SolarCity user group?

nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
Given that this forum is more DIY-focussed, it could be that I am barking up the wrong tree here...but I will give it a try:

For those of us looking for a turn-key system, SolarCity is the dominant player, especially in Arizona and California.
Does anyone know of a "SolarCity user group” in which we can share info and concerns. If such a group does not exist, would it be a good idea to create such a group on this forum?

I am at the brink of signing a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SolarCity. Here are some of my questions:

Here are the terms of their PPA offer...Question: Does anyone know if either of these things negotiable?:
• 15.80¢ per kWh
• 2.9% rate increase per year (escalator)

With a PPA you have the opportunity to buy the system after 5 years…

The Solarcity salesperson said, "So at that point, 5 years down the line- we will sell it to you at the Fair Market Value per a third party, meaning I’m not entirely sure what the depreciated value would be. We do it through a third party so that all of us (you and SolarCity are protected and there is no bias)."

Question: Can I attempt to negotiate the eventual purchase price now?

The Solarcity salesperson said, “The average lifespan for an inverter is between 12 and 15 years. However, even if you buy out the system 5 years down the line, we will still cover the cost of a new inverter (around $1,000.)"

Question: Does that mean they will just include in a new inverter when I buy the system?

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    There are quite a few forum members here from Arizona. If you all want to organize a discussion of SolarCity it would best be done privately as we moderators do not have information about the company with which to assess the accuracy of any comments made. This makes it a potential legal trap for our host NAWS, especially as they are also in Arizona.

    For example the questions you asked are valid but we have no way to verify that the answers you post actually did come from the company. (Not to vilify you; just pointing out the moderating difficulties.)

    If anyone else has different experience with the company it would be okay to share, but I hope we wouldn't have to edit disclaimers into every post.
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    Hi Cariboocoot,

    I was not expecting the potential SolarCity forum group to be anything official (with representatives from SolarCity).

    I was thinking more of a "grassroots" end-user discussion, along the lines of Macintosh user groups (e.g. http://www.clubtmug.com) and car owner groups (e.g. http://volvoforums.com/forum/).
  • Lee DodgeLee Dodge Solar Expert Posts: 112 ✭✭
    Re: SolarCity user group?
    ...snip...

    I am at the brink of signing a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SolarCity. Here are some of my questions:

    Here are the terms of their PPA offer...Question: Does anyone know if either of these things negotiable?:
    • 15.80¢ per kWh
    • 2.9% rate increase per year (escalator)

    ...snip...

    For the three commercially installed, turn-key systems that I am monitoring here in southern Colorado, I have computed the cost including all tax rebates and subsidies at about $0.06 to $0.08 / kWh in today's dollars, all performance based on measured outputs (http://www.residentialenergylaboratory.com/comparison_of_pv_systems.html). These calculations assume a 25-year lifetime, with 0.65% performance degradation per year. This is an area of high solar insolation, but Arizona also has high solar insolation. These three systems were installed in 2010 and 2011, and costs for panels have dropped since that time, but some subsidies have also dropped. Therefore, the costs might be a little high relative to what I am seeing for systems here. However, there could be advantages to the PPA approach when you move from the house?
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    Thanks for your post, Lee.
    I am not following the math though.
    Are you saying that you are paying $0.06 to $0.08 per kWh with no escalator?
    If so, where can I get some of that?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: SolarCity user group?
    Thanks for your post, Lee.
    I am not following the math though.
    Are you saying that you are paying $0.06 to $0.08 per kWh with no escalator?
    If so, where can I get some of that?

    He's saying the installed systems are producing power at an equivalent cost of $0.06 to $0.08 per kW hour.
  • Lee DodgeLee Dodge Solar Expert Posts: 112 ✭✭
    Re: SolarCity user group?
    Thanks for your post, Lee.
    I am not following the math though.
    Are you saying that you are paying $0.06 to $0.08 per kWh with no escalator?
    If so, where can I get some of that?

