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  • #16
    Originally posted by NorCalX View Post

    Their business model appears to be looong term investment.

    Not my #1 choice currently
    Only time will tell, but I would rather say that their marketing model is looong term investment, while their business model may well be grab what you can and run.
    The evidence is not in yet on that IMHO.
    SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by inetdog View Post
      Only time will tell, but I would rather say that their marketing model is looong term investment, while their business model may well be grab what you can and run.
      The evidence is not in yet on that IMHO.
      I like the way you phrase it better

      Their business model is to sell the idea of a long term investment

      What they are really doing is frontloading all of those costs (i.e., grabbing what they can now and running with it)

      That was my impression when the sales person left me

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      • #18
        But elon musk and tesla and spacex and google and and and

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        • #19
          Originally posted by igerstein View Post
          But elon musk and tesla and spacex and google and and and
          Yea ! That's some B.S., ain't it ? P.T. Barnum reincarnated.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by gwelty View Post
            Can anyone explain why the animosity about SolarCity and some of the other major installers like Vivint?
            . 30 year workmanship and material warranty, for instance, gives me peace of mind.
            .

            Might be one of the worst reasons I've heard for going with a solar company. I can offer you a 100 year warranty if I'm not planning to be in business longer than 10. A company with less than a 10 year history offering a 30 year warranty...makes sense.

            If the inverter breakdown is such an issue, you can get an extended warranty for a fairly reasonable cost, locking in to a more expensive solar contract, with a company that seems to use whatever panels they found on a bargain basement sale doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.


            Personally I'd be more concerned with getting quality components across the board then hoping and wishing that a solar leasing outfit makes it over the long haul.

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            • #21
              Thought I would chime in here to revive an old thread and talk about my experience with SolarCity. I'm a couple weeks into getting quotes for about a 5 kW system and I made sure to tell SC that I'm not interested in leases or PPAs. The first quote they gave me was at $3.6/W, not terrible, but not great either for an ABB string inverter and Hanwha 265 modules. Started looking around more and ended up getting quotes at $3.2. Much to my surprise SC matched it. I kept looking though and eventually found a local installer to go down to $2.9/W for a SolarEdge inverter and Canadian Solar 265s. We will see if SC will suck it up and match that quote too. The only thing SC has not done yet is allow me to specify components. I asked for a SolarEdge inverter and modules with power optimizers but they balked. They said they would only consider it if I had engineering drawings from a competitor specifying those components, well I'm working on that too. The only reason I'm trying to drive down the cost on SC is because they are offering $1000 cash back which effectively drives cost down to $2.7/W. Overall, the sales rep has been very responsive and I'm impressed they are matching competitors bids. Is $1000 enough of a reason to go with them over a good local installer? I'm not sure.

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              • captaindomon
                captaindomon commented
                Editing a comment
                Read SolarReviews on them. If they can match the price, but they'll give you the runaround for a year before they install, then break something and you will never be able to get a hold of them to fix it, it isn't worth it. They seem to be a classic example of a responsive, aggressive sales force working on commission, with no operations or project management structure to actually deliver. Just my two cents from reading reviews (I haven't interacted with them myself).

            • #22
              SC install quality is not good either. You could have conduit running all over your roof, etc. They burnout their people and then hire newbies that don't know much.
              BSEE, R11, NABCEP, >1200kW installed

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              • #23
                What do people think of Sunworks? Are their install quality and support good? They seem to be growing and have been aggressive on pricing, of late, I think.

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                • #24
                  Originally posted by maximusdecimus View Post
                  Thought I would chime in here to revive an old thread and talk about my experience with SolarCity. I'm a couple weeks into getting quotes for about a 5 kW system and I made sure to tell SC that I'm not interested in leases or PPAs. The first quote they gave me was at $3.6/W, not terrible, but not great either for an ABB string inverter and Hanwha 265 modules. Started looking around more and ended up getting quotes at $3.2. Much to my surprise SC matched it. I kept looking though and eventually found a local installer to go down to $2.9/W for a SolarEdge inverter and Canadian Solar 265s. We will see if SC will suck it up and match that quote too. The only thing SC has not done yet is allow me to specify components. I asked for a SolarEdge inverter and modules with power optimizers but they balked. They said they would only consider it if I had engineering drawings from a competitor specifying those components, well I'm working on that too. The only reason I'm trying to drive down the cost on SC is because they are offering $1000 cash back which effectively drives cost down to $2.7/W. Overall, the sales rep has been very responsive and I'm impressed they are matching competitors bids. Is $1000 enough of a reason to go with them over a good local installer? I'm not sure.
                  An update: What follows is my opinion only, based on my experience and observation of SolarCity's job performance and end product.

