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

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Whittier411 View Post
    OCRibeye thanks for the info , good luck with the install. Can you provide the company name? Thanks
    Sure - it is Infinity Solar, based out of Orange, CA. It's hard to pinpoint the reason we decided to go with Infinity, but a few things stood out to me:

    (1) their initial bid was already the best of the 10-15 vendors we contacted. Pretty much all the other vendors cost more and were proposing the use of solar optimizers rather than micro-inverters. When I asked for estimates based on micro-inverters, their estimates became even more expensive.

    People have their opinions on micro-inverters v. power optimizers, but, for us, we felt like micro-inverters were what we wanted for our system.

    (2) my contact person was very knowledgeable and informative, and not at all pushy - no big sales pitch, and I felt like he understood what I was looking for, which was just the information that I needed to make an informed decision. Many of the other people I dealt with just gave off a bad vibe that rubbed me the wrong way. My contact person with Infinity seemed knowledgeable, asked a lot of questions, and I felt like he wanted to ensure his estimate was thorough.

    (3) Infinity received a lot of online reviews, and all seemed positive.

    (4) My contact person at Infinity gave me options for financing that many other companies were not even aware of, and he took the time to explain how all the financing options worked, which ones were good and bad, and what to expect.

    (5) There's something that tugged at us to give our business to a local business, rather than going with a larger provider, i.e., LA Solar Group.

    After contacting all these vendors, it came down to Infinity and LA Solar. If I am remembering correctly, LA Solar was slightly cheaper if I did not account for the panel upgrade; however, their cost to upgrade our panel was more expensive than Infinity, such that the overall price tilted in favor of Infinity. I let LA Solar know this fact, and I felt like I was dealing w/ a car salesman, where my contact person told me - this is the most I have authority to approve, but I can talk to my manager to see if I can do better.

    For me, I just liked how straight-forward Infinity was. No BS, no big sales push.

    With that being said, I have had a few minor hiccups since signing the contract w/ Infinity.

    First is the financing. I obtained financing from a credit union (that Infinity had told me about), which won't release the funds until you have an installation date (something I did not learn until about a month after my loan was approved). However, Infinity requires progress payments, such that I have already had to make two payments (approx. $3,500). We are fortunate that we can afford to make those progress payments, but that's something Infinity should have explained to me (or maybe that's something I should have thought of, and something I should have asked about and negotiated). Also, when I spoke with all of my contacts at Infinity, nobody had spoken to my contact person at the credit union, despite several e-mails that I addressed to both Infinity and the credit union. In sum, it felt like nobody at Infinity knew, or cared, what was going on w/ my financing.

    There was an initial delay in contact from Infinity's project manager (my initial contact was the sales rep, who passed me onto the project manager and the accounting department after execution of the contract). I had to follow up several times before the project manager responded. At the outset, I felt like she could have been more better in giving consistent and regular updates; however, I think we've resolved that initial hiccup, and she's been better about keeping me up to date.

    The third issue was the delay in installation. My project manager e-mailed me a few weeks ago to tell me the city had approved our permit, and Infinity was ready to proceed w/ the installation. However, I learned that Edison was supposed to come out to tag my panel, something Edison had not done at that point, and they still have not done, despite the passage of two weeks. According to Infinity, they have followed up several times with Edidson, but there's not much they can do, as Edison does not coordinate this w/ anyone, and they just show up at the house at their convenience. This ultimately isn't Infinity's fault, but had they told me about this panel tagging, I probably could have let them know earlier in the process that Edison still had not tagged our panel, and maybe that would have given Infinity the opportunity to pester Edison earlier, and more often.

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    • #32
      Thanks so much for the in depth explanation and options!!. Fortunately for me I think my panel is ok, but good to know! Good luck on your install.

      It

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      • #33
        OCRibeye I created an account to share that I think I'm going to go with Infinity for my upcoming solar project basically based on your post above!

