's data so far this year (Sunpower has an excellent tracking program. Data can be dl'ed by min/hr/day, in ASCII too so data can be read by other progs.).

    Attachment not found.

    And here's data in a spreadsheet. if any are interested. {sigh}

    Attachment not found.

    I also have an hour (for 5 mon) breakdown.

    Attachment not found.

    Just want to be thorough. {grin}. Now I have a question. I want to get a usage monitor to put on my 200 amp panel. Ideally so I can track several different circuits. I want the monitor to be computer readable. Does anyone have any suggestions.

    Thanks,

    Swede
    http://www.SwedesDock.com/LDN
    t.jpg 57.7K
    t1.jpg 76.9K
    t2.jpg 71.1K
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Swede I use the TED 5000 for whole house monitoring.
  • SwedeSwede Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    solar_dave wrote: »
    Swede I use the TED 5000 for whole house monitoring.

    Thanks your reply, Dave. It looks like a very nice display. However I saw one that monitored idividual circuits as well as whole house. (I think around $200) But can't find the link back {groan}.

    One reason is there are two houses on the panel (main house and summer cottage). I woud like to separate the two. And it would be neat to monitor individual circuits. For example our kitchen has 6 65w ceiling bulbs. Would like to see if dimming reduces power use - compare how much eco bulbs save over regular types, etc, ... Compare upstairs use to downstairs, yadayada ...

    Swede
    http://www.SwedesDock.com/LDN
  • SwedeSwede Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Hi, I'm back. {grin}. I checked out the TED system on Amazon. The first reviews I read weren't encouraging. After rereading Dave's post I went back and checked further and saw some good convincing ones so I think I'll give the Ted a try.I have a 200 amp box so there should be plenty room.

    I tried going to your page, Dave, and it wouldn't load.

    Does anyone else have any suggestions for a monitor before I take the Ted leap?

    Thanks,

    Swede

    ===================================
    "I love Mickey Mouse more
    than any woman I have ever known."
    Walt Disney (1901-1966)
    ===================================
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    Swede wrote: »
    Hi, I'm back. {grin}. I checked out the TED system on Amazon. The first reviews I read weren't encouraging. After rereading Dave's post I went back and checked further and saw some good convincing ones so I think I'll give the Ted a try.I have a 200 amp box so there should be plenty room.

    I tried going to your page, Dave, and it wouldn't load.

    Does anyone else have any suggestions for a monitor before I take the Ted leap?

    Thanks,

    Swede

    ===================================
    "I love Mickey Mouse more
    than any woman I have ever known."
    Walt Disney (1901-1966)
    ===================================

    My page can be kind of iffy on the internet. What happens Is I think some bots and scanners come along and hit the thing and it kills the http interface, The data collection side stays live but the display side gets hammered. Also the initial load of the page is a java script that does the bulk of the work in the browser side so it can take some time to load as well.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    solar_dave wrote: »
    My page can be kind of iffy on the internet. What happens Is I think some bots and scanners come along and hit the thing and it kills the http interface, The data collection side stays live but the display side gets hammered. Also the initial load of the page is a java script that does the bulk of the work in the browser side so it can take some time to load as well.
    The redirect to a non-standard port (8081) on a server identified only by IP address can bump up against security features of some browsers, as well as corporate firewalls if at work.
    And loading the (non-cachable) large .js file seems to take as much as ten minutes sometimes.
    Sometimes I see the display paint once just fine, but the data values never change. (It starts out with January 1, 2009 with all zero data, and that is not very interesting.)
    AHA! It also uses iframes, which are often optionally disabled in browsers for security reasons.
    Not the most compatible way to serve up the data.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    inetdog wrote: »
    The redirect to a non-standard port (8081) on a server identified only by IP address can bump up against security features of some browsers, as well as corporate firewalls if at work.
    And loading the (non-cachable) large .js file seems to take as much as ten minutes sometimes.
    Sometimes I see the display paint once just fine, but the data values never change. (It starts out with January 1, 2009 with all zero data, and that is not very interesting.)
    AHA! It also uses iframes, which are often optionally disabled in browsers for security reasons.
    Not the most compatible way to serve up the data.

    Not my code for sure, one has to remember this is a very small low power appliance type device, port 8081 is me getting around Cox's restrictions on running a web server on a residential account, the IP:8081 is a no-ip redirector for the same reason. The box only offers 10 mbit interface and it has to jump through my network and firewall.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    solar_dave wrote: »
    Not my code for sure, one has to remember this is a very small low power appliance type device, port 8081 is me getting around Cox's restrictions on running a web server on a residential account, the IP:8081 is a no-ip redirector for the same reason. The box only offers 10 mbit interface and it has to jump through my network and firewall.
    i had not looked at the tab since about 20 minutes after my last post, but it is now showing data for 4:03 pm on the 20th. The time here is 7:00 PDT.

