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  • Required to purchase Sunpower system with new home

    For those who is also reading this thread, please advise me,

    I need some advices as well, my builder of the new house is contracted with SunPower, and requires buyers to purchase SunPower panels installed.

    The quote I got from builder is $12400 for a 3kW system, estimated 4200 kW annually production in my area (SoCal).

    After 30% tax incentive, I will get 12400x 30% x 25% bracket = 930 cash back on the first year.
    I did a good calculation determining the system is NOT a money saver at all and I won't get pay back in time.

    Here is my calculation, $12400 added to a 30 years 4.5% mortgage rate itself, that's $63 monthly + SCE Edison $11 monthly net meter fee = $74 total monthly for next 30 years

    Estimating my usage matches the productivity, no over usage that I have to buy from the grid, then $74 is what I pay with solar.

    Now, 3kW system who generates 4200 kW an year (I live in SoCal area), then that's 350 kW a month.
    (Assuming I don't use AC at any time of the year.) Without solar system, 350kW Tier 1 bill cost about $65 dollars from SCE Edison.

    Please advise me if I did my calculation wrong, or simply the builder is over charging this system. Because every online information says the Solar system will pay back in 10~15 years.
    But according to my own calculation, I won't get pay back till after 29 years.






  • #2
    Hi hdowar and welcome to Solar Panel Talk. You've come to the right place, it might take a couple of days for the admin to approve you for posting, but in the meantime I've approved this post and moved it into a thread of its own so that others can respond.

    Steve

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by hdowar View Post
      The quote I got from builder is $12400 for a 3kW system, estimated 4200 kW annually production in my area (SoCal).
      Make sure you get your units correct.
      I *think* you mean 4200 kWH (kilowatt-hours)

      $12.4k for 3kW is expensive.
      That'd be ~$4.13/Watt.
      A good pricepoint was about $3/W a year ago.
      So you're well above that.

      After 30% tax incentive, I will get 12400x 30% x 25% bracket = 930 cash back on the first year.
      $12.4k*30% = $3720.

      tax bracket doesn't affect it.
      Only reason you wouldn't get the full $3720 is if you had so little income that you didn't have $3720 in income taxes.
      If you're sending the IRS ~$75/week out of your paycheck and you wouldn't normally get a refund off that $75/week, then you'll get the full $3720.

      Here is my calculation, $12400 added to a 30 years 4.5% mortgage rate itself, that's $63 monthly + SCE Edison $11 monthly net meter fee = $74 total monthly for next 30 years
      I would probably ignore the meter fee (assuming it's not an additional fee just for solar - it's just the standard meter/connection/minimum fee.)

      And I'd do $8680 for the amount borrowed.

      (Assuming I don't use AC at any time of the year.) Without solar system, 350kW Tier 1 bill cost about $65 dollars from SCE Edison.
      What if you're not in Tier 1?
      What I've seen for people in PG&E is that a typical family doesn't stay in Tier 1 usually.
      My guess is SCE is similar.

      But it will certainly depend on what you run - how much AC, what other things you run (like pool pump)





      Comment


      • #4
        Dan K will be so proud of you, with mandatory solar panels.
        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


        • #5
          Originally posted by foo1bar View Post


          $12.4k for 3kW is expensive.
          That'd be ~$4.13/Watt.
          A good pricepoint was about $3/W a year ago.
          So you're well above that.
          What is a good price point for today? I just had my new system commissioned ... 11.7KW; Panasonic HIT 325 panels, two SMA Sunny Boy 6.0 inverters ... Needed to upgrade my electric panel, so went to a GMA instead, installed by the electric co (SCE) for under $500 ... all in all, it cost me almost exactly $2.00/w. How well did I do?

          Comment


          • #6
            Well you are screwed twice. Living in CA and forced to pay a hidden tax. Your calculations look right. At 4200 Kwh per year works out to to 350 Kwh a month, about 1/2 of of what you will likely use. Average monthly is right around 600 Kwh in CA. At $74 month extra means you are paying $74/350 Kwh = 21-cents per Kwh all up front in cash. Of course it will not likely cover and leave you buying about half your power. No problem you got lots of cash to spare.

