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  • Quote opinions

    Located in DFW, I have gotten multiple quotes from 5 companies for a variety of panels and trying to make a final decision. Would like some advice from those keeping up with current rates, AND whether holding out and waiting to install in the future is worth it at all. My opinion is that the tax credit may not get extended (for a second time) because prices are dropping so much. Combine that with a new $0.45cent rebate from our elec provider (which we are in a co-op, ugh...), means that it's a pretty good time to invest. Prices will probably drop another 25% on hardware the next 3-4 years, but install/permit/etc will not (possibly go up due to demand).

    Best 3 options:

    SunPower 360W X22-360-C-AC. 5.76kW system = $11,359 ($19,930 - $2592 rebate - $5979 tax credit) $3.46/W before, $1.97/W after incentives. 92% 25yr perf warranty. 25yr product. 22.2% efficient panel.

    LG Neon R 365W LG365Q1C-A5. 5.84kW system = $11,271 ($19,856 - $2628 rebate - $5956 tax credit) $3.40/W before, $1.93/W after incentives. 87% 25yr perf warranty. 25yr product. 20.8% efficient.

    Trina 300W TSM-DD05A.05 (II). 6kW system = $10,683 ($19,119 - $2700 rebate - $5735 tax credit) $3.19/W before, $1.78/W after incentives. 80% 25yr perf warranty, 10yr product. 18.3% efficient.

    I know many here think SunPower is good but usually not worth the additional expense, but for less than $100 more than LG it seems like a good idea. Obviously there's the downside potential of SunPower going out of business and losing warranty, vs LG which will most likely not. Trina is definitely cheaper, but not THAT much for a considerable drop in performance warranty comparatively.

    Since we're in Texas, I think the temp coef. maters for Summer months, and all 3 seem pretty good. Between .3-.4%/C-deg.

    Also worth noting that our Co-Op does net metering by month only, with no pay-back, so we never want to produce more than our lowest month's bill throughout the year.

    Thoughts? Hoping to make a decision pretty quickly.
    Last edited by glocklt4; 05-10-2018, 05:48 PM.

  • #2
    1.) All decent quality panels in the same location, orientation and duty will produce about the same annual output per installed STC kW for probably longer than you'll own a system.. Panels are a commodity. Spend more time and effort choosing a good and reputable installer than trying to justify a higher priced panel.

    2.) Low temp. coeff. are good , but as or even more important are ways to keep panel temps. low before worrying too much about temp. coefficients. First line of defense is to avoid higher panel temps. by keeping an array at least 6 " off a roof and don't use those stupid skirts. They only inhibit free air movement to no good end and that will only serve to increase array temp. Go for panels with low coeff. and design for free air movement. Best of both worlds.

    3.) Current law has fed. tax credit at 30 % for systems installed/running by end of year 2018 and 2019. That drops to 26 % in 2020 and to 21% for systems installed in 2021.

    4.) Get and read a copy of "Solar Power Your Home for Dummies". Then run PVWatts after you read the info help screens a couple of times. After those things, compare your monthly usage to what PVWatts tells you is an approx. long term average output per month per installed STC kW and size an array as your needs and proclivities tell you knowing that monthly production will be higher in summer as will be your electricity usage and your bills.

    5.) PV prices may drop a bit more as net metering continues to lose some of its benefit and PV prices drop as a result of lower cost effectiveness, but material prices dropping that much more (25 %) may be a stretch, but who knows ?

    Don't be in a hurry. A good deal today will still be a good deal next month. While your at it, study your electricity rates, options and how they may be changing in response to changing conditions. Things are pretty volatile in some areas.

    Comment


    • #3

      Thank you very much for the reply. Very good points. I've done extensive research on sizing and solar technology itself, and have been working with these 5 different companies for the past couple of months trying to learn more, make decisions, and get pricing down between them. Only trying to be in a bit of a hurry at this point because it's time to just make a decision finally and the rebate with our CoOp is limited and will be released soon. I looked into solar previously a few years ago deciding it wasn't worth the $ at the time. I think prices are low enough now and will not continue to plummet like they have been, plus we have the funds to do it without needing a loan/lease program now too. We aren't doing it solely because of the financial savings long term, but it's obviously part of the equation. As long as we recoup a nice chunk of the investment over 5 or so years of saved grid cost, and gain some value in our house while also being green, it seems like a win to me.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by glocklt4 View Post
        Thank you very much for the reply. Very good points. I've done extensive research on sizing and solar technology itself, and have been working with these 5 different companies for the past couple of months trying to learn more, make decisions, and get pricing down between them. Only trying to be in a bit of a hurry at this point because it's time to just make a decision finally and the rebate with our CoOp is limited and will be released soon. I looked into solar previously a few years ago deciding it wasn't worth the $ at the time. I think prices are low enough now and will not continue to plummet like they have been, plus we have the funds to do it without needing a loan/lease program now too. We aren't doing it solely because of the financial savings long term, but it's obviously part of the equation. As long as we recoup a nice chunk of the investment over 5 or so years of saved grid cost, and gain some value in our house while also being green, it seems like a win to me.
        Understood. You're most welcome. Just don't take my, or anyone else's word as gospel without understanding what you read/hear, particularly rosy stories about PV increasing housing resale values. Maybe. Maybe not.

        BTW, congrads on avoiding the lease trap.

        I'd only suggest - and you may already have checked this out - that/if a system must be approved and installed and operating before any POCO rebate periods expire. Apologies if you're ahead of me on that.

        Good luck.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by camilo
          go with sunpower, they are not going anywhere.
          Maybe, maybe not. Go with Sunpower if you swallow their hype, are fond of leaving money on the table and getting about the same annual output as that of equally fit for purpose equipment in a less cost effective Sunpower system.