    I apologize for not being more clear in my post. As Cariboocoot said, the $0.06 to $0.08 /kWh is the computed cost per kWh amortized over 25 years for three systems that were purchased (turn-key systems) here in southern Colorado. As shown in Table 3 at this link, the cost after rebates for system #1 (3.15 kW) was $5451, the cost for an inverter replacement is assumed to be about $2812 at about 12.5 years, and the other maintenance costs are assumed to be $500 over 25 years, for a total of $8763. Based on measured production and extrapolated to 25 years at 0.65% degradation per year, the total output of the system should be roughly 136,086 kWh, or $0.064/kWh. There are no cost escalators since this is based on money already invested. This analysis does not include the "cost of money" for this investment, but the link above gives some justification for this assumption based on energy inflation rates, general inflation rates, etc.

    Based on these costs, I am saying that the lease cost appears a little on the high side. However, there are lots of things to consider when deciding whether to lease or buy, including the added or decreased value to the house with solar PV, the length you are planning to stay in the house, whether you have the money to invest in solar PV, etc.
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    Thank you Lee and Cariboocoot, for this super-valuable information.

    From where I am sitting (in Northern California with no cash to invest) the options are:
    - PPA
    - Lease
    - Continuing to pay the conventional utility bill...(The utility is currently charging from $0.13/kWh (Tier 1) to $0.36/kWh (Tier 4). http://tinyurl.com/ol2qdrb)

    I have some other zero-down quotes from Solarcity competitors:
    - Sunrun: $0.135/kWh per kWh, 2.5% escalator
    - Verengo: $0.175/kWh, 2.5% escalator
    ...I'll have another competitive quote tomorrow (from Sungevity).

    All of these proposals reduce my monthly electric bill significantly and immediately. (I can share the details if you are interested.)

    One thing I do like about SolarCity is their low-profile Zep hardware...
    http://www.zepsolar.com/index.php/products/zs-comp
    http://vimeo.com/49221528
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,204 admin
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    I don't really like the 2.5% per year adder... For PG&E, the Tier 1 pricing had been stable and "they" have been jacking up the higher tier pricing.

    I guess, lately they have been talking about jacking up the base rates and reducing the higher rates (driving businesses out of the state, killing people that need A/C, etc.?).

    Anyway--This pricing tends to be very political and I worry that 10 years out, you will be contractually required to pay:

    $0.135 * 1.025^10 = ~$0.17.3 per kWH for your solar power

    Another concern, if you use less power in 10 years (more efficient appliances, kids move out, spend summer in the mountains, etc.)--You may be required to "buy" the contracted amount, whether you use it or not.

    In the end, I worry about the "outs" if things do not go well (you sell the home, pricing goes sideways, state PUC dumps GT Solar subsidies, etc.)--What are your responsibilities.

    I am a Buy It kind of guy--But leasing (and all of the government/business rebates/credits/moving money from A to B, etc.), does sometimes look hard to beat.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    Thank you Bill!

    I forgot to mention that the Verengo PPA includes a performance guarantee whereas the SolarCity PPA does not.
    BB. wrote: »
    I don't really like the 2.5% per year adder...

    There is another option from Verengo: $0.16/kWh, 0% escalator, $3000 down.
    BB. wrote: »
    I worry that 10 years out, you will be contractually required to pay:
    $0.135 * 1.025^10 = ~$0.17.3 per kWH for your solar power

    Well, the salespeople predict that the PG&E price per kWH will be much higher than that in 10 years.
    BB. wrote: »
    ...the "outs" if things do not go well (you sell the home, pricing goes sideways, state PUC dumps GT Solar subsidies, etc.)--What are your responsibilities.

    Selling the home seems pretty straightforward.
    Not sure what you mean by "GT Solar subsidies"

    Thanks again for your input Bill.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,204 admin
    Re: SolarCity user group?
    Selling the home seems pretty straightforward.
    Not sure what you mean by "GT Solar subsidies"

    As it stands right now in California (for example)--I am on Time of Use ($0.30+ for noon-6pm summer, ~$0.10 per kWH off peak year round first tier PG&E). I am paid ~$0.30 per kWH that I generate (summer peak) and buy it back at ~$0.10 per kWH off peak/winter). With ~$4.50 minimum connection charge per month.

    What is starting to happen is that people are paid something like $0.06 per kWH and a $40-$96 per month connection fee. This is the "non-subsidized" rates that more and more utilities are looking at.

    Notice this kills the small user/conservation minded homeowner--The high minimum connection charges will change the payback for many people.