            Or you could move to a different state like TX where electric rates are 7 to 8-cents per Kwh, and if you use more than 2500 Kwh a month , the rate goes even lower. No state income tax either. Wait until Dan hits you with an extra 80-cents per gallon gasoline tax ( in addition to the 60.3 cents you already pay) he wants to impose on you for living in CA so no one can afford to drive.

            FWIW you are forced to pay roughly 30% more than your neighbor has to pay for a Solar system. You guys got what you asked for, 4 more years of Jerry Brown. By that time you will be a state of Mexico when Nieto runs for President of CA. No hay coincidencia con todos los ilegales.
            MSEE, PE

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by foo1bar View Post
              Make sure you get your units correct.
              I *think* you mean 4200 kWH (kilowatt-hours)

              $12.4k for 3kW is expensive.
              That'd be ~$4.13/Watt.
              A good pricepoint was about $3/W a year ago.
              So you're well above that.
              The builder only told me it's model SunPower x21-335, 9 panels, 3kW.
              Yes, I did my research and it is $4.13/Watt, but some threads did indicate SunPower panels are expensive like that, so I just wanna see if that's a right price for the brand.

              ANYONE ELSE KNOWS HOW MUCH THEY CHARGED OUT THERE?

              $12.4k*30% = $3720.

              tax bracket doesn't affect it.
              Only reason you wouldn't get the full $3720 is if you had so little income that you didn't have $3720 in income taxes.
              If you're sending the IRS ~$75/week out of your paycheck and you wouldn't normally get a refund off that $75/week, then you'll get the full $3720.
              Got it, thank you, I did my calculation wrong. I asked my tax guy, so basically I will get $3720 back for sure.

              I would probably ignore the meter fee (assuming it's not an additional fee just for solar - it's just the standard meter/connection/minimum fee.)

              And I'd do $8680 for the amount borrowed.
              It's still a $12400 borrowed amount added to my 30 years fix rate mortgage, just we will get the $3720 back next year. Still gotta pay that interest!

              What if you're not in Tier 1?
              What I've seen for people in PG&E is that a typical family doesn't stay in Tier 1 usually.
              My guess is SCE is similar.

              But it will certainly depend on what you run - how much AC, what other things you run (like pool pump)
              I stayed in Tier 1 about 10 months a year, only July and August I will barely use Tier 2 energy. My bills from SCE is usually $40 in winter, $60 in summer.
              That's why I am saying I will never get my investment return in this lifetime. Sadness. Hey, but at least the new house looks nice. Thanks for replying! =)



              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by hdowar View Post
                The builder only told me it's model SunPower x21-335, 9 panels, 3kW.
                Yes, I did my research and it is $4.13/Watt, but some threads did indicate SunPower panels are expensive like that, so I just wanna see if that's a right price for the brand.
                JMHO, but I wouldn't give a @#$ about the sunpower brand.
                I think the question should be: Is it the right price for that size installation? And I think the answer is: No. (But my data is ~1.5 years old, so it might be an even more emphatic "NO!")

                And the other question is: Are you willing to pay $5k extra to get a house from this builder?


                It's still a $12400 borrowed amount added to my 30 years fix rate mortgage, just we will get the $3720 back next year. Still gotta pay that interest!
                I think most any standard mortgage you can prepay the $3720 once you get it back and never pay any more interest on that portion.
                And you don't have to wait until next year - you can reduce your withholding so that you don't send as much to the IRS from your paycheck.


                I stayed in Tier 1 about 10 months a year, only July and August I will barely use Tier 2 energy. My bills from SCE is usually $40 in winter, $60 in summer.
                Will it be that low in the new house?
                Bigger house might mean it's more.
                Better insulation might mean it's less.
                Add a pool almost certainly means it'll be more.
                Less shade from established trees might mean it's more.
                Lots and lots of factors that you might have an idea about, but I wouldn't.

