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  • Been a long time coming on Long Island

    Hi, folks

    I've been reading (and posting) a bit over the past year or so, but figured I ought to post here as well with my story.

    I'm hoping to get an 18 x 255W panel system onto my roof in the next ~month working with an installer here on Long Island. I'm un-blessed with an east-west roof, but it's not too bad a tilt, so I'll still be just a little under 80% of optimal orientation efficiency on my just-slightly-south-of-west side.

    Not too much in the way of shading, but a bit here and there at various times of the year. Some might argue it's better to go with a string inverter, but I'm gonna go ahead with Enphase microinverters (I have a nagging feeling that dirt and uneven aging will make the microinverters beneficial enough to probably break even on the additional cost, so I'm not going to lose too much sleep over which is really best at a fine level).

    Getting to this installation was a long time coming. I live in a HOA, who for a long time would not have approved (and NY is not a state where I have solar rights over the HOA). But that changed a couple years ago and I had several installers come out for estimates. I learned over time that a couple of them actually lied to me about the efficiency they projected of the system, as two others were very upfront about their measurement data and calculations.

    Once I was happy about the installer, the saga began in earnest over the rebates from the local utility (LIPA). They were giving rebates out for the systems of up to 105% of the capacity of the past 12 months usage, and only for systems of at least 80% efficiency. I was close enough to 80% (first measurement was 79.5%) that it seemed like it was going to go through. But I wanted to install more than 105% because I wanted to get an electric vehicle. The utility had granted justified exceptions for larger installs, such as pool or new room additions to houses, and I was led to believe by the installers that an EV would fly...

    It didn't. And when I tried to get the local solar installers association to help me fight my case, an argument broke out over the accuracy of the 79.5% number. Re-measured a couple times, the number settled in at 78.5% and it was clear I was out of the running for the utility's rebate altogether. At least until their rebate threshold changed to become pro-rated base on the efficiency with a lower cut-off.

    That happened on March 1 of this year, so what would've been $1.75/W of installed capacity was now ~$1.25 for my orientation, but at least it wasn't zero. And it was worth waiting 1/2 year for. It was also worth waiting another 1/2 year for an EV that had an efficient heater for the winters...(just got a Leaf last week).

    Unfortunately, the EV argument never went anywhere, and I didn't have the EV for any portion of the past 12 months, so only ~2/3rds of the install (12 panels) gets that $1.25, and no rebate for the remainder. Part of me wishes I hadn't brought up the EV as I would've had the $1.75/W on the same 12 panels last summer, but I have enough conscience to accept that not lying was the right thing anyhow, as it would be my installer who is culpable if I get audited by the utility and they found it to be under 80% (I understand they audit ~1/4th of the installs they rebate).

    The building permit and utility rebate applications have been filed, and my installer & I are just waiting what will hopefully be a few more weeks before this can finally wrap up.

    One additional recent twist appears to be the demise of Suntech, whose panels we were planning to use. Now I guess I'm leaning towards Suniva.

    Looking forward to the solar electric life and (hopefully) no more politics...

  • #2
    Old thread bump, however I'm in the same location as you are. Did you get your system installed? Are you in Nassau or Suffolk? Which panels/installer did you go with?

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    • #3
      Going well

      Hello,

      Originally posted by Mr. Vegas View Post
      Old thread bump, however I'm in the same location as you are. Did you get your system installed? Are you in Nassau or Suffolk? Which panels/installer did you go with?
      The system installation went smoothly at the end of last May, and my system has been working *beautifully* since then. June-November it outperformed projections by ~10%, December was about as expected, and January's been very cloudy, so it's unlikely to reach the projection.

      I am in Suffolk County; my installer was Horizon Solar (I give them a big thumbs up); we used Suniva's 260W panels, and Enphase microinverters. The only bump in the road was the monitoring device from Enphase, but after a bit of debate, they did end up replacing it for free and the new one has worked fine. Here's the public link to the system's performance:

      https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/...ems/T9yk199132

      LIPA paused the rebates for a while in the late summer, and I understand the rebates dropped to something like $0.50/W, but I haven't checked in on it since then. Good luck with yours!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by genevb View Post
        Hello,



        The system installation went smoothly at the end of last May, and my system has been working *beautifully* since then. June-November it outperformed projections by ~10%, December was about as expected, and January's been very cloudy, so it's unlikely to reach the projection.

        I am in Suffolk County; my installer was Horizon Solar (I give them a big thumbs up); we used Suniva's 260W panels, and Enphase microinverters. The only bump in the road was the monitoring device from Enphase, but after a bit of debate, they did end up replacing it for free and the new one has worked fine. Here's the public link to the system's performance:

        https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/...ems/T9yk199132

        LIPA paused the rebates for a while in the late summer, and I understand the rebates dropped to something like $0.50/W, but I haven't checked in on it since then. Good luck with yours!
        Thanks for responding so quickly and including the link to your perf stats. Now that PSE&G is managing LIPA, I'm wondering how different the rebates are - will have to check it out again as well.

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