    In California, it appears that there will be a 20 year grandfathering based on original start date, or a hard "starting clock" of ~July 2014. After that 20 year period, my guess is that we will be seeing the "improved" tariffs in California. My GT System was installed ~10 years ago and, guessing, I would see the impact in another 10 years.

    We have one poster here with a seasonal/week use mountain cabin and high minimum monthly charges--For him, it saved him money to go off grid with solar+small genset.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?
    BB. wrote: »
    You may be required to "buy" the contracted amount, whether you use it or not.

    It is true that, with a SolarCity zero-down PPA-style lease like the one I am considering, I am obligated to buy every kilowatt that my system produces (at 15.80¢ per kWh). This shouldn't be a problem as long as the system is sized so that the generation credits I earn in the summer should offset the bills from the utility in the winter.

    The other way to go with SolarCity would be just a simple lease--in effect, a rent payment. The price per kilowatt would be the same (15.80¢ per kWh), but the simple lease comes with a performance guarantee, or my money back.

    Here is another quote from another SolarCity competitor, this time from Sungevity:
    Fixed lease option - 17 cents per kilowatt hour
    "Smooth" lease option- 13.9 cents per kilowatt hour with 2.9% rate increase per year (escalator)

    Thanks for your input.
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    Hi Bill,
    BB. wrote: »
    As it stands right now in California (for example)--I am on Time of Use ($0.30+ for noon-6pm summer, ~$0.10 per kWH off peak year round first tier PG&E). I am paid ~$0.30 per kWH that I generate (summer peak) and buy it back at ~$0.10 per kWH off peak/winter). With ~$4.50 minimum connection charge per month.

    What is starting to happen is that people are paid something like $0.06 per kWH and a $40-$96 per month connection fee. This is the "non-subsidized" rates that more and more utilities are looking at.

    Notice this kills the small user/conservation minded homeowner--The high minimum connection charges will change the payback for many people.

    In California, it appears that there will be a 20 year grandfathering based on original start date, or a hard "starting clock" of ~July 2014. After that 20 year period, my guess is that we will be seeing the "improved" tariffs in California. My GT System was installed ~10 years ago and, guessing, I would see the impact in another 10 years.

    Thanks again for another very informative post.
    When I talk to all these solar vendors, I keep bringing up the idea of switching to PG&E’s Time-of-Use (TOU) E-6 rate plan (from my current standard E-1 plan). They keep steering me back to the E-1 plan. They say it would make most financial sense to stick with the standard E-1 rate plan. Is this because of the "non-subsidized" rates that you are talking about, Bill?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,204 admin
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    To be honest, I am not sure what is required these days for solar power billing in California.

    Last set of regulations (a number of years ago) required folks to be on TOU/E-6 panel (for PG&E--My plan is an older/grandfathered E-7 rate plan--Which I like better and is much simpler). E-1 was not available at that time.

    http://www.pge.com/tariffs/ERS.SHTML#ERS

    E-1 Residential is a "flat rate" plan (same $/kWH charges all year long, any time of day). Part of the decision between E-1 and E-6 is the question of when you use your electric power.

    For me, it was pretty easy for us to cut power usage from noon to 6pm, Monday through Friday (just refrigerator+freezer for the most part). Lights, cooking, washing clothes were easy to do off peak (natural gas for cooking/hot water/heating/etc.). And we did a lot of conservation first to reduce our power bill to ~200-300 kWH per month--But that was pretty easy for us, we don't need A/C in our area (except for a few days a year).

    If you have heavy power usage during the middle of the day (E-6 also runs peak/partial peaks beyond noon-6pm and weekends)--The higher peak/partial peaks may be something that could increase your power costs rather than reducing them (for example, if your system is "too small", you are buying very expensive peak/partial peak power to run your A/C, home office, etc.).

    If you can move much of your power usage to off peak (and/or partial peak) times--And generate "excess power" during summer afternoons, TOU can be a big help.

    Today, any of the rate plans for GT Solar are "subsidized"... A non-subsidized plan would probably look like a $40-$90 per month minimum connection cost, plus, roughly, ~$0.06 to $0.10 per kWH power cost/purchase back by utility.

    We do not have that type of plan yet for PG&E/California--But there is noise being made by some utilities in North America.

