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Is this a good Deal? 6.760 kW DC, SolarWorld/Enphase, Livermore CA for $3.86/watt

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  • Is this a good Deal? 6.760 kW DC, SolarWorld/Enphase, Livermore CA for $3.86/watt

    Hello all and thanks for teaching me so much about PV systems! Below is the deal I received. I'm in Livermore CA. Is it a good one?

    $3.86/watt DC (before 30% tax credit) Includes financing at 2.99%

    Total System Size
    6.760 kW DC Power (STC) / 5.738 kW AC Power (CEC)

    Estimated Annual Production
    10,728 kWh

    PV Panel Description
    Qty. 26 - SolarWorld Model: SW260 Mono Black

    Inverters
    Qty. 26 - Enphase Energy Model: M215-60-2LL-S2x

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Do you have a lot of shade ? If not, a string inverter will probably save about $0.20/Watt +/- a bit.

    Also, there are pros/cons to string vs. micros. Livermore is cooler than Phoenix so the electronics won't see as high a temp. as often, but micros vs. string will be 25 or so more failure points for you.

    Depending on layout, some of the micros may be hard to get at, requiring some panel removal/reinstall. Check the labor on the warranty.

    Micros have advantages for less total array loss under partial shade conditions. Micros allow individual panel monitoring. The advantages of that seem to fall into disuse a lot of the time once the novelty wears off. Micros are often warranted for 25 yrs. but that warranty may not include labor.

    String inverters are usually warranted for 10-12 yrs.

    Just some thoughts.

    Welcome to the neighborhood.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ditto the risk of microinverters.
      A good metric in evaluating solar systems is the ratio of yearly production (in kWh) to the array size (in kW). I does depend on weather though. In sunny Arizona, we get a ratio of 1700, but your area will be less. You can find this ratio by pluggin your numbers into NREL's PVWATTS software on line for free. It is very common for disreputable vendors to overstate this metric to make their quote look better. By knowing the correct ratio for your area, you can easily weed out the dishonest vendors.
      BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >2000kW installed

      Comment


      • #4
        It seems ok-ish. I am getting $3.50/Watt faceplate in Los Angeles before incentives, with solaredge (I have shading, and solaredge's per-module electronics are simpler than full microinverters, so probably more reliable).

        Comment


        • #5
          What is the term length on the financing?
          NABCEP certified Technical Sales Professional

          [URL="http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showthread.php?5334-Solar-Off-Grid-Battery-Design"]http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...Battery-Design[/URL]

          [URL]http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html[/URL] (Voltage drop Calculator among others)

          [URL="http://www.gaisma.com"]www.gaisma.com[/URL]

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Naptown View Post
            What is the term length on the financing?
            12 year at 2.99%. From Enerbank, but you won't see it on their website. The PV installer need to apply on their end.

            Payment assumes we pay down the 30% tax credit when we receive it. It works like a delayed down payment.

            No pre-pay penalty. Payment based on 70% of total cost, 12 years, fixed 2.99%. Not tax deductible.

            There is a cost for the loan upfront, but this is uncharged into the system price. You get back 30% tax credit on the "up charge" since it just becomes part of the total system cost. Seems like it adds anything from 4 to 14% to the cost, depending on how much the installer wants to absorb to get your business. One installer wanted to pass on the entire 14%, which was like...no.

            If you can't or don't want to do a HELOC its a good deal. Of course a HELOC would be a "same as cash" deal to the installer and you'd save the up charge.

            Hope that helps!

            Comment


            • #7
              Actuallly it is much more than that.
              However since that cost is part of the purchase you get the 30% federal cradit.
              However that is an unsecured loan so the 2.99% is not deductible.
              Paying cash by using a heloc and taking the discount for paying cash if your installer is actually willing to give you the full discount for the avoided cost will generally work out better particularly if you are in a higher tax bracket.
              Heloc interest is deductible.
              Last edited by Naptown; 07-18-2015, 02:44 PM.
              NABCEP certified Technical Sales Professional

              [URL="http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showthread.php?5334-Solar-Off-Grid-Battery-Design"]http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...Battery-Design[/URL]

              [URL]http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html[/URL] (Voltage drop Calculator among others)

              [URL="http://www.gaisma.com"]www.gaisma.com[/URL]

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Naptown View Post
                Actuallly it is much more than that.
                However since that cost is part of the purchase you get the 30% federal cradit.
                However that is an unsecured loan so the 2.99% is not deductible.
                Paying cash by using a heloc and taking the discount for paying cash if your installer is actually willing to give you the full discount for the avoided cost will generally work out better particularly if you are in a higher tax bracket.
                Heloc interest is deductible.
                Yes, you are correct. However for us we prefer to not use a HELOC, so this seemed like the next best way to go.