    The web presentation as done by the appliance is problematic, but is definitely not the only problem.

    I (or you) can try capturing the whole page load using Fiddler 2 (if on a Windows machine) or Charles Proxy (on any OS.) The result will indicate the start and finish time of every HTTP GET that is part of the page.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Well sometimes the wireless bridge is also flaky. Usually a reboot fixes it. I think it needs a firmware update but I am a bit lazy. the TED is probably due for one as well, but their updates are sometimes destructive on the data store.

    I understand the gen 2 appliances are much better.

    Edit:
    Damn looks like the TED needs a hard reset.
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Dave;

    I did the Gateway R499 and Footprints R281 last week after I also, had to do a Hard Rest, figured I had nothing to lose.
    Seems to be working fine so far.

    Something has slowed your connection down as it used to load almost as fast as my local connection did. Haven't looked at yours in awhile, but haven't been able to load it today, get server timeouts.
    One of these days will get my TED along with my Conext Combox online. Have the Dyn service just have't gotten around to figuring it out.

    Sure like my output better since I added another 5000 watt second system this summer with a Conext TX3800 inverter. ET250 panels/pallet well price was good. Needed 20 ea, paid for 22 at single panel prices and got 26 panels. Now I have to decide if i am going to do a seperate 24 vdc battery system for backup. Idle hands!!

    All the best
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    SkiDoo55 wrote: »
    Dave;

    I did the Gateway R499 and Footprints R281 last week after I also, had to do a Hard Rest, figured I had nothing to lose.
    Seems to be working fine so far.

    Something has slowed your connection down as it used to load almost as fast as my local connection did. Haven't looked at yours in awhile, but haven't been able to load it today, get server timeouts.
    One of these days will get my TED along with my Conext Combox online. Have the Dyn service just have't gotten around to figuring it out.

    Sure like my output better since I added another 5000 watt second system this summer with a Conext TX3800 inverter. ET250 panels/pallet well price was good. Needed 20 ea, paid for 22 at single panel prices and got 26 panels. Now I have to decide if i am going to do a seperate 24 vdc battery system for backup. Idle hands!!

    All the best

    Thanks for that SkiDoo55, I have downloaded the new bin files, I think I will update them today.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    I just updated the firmware, can anyone tell me if it is acting better for them?

    Edit:

    It looks much better from here! I always suspected they might have had a memory leak causing the thing to hang after a while on the web interface. Only time will really tell the tail.
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Looks good from N Calif. -4.1 NET,
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    SkiDoo55 wrote: »
    Looks good from N Calif. -4.1 NET,

    Load times acceptable? Good thing it didn't lose anything but the current stats.
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Yes acceptable I was loading thru my wireless repeater to my IPad.
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • jaggedbenjaggedben Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    I sincerely doubt that any creditor would come after the equipment on your home as long as you continued to agree to pay under the lease terms. Used solar equipment is going to be worth a whole lot less than that. Like with a mortgage, the amount you owe is the asset the creditor will want. Having to deal with the equivalent of foreclosure is a problem they don't want to have. If you stop paying, they may come and take it, but you gotta figure on that anyway.

    There are a bunch of leasing companies. Some may turn out to be the equivalent of pyramid schemes, not all of them will. Leasing works because the feds give the 30% tax credit. Since they are the owner, they get the credit, and they also get to do things like corporate asset depreciation to increase their take. That is, things that ordinary home owners are either legally bared from doing or too busy to take advantage of.

    Leasing is almost always a very poor deal if you could pay cash for a system instead. It's meant for people who can't do that, and the financial guys take a cut for giving you that opportunity, like any other kind of loan. It's no more of a scam than any other capitalist loan arrangement, whatever you think of that in general.
  • SwedeSwede Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing

    Dave, I've tried a dozen time, day, night, just now (8am EST) and get nothing, either times out or like just now, only a gray screen.

    Swede
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    Swede wrote: »
    Dave, I've tried a dozen time, day, night, just now (8am EST) and get nothing, either times out or like just now, only a gray screen.

    Swede

    You have to have java script enabled, the gray screen is step one in the load, the next step will be the word "Loading".

    It is up here and working with no issues.
  • SwedeSwede Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: Let's revisit solar leasing
    solar_dave wrote: »
    You have to have java script enabled, the gray screen is step one in the load, the next step will be the word "Loading".

    It is up here and working with no issues.
    Scripting is enabled. Still only get gray screen. Page must be loading at least part way as "Ted 500" is shown in tab header. Maybe something in my router security. Bummer.

    Swede

    Just looked. No broken Compat icon in my browser (IE clone called SlimBrowser). Then I tried Google Chrome. Got this msg:
    Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to 98.177.180.206:8081

    Swede
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