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Which panel and system would be best for us? How to decide btw competing quotes.

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  • Which panel and system would be best for us? How to decide btw competing quotes.

    Hello all,

    We have four quotes for a solar system. We are trying to decide between basically two of them.

    Company A offers a 7.28KW system using Qcell 280W panels, SolarEdge string inverters/optimizer.

    Company B offers a 6.67KW system using SolarWorld 290W panels with Enphase micro inverters.

    Both are reputable local companies with several installations. A is a bit more expensive than B. A is also willing to upgrade our electrical service to 200A (separate quote) whereas B only does solar.

    Which system would the experts here recommend?

  • #2
    Generally you do the base comparison using pre-incentive $/watt
    Which micros where they planning to use with the SolarWorld modules?

    you said the one is going to upgrade your service but did you mean Service panel? The service is the line coming to the building and is generally quite expensive.
    Is the MSP (Main Service Panel) upgrade required for the install? if so what is the other planning to do to get the system approved?
    OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

    Comment


    • #3
      Before you go any further:

      1.) What are your goals in getting solar PV ?

      2.) Do you know enough about how PV works to make a reasonably accurate evaluation of the quotes to estimate how well any system will meet your goals ?

      3.) Evaluate quotes on the basis of most long term bang for your buck - NOT necessarily first cost - think long term and think quality and value - including the vendor.

      4.) I'm no expert, but even if I was, I couldn't offer an opinion or guess based on the information supplied.

      If you have not done so already, I'd respectfully suggest you download an (outdated but free) copy of "Solar Power Your Home for Dummies" from the net, or spend ~ $20 or so on an updated version. A few hours invested in reading will probably pay big dividends.

      Come back after reading and get some of the rest of your knowledge gaps filled in.

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

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post
        Generally you do the base comparison using pre-incentive $/watt
        Which micros where they planning to use with the SolarWorld modules?

        you said the one is going to upgrade your service but did you mean Service panel? The service is the line coming to the building and is generally quite expensive.
        Is the MSP (Main Service Panel) upgrade required for the install? if so what is the other planning to do to get the system approved?
        Enphase micro-inverters

        Our service is 100Amps and the panel is full. It is not required per se, but we want to install a heat pump water heater and we don't have the capacity to do this. AFAIK, the service needs to be upgrade from the pole and not only the panel. Of course, everything will be permitted.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by casan View Post

          Enphase micro-inverters

          Our service is 100Amps and the panel is full. It is not required per se, but we want to install a heat pump water heater and we don't have the capacity to do this. AFAIK, the service needs to be upgrade from the pole and not only the panel. Of course, everything will be permitted.
          ok so it sounds like you have a 100 amp MSP. The service is almost certainly larger like 250a or more.

          I was asking which specific enphase micro inverters where they planning to use? should be at least M250 or S280
          OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
            Before you go any further:

            1.) What are your goals in getting solar PV ?

            We want to get solar to reduce our dependency on the grid and to save money in the long run.

            2.) Do you know enough about how PV works to make a reasonably accurate evaluation of the quotes to estimate how well any system will meet your goals ?

            Yes, of all the quotes these two are the best ones. What we are not sure about is the brands involved. As far as I have researched they are both good, so we wanted to get people's experiences with either one that might help us decide.

            3.) Evaluate quotes on the basis of most long term bang for your buck - NOT necessarily first cost - think long term and think quality and value - including the vendor.

            Yes, vendors are reputable. We want more input on quality and value. I know microinverters is the newest one. Some of the representatives mentioned that string w/ optimizer was as good since microinverters are at the mercy of the weather and fail more. That we don't know.

            4.) I'm no expert, but even if I was, I couldn't offer an opinion or guess based on the information supplied.

            If you have not done so already, I'd respectfully suggest you download an (outdated but free) copy of "Solar Power Your Home for Dummies" from the net, or spend ~ $20 or so on an updated version. A few hours invested in reading will probably pay big dividends.

            Thank you for the suggestion, I'll look at it. I'm familiar with how solar work, not so much about brand differences.

            Come back after reading and get some of the rest of your knowledge gaps filled in.

            Take what you want of the above. Scrap the rest.
            Answers above in blue.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by butchdeal View Post

              ok so it sounds like you have a 100 amp msp. The service is almost certainly larger like 250a or more.

              I was asking which specific enphase micro inverters where they planning to use? Should be at least m250 or s280
              m250

              Comment


              • #8
                Other question: what other options are there to finance a solar installation? We've only found 2: a local bank and the contractors. Tried to get more but those other companies work with their own installers and those are not well known companies.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You are not doing enough homework.......you need at least four to five more quotes from reputable companies on top of what you have already done. You will become a more informed consumer the more quotes you get.

                  Keep working and you will save thousands of $ and have a much better outcome.
                  Last edited by DanS26; 01-25-2017, 07:37 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DanS26 View Post
                    You are not doing enough homework.......you need at least four to five more quotes from reputable companies on top of what you have already done. You will become a more informed consumer the more quotes you get.

                    Keep working and you will save thousands of $ and have a much better outcome.
                    I'm not sure I'd rely on most vendors for much information. Usually a process not unlike like the fox guarding the hen house. Get your own info. You'll get more accurate answers to your own questions, really learn stuff, and get an added bonus of having a better chance of finding out find out which vendors are knowledgeable and which are full of B.S. when you ask questions of vendors for which you already know the answers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We got six quotes altogether. We are down to this two. We have had quotes from nationwide companies like SolarCity to small startups. This two are from local medium size companies that have several years experience and installations in the state.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by casan View Post
                        m250
                        Both seem fairly similar. What is the $/w on the two of them (before incentives).
                        You stated that A was a bit more expensive but it is also larger. Are you saying it is more expensive total or per watt?

                        The M250 is very reasonable to be paired with the 290W SolarWorld modules, and would likely have near zero clipping. I would personally prefer the S280 micros as they are the newer model and seem to have better mean time between failures as well as better communications.

                        You didn't say which SolarEdge inverter would be used with vendor A though it is likely the SE6000. If it were mine I would prefer the SE7600 simply because it can be upgraded latter to support battery backup and would leave plenty of room for expansion if needed. I also tend to favor SolarEdge over Enphase for several reasons but Enphase is a close second.
                        OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          IMHO info on financing your PV install is still difficult to find.

                          Be very cautious when dealing with the 3rd party financing that your installer offers, as they typically tack on 4-5K to your cost as an interest rate buy-down. Some installers fail to mention this, but may offer a 'cash discount' if you bring your own financing - which is simply the removal of the upfront buy-down fee.

                          The best collection of financing sources I have found is the 'Solar Loans' (edited)

                          Admin Note, sorry Spektre cant mention those guys. See below
                          Last edited by solar pete; 02-08-2017, 06:29 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Howdy, Re solar financing, there is a bunch of info here http://www.solarreviews.com/solar-po...lar-financing/ (some states are a bit out of date)

                            we are currently updating info pages on our site, but you might want to try www.dsire.org and enter your zip code and you will get a bunch of info, the other place to get relevant info is www.seia.org

                            Cheers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, I noticed the 4K or so upfront fee, so the "supposed" 4.99 APR is more like almost 8 APR. We decided to go with our bank. Only issue with them is max lenght is 7 years, so the payments are higher than they'll be with GreenSky. But I couldn't stomach paying such a big upfront fee and the deceptive advertising, not to mention the absolute lack of information about loans options and terms on their website. I hate being in the dark.

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