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  • Question about grid-tied residential solar system pricing...

    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.

  • #2
    No like any contractor work the bid is it. That is why you should get at least 3 bids.
    MSEE, PE

    Comment


    • #3
      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
      sigpic

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      • #4
        The Price is Right

        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.

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        • #5
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by penberth View Post
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by KRenn View Post
              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?

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              • #8
                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.
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  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.
                  Your single source for sustainable home improvements: www.eco-merica.com

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NABCEP Russ View Post
                    .... 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.
                    spreadsheet based voltage drop calculator:
                    http://www.solar-guppy.com/download/...calculator.zip
                    http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...oss-calculator

                    http://www.mike-burgess.org/PVinfo_2.html

                    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,
                    battery lugs http://tinyurl.com/LMR-BigLug
                    Setting up batteries http://tinyurl.com/LMR-NiFe

                    gear :
                    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||

                    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||

                    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                      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.
                      Your single source for sustainable home improvements: www.eco-merica.com

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                      • #12
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KRenn View Post
                          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.
                          Your single source for sustainable home improvements: www.eco-merica.com

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                          • #14
                            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.
                            Last edited by russ; 06-23-2011, 06:48 AM. Reason: removed link
                            solar company in bay area

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NABCEP Russ View Post
                              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.

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