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penberth
01-15-2011, 10:15 AM
I received a quote for a solar power system for my house. I guess I am trying to figure out if this is like buying a car, or shopping at a department store.

In other words, do you haggle on the price like buying a car, or is it more like shopping in a store where this is the price, take it or leave it?

I am a noob when it comes to this stuff.

The quote was for 30 Sunpower Corporation, SPR-230-WHT-U, 230W Single Crystal Grid Connect Module, White Backsheet panels.

and 30 Enphase Energy, M210-84-240-S11/2 micro inverters as the equipment they are using.

The price quote was around $36k installed with the company doing all permitting, labor, etc. My price after all state, federal, and nyserda rebates would be about $12K.

Thanks.

Sunking
01-15-2011, 11:21 AM
No like any contractor work the bid is it. That is why you should get at least 3 bids.

russ
01-15-2011, 12:49 PM
Like Sunking said - always get three quotes and try to understand them - this is a lot of money!

If a contractor is willing to haggle it means trouble to me.

It is very difficult to haggle when you don't really know what should be in the package and the difference between qualities/specs.

The Enphase inverter is a value if you will have partial shade on your system. Otherwise they offer no extra - regardless of the sales spiels given.

The Sunpower offers high efficiency but when you look into the details they seem to have tweaked the numbers they use so they can look good. A 220 Sanyo should outperform a 230 Sunpower.

A free tool for comparing panels is available at http://www.solardesigntool.com/

If you learn what the components are worth you can see approximately what you are paying for permits and installation. It might help make you more comfortable with the purchase.

I found a sample 5 kW grid tie system offer for 19,000$ - Sunnyboy inverter
a 6 kW grid tie system with Mitsubishi panels & Sunnyboy inverter for 24,000$ and a 6 kW grid tie system with Trina panels & Sunnyboy inverter for 20,000$

All prices were before incentives, included racks and assorted other items for example.

Russ

steveinTN
01-16-2011, 07:01 PM
First, the choice of the panels and the microinverters is a good one for the home. The seller is asking for a $5 per watt fee which is reasonable. With the benefits, your price is little over a dollar a watt which is fabulous. The issues to be covered. First, is the seller have a certified installer? Does the company have liability insurance? Call your electric power provider and ask if they have had experience with the installer? Ask for a warrantee for the job for at least 2 years. Does the price include sales tax if any? Ask the company if they have done a solar pathfinder study to determine the adequacy of the site as far as shading goes. Are there to be roof penetrations and will these penetrations void your roofing warrantee? Ask about lightning protection and grounding of the system. I would suggest, even if not required, a disconnect switch to protect anyone working on the power line. Also, are you entitled to solar renewable energy credits? Get insurance for your solar system. These are the big issues.

Schott Insider
01-20-2011, 06:07 PM
I'd agree that the price for the system proposed seems reasonable. But it might not be the best system for your unique installation.

You owe it to yourself to get some competing quotes and balance price with ROI and long-term performance.

KRenn
02-01-2011, 10:10 PM
I received a quote for a solar power system for my house. I guess I am trying to figure out if this is like buying a car, or shopping at a department store.

In other words, do you haggle on the price like buying a car, or is it more like shopping in a store where this is the price, take it or leave it?

I am a noob when it comes to this stuff.

The quote was for 30 Sunpower Corporation, SPR-230-WHT-U, 230W Single Crystal Grid Connect Module, White Backsheet panels.

and 30 Enphase Energy, M210-84-240-S11/2 micro inverters as the equipment they are using.

The price quote was around $36k installed with the company doing all permitting, labor, etc. My price after all state, federal, and nyserda rebates would be about $12K.

Thanks.



Friends don't let friends buy overpriced Sunpower panels. However in your case, you're getting a 6.9k system WITH microinverters for less than $5.40 a watt. Let me tell you that is a pretty damn good price ASSUMING that the installer is offering that price as a turnkey system, that means down the road they won't stop and go "OOPS, crap, I didn't include the cost of racking in the price."


For 230's with micros, that price seems almost TOO good to be true. I'd do my due diligence in verifying the installer's credentials, understanding exactly what that $36k price covers, what the warranty is, what roof penetrations they are going to do, what mounting equipment they use....etc. If everything sounds good, then its a nice deal you got.

Schott Insider
02-01-2011, 10:43 PM
For 230's with micros, that price seems almost TOO good to be true.

Yup, that is a very competitive price.

