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  • Getting bids for system in the OC

    Couple quick stats first:

    1. 2 story, 8 year old home in 92865 zip with roof at 140 deg.
    2. Last years power usage was about 10000 Kw.
    3. Purchased a Prius Plugin 2 months ago.
    4. Average SCE bill is $172 and it has been increasing.
    5. No pool but 3 kids under 8 so someone is usually at home.

    Most bids I have received have been in the 5-6Kw range and multiple places said 22 panels is the most they could probably fit. Most are recommending Enphase microinverters even though I have no shade issues and all panels will be installed on one piece of roof. I was hesitant to go with microinverters after reading this site but the company I may go with says they will cover the labor of replacing microinverters for the term of the microinverter warranty.

    The leading quote right now is from Company A:

    5.4 kw system
    20 Suniva OPT270-60-4 Panels
    20 Enphase M215 Inverters
    Cost $17555 (Before Federal Tax Incentive.)

    Works out to about $3.25 per kw. They originally came in closer to $4 per kw, but I knew their cost on another install, which was about 3.25, so I said I needed it to be close to $3 per kw.

    Just trying to make sure I'm not missing anything. They aren't the biggest installer, about 60 installs in my area in the last year according to the CSI website. Suniva seems like a good panel but it doesn't seemed to get used a whole lot around here.

    Any and all critiques welcome.

  • #2
    Get multiple bids and shop around.....

    Sent you a PM as well.

    Good Luck!

    Severum

    Comment


    • #3
      $3.25/W on a 5.4 KW system sounds roughly right. But I think the installer maybe cutting corners by offering M215 which works well with panel less than 250W. Not sure about the Suniva brand though. I'm about to sign a contract for a 4.8 KW system in San Diego using LG 300N1Cs + SolarEdge optimizer. From my experience, for $3.3-$3.4/W, you can get SolarWorld W275 + Enphase M250 (or SolarEdge optimizer). At $3.4-3.5/W, you can get the LG panels. Interestingly I too started with Enphase but slowly changed my mind to SolarEdge which is optimizer + string because of what I read here. I also bought a Prius Plugin exactly 2 month ago (during their -$4K+0% APR sale) from Autonation Irvine (don't tell me you got yours from there too). My electric bill went up $70 in a month which is why I've decided to install solar in the first place. I have some local installers' names but not sure if they will go up to OC. Let me know if you want them.
      16xLG300N1C+SE6000[url]http://tiny.cc/ojmxyx[/url]

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by thejq View Post
        $3.25/W on a 5.4 KW system sounds roughly right. But I think the installer maybe cutting corners by offering M215 which works well with panel less than 250W. Not sure about the Suniva brand though. I'm about to sign a contract for a 4.8 KW system in San Diego using LG 300N1Cs + SolarEdge optimizer. From my experience, for $3.3-$3.4/W, you can get SolarWorld W275 + Enphase M250 (or SolarEdge optimizer). At $3.4-3.5/W, you can get the LG panels. Interestingly I too started with Enphase but slowly changed my mind to SolarEdge which is optimizer + string because of what I read here. I also bought a Prius Plugin exactly 2 month ago (during their -$4K+0% APR sale) from Autonation Irvine (don't tell me you got yours from there too).
        That was a good deal for the Prius, and now the green stickers are back for a while. Don't forget to apply for your state rebate and federal tax incentive.

        Curious what pushed you to the Solaredge with optimizers? I looked at them initially but haven't found anyone using them. I would like to have something widely supported on my roof in case my contractor doesn't make 10 years.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by darkhelmet View Post
          That was a good deal for the Prius, and now the green stickers are back for a while. Don't forget to apply for your state rebate and federal tax incentive.

          Curious what pushed you to the Solaredge with optimizers? I looked at them initially but haven't found anyone using them. I would like to have something widely supported on my roof in case my contractor doesn't make 10 years.
          Yeah, already got the green HOV sticker and filed the CA rebate, but don't think I will get the Fed tax rebate next year because of AMT .

          Here are my reason for going with SoalrEdge.
          1. reliability. There seems to be too many complaints/failures about the early versions of Enphase inverters like M190. Granted M215 and M250 seems to be better but it's still too early to judge since they're on the market for about 2 years. I think SolarEdge has a better design where they use ceramic capacitors in the optimizer. The optimizer itself is much simpler (just compare the size vs micro-inverter) and cheaper to build. So far I have yet to see any real failures reported in social media. Granted the technology is even newer.
          2. cost. For my system size, they're the same, but on larger systems SolarEdge would be cheaper.
          3. per panel monitoring. It's free for the life time of SolarEdge, but you have to pay $250 for Enphase for the first 10 yrs, and $250 for another 10 yrs later on if you still want it.
          4. power. For the LG300 panel I want, the largest Enphase is M250 which I think will clip occasionally (however small). Also not sure about the longevity if it's run at max capacity all the time. The SolarEdge 300 seems like a perfect match.
          5. expandability. Technically micro-inverter and optimizer can both add small number of panels without major redesign. But here in San Diego, I don't need a new permit as long as I don't touch the inverter. So by going with an oversized inverter eg. SE6000A-US which's good for 7KW for <$100 more than SE5000, I can add quite a few panels later if I need to.
          6. network. It is probably minor. Enphase uses power line communication which means the monitor needs to be plugged into a outlet that's close to the inverters. SolarEdge doesn't have this problem (as far as I know) since the optimizers are wired to the inverter with the monitor.

