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

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  • #16
    The big, nationwide solar providers are all top-down organizations run by marketing types that are all about scheming how to max their bottom line. I have R&R several arrays put in by Sunrun and can attest to the slam-bam-thank-you-maam installation style. Get some quotes from local, dedicated, full-time solar installers (look for them here on SolarReviews.com). Even with this stupid tariff, solar panels cost less than $.75/watt and I can't believe even in LA that you should have to pay more than $3/watt for a complete system
    BSEE, R11, NABCEP, >1200kW installed

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    • #17
      Originally posted by solarix View Post
      The big, nationwide solar providers are all top-down organizations run by marketing types that are all about scheming how to max their bottom line. I have R&R several arrays put in by Sunrun and can attest to the slam-bam-thank-you-maam installation style. Get some quotes from local, dedicated, full-time solar installers (look for them here on SolarReviews.com). Even with this stupid tariff, solar panels cost less than $.75/watt and I can't believe even in LA that you should have to pay more than $3/watt for a complete system
      I'm nowhere near as experienced as you with respect to installation, but I've watched/monitored well over 100 residential installs go into my HOA and dealt with most all of the vendors. While there are local Larry with a ladder types among them, most of the local established, professional outfits are, by and large, light years ahead of the national outfits in terms of professionalism and installation quality, not to mention price. I'm convinced that the national outfits will leave a big stain on renewable energy that will begin showing up in a few years if it hasn't already, leaving honest pros to carry the albatross around their neck as the survivors of the renewable energy industry.

      As for CA prices, some of that premium (but, contrary to what installers around here would have us believe, not all of it) comes from CA bureaucracy. However, a lot of the price added can also be attributed to consumer ignorance. Anyone who doesn't believe that has only to spend and hour or two reading threads around here and get hit with a blinding flash of the obvious of the level of consumer ignorance that makes for gullibility, and thus makes for a target rich environment for peddlers. Let the shearing continue.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
        As for CA prices, some of that premium (but, contrary to what installers around here would have us believe, not all of it) comes from CA bureaucracy. However, a lot of the price added can also be attributed to consumer ignorance. Anyone who doesn't believe that has only to spend and hour or two reading threads around here and get hit with a blinding flash of the obvious of the level of consumer ignorance that makes for gullibility, and thus makes for a target rich environment for peddlers. Let the shearing continue.
        It seems that the lack of solar sales tax exemptions plus the high CA county sales tax rates also contributes to higher costs in CA?

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Kendalf View Post

          It seems that the lack of solar sales tax exemptions plus the high CA county sales tax rates also contributes to higher costs in CA?
          It's all relative. I guess the lack of some tax breaks might be looked on as making things more expensive than some places that do have sales tax exemptions, but sales taxes in CA, while high, are not the highest. In the final analysis, things simply cost more in CA. You want nice, you pay nice. Pay your money, take your choice.

          Example,My property tax bill dropped about 20 % when I moved from Western NY state to San Diego.

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          • #20
            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?
            That's the next step - just trying to figure out who best to contact. We have given ample opportunity to Sunrun to rectify the situation. Keep getting the arms length response and their request for us to pay and contact a third party roofer to confirm it was a bad install (post 3 years - yes 3 years ago however we don't get alot of rain and only noticed a year ago with a really bad rain and my husband thought it was from the conduit leads into the roof - water rushing over it and into the ceiling, hard to prevent all the way around. Now we know better. Sunrun techs confirmed it with their own cell phone photo.) More of our time, more money and I made it clear that we would fix the roof, they just had to remove the panels and re-install at no cost to us. They proposed charging us $2,000 to remove and re-install. Crazy!

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            • #21
              two9design,

              SunRun and Costco have no motivation to fix your problem. The roof is not leaking over their heads.

              The only way I know to motivate a company into action is by affecting their future income. Start leaving honest, factual details at multiple online review sites. Contact a local TV station that has an "On your Side" type of reporter who might cover the story. Put a sign in your front yard about them, take a photo and send it to SunRun. Just be sure everything you post about the issue is factual and can be backed up by paperwork or other documented communications you've had with them.
              Dave W. Gilbert AZ
              6.63kW grid-tie owner

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              • #22
                Originally posted by azdave View Post
                two9design,

                SunRun and Costco have no motivation to fix your problem. The roof is not leaking over their heads.

                The only way I know to motivate a company into action is by affecting their future income. Start leaving honest, factual details at multiple online review sites. Contact a local TV station that has an "On your Side" type of reporter who might cover the story. Put a sign in your front yard about them, take a photo and send it to SunRun. Just be sure everything you post about the issue is factual and can be backed up by paperwork or other documented communications you've had with them.
                Thank you Dave - starting to do that. Talked to fellow shoppers at Costco after they visited the Sunrun booth in the warehouse. In hindsight, perhaps we should have leased the panels, then all this would be on Sunrun. We could always tell them to remove their panels for lack of customer service, breech of contract, etc. We own them outright, putting us in a bind as Sunrun states if we touch or move them it voids the warranty. Another issue I was not aware of, from a real estate perspective, they can be a major hassle when selling your home. It opens up another pandora's box for home inspection, lease transfer, solar servicing etc. If I'm having this hard of a time with Sunrun now, what if we were in a situation of selling on our home it now contingent on us fixing the roof AND Sunrun does just this - stall and charge us outrageous fees to remove the panels so we can fix our roof?? Have a real estate friend that cringes every time he has to deal with solar panels in a real estate transaction.