                That's why I am saying I will never get my investment return in this lifetime. Sadness.
                If you're really expect usage to be quite low, ask about downsizing the system.
                Show the builder the numbers you've gotten and ask what they can do to downsize the system (or how they can make it cheaper) since the system will never be breakeven.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This whole forced take or leave it thing on Sunpower or any PV system, or any new home feature for that matter, is a bunch of B.S. Even for S.P., what you're being told on price is way too high.

                  I'd tell the builder to put the S.P. system where the sun don't shine, and if he won't build without S.P., I'd walk. Your money, your show. Then, once you've established who's working for who and you take possession, live with the house for 12 months if possible, or until just before tax credits change, and get a good handle on usage. Then, if your usage can justify the cost, get a much more cost effective system than S.P. - and finding that will be quite easy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hdowar View Post
                    ...or simply the builder is over charging this system.
                    You are buying where PV solar is mandated for new construction and you are locked into one brand choice only? Of course you are going to overpay. You don't need math to know that. Since you aren't really saving the environment by going solar, any payback exceeding 7-8 years is wasting funds better invested elsewhere.
                    Dave W. Gilbert AZ
                    6.63kW grid-tie owner

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by azdave View Post
                      You are buying where PV solar is mandated for new construction
                      No - he's buying a house in CA - it's not mandated for new construction in CA until at least 2020. (last I saw still had to go through Building Standards Commission)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                        Well you are screwed twice. Living in CA and forced to pay a hidden tax. Your calculations look right. At 4200 Kwh per year works out to to 350 Kwh a month, about 1/2 of of what you will likely use. Average monthly is right around 600 Kwh in CA. At $74 month extra means you are paying $74/350 Kwh = 21-cents per Kwh all up front in cash. Of course it will not likely cover and leave you buying about half your power. No problem you got lots of cash to spare.

                        Or you could move to a different state like TX where electric rates are 7 to 8-cents per Kwh, and if you use more than 2500 Kwh a month , the rate goes even lower. No state income tax either. Wait until Dan hits you with an extra 80-cents per gallon gasoline tax ( in addition to the 60.3 cents you already pay) he wants to impose on you for living in CA so no one can afford to drive.

                        FWIW you are forced to pay roughly 30% more than your neighbor has to pay for a Solar system. You guys got what you asked for, 4 more years of Jerry Brown. By that time you will be a state of Mexico when Nieto runs for President of CA. No hay coincidencia con todos los ilegales.
                        Ha, tell me about it. Lived outside of Houston for 20yrs (until 2.5yrs ago) and moved outside Sacramento, CA. Everything is more expensive. Including Solar Prices. That said, I'd not pay more than $3.25/W here. The cost of install is higher, with a higher cost of living, ... That said, employment beats unemployment

                        I'd really go look at PVWatt.com and put in the information there, and figure out what you're getting at least broken down by the month. And figure what you're power consumption is through throughout the year. The power company may have an average power usage by the month for the size of house, go look at it. Also, look to see if you're actually get moved automatically to a Time of use plan because you're solar. I know PG&E is doing it where I live.

                        BTW, this may get posted late, as I still do not have posting privileges and will need to be reviewed

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by foo1bar View Post

                          No - he's buying a house in CA - it's not mandated for new construction in CA until at least 2020. (last I saw still had to go through Building Standards Commission)
                          Actually, that would be a state wide mandate, that would go into effect. There are a number of municipalities in CA that require new construction to have Solar PV installed today, most at least require a roof space designed to support solar (i.e. so many Sqft of contiguous roof space based on Sqft of the house, on the same plane and without any vents or other items that would prevent contiguous running of pannels.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Okay. Don't know CA situation but I thought he was stuck in a community where local rules required PV installation and his only choice was to go through the home builder. Sounds like the answer is to not buy solar from the home builder and get more favorable competitive bids.
                            Dave W. Gilbert AZ
                            6.63kW grid-tie owner

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by azdave View Post
                              Sounds like the answer is to not buy solar from the home builder and get more favorable competitive bids.
                              He said the builder "requires buyers to purchase SunPower panels installed".
                              But maybe this "required" from the builder is negotiable.
                              If it isn't negotiable, he needs to figure out if he stays with this builder (costing him ~$5k) - or if he finds another builder.

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