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Costco/Sunrun Quote - $19K for 5.225kW system. Thoughts?

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  • Costco/Sunrun Quote - $19K for 5.225kW system. Thoughts?

    Hi everyone,

    I am a new member on this forum. I live in Southern California (Orange County), and received the following quote from Costco/Sunrun to purchase a solar panel system:

    $19,000 (pre-incentives)
    5.225 kW DC system
    Will produce 8,103 kWh of electricity in year 1, and will offset approximately 97-98% of our current electricity usage. It is estimated that the payback period is about 8 years.

    19 panels - REC275TP
    1 inverter - Solis 4600W
    SnapNrack racking system

    Is this a good deal, or can I do better? If this isn't a good deal, what should my "target" pre-incentive purchase price be?

    Also, in speaking to the SunRun representative, he said there was no wiggle room on the price, as it was pre-negotiated by Costco. Wanted to see if people have had different experiences dealing with Costco/SunRun?

    I'd greatly appreciate the community's input on this solar panel proposal. Thank you!

  • #2
    Wiggle room my butt. Shoot for ~ $3.00/Watt, negotiate upward from your price rather than downward from their's, and think long term bang for your buck rather than getting stuck in the first cost syndrome. Use local, established installers who have been around for a long time as electrical contractors and will stand a decent chance of being around after the reduction in the bloom on the solar lilley solar bottoms out. You can do a lot better than that price and that quality. Get educated, know what you want and learn what's available to meet your needs. You got snagged walking down the main aisle at Costco. Get educated before you spend $20K.

    Comment


    • #3
      Costco ususally offers cash back when you purchase a system. We purchased an HVAC system from them and received a $1000 incentive. You might investigate this further.
      Kerry
      San Diego, CA

      Comment


      • #4
        (1) Costco Incentives - you are correct that we were offered incentives: 10% Costco cash card ($570) and Executive Member cash back ($742), on top of a $5,700 tax credit, for a net price of $11,988. I did not list any of these in my original post because my understanding was that, in evaluating a proposal, I should be providing the pre-incentive prices.

        (2) I received a few other proposals from other installers, but all came in at or above Costco/Sunrun's price of $3.63/watt. I only started dealing with Costco/SunRun because my wife's friend referred us to them. In speaking with the SunRun salesperson, I did make it clear to him that $19K was much too high, and that I'd be more willing to consider them if his proposal was closer to $15K, not $19K. That's when he told me the prices were pre-negotiated through Costco and were non-negotiable. It was at that point I told him we would not move forward considering his price.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by kmm View Post
          Costco ususally offers cash back when you purchase a system. We purchased an HVAC system from them and received a $1000 incentive. You might investigate this further.
          You'll also probably get more if you ask for more. Otherwise cash back or gift cards or other such crap is a moot point because there's no way to confirm, but bet there's at least $1,000 and more buried somewhere in what you paid to make up for what amounts to a phony save story that does little more than give you and other consumers the warm and fuzzies because you think you got a deal. Mark it up to mark it down. It's just business and the way the game is run.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by OCRibeye View Post
            (1) Costco Incentives - you are correct that we were offered incentives: 10% Costco cash card ($570) and Executive Member cash back ($742), on top of a $5,700 tax credit, for a net price of $11,988. I did not list any of these in my original post because my understanding was that, in evaluating a proposal, I should be providing the pre-incentive prices.
            I think it is OK to include Costco incentives in your quote, but not the tax deduction.

            That said, I took J.P.M.'s sage advice and replaced my 25 year old HVAC system before going solar. I ended up needing 3 less PV panels from my original Solar quote of almost 3 years ago.
            Last edited by kmm; 04-04-2017, 04:39 PM.
            Kerry
            San Diego, CA

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kmm View Post

              I think it is OK to include Costco incentives in your quote, but not the tax deduction.

              That said, I took J.P.M.'s sage advice and replaced my 25 year old HVAC system before going solar. I ended up needing 3 less PV panels from my original Solar quote of almost 3 years ago.
              I don't think it was sage advice as much as common sense. I sometimes use the boat analogy. A boat that's otherwise seaworthy has a leaky hull. It's probably more cost effective and sensible to first caulk the hull (seal the building envelope) before getting a more efficient bilge pump (new HVAC equip.) before spending $$ on a way to provide more expensive electricity (an expensive PV array) to the old pump. First things first. Most cost effective first. Education before anything else.

              Comment


              • #8
                is that 8,103 kWh per month?
                Originally posted by OCRibeye View Post
                Hi everyone,

                I am a new member on this forum. I live in Southern California (Orange County), and received the following quote from Costco/Sunrun to purchase a solar panel system:

                $19,000 (pre-incentives)
                5.225 kW DC system
                Will produce 8,103 kWh of electricity in year 1, and will offset approximately 97-98% of our current electricity usage. It is estimated that the payback period is about 8 years.

                19 panels - REC275TP
                1 inverter - Solis 4600W
                SnapNrack racking system

                Is this a good deal, or can I do better? If this isn't a good deal, what should my "target" pre-incentive purchase price be?

                Also, in speaking to the SunRun representative, he said there was no wiggle room on the price, as it was pre-negotiated by Costco. Wanted to see if people have had different experiences dealing with Costco/SunRun?