                  As some background, when my later engineering career involved engineering management and project management, I was occasionally involved in vendor surveillance and also contract performance as a vendor and sometimes in a system integration function. I learned (or confirmed actually) not all contractors and vendors are created or function equally well (or badly). After a while you see patterns and trends that seem to carry from one type of business to another, and avoid the losers. Or (with all possible candor), if a vendor, learn how to bury your mistakes (like surgeons get to do).

                  After retirement, as the guy that reviews and recommends approval/changes to the Arch. Review Comm. for all the solar jobs in my HOA, I've reviewed and monitored over 100 or so residential solar installations over the last 8 + yrs. 13 of those were SolarCity jobs. In my opinion, based on those 13 jobs and my interactions with SolarCity, SolarCity's capabilities and job performance are, overall, close to the bottom on a list of over 20 vendors whose work I've reviewed and many of whom I've interacted with. There is only one job in my HOA that has been stopped and the work removed. It was a Solar City job.

                  Their sales and support staff are, in general, and again, IMO only, based on my interactions with them, unprofessional. If I were in a position to do so, I'd not hire anyone I interfaced with at SolarCity for anything other than entry level manual labor.

                  Personnel commonly and usually do not return phone calls. When they do, they commonly have no knowledge of why they were asked to call back. I rarely spoke with the same person on a job more than once. For some reason, I dealt w/ 3 SolarCity offices: LA, Seattle, and before they pulled out, Las Vegas. Go figure. Any information I did get from them, right or wrong, was never forthcoming. Most everyone on their end was (or played) dumb. Finished product often matched drawings only by, it seems, coincidence. That, however, probably didn't matter much as the drawings were, for the most part better suited as cartoons, along with such shenanigans as the same template used and never changed from job to job. Material such as panel mfg. or inverter mfg. were often missing, maybe because what the material would be was unknown until it showed up at the jobsite. An example of useless drawing info: I've got a dozen copies of the same roof attachment drawing for 12 jobs with no dimensions on them and half of them on finished jobs that have different attachments than the drawing shows. Finished job quality, while not, IMO, top drawer, was still inconsistent.

                  (As an aside, note too that all this doesn't speak too well for the AHJ. Note to potential solar users: You may be a bit on your own for job surveillance. Just sayin'.)

                  All completed SolarCity jobs in my HOA jobs were either leases or PPA's. Lease payments varied from $0.0196/ D.C. Watt per month to 0.0249/D.C.Watt per month, pretty much independent of system size, but (it seems to me) dependent on age and/or naivety of the mark (customer). For some reason, PPA's ran pretty consistently at $0.15/kWh. All contracts, whether leases and PPA's had 2.9 % annual escalation.

                  The sad part, to me anyway (aside from the idea that these were leases/PPA's in the first place), is that other vendors who are reputable and, IMO, capable of doing fit for purpose work, charge no more, or only slightly more, and in some cases less, for a better product in terms of quality of product, quality of workmanship, customer service and professionalism. (Not a plug but my lease #'s from signed contracts for other local vendors, one of whom I seriously considered for my work - but not a lease - ranged from $0.0205/D.C. Watt per month to $0.0261/D.C. Watt per month - including BTW, a fair amount of Sunpower equipment/leases, albeit at the higher price points referenced - and often with no escalation. Everything is negotiable.)

                  I wouldn't let SolarCity on my property.

                  Take what you want of the above. Scrap the rest.

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                  • #25
                    Thanks J.P.M. for your perspective. This is clearly a difficult choice to make and I appreciate any information about potential installers I can get.

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                    • #26
                      I've deleted my post, as Solar City has responded to my concerns with the Pigeons.
                      Last edited by Sue; 11-11-2016, 12:55 PM.

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                      • #27
                        They didn't like me at all- they actually didn't want to do my install. All I did was to state that I want to own the system and was fluent with numbers. We parted on good terms but it left me wondering who they consider their customers then- naive folks who bought into solar hype and who didn't run the numbers?

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                        • #28
                          Originally posted by max2k View Post
                          They didn't like me at all-but it left me wondering who they consider their customers then- naive folks who bought into solar hype and who didn't run the numbers?
                          That would include most of the solar buying public.

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                          • #29
                            All the big, nationwide solar companies that are focused on "rolling out solar to the mass market" are run by their financing partners. To get solar onto the roofs of the general public means you have to provide long term financing. My conclusion is that the finance industry is a bunch of selfish, rapacious scoundrels that seek to take advantage of anyone where ever possible. (I reference the whole practice of high-speed trading algorithms for example). Any kind of solar financing involves the finance people taking the lion's share of the margin (and there is a lot of margin these days what with the cost of solar equipment being so low) leaving just enough for the consumer to be cash flow positive and feel good about going solar. Who is making money in the solar game these days - the finance people of course. They don't care about putting solar on difficult roofs or helping as many people as possible go solar - they are greedily going after all those easy naive customers that they can make the most off of with the least effort..... rant off.
                            BSEE, R11, NABCEP, >1200kW installed

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