But price isn't the only factor. Do you really need/want the SunPower / micro combination?

russ
02-02-2011, 01:43 AM
If you have shading issues then the micro inverters are possibly of use.

If no shade then they are an extra cost and extra part to fail.

NABCEP Russ
02-03-2011, 06:06 PM
One thing to look into is that Sunpower modules are not approved for use with Enphase microinverters. This may or may not void their warranty. I highly recommend microinverters. The included monitoring system allows you to keep tabs on each module. It's also presented in an attractive interface that homeowners love. I'd go with the microinverters but possibly with a different module. Also make sure they're using flashings on the penetrations and not just caulk. Ask what mounting system will be used. Make sure that is a turnkey price and ask for references. That is a good price though.

Mike90250
02-03-2011, 07:20 PM
.... I highly recommend microinverters. The included monitoring system allows you to keep tabs on each module. It's also presented in an attractive interface that homeowners love. ......

Uh, the monitoring is not free, it's a subscription system. Maybe your installer prepays a year or two, but it eventually needs renewal.

NABCEP Russ
02-03-2011, 07:35 PM
Uh, the monitoring is not free, it's a subscription system. Maybe your installer prepays a year or two, but it eventually needs renewal.

Didn't say it was free, said it was included. It's cheap and any reputable installer should be including at least a 5 year subscription with the system.

KRenn
02-03-2011, 11:33 PM
Um.......there's not really any advantage to the Enphase monitoring if he's getting a Sunpower system which usually ends up including the monitoring. I do like the layout of the Enphase monitoring, but more user-friendly and provides great information for beginners and advanced users.

NABCEP Russ
02-04-2011, 12:17 AM
Um.......there's not really any advantage to the Enphase monitoring if he's getting a Sunpower system which usually ends up including the monitoring. I do like the layout of the Enphase monitoring, but more user-friendly and provides great information for beginners and advanced users.

The advantage of the enphase monitoring is the granularity of module level data. No other monitoring system can tell you the production of individual modules. This appeals greatly to homeowners and helps get them more involved with their systems. It's also a great help in troubleshooting issues. If a module goes down I can look at my iPhone and see where the problem is on the array without having to do any investigative work.

briansimon
06-23-2011, 06:44 AM
According to me, you should consult to other contractors as well, it will give you a good idea about the services and cost provided by the contractor.

maestroX2
06-23-2011, 11:16 AM
Didn't say it was free, said it was included. It's cheap and any reputable installer should be including at least a 5 year subscription with the system.

the new m215 will have free lifetime monitoring. They also increase warranty to 25 years. Good move on Enphase part.

Do you know about Apparent MGi ? They claim to harvest more solar than other microinverter or central inverter.

Naptown
06-24-2011, 08:09 PM
OK I am an enphase fan but do not work for them
Advantages to the new 215 and others except for the warranty which is longer on the 215

Monitoring is far superior
Harvest is greater as many system derate factors are reduced.
even the old inverters carried a 15 year warranty
No module mismatch ( This can make a huge difference if say 12 years from now there is a hail damaged module and a matched one is no longer availble as they are out of production Just plug any 60 cell module in to replace the damaged one)
vastly reduced DC losses
compatibility with almost any 60 cell module ( see mismatch above)
No more easter egg hunt to find the trouble in the event of a component failure The monitoring will point out where to look.
And finally they are more expensive but remember to add in the replacement cost of a string inverter at one perhaps twice within the 25 year lifespan and they come out less costly in the long run.

NABCEP Russ
06-25-2011, 05:42 PM
the new m215 will have free lifetime monitoring. They also increase warranty to 25 years. Good move on Enphase part.

Do you know about Apparent MGi ? They claim to harvest more solar than other microinverter or central inverter.

Yes, glad to see they made the jump to free monitoring and the extended warranty. At this point, I can't really see using anything else on a <10kW system.

philjamar
06-25-2011, 08:41 PM
Friends don't let friends buy overpriced Sunpower panels. However in your case, you're getting a 6.9k system WITH microinverters for less than $5.40 a watt. Let me tell you that is a pretty damn good price ASSUMING that the installer is offering that price as a turnkey system, that means down the road they won't stop and go "OOPS, crap, I didn't include the cost of racking in the price."


For 230's with micros, that price seems almost TOO good to be true. I'd do my due diligence in verifying the installer's credentials, understanding exactly what that $36k price covers, what the warranty is, what roof penetrations they are going to do, what mounting equipment they use....etc. If everything sounds good, then its a nice deal you got.