                I'd greatly appreciate the community's input on this solar panel proposal. Thank you!

                Comment


                • #9
                  When I negotiated with sunrun/costco there was absolutely wiggle room, but that was a good 7 years ago.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bam bam View Post
                    is that 8,103 kWh per month?

                    No. it's as the OP wrote, that is, per year, although that 8,103 kWh/yr. may be a bit conservative, depending on orientation and shading.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      How much is customer service worth in the cost of your solar panel installation? When you need your solar company to remove and reinstall for roofing or other matters, it could make all the difference, right??

                      I am a long time Costco customer and have used outside vendors with Costco in the past. We did solar as well, purchasing the Sunrun solar panels outright and had them installed, after Sunrun confirmed our roof was in good working order. We were all smiles until the point when we had to call on Sunrun for a roof leak. We have and still are getting the run-around, having to put buckets in the attic over my son's ceiling.

                      Hands down, extremely frustrated to get this level of poor customer service from a vendor that Costco has maintained a relationship with for years.

                      Think very hard about the years to come and the support you might need from your solar installer.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by two9design View Post
                        How much is customer service worth in the cost of your solar panel installation? When you need your solar company to remove and reinstall for roofing or other matters, it could make all the difference, right??

                        I am a long time Costco customer and have used outside vendors with Costco in the past. We did solar as well, purchasing the Sunrun solar panels outright and had them installed, after Sunrun confirmed our roof was in good working order. We were all smiles until the point when we had to call on Sunrun for a roof leak. We have and still are getting the run-around, having to put buckets in the attic over my son's ceiling.

                        Hands down, extremely frustrated to get this level of poor customer service from a vendor that Costco has maintained a relationship with for years.

                        Think very hard about the years to come and the support you might need from your solar installer.
                        Sunrun is one of the bottom feeders of solar installers, along with Vivant and, bringing up the rear, SolarCity. Chances are the install was subcontracted. Your experience is but another confirmation of the problems when dealing with such scumbags. It sucks you cannot get honest and timely communication, much less resolution from the vendor, but that what can and does happen all too often with such folks.

                        I'm honestly sorry for your situation, but that's what can happen when you walk in blind and trusting - two things that are self inflicted. Others reading your post may take note and see another example of the dangers and consequences of buying on low initial price while ignorant of what you're buying. To such folks I respectfully suggest skipping the big national firms and use local established electrical contractors. With not much negotiating, the price will be equal or less and the probability of better installation quality will be higher.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by OCRibeye View Post
                          (1) Costco Incentives - you are correct that we were offered incentives: 10% Costco cash card ($570) and Executive Member cash back ($742), on top of a $5,700 tax credit, for a net price of $11,988. I did not list any of these in my original post because my understanding was that, in evaluating a proposal, I should be providing the pre-incentive prices.

                          (2) I received a few other proposals from other installers, but all came in at or above Costco/Sunrun's price of $3.63/watt. I only started dealing with Costco/SunRun because my wife's friend referred us to them. In speaking with the SunRun salesperson, I did make it clear to him that $19K was much too high, and that I'd be more willing to consider them if his proposal was closer to $15K, not $19K. That's when he told me the prices were pre-negotiated through Costco and were non-negotiable. It was at that point I told him we would not move forward considering his price.
                          I don't doubt the SunRun rep's claim that the Costco price is non-negotiable. That said, even with the Costco incentives factored in it's still almost $3.40/W which is definitely high. I'm in LA County and recently signed a contract at $2.87/W for a 6.6kW system using Panasonic HIT panels and Solaredge Optimizers & Inverter. And that's with the higher LA County sales tax rate. You should definitely get some more quotes. I found the website EnergySage very helpful to get competitive quotes, though after I found out that they take referral fees from the vendors that utilize it I decided to go direct with another local company. It did help me get quotes that were significantly lower than the initial bids I received from face-to-face meetings with a couple companies.

                          two9design, wow, that's a horrible position to be put in, and I'm certainly surprised at the poor service even if it is an outside Costco vendor. How long ago was the install done? Have you raised the issue with Costco support directly?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kendalf View Post

                            I don't doubt the SunRun rep's claim that the Costco price is non-negotiable. That said, even with the Costco incentives factored in it's still almost $3.40/W which is definitely high. I'm in LA County and recently signed a contract at $2.87/W for a 6.6kW system using Panasonic HIT panels and Solaredge Optimizers & Inverter. And that's with the higher LA County sales tax rate. You should definitely get some more quotes. I found the website EnergySage very helpful to get competitive quotes, though after I found out that they take referral fees from the vendors that utilize it I decided to go direct with another local company. It did help me get quotes that were significantly lower than the initial bids I received from face-to-face meetings with a couple companies.

                            two9design, wow, that's a horrible position to be put in, and I'm certainly surprised at the poor service even if it is an outside Costco vendor. How long ago was the install done? Have you raised the issue with Costco support directly?
                            Kendalf: FWIW, note CCRibeye's post is almost 1 yr. old. I think he may have moved on or bought something already.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              LOL, didn't even notice the date of the OP. Just saw the thread pop up under the "New Posts" list.

                              Comment

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