    An E-6 plan is pretty complex... I am not sure that anyone can really give you a good A:B estimate on billing costs--It would be interesting to see if the solar companies can/will give you those numbers.

    With the new "smart meters"--I would guess that PG&E has the data to make these comparisons--But I don't know that they will/can (especially if overlaying the GT Solar Production).

    I am a big believer in conservation--Usually this is a better "investment" for most people (it is usually cheaper to conserve a kWH than to generate a kWH). In general, GT Solar is not an investment--It is a bet that you can generate power that is cheaper than the utility is currently selling it to you.

    At the end of 20 years--I would bet that GT Solar Power systems will not be worth hardly anything as California PUC kills the present GT Solar rate structure. My system, being 10 years old may go to the "new rate plans" 10 years from now--And I have not seen any of those new tariffs yet (I do not follow it closely--just when run across an article somewhere).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    Thanks again Bill!
    BB. wrote: »
    To be honest, I am not sure what is required these days for solar power billing in California.
    If you can move much of your power usage to off peak (and/or partial peak) times--And generate "excess power" during summer afternoons, TOU can be a big help.

    I do understand this TOU strategy. SolarCity even specifically calls this out in their marketing:
    http://tinyurl.com/6tkvmk6
    They say, "This is to your advantage, because you can sell excess electricity at high peak rates in the afternoon, and buy electricity back at lower "off-peak" rates at night. You buy low and sell high!"

    That said, I DO NOT believe that the current net metering system actually assigns a monetary value the extra kWh that I generate. Instead, the extra kWh just roll over as generic kWh credits to PG&E bills for future months, when my solar panels will not produce enough to cover the whole power usage for the month (in the winter, for example). In that sense, I am "selling high" to PG&E because I am offsetting Tier 3 and Tier 4 rates with those rollover kWh credits....

    No TOU required in this scenario...Is my logic correct here?

    PS:
    BB. wrote: »
    Today, any of the rate plans for GT Solar are "subsidized".
    What does "GT" stand for in "GT Solar"?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    GT = Grid Tied.

    California regulations: making off-grid look like a practical option. :p
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?
    GT = Grid Tied.

    Oh! Got it!

    Thanks ;)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,204 admin
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    In California, the plans are very complex to actually figure out the costs/benefits.

    For me--I sell (excess) power at ~$0.30 per kWH noon-6pm for the "six months of summer" which goes into my "bank" (as money).

    When I draw more power than I generate (nights/off peak, winter), I buy it back (generally) at $0.09 per kWH (all Tier 1 rates, E-7 TOU).

    Every October is my "true up" time. If I have a negative value in my account, I have to pay it now (I could pay monthly if needed, but I have never been negative yet). Otherwise, the account is "zeroed out" for the next year. The account can go positive or negative during the year--But I am only responsible for pay the "bank" once per year. I have ~$4.50 per month minimum charge that the "bank cannot pay".

    New in the last year is the excess kWH generated. Before, it never mattered (i.e., I can have savings in the bank but a negative kWH balance--Because I sell at $0.30 per kWH and buy at $0.09 per kWH under my usual usage). Now, if there is a positive kWH in the bank, we get paid something like $0.03 to $0.06 per kWH for excess generation (not sure of the exact price).

    How that all works with the various solar leasing companies--I have not a clue.

    With the E-7 plan (now closed to new customers), I liked it because I would tell my family to not use much electricity between noon and 6pm on "summer" week days. With E-6 plan, it is much more complex (peak, off peak, partial peak, different charges between weekdays/weekends/summer/winter). If my power usage was dependent on having my family follow the rules--It would probably not be worth it (to me).
    E-6 plan:

    TOTAL RATES
    Total Energy Rates $ per kWh) PEAK PART-PEAK OFF-PEAK
    Summer
    Baseline Usage $0.29581 (I) $0.18054 (I) $0.10376 (I)
    101% - 130% of Baseline $0.31445 (I) $0.19918 (I) $0.12241 (I)
    131% - 200% of Baseline $0.47813 (I) $0.36286 (R) $0.28608 (R)
    201% - 300% of Baseline $0.51813 (I) $0.40286 (R) $0.32608 (R)
    Over 300% of Baseline $0.51813 (I) $0.40286 (R) $0.32608 (R)
    Winter
    Baseline Usage – ( ) $0.12493 (I) $0.10810 (I)
    101% - 130% of Baseline – ( ) $0.14357 (I) $0.12674 (I)
    131% - 200% of Baseline – ( ) $0.30725 (R) $0.29042 (R)
    201% - 300% of Baseline – ( ) $0.34725 (R) $0.33042 (R)
    Over 300% of Baseline – ( ) $0.34725 (R) $0.33042 (R)