                I'm honestly regretting the decision to ever put them on our home! So damaging to us as a consumer when it should be a win-win situation for the environment and the consumer! I would hands-down advise people not to purchase them, especially if they plan to sell their home in the near future or have an iron clad contract that states they cannot be gouged post purchase.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by two9design View Post

                  Thank you Dave - starting to do that. Talked to fellow shoppers at Costco after they visited the Sunrun booth in the warehouse. In hindsight, perhaps we should have leased the panels, then all this would be on Sunrun. We could always tell them to remove their panels for lack of customer service, breech of contract, etc. We own them outright, putting us in a bind as Sunrun states if we touch or move them it voids the warranty. Another issue I was not aware of, from a real estate perspective, they can be a major hassle when selling your home. It opens up another pandora's box for home inspection, lease transfer, solar servicing etc. If I'm having this hard of a time with Sunrun now, what if we were in a situation of selling on our home it now contingent on us fixing the roof AND Sunrun does just this - stall and charge us outrageous fees to remove the panels so we can fix our roof?? Have a real estate friend that cringes every time he has to deal with solar panels in a real estate transaction.

                  I'm honestly regretting the decision to ever put them on our home! So damaging to us as a consumer when it should be a win-win situation for the environment and the consumer! I would hands-down advise people not to purchase them, especially if they plan to sell their home in the near future or have an iron clad contract that states they cannot be gouged post purchase.
                  Leasing would not have improved your position much, and you'd still have the other lease hassles you write of which are much less common with owned systems. A lot of the hassle of selling PV equipped homes usually comes from leases, not as much hassle with well installed and operating owned systems. Well installed owned systems tend to fare much better (but still do not necessarily garner the premium that peddlers may claim). Aside from that, believe it or not, there are a lot of folks who just don't want PV on their property. That shrinks the number of available buyers and that can affect the home's market value. That aside, owning is much more preferable to leasing for most everyone.

                  Your problems started not when you made the decision to get PV, but when you let a scumbag big national outfit talk you into something. Any job can go bad, but things usually go OK when working with reputable and established local contractors.

                  I'd do as Azdave suggests, but I'd do it before Sunrun goes belly up and remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

                  Good luck.

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                  • #24
                    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 - which contractor did you go with? We did not go w/ the Costco deal last year, and we're again looking at solar options. This time, we're looking at contractors other than SunRun and Tesla/Solar City. Submitted requests for estimates to 10-15 companies yesterday, and am waiting to hear back. At this point, the best preliminary estimate we received was $18,835.00 for a 5,940 watt system ($3.17/watt pre-tax credit). This includes 18 Panasonic 330 watt HIT panels, along with Enphase micro inverters.

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                    • #25
                      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.
                      Responding to you about the removal of solar panels I have 34 panels and the cost to remove them and then have them installed is $4,650 and some change that also includes the installation cost of one microinverter. So take out @190 for that and the cost for 34 panels is $4460 / 34 = approx 131 to remove and replace each panel. So 65.58 to remove and then 65.58 to put it back on the roof again. I still think this is rather expensive since I just had them out here and the removed them in two hours. I expect it will take longer to put them back up again because they have to put the rails back on the roof and make sure they are producing power like they were when they uninstalled them. Thankfully my insurance is paying for the total cost because of the storm damage to the roof and they are paying to replace the roof. I own the panels and would like to have a $500.00 deal that would be better than what I'm getting. All said and done it is what it is... Just putting this out here so you know that it could cost quite a bit more. I was quoted that on average each panel would cost about $195 to remove and install again. It looks like they gave me a break at $131 per panel. My company is Standard Energy and for the most part I've been very satisfied with Standard Energy for a company. They have been responsive and up front with me in every case. The only complaint is Enphase who makes the microinverters that are attached to each panel to handle the generation of power from each solar panel. Under the Virginia warranty Enphase would send out a new microinverter and pay Standard Energy to replace the microinverter if they failed to produce energy. They changed their warranty policy and now the owner has to pay for the installation cost $190 for up to three microinverters each time. The problem is they don't often fail in rows of three and it's usually one at a time. I've had to have 14 microinverters replaced under the warranty and I think that is excessive and I expect that is why Enphase changed their policy on paying the installer to come out and do the repair and replacement. Since so many of mine have failed 41% I can see why they would change their policy it most likely was killing them on the back end. I've been thinking of starting a law suit against them because this looks like the ones that they manifactured are defective and should have been covered for a full replacement of all of them by a better microinverter. Just my opinion and not sure if I have a legal case against them so maybe a class action suit is the way to go on this one. This is just my problem right now but I'm sure that others who have Enphase microinverters are having the same results if they are the same ones I have on my roof.

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