                That being said....IS THIS A GOOD DEAL?

                I'm also torn between the argument for and against micro inverters. Reading online folks seem to be very committed to both camps. We don't have any shade issues, so central inverter might seem best. But I like the idea that efficiency is increased around 3%, and each panel being independent of the others. But then you have the cost of taking apart several panels just to get to an inverter that needs replacing vs changing out 1 in the garage. What are your thoughts?
                If we go central inverter how much can we save? Should we?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by guy94568 View Post
                  Yes, you are correct. However for us we prefer to not use a HELOC, so this seemed like the next best way to go.

                  That being said....IS THIS A GOOD DEAL?

                  I'm also torn between the argument for and against micro inverters. Reading online folks seem to be very committed to both camps. We don't have any shade issues, so central inverter might seem best. But I like the idea that efficiency is increased around 3%, and each panel being independent of the others. But then you have the cost of taking apart several panels just to get to an inverter that needs replacing vs changing out 1 in the garage. What are your thoughts?
                  If we go central inverter how much can we save? Should we?
                  Opinions vary, but I'm not sure I understand where the 3% comes in, particularly with no shade. As for cost, as I wrote, ~~ $0.20/Watt seems a reasonable guess as to the premium for micros over string in my HOA.

                  Take your best shot. The choice is yours.

                  BTW, don't forget to consider getting your roof inspected/serviced as necessary. Cheap insurance.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You will save money with a single inverter.
                    If I back out the cost of the financing from your total ( if you got all of it taken off ) your per watt costs are pretty good.
                    NABCEP certified Technical Sales Professional

                    [URL="http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showthread.php?5334-Solar-Off-Grid-Battery-Design"]http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...Battery-Design[/URL]

                    [URL]http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html[/URL] (Voltage drop Calculator among others)

                    [URL="http://www.gaisma.com"]www.gaisma.com[/URL]

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
                      Opinions vary, but I'm not sure I understand where the 3% comes in, particularly with no shade. As for cost, as I wrote, ~~ $0.20/Watt seems a reasonable guess as to the premium for micros over string in my HOA.

                      Take your best shot. The choice is yours.

                      BTW, don't forget to consider getting your roof inspected/serviced as necessary. Cheap insurance.
                      The 3% comes from eliminating module mismatch.
                      NABCEP certified Technical Sales Professional

                      [URL="http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showthread.php?5334-Solar-Off-Grid-Battery-Design"]http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...Battery-Design[/URL]

                      [URL]http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html[/URL] (Voltage drop Calculator among others)

                      [URL="http://www.gaisma.com"]www.gaisma.com[/URL]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by guy94568 View Post
                        IS THIS A GOOD DEAL?
                        You're paying $3.86, I'm paying $3.50 a few hundred miles south of you (in an expensive urban area).
                        Not sure why you're paying 10% more. (Did you mention that an upfront financing charge was included? Maybe that's part of it?)

                        Have you shopped around?

                        (Also, for what it's worth, I find
                        http://www.solaredge.us/files/pdfs/s...ethodology.pdf
                        more convincing than
                        http://www2.enphase.com/wp-uploads/e...-inverters.pdf
                        and suspect solaredge gives you the benefit of microinverters with higher reliability. But that's just a guess.
                        See also https://matter2energy.wordpress.com/...verter-debate/ for some history and a bit more on reliability.)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          To further what Dan said, my installation was completed yesterday and I paid ~$3.63/watt including the financing charge and included a service upgrade to 200A. That was for in wall installation as well. I would get a few more quotes for sure. I got four quotes and they varied wildly.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I put in one of the first SolarEdge (distributed inverter) systems in 2011, because I saw the beauty of the architecture and expected to see better performance. Due to circumstances of being a dealer, I already had a Xantrex system on my house, so split the array and put 12 panels on a 3.3kW SolarEdge and left half on the Xantrex. After watching the two systems compete for a few years now, I can report that the Xantrex old, central inverter consistently beats out the SolarEdge. Early morning - theSolarEdge gets a better start but the Xantrex goes ahead during primetime and doesn't lose it in late afternoon. I haven't tried swapping the panels around to fully test the theory, but I don't believe the hype about individual optimization being better any more (unless in shady situations of course)
                            BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >2000kW installed

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I got a Xantrex inverter in 2008, still truckin'.

                              What do you suppose the difference is -- less clipping?

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