        I had the Sunrun guy come out a couple weeks ago and when he left I did some googling. A couple clicks later I'm reading that knowledgeable yet angry sounding dudes post on page one who says to shoot for $3 a watt, then I saw your post and who you ended up with and I thought I'd send them an email. I really like their quote, it blows away what Sunrun was offering both in terms of price and quality. We'll see what happens but I'm pretty excited atm. Thanks everyone in this thread!

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        • #34
          Originally posted by visuvius View Post
          OCRibeye I created an account to share that I think I'm going to go with Infinity for my upcoming solar project basically based on your post above!

          I had the Sunrun guy come out a couple weeks ago and when he left I did some googling. A couple clicks later I'm reading that knowledgeable yet angry sounding dudes post on page one who says to shoot for $3 a watt, then I saw your post and who you ended up with and I thought I'd send them an email. I really like their quote, it blows away what Sunrun was offering both in terms of price and quality. We'll see what happens but I'm pretty excited atm. Thanks everyone in this thread!
          Thank yourself as well (or more) for trying to be informed and not swallowing the PV bandwagon hype. Don't forget to get your roof inspected/serviced as necessary and stay diligent during install.

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          • #35
            from SOCAL OC here. I created an account solely based on the in-depth explanation above by OCRibeye. If and when the installation is complete, would you mind sharing your final experience overall with infinity? I am getting a consultation today with Sunrun and we'll see how that goes. I will also give Infinity Solar a call to get a bid.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Bigboi View Post
              from SOCAL OC here. I created an account solely based on the in-depth explanation above by OCRibeye. If and when the installation is complete, would you mind sharing your final experience overall with infinity? I am getting a consultation today with Sunrun and we'll see how that goes. I will also give Infinity Solar a call to get a bid.
              After all the reading and you're still even thinking of talking to Sunrun ?

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              • #37
                Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                After all the reading and you're still even thinking of talking to Sunrun ?
                HAHA.....I know. I wasn't considering Sunrun but couple of neighbors had referred to us so...... I will say the guy i met with did not come on super pushy but explained everything well - I was impressed. One of the bigger selling point was about how their battery system which is programmed to sell back energy at the highest rate possible to the utility company, saying that the Tesla battery is not able to do that. Also mentioned that singled inverters are easier to fix then micro inverters if there are any issues. Anyone with any insights on this?

                FYI total quote was $28,220 (not including tax credit) for a 7000kw system with battery.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Bigboi View Post

                  HAHA.....I know. I wasn't considering Sunrun but couple of neighbors had referred to us so...... I will say the guy i met with did not come on super pushy but explained everything well - I was impressed. One of the bigger selling point was about how their battery system which is programmed to sell back energy at the highest rate possible to the utility company, saying that the Tesla battery is not able to do that. Also mentioned that singled inverters are easier to fix then micro inverters if there are any issues. Anyone with any insights on this?

                  FYI total quote was $28,220 (not including tax credit) for a 7000kw system with battery.
                  Insight ?? Well from being the guy that reviews and recommends solar installs to the board in my HOA for ~ 10 yrs. and monitoring how vendors perform, maybe some.
                  - Of course they referred you.They whored themselves out for a referral fee of ~ $500 which will undoubtedly find its way into your price if you buy from Sunrun.
                  - Sunrun is one of the bottom feeders of solar vendors. After what I've seen of their work, I'd not let them set foot on my property.
                  - Bad and worse on the price. If that's without storage, At $4.03/STC W, it's WAY overpriced by maybe 7 large or so, ~ 25 % +/- a bit. If that's with storage, well, storage isn't ready for prime time yet. You'll be probably be an early adoptor and buying a lemon from an outfit that will likely not be around to service it when needed. Wait and add storage when storage gets better and becomes a less expensive and more standard commodity the way other solar equipment has.

                  If I was in your situation I'd do smart thing. First, I'd do some homework and educate myself, determine my annual load and how much of it I want to offset after I learned and understand how I am billed for power. Then, read "Solar Power Your Home for Dummies", and then run PVWatts and so my own sizing. Then, call several local electrical contractors who've been around at least 10 years and sold PV for at least 5 and tell them what I want sizewise and inverter wise, and what I'm willing to pay - and make that number something like $3.00/STC Watt or slightly less than the local market is selling at.

