X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Hello form San DIego

    Hi everyone,

    I'm Nate & I joined recently to gain further knowledge about solar before I make the plunge. I'm in San Diego with sky high SDGE utility. I'm currently considering SunPower due to limited useful roof space and their solid warranty. I'll be reading a lot. See you on the forums!

  • #2
    Howdy NateHornblower and welcome to Solar Panel; Talk, lots to read here.

    Comment


    • #3
      Avoid Sunpower unless you want the equivalent of a Mercedes for a grocery hauler. Solar equipment is a commodity and an appliance, not a lifestyle. Sunpower is good stuff but way overpriced for what you get. Stick around and read posts for the details and don't swallow the Sunpower advertising hype. Take your time and learn before you spend. You can get equally fit for purpose, quality stuff for about 20+% less than Sunpower. Make up for limited roof space by reducing your load by ~ 20%. That in itself will save more and cost less than the Sunpower difference in price.

      In the meantime, download a slightly outdated copy of :"Solar Power Your Home for Dummies", a free net download, or spend ~ $25 for an updated hardcopy. Read it, especially the conservation sections. Then, come back here to fill in any gaps. I'd use this forum as an adjunct to self acquired information, but not the primary or only source of information. Most folks who get solar oversize and overspend and wind up getting screwed by their own ignorance. Be one of the smart ones, read the book, then ask questions here, and learn what you really need before you call vendors.

      Welcome to the neighborhood.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the welcome and replies. Yep, I saw other posts about the book and grabbed it last night. Time to start reading!

        Comment


        • #5
          My first n00b question that I haven't found an answer to yet... monitoring. How does that work? Is it dependent on inverter manufacturer? It is functional if the manufacturer goes belly up? I read the sunpower monitoring is via an app or some sunpower website which likely won't exist in a decade. Is one able to connect directly to the monitoring hardware in the garage via internal network?

          thx

          Comment


          • #6
            Most inverters have some ability to be monitored directly, but it might be through RS-485 or some other PITA method. Solaredge forces you to access their data through their cloud server... To have truly local monitoring, you would need to redirect the DNS lookup to your local server. SMA's newest generation has direct Ethernet/Wifi access, but getting the login setup sounds tricky. Enphase microinverters are easy to monitor if you buy their Envoy. Fronius inverters can be accessed via Ethernet/Wifi directly.

            Some installers use third party monitoring systems that you'll need to access through them... Locus and Sunpower are black box monitors that are regularly used.

            I would suggest that if you really care about monitoring, invest a few hundred in your own multichannel energy monitor that you can access directly. With a set of CT's on the generation circuit and a set on the feed from your meter, you can get a very good look at how much is generated and how much is consumed.

            Last edited by sensij; 03-11-2017, 04:59 AM.
            CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by NateHornblower View Post
              My first n00b question that I haven't found an answer to yet... monitoring. How does that work? Is it dependent on inverter manufacturer? It is functional if the manufacturer goes belly up? I read the sunpower monitoring is via an app or some sunpower website which likely won't exist in a decade. Is one able to connect directly to the monitoring hardware in the garage via internal network?

              thx
              +1 on Sensij's monitoring comments. Many ways to monitor. Kind of a rat's nest as to what's available for monitoring these days. As an observation, most users stop paying much attention to output after a short time. The novelty wears off as familiarity builds and output becomes mundane/boring. A nice and probably necessary tool, but for a lot of folks, a lot of extra bells/whistles may be unnecessary and/or go unused. One indication: If you've read your electric meter every day for years and recorded the number and kept track of usage, you might be a candidate for sophisticated monitoring. If you already do that, you probably already have a handle on monitoring with other/additional methods. Otherwise, less complicated stuff that can flag an equipment problem might be sufficient.

              As a respectful suggestion, suit yourself, but if your primary goal is similar to most folks, that is, to reduce your electric bill in the most cost effective way(s): first things first. I'd get the basics of solar down first and learn how things work, how you use energy, how to use less of it, and how you're charged for it before worrying about how to measure something you may not quite understand (yet).

              I'd also resist what may be a strong temptation to call vendors just yet. Know what you want and what's available to meet your goals first. Do that, and you'll get better information and be a better negotiator once your more informed. Know the answers to the technical questions you'll ask vendors before you ask. You'll learn how much they don't know and maybe get an idea of how much they're B.S.'ing you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Agree avoid Sun Power like the plague. Their warranty is worthless, they will be bankrupt in a year or less and out of the biz. Hell most solar panel manufactures will be gone in a year or two. Stick with companies that do not rely on solar like GE, Panasonic, Kyocera, and Sanyo. Those companies will be around to honor their warranties. The solar bubble has busted.
                MSEE, PE

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                  Agree avoid Sun Power like the plague. Their warranty is worthless, they will be bankrupt in a year or less and out of the biz. Hell most solar panel manufactures will be gone in a year or two. Stick with companies that do not rely on solar like GE, Panasonic, Kyocera, and Sanyo. Those companies will be around to honor their warranties. The solar bubble has busted.
                  while I agree that the warranty is only as good as the company behind it, r u sure that ge/panny/kyocera/sanyo will stand behind the solar warr.... or is each solar company a 'subsidiary ' of the mother, which means you can wipe your....fill in the blank.. with their warr , just like the sunpower warr...