          There will be a lot of consolidation. I'd be tempted to think that maybe the outfit with the most diversification and deepest pockets might have a higher probability of being around after the dust settles. That ain't Sunpower. They are a one trick pony. Good stuff, but overpriced compared to other equally fit for purpose equipment. Sunpower comes with bragging rights - just like owning a Mercedes as a grocery hauler.

          Besides, someone will always be around for service. As for like - for - like replacement if/when/ever needed, try replacing, for example, a 10 yr. old Sunpower 210 W panel with an exact replacement from Sunpower (or, for that matter, try replacing anyone's anyone's 10 yr. old panel). It ain't gonna' happen.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

            Understood. You're most welcome. Just don't take my, or anyone else's word as gospel without understanding what you read/hear, particularly rosy stories about PV increasing housing resale values. Maybe. Maybe not.

            BTW, congrads on avoiding the lease trap.

            I'd only suggest - and you may already have checked this out - that/if a system must be approved and installed and operating before any POCO rebate periods expire. Apologies if you're ahead of me on that.

            Good luck.
            Well I do believe there is SOME value without a doubt (two identical houses next to each other, buyers would chose one with solar over one without), but the amount of value is of course up for argument.

            Yes, I've confirmed with the rebate documentation that you are given a reserved spot in the rebate list and have a certain amount of time to have the install completed and turned on, otherwise they remove you from the list and give someone else an opportunity.

            As far as the additional discussion on SunPower panels, I do think there is $676 worth in value for them over the Trina's (even with the slight Wattage difference in quotes). I like high tech, and SunPower panels meet my desires for that . From what I've read, I think they will outlast Trina in the long term as well, and the additional warranty coverage is a nice bonus as well (though I assume of course I'll never need it).

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by glocklt4 View Post

              Well I do believe there is SOME value without a doubt (two identical houses next to each other, buyers would chose one with solar over one without), but the amount of value is of course up for argument.

              Yes, I've confirmed with the rebate documentation that you are given a reserved spot in the rebate list and have a certain amount of time to have the install completed and turned on, otherwise they remove you from the list and give someone else an opportunity.

              As far as the additional discussion on SunPower panels, I do think there is $676 worth in value for them over the Trina's (even with the slight Wattage difference in quotes). I like high tech, and SunPower panels meet my desires for that . From what I've read, I think they will outlast Trina in the long term as well, and the additional warranty coverage is a nice bonus as well (though I assume of course I'll never need it).
              Understood. Opinions vary. The more you learn, the more informed your decisions will be. Keep learning.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by camilo
                go with sunpower, they are not going anywhere.
                And how much SP stock do you own? anything to support your statement of belief ? Sanyo will be around a long time after federal tax incentives expire.
                Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | 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

                solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post

                  And how much SP stock do you own? anything to support your statement of belief ? Sanyo will be around a long time after federal tax incentives expire.

                  Haha, no kidding. I did not let this person's comment affect my decision...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post

                    And how much SP stock do you own? anything to support your statement of belief ? Sanyo will be around a long time after federal tax incentives expire.
                    It's possible to own the stock and still be negative on using the product, even while owning it. I've always warned folks about the lack of Sunpower cost effectiveness and their questionable advertising, even while owning a boatload of SP stock - a business decision after seeing their schtick and hype, and at least partly on the logic and faith that no one ever lost a dime underestimating the gullibility of the general public.

                    I did very well with the stock before bailing on it a couple of years ago. My S.P. array runs fine but I didn't get S.P. for its cost effectiveness. More to get some data and an objective idea of the truth or B.S. of their claims of superiority. The claims are, as I suspected, and IMO only mostly specious B.S that prey upon most folks solar ignorance. In the meantime, the stock appreciation paid for my array > 10 times over, confirming my other suspicion about the public's gullibility. It's just business.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Absolutely worth the small premium. Remember those are also microinverters under the sunpower panels, so there is a whole swarm of benefits that come with that, that in my eyes, more than make up the difference. I don't need to read the sales brochure to you.

                      If you want to hide the wiring, it's worth knowing with microinverters you can take the output straight into an attic and run it back to the combiner with Romex, no conduit required. Conduit also introduces massive heat and resistance in the wires, so not using conduit will save you some %of energy too.
                      ​​​​
                      I don't have sunpower, but I do have micros in my setup. And I can tell you the benefit from the lowest panel in a string to the output I get from micros, is monthly 2.6% better total production. That may help bridge the gap if you're considering...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Micros mean you will be conducting 240V the entire distance from them to the meter. With strings
                        you can run 400V in my case, much MORE EFFICIENT, to the inverter(s) that are in turn closer to
                        the meter. Sure the resistance of conductors increases with temp, I would call "massive" an extreme
                        exaggeration. Adequate conduit won't make that much difference, mine after 8 hours at peak current
                        are barely warm to the touch. Bruce Roe

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Massive probably is not the best choice of words when were talking low single digits of effeciency loss. For the scale and $ impact, yes, you're right, not massive. Notable, rather.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            All 3 options include micro-inverters, so that is not a difference that needs to be accounted for. SunPower have their own built in. The LG have Enphase IQ6+, and the Trina have Enphase IQ6. Only difference in those micro-inveters is the maximum wattage they can handle.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That's another plus for sunpower then, as their micros are 320w vs iq6+ being 290w. Imagine those 365 panels if facing anywhere 91 to 269 degrees will have a share of clipping that will eat up the price difference. So Trina vs sunpower. $676 for the brand and the guarantee (92% output @25yrs). That's up to you. I hear their software is top notch but I haven't used it...
                              ​​​​​​

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