This can easily be done with SunPower Serengeti. Serengeti is SunPower's answer to all the other low end panels out there.

Get three quotes, if anything you will learn more from your local solar integrators about solar because they live it on a daily basis. Write your questions down and throw them out if they don't answer them.

Find the one you like best and make him explain why his quote is better than the rest. He may discount if it means he will win the job depending on his workload and the final margin in the deal.

KRenn
06-28-2011, 05:02 PM
This can easily be done with SunPower Serengeti. Serengeti is SunPower's answer to all the other low end panels out there.

Get three quotes, if anything you will learn more from your local solar integrators about solar because they live it on a daily basis. Write your questions down and throw them out if they don't answer them.

Find the one you like best and make him explain why his quote is better than the rest. He may discount if it means he will win the job depending on his workload and the final margin in the deal.

Serengeti is a generic Chinese panel that they're trying to pawn off as a premium brand which is a joke. For that price range I can get better quality American-made panels such as Schott and Sharp. No thanks, if I'm going to buy a generic, run-of-the-mill Chinese panel, I'll buy one from EcoSolargy and save a bundle.

Sunking
06-28-2011, 05:52 PM
American-made panels such as Schott and Sharp. Schott is German company, and Sharp is Japan. They are good panels, but not US companies. Schott makes parabolic reflectors in NM, but all solar PV panels are made in Germany. There are hardly any US made solar PV panels as most of the manufactures have gone bankrupt and/or moved operations to China like Evergreen. Wished that was not true, but the USA cannot compete anymore.

KRenn
06-28-2011, 07:54 PM
Schott is German company, and Sharp is Japan. They are good panels, but not US companies. Schott makes parabolic reflectors in NM, but all solar PV panels are made in Germany. There are hardly any US made solar PV panels as most of the manufactures have gone bankrupt and/or moved operations to China like Evergreen. Wished that was not true, but the USA cannot compete anymore.



Not sure where you get your information but that was incorrect. Sharp is a Japanese company that produces panels in the USA, in Tennessee. Schott is a German company that produces parabolic reflectors at their facility in Albuquerque, as well as their 220-240 watt multicrystalline panels, which is why both are ARRA approved.


CentroSolar and Schuco are German companies who happen to produce panels in America, at a GE facility in Delaware. Solarworld is a German company that produces all their panels here in the US, at facilities in Oregon, California and Washington.


Solon is a German company which produces panels made in Tucson.



Here are some links to clear up some of your misconceptions.

http://www.schottsolar.com/us/products/buy-america/

http://www.sharpusa.com/SolarElectricity/BuyAmerican.aspx

http://www.greentechmedia.com/industry/read/schuco-usa-delivers-u.s.-made-arra-compliant-pv-modules-15409/

While it seems American companies aren't willing to pick up the slack, foreign
companies are and have been producing panels domestically for quite some time.


All of these are in the same price range as the overrated/overpriced Sunpower Chinese-produced Serengeti's.




As far as inverters, Power-One, PVP and SMA are all produced within the USA as well.

Naptown
06-29-2011, 05:14 PM
Not sure where you get your information but that was incorrect. Sharp is a Japanese company that produces panels in the USA, in Tennessee. Schott is a German company that produces parabolic reflectors at their facility in Albuquerque, as well as their 220-240 watt multicrystalline panels, which is why both are ARRA approved.


CentroSolar and Schuco are German companies who happen to produce panels in America, at a GE facility in Delaware. Solarworld is a German company that produces all their panels here in the US, at facilities in Oregon, California and Washington.


Solon is a German company which produces panels made in Tucson.



Here are some links to clear up some of your misconceptions.

http://www.schottsolar.com/us/products/buy-america/

http://www.sharpusa.com/SolarElectricity/BuyAmerican.aspx

http://www.greentechmedia.com/industry/read/schuco-usa-delivers-u.s.-made-arra-compliant-pv-modules-15409/

While it seems American companies aren't willing to pick up the slack, foreign
companies are and have been producing panels domestically for quite some time.


All of these are in the same price range as the overrated/overpriced Sunpower Chinese-produced Serengeti's.




As far as inverters, Power-One, PVP and SMA are all produced within the USA as well.

Almost all of the companies you mention are actually foreign corporations who have manufacturing facilities here. This does not make them an American corporation.
Ford has manufacturing plants all over the world but is still an American company