    By the way, there is this new credit--Not sure what it is all about (overcharge us 10 months of the year to "give" us a credit twice a year?):
    California Climate Credit (per household, per semiannual
    payment occurring in the April and October
    bill cycles)
    ($29.82)
    3. TIME PERIODS: Times of the year and times of the day are defined as follows:
    Summer (service from May 1 through October 31):
    Peak: 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
    Partial-Peak: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    AND 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
    Plus 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
    Off-Peak: All other times including Holidays.
    Winter (service from November 1 through April 30):
    Partial-Peak: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
    Off-Peak: All other times including Holidays.
    Holidays: “Holidays” for the purposes of this rate schedule are New Year’s
    Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor
    Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. The
    dates will be those on which the holidays are legally observed.
    DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ADJUSTMENT: The time periods shown above will
    begin and end one hour later for the period between the second Sunday in March
    and the first Sunday in April, and for the period between the last Sunday in
    October and the first Sunday in November.

    For me, I don't like the peak going to 7pm (my system only generates significant power until ~4pm) and partial peak to 9pm.

    Partial peak is helpful as it goes 10-noon on summer week days (when system is generating excess power) but the late night partial peaks are useless for generation credits and when I use a fair amount of power (everybody home, cooking, computers, TV, etc.).

    Don't get me wrong--I think this plan better represents the utility's cost of power (in California, the peak power usage is frequently in the evenings). But it is fairly complex and would not be helpful with my family life.

    And, if you use a lot of power, the $0.40 to $0.50 per kWH is getting scary expensive if you make a wrong guess, somebody turns the AC on high, etc.

    I probably would look at the E-1 flat rate to keep it simple. At least with PG&E, currently, you can change your rate plans once per year if you want to switch... Not sure how that would work with leasing.

    Have you looked to see if you can download the "smartmeter" data for your home... It is in 15 minute intervals and might give you better insight into your power usage/timing over the year (load it into a spread sheet).

    For PG&E Solar customers (me), it appears that most of the smartmeter website functions are "broken" regarding billing and costs--They just show kWH per day/month/15 minute interval. For standard power customers, it appears that you should be able to compare rate plans and see how the (non-solar) pricing would affect your billing.

    I do not see a "download to spreadsheet" option--Which would be very handy for doing these "what if" calculations.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    Wow Bill-

    All of this info is a huge public service.
    On behalf of the many newbies like me, THANK YOU!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,204 admin
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    I hope I am helping rather than making things more confusing... If you were to actually figure out a bill (given data in, monthly $$$ out)--It would be a miracle (trying to do it from the tariff sheets).

    There is a whole 'nother set of math regarding tiers and peak/partial peak/off peak. A decade ago, PG&E decided to calculate the tier levels quite differently (each peak/off peak had its own set of calculations--That drove the tier levels (something like you could be tier one on Peak, and tier three on off peak--because you did not generate excess power during off peak, and the peak power credits did not apply--or something like that). There was a massive push back from solar customers, and the tier calculations went back to "normal" after some number of months/year. The Tariff sheets simply did not give enough detail to say that A was correct and B was wrong--Both appeared to "fit" into the rate structure--And PG&E had some MBA/Rate Engineer that figure out how to dramatically increase bills with the same tariff--It was "wonderful".

    My current bill is ~2 pages from PG&E--10 years ago, it was something like 11 pages per month of billing. I could almost understand the 11 page bill... The 2 page, I don't even bother.

    Let us know what you find out when you push for projected costs on the TOU and Flat Rate Plans... In theory, there should be enough data from PG&E and from the solar power company to give you a pretty good estimate of your bills under various plans. But I am not sure that anybody has ever attempted that for a home scale system (a consulting engineer would probably do it for a large oil refinery).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    Still waiting to get the TOU analysis from PG&E.
    I am changing my mind all the time about PPA vs. lease.
    Now I am even thinking about getting a loan and buying a system outright!
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    SolarCity offered 265W panels from Suniva.
    But with the 3-ft. setbacks for the fire code in my area, they said they could only get 20 panels on my roof.
    That comes out to a 5.3 KW system.