                  One thing I will agree with the Sunrun slug about: Unless you have a shade issue, I am of the opinion that string inverters make more sense for several reasons. But opinions vary.

                  Overall, I'd forget Sunrun.

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

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                  • #39
                    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.
                    Can you please show me the math equation that shows how you get the price per watt? I know it involves the price and the wattage of the panels but I really need to learn how to calcualatePPW.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Bigboi View Post
                      from SOCAL OC here. I created an account solely based on the in-depth explanation above by OCRibeye. If and when the installation is complete, would you mind sharing your final experience overall with infinity? I am getting a consultation today with Sunrun and we'll see how that goes. I will also give Infinity Solar a call to get a bid.
                      Sorry for the delay. Haven't checked this board in a while, and did not realize people had responded to my post.

                      My final experience with Infinity has been mostly positive. After the initial Edison issue (discussed in a prior post) was resolved, I was able to get an installation date.

                      However, on the morning of the installation, I received a call from the project manager and the owner indicating there was a minor issue with my roof. Specifically, I was told that the roof tiles were screwed in, rather than nailed down. According to Tim, Infinity's owner who was on-site with his crew, roof tiles are not usually screwed in unless you live in a high wind area, so it was atypical for roof tiles to be screwed down in OC.

                      Due to this unexpected issue, Tim had to call his roofer to assist with removal of the tiles, and this delayed install by a few days. On that day, he and his crew were able to do the main panel upgrade, and some roof tiles were removed. On day 2, the roofers removed the remainder of the roof tiles that needed removal. On day 3, Tim and his crew returned to install all the solar panels. The panels look good, although the crew could have done a better job cleaning up after themselves (I found remnants of their work around the work area).

                      Also, the roofer apparently went on vacation after day 2 of the project, and he left a bunch of tiles on my roof, which was annoying, as I had to contact Tim to let him know (we were experiencing strong Santa Ana winds, and I was worried about roof tiles remaining on the roof). However, Tim and some of his crew personally came to my house and removed most of the tiles from my roof. The roofer also came back unannounced to the house a few days later to finish up the trim work, and the project looks good.

                      On one hand, I felt like I had to be more involved in the project than I would have liked, and I had to deal with a number of minor issues that arose throughout the project, but that is probably the case with any construction project. On the other hand, we have been happy with the solar panel system itself, and it seems to be producing as promised.

                      So if I had to give them a rating between 1 and 10, I'd probably give them a 7 or a 8. On the plus side, their work seems to be good, and their price was more than fair. Counting against them were the minor issues discussed here.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by TheRealBobSacamono View Post

                        Can you please show me the math equation that shows how you get the price per watt? I know it involves the price and the wattage of the panels but I really need to learn how to calcualatePPW.
                        Maybe I am wrong, but here's how I did it:

                        Take the contract price, say $20K, and divide by the size of the system, e.g., 6kW (or 6000 watts) = $3.33 per watt. Some installers may try to convince you that you are getting a better price per watt by giving you the price after the 30% federal tax credit. So instead of $20K/6000 watts, they will tell you that you are only paying $2.33/watt, or $14K (70% of $20K) divided by 6,000 watts.

                        My understanding is that you should be looking at the contract price, not the post-tax credit price, and that you should be aiming for something as close to $3/watt as possible.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by OCRibeye View Post

                          Sorry for the delay. Haven't checked this board in a while, and did not realize people had responded to my post.

                          My final experience with Infinity has been mostly positive. After the initial Edison issue (discussed in a prior post) was resolved, I was able to get an installation date.

                          However, on the morning of the installation, I received a call from the project manager and the owner indicating there was a minor issue with my roof. Specifically, I was told that the roof tiles were screwed in, rather than nailed down. According to Tim, Infinity's owner who was on-site with his crew, roof tiles are not usually screwed in unless you live in a high wind area, so it was atypical for roof tiles to be screwed down in OC.