          As for long term support, it's hard to say which company or installer will survive. But both Enphase and SolarEdge will pay the installer for labor and cost. I think most installers (esp. new ones) like Enphase because they're easy to install, and AC is much safer to work with. With high voltage DC, the installer needs to be VERY careful.
          16xLG300N1C+SE6000[url]http://tiny.cc/ojmxyx[/url]

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by thejq View Post
            Yeah, already got the green HOV sticker and filed the CA rebate, but don't think I will get the Fed tax rebate next year because of AMT .

            Here are my reason for going with SoalrEdge.
            1. reliability. There seems to be too many complaints/failures about the early versions of Enphase inverters like M190. Granted M215 and M250 seems to be better but it's still too early to judge since they're on the market for about 2 years. I think SolarEdge has a better design where they use ceramic capacitors in the optimizer. The optimizer itself is much simpler (just compare the size vs micro-inverter) and cheaper to build. So far I have yet to see any real failures reported in social media. Granted the technology is even newer.
            2. cost. For my system size, they're the same, but on larger systems SolarEdge would be cheaper.
            3. per panel monitoring. It's free for the life time of SolarEdge, but you have to pay $250 for Enphase for the first 10 yrs, and $250 for another 10 yrs later on if you still want it.
            4. power. For the LG300 panel I want, the largest Enphase is M250 which I think will clip occasionally (however small). Also not sure about the longevity if it's run at max capacity all the time. The SolarEdge 300 seems like a perfect match.
            5. expandability. Technically micro-inverter and optimizer can both add small number of panels without major redesign. But here in San Diego, I don't need a new permit as long as I don't touch the inverter. So by going with an oversized inverter eg. SE6000A-US which's good for 7KW for <$100 more than SE5000, I can add quite a few panels later if I need to.
            6. network. It is probably minor. Enphase uses power line communication which means the monitor needs to be plugged into a outlet that's close to the inverters. SolarEdge doesn't have this problem (as far as I know) since the optimizers are wired to the inverter with the monitor.

            As for long term support, it's hard to say which company or installer will survive. [COLOR="#FFD700"]But both Enphase and SolarEdge will pay the installer for labor and cost.[/COLOR] I think most installers (esp. new ones) like Enphase because they're easy to install, and AC is much safer to work with. With high voltage DC, the installer needs to be VERY careful.
            Would you please let me know where you have heard of the warranty of either Enphase or SolarEdgeon labor? I have told otherwise by installers. Thanks.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by zhyue2003 View Post
              Would you please let me know where you have heard of the warranty of either Enphase or SolarEdgeon labor? I have told otherwise by installers. Thanks.
              I think that becomes a grey area. For Enphase, I have been told by multiple installers that they will install it for free paid by Enphase. Some will actually put into writing. Since I'm not getting Enphase, I didn't dwell on it too much. But I remember reading the Enphase warranty that specifically said labor is not included. So go figure. For SolarEdge, the warranty states:
              "Where SolarEdge decides to repair the Product or part(s), warranty coverage includes labor and material costs necessarily
              incurred to correct the Product defect; and where SolarEdge decides to replace the Product or part(s) to which the
              Limited Warranty applies, warranty coverage includes the cost of the replacement of the Product or part(s). "
              So my installer said that means SolarEdge will pay him to replace the parts. Not sure if I can trust that, so I will try to get him to write it in the contract.
              16xLG300N1C+SE6000[url]http://tiny.cc/ojmxyx[/url]

              Comment


              • #8
                At present Enphase does not cover labor on new models according to numerous members.
                [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by russ View Post
                  At present Enphase does not cover labor on new models according to numerous members.
                  That seems to be the only negative I've seen written about the Enphase M250's, that the warranty period doesn't cover labor. Perhaps this is why I'm likely looking that way for my DiY project, where I'd be doing my own labor anyway.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by thejq View Post
                    I think that becomes a grey area. For Enphase, I have been told by multiple installers that they will install it for free paid by Enphase. Some will actually put into writing. Since I'm not getting Enphase, I didn't dwell on it too much. But I remember reading the Enphase warranty that specifically said labor is not included. So go figure. For SolarEdge, the warranty states:
                    "Where SolarEdge decides to repair the Product or part(s), warranty coverage includes labor and material costs necessarily
                    incurred to correct the Product defect; and where SolarEdge decides to replace the Product or part(s) to which the
                    Limited Warranty applies, warranty coverage includes the cost of the replacement of the Product or part(s). "
                    So my installer said that means SolarEdge will pay him to replace the parts. Not sure if I can trust that, so I will try to get him to write it in the contract.
                    Is there a consensus on whether SolarEdge's warranty covers labor? Installers I have talked to seem to not think so. The language in the warranty as you posted above, "cost of the replacement of the Product or parts", seems fairly vague. The warranty also has the following language, which makes me wonder if labor is included at all.