    The economics would be better for me with a larger system (with more KW). It would be great if I could fit a 6.5KW or 7KW system in the same space on my roof.I know that RGS Real Goods is now selling 275W panels from SolarWorld and that Sunpower has 330KW+ panels.

    Moore’s Law suggests that 300W+ panels will be commonplace (even commoditized) over the next couple of years.
    Would you agree with that prediction? Are there even higher-watt panels around the corner?

    They also said that I would have to re-roof first because I have too many layers of composite shingles.
    This will require unexpected cash outlay.

    Since then, I also learned about solar loans from Admirals Bank. If I am borrowing money to re-roof, maybe I ought to just BUY a system with a loan and roll the cost of the re-roof into the loan.
  • ButchDealButchDeal Solar Expert Posts: 35
    Re: SolarCity user group?
    Moore’s Law suggests that 300W+ panels will be commonplace (even commoditized) over the next couple of years.
    Would you agree with that prediction? Are there even higher-watt panels around the corner?

    Take a look at the higher watt panels, they are generally larger. There are some panels with 21% efficiency but they cost significantly more than the reduced space. Moore's Law is completely unrelated to solar panels.

    If you can get a solar loan or home equity loan you would have a better return on investment. You might find that a smaller system purchased is better return as well, just enough to get your comfortably down to lower tier pricing.
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    This post is for Bill:

    I have been going around and around with PG&E, trying to get a rate analysis showing what my bill would look like under a time of use plan. (PG&E has the OPower software to do this automatically at the click of a button for any PG&E customer.)

    I am a MCE (Marin Clean Energy) customer as well. And for some reason, PG&E is unable to open the OPower rate analysis tool for MCE customers. PG&E says MCE should do the rate analysis. MCE says PG&E should do it.. ARRGH!

    All of my hourly usage data is there on the PG&E website going all the way back to 2008!
    Most frustrating: I can't just download the hourly data--only the monthly totals.
    The hourly data is in the form of an interactive graph which requires me to transcribe the data by hand--very tedious! (See below.)

    In any case, I collected some hourly usage data for the rate analysis.
    I selected several days from August, November, February, and May over the last year and entered the data for those days into a spreadsheet. I have no idea if this cross section is a statistically valid sample. I could post the data if anyone is interested.

    Meanwhile, I am out of luck getting any help from PG&E or MCE.


    Here's an example interactive graph that I transcribed the hourly data from:

    Attachment not found.
  • nichtwichtignichtwichtig Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    I have learned that the interactive graph that I posted earlier is an "estimate" and "not accurate for billing purposes."
    If it's not accurate, why does PG&E even post this info on every customer's account?
  • ZoNiEZoNiE Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: SolarCity user group?

    I've heard from a neighbor that a family member in Prescott Valley was able to get Solar City to waive the 2.9%. When I had them out to my house in Scottsdale, they wanted to put the panels on the East slope (!!). I have 2X the western surface and the same on the south, albeit a couple of trees. They didn't use any sort of light meter, no pathfinder, the kid on my roof didn't even know what a pathfinder was. When the 2.9% was disclosed, I told them to pack sand...

    I then got 6KW worth of Solyndra panels shipped around 40 cents a watt. I could not get any local contractor to do any of the work. They want to sell the entire system. This is Phoenix, Tons of qualified contractors, but no takers. I could do it myself, but need the licensed contractor to get the tax benefit and rebates. I said screw it and shipped them to my buddy in texas who had no trouble getting them installed. He now has 12K (the first 6K was part of the same deal, we bought them together). It really sucks that I cannot do this cost effectively without some contractor making more money. I think it is more than fair to get paid for the inverter, wiring, and labor but no, they all want to make $$$ on the panels too. All or Nothing.

    BTW, those Solyndra panels do work.

    I did buy a SHW system that I am happy with, but even with the benefits and rebate, I still paid about 2X what I could have paid if i installed it myself.
Sign In or Register to comment.