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Decided to go with solar - $3.13/w for Panasonic 330w in Bay Area

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  • Decided to go with solar - $3.13/w for Panasonic 330w in Bay Area

    This past Monday we decided to go solar and I started to gather quotes. Our annual usage for the past 12 months is 13,895 kwh. The lowest quotes I received was from Bay Solar Group / LA Solar Group. Their quote was $28,894 for 28 330w panasonic panels with Solar Edge optimizer. It works out to $3.13/w up front and $2.19/w after tax credits.

    What do you guys think about this quote? Yelp reviews are very good.

    Thanks for any input.

  • #2
    Since you ask: Usually, an analysis includes what the proposed system might produce over the long term and then, if the goal is to get the most bang for the buck, some estimate of the most cost effective size to meet the most cost effective bill off set, which may well be less than 100 % of the annual load.

    The price may/may not be OK. that depends on particulars of the job and more importantly on vendor quality.

    As for yelp, I'm not a big fan. Using a bit of common sense, seems to me, if I was looking for technical information about vendors, I'd look elsewhere than semi anonymous sources of reviews written by folks who probably know little to nothing about any real technical expertize their chosen vendor may/may not possess, and who, for all I know (or don't know) may very well be referral whores looking for a fee from their vendor for steering business to their vendor.

    Most folks being about completely solar ignorant does not inspire me to seek their opinions about the quality of solar vendors except maybe how much they smiled - i.e., not at all.

    There's lots of ways to gauge vendor quality, and none of them foolproof, but Yelp, Angie's list, the BBB, or any sources that sell advertising space to solar vendors are not, IMO and by my experience, a source of reliable information. Quite the opposite.


    • #3 also has positive ratings. Other than that, what else is a good source for reliable installer review?


      • #4
        Originally posted by maximus96 View Post also has positive ratings. Other than that, what else is a good source for reliable installer review?
        Well, since you're asking: None other than good old and PITA due diligence. I know of no easy way to do it. Seems to me all the easy way out, push a button for "reliable" information are mostly a steaming pile of road apples designed expressly for the purpose of making money by separating the vast and grossly solar ignorant from their assets.

        Best way I've found is to stick with licensed electrical contractors who've been around for at least 10 years or more, sold solar PV for at least 5 of those years, having thus withstood the meat grinder of dealing with the public while running a business, meeting a weekly payroll and managing to stay in business while making a profit with (at least some) integrity.

        Before you do anything else, download (for free) a slightly outdated version of: " Solar Power Your Home for Dummies", or spring for a newer hardcopy fo ~ $20 at bookstores or Amazon.

        Then, download and run "PVWatts" from NREL. It's a residential modeling program for PV. Read the help/info screens a couple of times, use a 10 % system loss parameter rather than the 14 % default, do a few runs and zero in on a size based on your needs and your new found knowledge.

        Then, and not before, but after you get yourself educated, call three or so vendors.. Among other things, ask question you already know the answers to from your self education. You'll find out more about the vendors that way - perhaps more than they want you to know. Write down what you want - you goals and how to achieve them. Letting the vendors set your goals is letting the fox guard the henhouse and a pretty sure way to get less than most bang for your buck.

        Treat the vendors professionally and with respect, but, never share prices or do "price matching". That's no more than a way to screw yourself and lock in a price that could easily go lower. The vendors know where the competition in anyway. They're hoping you don't but aim to find out what you know. Price matching is an old a trick that has been around since peddling began. I used it all the time when I made a living as a peddler. Buyers who use it have one thing on their mind - low initial cost. In my experience, they were easy marks who usually got less than they paid for.

        Remember, you are after most bang for the buck- not low buck for it's own sake - that's false economics and the errand of fools.

        Keep in mind that POCO (POwer COmpany) rates and ways of billing you have and are changing more than usual as POCOs do their best to get out from under what they view as the unfair burden and lousy business model that Net Metering presents to them. Bottom line in a long, complicated story: PV looks to be about 20+% or so less cost effective than in the recent past. I'm pretty sure most vendors probably don't want potential customers to know that.

        Take what you may want of the above. Scrap the rest.


        • #5
          maximus96 I'm reviewing quotes now. LA Solar Group has given very aggressive pricing. What did your research end up showing about them? And did you end up using them?