                    [B]All other costs, including, without limitation, travel and boarding costs of SolarEdge service personnel that are incurred for repairs of Products on-site, as well as costs related to buyer’s employees and contractors repair or replacement activities, are not covered by the Limited Warranty and, unless otherwise agreed in writing in advance by SolarEdge, shall be borne by the buyer.[/B]

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CraziFuzzy View Post
                      That seems to be the only negative I've seen written about the Enphase M250's, that the warranty period doesn't cover labor. Perhaps this is why I'm likely looking that way for my DiY project, where I'd be doing my own labor anyway.
                      All installers would at least provide a 10-yr system warranty that includes everything. Some even longer. Nothing against DIY, if you have the know-how and proper license, go for it. Cost wise, unless you can buy it directly from distributors (like many of the large installers), you won't save much by buying from either wholesale online or retail outlets.

                      As for installers, I personally prefer a full electrical service company that does all type of jobs besides solar. There're just too many solar installers/integrators in the last 5-6 years because of the demand created by government subsidies. When the Fed incentives goes down from 30% to 10% in 2016, hopefully the price of solar will go down at least 20% to offset that. Otherwise it'd hard to say who will survive when the demand suddenly drops. My guess is that the full service outlets will probably be fine.
                      16xLG300N1C+SE6000[url]http://tiny.cc/ojmxyx[/url]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by thejq View Post
                        As for installers, I personally prefer a full electrical service company that does all type of jobs besides solar. There're just too many solar installers/integrators in the last 5-6 years because of the demand created by government subsidies. When the Fed incentives goes down from 30% to 10% in 2016, hopefully the price of solar will go down at least 20% to offset that. Otherwise it'd hard to say who will survive when the demand suddenly drops. My guess is that the full service outlets will probably be fine.
                        This is kind of my thinking too. The bid I'm currently considering is from an Electrical/HVAC/Solar company. It seems to me having multiple business lines helps insulate them from changes down the road in solar.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by thejq View Post
                          All installers would at least provide a 10-yr system warranty that includes everything. Some even longer. Nothing against DIY, if you have the know-how and proper license, go for it. Cost wise, unless you can buy it directly from distributors (like many of the large installers), you won't save much by buying from either wholesale online or retail outlets.

                          As for installers, I personally prefer a full electrical service company that does all type of jobs besides solar. There're just too many solar installers/integrators in the last 5-6 years because of the demand created by government subsidies. When the Fed incentives goes down from 30% to 10% in 2016, hopefully the price of solar will go down at least 20% to offset that. Otherwise it'd hard to say who will survive when the demand suddenly drops. My guess is that the full service outlets will probably be fine.
                          The warranty aspect is not why I'm doing a DIY system (DIY installs in my area run less than half the cost of installed systems, with no draconian 'license-to-work-on-your-own-home-policies'). My only reason for bringing it up here is that the M250 gets great reviews, with the exception of the possibility of needing to pay labor for a warranty repair. That single negative is of no consequence to me. I enjoy working on my home, which makes my labor essentially free.

                          However, I was not trying to take this thread off course - I was just trying to counter the 'no-labor-warranty' comment that was made - not all feel replacing a microinverter to be a difficult item.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Too good to be true?

                            Originally posted by darkhelmet View Post

                            Works out to about $3.25 per kw. They originally came in closer to $4 per kw, but I knew their cost on another install, which was about 3.25, so I said I needed it to be close to $3 per kw.
                            The materials you listed are good and the micro converters will mean the system turns it's self on earlier and goes off later so that's a great plan. The price is great! A little too great. You need to ask a lot of questions about the install and other equipment they will be installing such as the racks, the Gauge of wiring being used, and especially the potential damage to your roof. At that price for that quality equipment, they have to be cutting corners somewhere. If that corner is in the install you could end up with leaking problems down the road. That could lead to mold. You really don't want that. ~Megan

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CraziFuzzy View Post
                              The warranty aspect is not why I'm doing a DIY system (DIY installs in my area run less than half the cost of installed systems, with no draconian 'license-to-work-on-your-own-home-policies'). My only reason for bringing it up here is that the M250 gets great reviews, with the exception of the possibility of needing to pay labor for a warranty repair. That single negative is of no consequence to me. I enjoy working on my home, which makes my labor essentially free.

                              However, I was not trying to take this thread off course - I was just trying to counter the 'no-labor-warranty' comment that was made - not all feel replacing a microinverter to be a difficult item.
                              I think the M250 is a great choice, esp for DIY. You can install/test a few panels at a time and slowly grow the system. AC is also much safer to work with than DC.
                              16xLG300N1C+SE6000[url]http://tiny.cc/ojmxyx[/url]

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