                          Due to this unexpected issue, Tim had to call his roofer to assist with removal of the tiles, and this delayed install by a few days. On that day, he and his crew were able to do the main panel upgrade, and some roof tiles were removed. On day 2, the roofers removed the remainder of the roof tiles that needed removal. On day 3, Tim and his crew returned to install all the solar panels. The panels look good, although the crew could have done a better job cleaning up after themselves (I found remnants of their work around the work area).

                          Also, the roofer apparently went on vacation after day 2 of the project, and he left a bunch of tiles on my roof, which was annoying, as I had to contact Tim to let him know (we were experiencing strong Santa Ana winds, and I was worried about roof tiles remaining on the roof). However, Tim and some of his crew personally came to my house and removed most of the tiles from my roof. The roofer also came back unannounced to the house a few days later to finish up the trim work, and the project looks good.

                          On one hand, I felt like I had to be more involved in the project than I would have liked, and I had to deal with a number of minor issues that arose throughout the project, but that is probably the case with any construction project. On the other hand, we have been happy with the solar panel system itself, and it seems to be producing as promised.

                          So if I had to give them a rating between 1 and 10, I'd probably give them a 7 or a 8. On the plus side, their work seems to be good, and their price was more than fair. Counting against them were the minor issues discussed here.
                          Screwing down tiles is a bit unusual. Unless something about your roof design/location is very unusual, I'd be hard pressed to come up with a legit. reason, especially in So. CA. That high wind thing/explanation sounds like B.S. to me. Any other indications you're in an unusual wind region like garbage cans being tied down, etc. ?

                          Whatever. Just make sure they put the same tiles back under the array as are on the rest of the roof. Sometimes vendors B.S. owners by talking them into allowing existing tiles to be replaced w/ comp. shingles under the array. Not a good idea. Saves the vendor some time (== $$) but creates a higher probability of additional hassles down the road that can go unnoticed because they're harder to see and get at.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                            Screwing down tiles is a bit unusual. Unless something about your roof design/location is very unusual, I'd be hard pressed to come up with a legit. reason, especially in So. CA. That high wind thing/explanation sounds like B.S. to me. Any other indications you're in an unusual wind region like garbage cans being tied down, etc. ?

                            Whatever. Just make sure they put the same tiles back under the array as are on the rest of the roof. Sometimes vendors B.S. owners by talking them into allowing existing tiles to be replaced w/ comp. shingles under the array. Not a good idea. Saves the vendor some time (== $$) but creates a higher probability of additional hassles down the road that can go unnoticed because they're harder to see and get at.
                            Infinity's owner was also perplexed as to why the tiles were screwed down. Because I am generally wary of contractors, I went up on my roof and confirmed the tiles were screwed in, i.e., my fear that Infinity was trying to generate an unwarranted change order was unfounded.

                            The roof was replaced a few years before we bought the house, and there was no documentation from the city, the prior owner, or the seller's agent (the seller lived out of state and had used the house as a rental property for years), so we have no idea why that roofer screwed down the tiles. You are right - there is no indication we live in an unusual wind region to justify screwing down the tiles.

                            In any event, Infinity's roofer did put the same tiles back under the array. Most importantly, despite the minor hiccups, we are happy with the final product, even if we paid a little more than $3/watt.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by OCRibeye View Post

                              Infinity's owner was also perplexed as to why the tiles were screwed down. Because I am generally wary of contractors, I went up on my roof and confirmed the tiles were screwed in, i.e., my fear that Infinity was trying to generate an unwarranted change order was unfounded.

                              The roof was replaced a few years before we bought the house, and there was no documentation from the city, the prior owner, or the seller's agent (the seller lived out of state and had used the house as a rental property for years), so we have no idea why that roofer screwed down the tiles. You are right - there is no indication we live in an unusual wind region to justify screwing down the tiles.

                              In any event, Infinity's roofer did put the same tiles back under the array. Most importantly, despite the minor hiccups, we are happy with the final product, even if we paid a little more than $3/watt.
                              Thanx for the response. Q: Any leaks, either before or after that array addition ? Something sounds screwy.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                                Thanx for the response. Q: Any leaks, either before or after that array addition ? Something sounds screwy.
                                Fortunately no leaks either before or after the project, and we have had a few storms here in Southern California since the project.

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