                  have you actually researched that comment ?????
                  Last edited by paris401; 03-12-2017, 10:53 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I can personally vouch for Kyocera as to their warranties being honored I have recently had 4 separate interactions directly with Kyocera regarding panels from 2000 to 2002 and they have never hesitated to honor their warranties. Kyocera isn't some recent startup company trying their hand in solar module manufacturing business. That cant be said for many solar mfg. co's these days. Sun Power is on shaky ground lately and if you are truly concerned with being able to get a warranty honored 10 - 20 years down the road they aren't your best choice.
                    2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OP: The idea of warranty being of a lot of concern with respect to solar equipment may be unwarranted, at least with respect to panels. It appears that solar panels don't fail much, and those that do fail do so shortly after startup, well before any reputable mfg. warranty expires.

                      No one knows which, if any, mfg. will be around X years down the road, but someone will be around for service. Best bet is to choose a vendor wisely.

                      Looks to me like worrying a lot about solar warranties as a big part of the buying decision, and in particular about who's going to be around when the array dies is a bit like prepaying for my funeral and choosing an outfit to plant me based on who's least likely to go out of business by the time I croak. I'll choose my body snatcher and potter's field carefully, hope they stay and move on with the rest of my life. All this warranty business is a bit of a red herring. Go for quality in equipment and particularly vendors.

                      Inverters, particularly micros, may be a slightly different animal. Best bet there, maybe a bit off topic and more opinion only, is to keep the electronics to a minimum, keep them off what's a pretty harsh environment (the roof) and keep them accessible in a semi controlled environment That means skipping micros and getting a good string inverter, and putting it in your garage. Bonus: fewer failure points - one inverter instead of one inverter per panel.

                      Repeat: Overall, your best warranty is your planning and input to choose quality equipment, choose a reputable, established vendor, do a lot of research before you buy, and a lot of due diligence - trust but verify stuff after purchase. Do those things for the first lines of defense. Consider mfg. warranties as backup to up front quality, planning and careful installation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by paris401 View Post

                        while I agree that the warranty is only as good as the company behind it, r u sure that ge/panny/kyocera/sanyo will stand behind the solar warr.... or is each solar company a 'subsidiary ' of the mother,
                        Sun Power and other companies like it only have one product line. If that market dries up, they are done. GE, Panasonic, LG, etc solar is just a very small percentage of their product lines and have been around for decades. So yes the larger companies carry those losses.

                        The only companies I would worry about, like LG, are those in South Korea. The corruption in that country and looming war with the North could easily put them in trouble over night.

                        MSEE, PE

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                          Sun Power and other companies like it only have one product line. If that market dries up, they are done. GE, Panasonic, LG, etc solar is just a very small percentage of their product lines and have been around for decades. So yes the larger companies carry those losses.
                          The only companies I would worry about, like LG, are those in South Korea. The corruption in that country and looming war with the North could easily put them in trouble over night.
                          i read your prior on Kyocera which is cool... very cool... HOWEVER... when u buy from Panasonic, u are buying from 'panasonic eco solutions north america' domiciled in Delaware... if the poop hits the fan, will the mothership bail out the company... I'm not so sure .. i have a bit of experience with Delaware law (in other matters)... and as a plaintiff u are usually left holding your pud.. i bought insurance from ge years ago and when they saw the direction that long term care was going, they bailed .. spun off the company n now I'm with genworth with ever increasing premiums...

                          u mite be rite and we'll be warm and toasty... but I'm not sure... lets check back in 25years ... god willing

                          .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Whatever you want to think. Panasonic is worth $27 Billion dollar today, and SP owes more than the company is worth and no way to ever become profitable. SP is insolvent. The best SP product owners can hope for is someone like Panasonic to buy their debt and take over the company. Not going to happen.
                            MSEE, PE

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Update:

                              I've read SP4D. It was a good and entertaining read. Thanks for the recommendation, J.P.M.

                              I also ditched the SunPower idea. I had SP systems quoted, but as we know they're more expensive. The dealers that can get the best pricing are the "Master" dealers and they tend to be "All in" solar companies, i.e. where will they be after the bust shakes out? I wasn't comfortable with that.

                              I've had a few quotes on non SunPower systems from a few local electrical contractors that have been around for decades. Price is close to $3.12/watt.

                              8.91 DC kW
                              27 LG 330's. SE 7600A w/ optimizers. $28k

                              9.90 DC kW
                              30 LG 330's. SE 5000A w/ optimizers + SE 3800H w/ optimizers. $31k

                              Any advantage to using two smaller inverters instead of a single larger inverter on the larger system? Planning for future expansion (EV), does either inverter set up offer more flexibility?

                              System is split on a few planes - not all panels face a single direction. Most face east / west.
                              Last edited by NateHornblower; 04-17-2017, 09:53 PM.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X