So much to think about here.

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  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,970 ✭✭✭
    Re: So much to think about here.
    solar_dave wrote: »
    I looked at a similar deal recently. TheY do cook the books with the Feds, on the deal I looked at they book the lease at $8 a watt and get $1 a watt from the utility. Sounds like the same kind of deal. Questionable? Maybe, but theY take the liability with the Feds.

    And if the FEDS shut them down for tax evasion, there goes your 5800.00, but likely the owners will have walked away from the LLC or whatever shell of a company that gets setup.

    Never ever in a lease prepay, its not your property and once your money leaves your hands you have no method to get it back

    A piece of paper with fancy wording making claims, warranty's and promises and a dollar will get you a dollar meal at McDonald's, nothing more.
  • jschnerjschner Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
    Re: So much to think about here.

    The $5800 is after the City rebate of $14K and the Federal 30% rebate and what I talked them down from the original lease quote of $9800.

    In 6 years I can buy the system outright for $980. It would be mine. Would that not add value to the house?

    The local company has been around since 2003. Not sure about SunPower and SMA. Anyone one of them can go belly up at any time within the warranty period too. A chance many of you are taking when you buy equipment and warranties. If the local company goes under then SunPower finds another company to take care of the system. If SunPower goes under then the lease gets transferred to someone else.

    But does anyone know of a company doing leases that went under and the bank came and took the system back or some other change in the lease? I'm thinking the bank showing up other than for non-payment it is very rare or non-existent. All I need to do is make it 6 years and the system paid for itself. So if I paid the lease up front to avoid a loan, what realistically could they do if anything if any of them went under? Any examples out there to back up any of the claims of the worst case hypotheticals?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,688 admin
    Re: So much to think about here.

    One thing I would suggest--Never assume that the solar array adds "value" to your home... At best it is probably a wash (nothing added, nothing lost).

    However, you may run into buyers that don't want "that stuff" on their new home and it may cost money to remove.

    From my humble point of view--Conservation measures are a much better "investment" (more insulation, weather stripping, double pane windows, energy star A/C and built in appliances, plantings and home design for winter heating/summer shading/cooling, etc.).

    And, many conservation measures make the home nicer to live in (quieter, fewer drafts) as well as reduced energy bills (and smaller GT/off-grid power systems too).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jschnerjschner Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
    Re: So much to think about here.
    BB. wrote: »
    One thing I would suggest--Never assume that the solar array adds "value" to your home... At best it is probably a wash (nothing added, nothing lost).

    However, you may run into buyers that don't want "that stuff" on their new home and it may cost money to remove.
    if it is still operational and reducing the electricity by $75 to $90 a month, I'm thinking the chances are slim they won't want it.

    I'm in California and there is this study on home values.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/20/BUJ61J4J4K.DTL

    Even at half that studies rate it is something.
    From my humble point of view--Conservation measures are a much better "investment" (more insulation, weather stripping, double pane windows, energy star A/C and built in appliances, plantings and home design for winter heating/summer shading/cooling, etc.).

    And, many conservation measures make the home nicer to live in (quieter, fewer drafts) as well as reduced energy bills (and smaller GT/off-grid power systems too).

    -Bill

    Thanks Bill! Good advice! I have done the conservation things. Upped my insulation to R40 from R19. I have double pane windows, some gas filled and UV block on the sun sides. Caulked and painted the whole house to seal leaks. Planted shade trees ten years ago. Bummer that one would have to be removed for the solar. Added a ridge vent during the last re-roofing. Switched to an evaporative cooler and our AC unit hardly ever comes on now. It all worked well, and now I'm looking at solar.

    I have to say, I love all the things you guys are bringing up because this is what I need to know. Thanks a bunch!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,688 admin
    Re: So much to think about here.

    If people are willing to pay "retail" for solar systems ($5-$6 per watt in added home pricing)--I am not going to tell them not too...

    However, the inverters (typically) have a ~10 year life (micro inverters to claim a longer life) and the solar panels have a ~25 year life (may be longer--but I would not bet on it).

    So--there is a declining value (sort of like a new roof only add value to the home when it is new--10-20 years out, it has much less value).

    Again, I am just trying to help people with information--and they make their own decisions. But--please do not dump your 401k/retirement account or take out large loans into these things.

    For many people, solar GT works out as pre-paying their electric bill unless they are staying in the home for the next several decades (which was my decision ~6 years ago).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jschnerjschner Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
    Re: So much to think about here.
    BB. wrote: »
    If people are willing to pay "retail" for solar systems ($5-$6 per watt in added home pricing)--I am not going to tell them not too...

    I see it like a house with a pool. It's a feature that isn't for everyone but for those looking for pool it helps to have one.
    However, the inverters (typically) have a ~10 year life (micro inverters to claim a longer life) and the solar panels have a ~25 year life (may be longer--but I would not bet on it).
    That is the $5000 question. If I get the lease, do I risk going with the buyout and having to replace the inverter twice and maybe a couple failed panels? Or do I go with the lease to the end with the 20 year warranty? And who says SunPower won't go out of business by 20 years?

    I might be better off just buying it out in 6 years and banking on at least buying at least one inverter.
    So--there is a declining value (sort of like a new roof only add value to the home when it is new--10-20 years out, it has much less value).
    There should be some value in it if it is still operational. I think that article over exaggerated the values but if it is even just $3 or even 2$ a watt that is still something. The bigger thing would be new technologies in 20 years. If the same system only cost a $1000 then the value would be less than that.
    Again, I am just trying to help people with information--and they make their own decisions. But--please do not dump your 401k/retirement account or take out large loans into these things.
    I have the 6K for the lease. I'd really have to work to get the $21K for the system outright and wait for the 13K in rebates. More doable if the installer will do the rebate directly.
    For many people, solar GT works out as pre-paying their electric bill unless they are staying in the home for the next several decades (which was my decision ~6 years ago).

    -Bill

    Due to work and church obligations, I'm in my home for at least 6 or more years. I'm looking at solar for more of a long term investment and it appears this system will return about $12K over 20 years with 164,000 kW generated. That takes into account the 6 year buyout, buying a second inverter, and panel degradation. The return gets even better if I don't do the buyout and get a 20 year warranty, It's about 16K. Also if my electric rates increase that helps the return as well.
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