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  • New Solar Array contract signed

    After many months of research and browsing on this forum and others, creating pricing average Pivot Tables from the CSI database based on last 6 months per watt pricing for modules/inverters, modeling using PVWatts and then SAM (great suggestion per a JPM post), just snagged a Sunpower 5.44kw system/17 panels with Solaredge @ $3.15/W ($17.1k) in N Cali from a large Sunpower dealer. I declined the additional $500 for Solaredge 25 warranty upgrade. I was able to just get in the last of the E19 320W line which are still very good quality panels. My goal was to get within 5% of $3.00/W which is where I've seen most LG quotes. If I couldn't get there, I'd just go LG. This is the cheapest price by far I have seen with the E19s on the CSI database and only a handful of E20-327 installations beat it recently. Neon Rs were $3.50-$3.60/watt, Neon 2's right around $3/watt, SP E20 327 AC panels $3.50/watt, and higher end X21s were $3.80-$4.25/watt. I used my same principle for buying cell phones as I do here... right before the newest model comes up, the slightly older but still excellent model is a bit discounted before being removed from retailers line list (bought Galaxy S7 right before S8 arrived).

    Reviewed Hanwha, LG R/Neon 2 quotes as well as multiple different types of Sunpower quotes. So many installers pushing AC panels and didn't want microinverters. I am aware of risk of the Solaredge ecoystem and future replacements may be difficult but microinverters are a bit more complex and directly under the brutal heat of the roof. Couldn't go lesser efficiency as my sloped roof is all broken up and I have a lovely 40foot cedar shading a tiny portion of this a well which 1) I didn't have the heart to cut down as I love trees and 2) It's slightly on my neighbor's property line.

    I just installed a new HVAC heat pump with 7kw heat strip backup (backup turned off for now) as the older one was 25yrs young. Also have an EV that I commute 65 mi 5 days a week (18,300 miles/yr @ ~3.7mi/kwh = ~5,000 kwh) which is ~$650/yr charging off-peak exclusively. Modeling my heat pump and EV (since I've had each less than 6 months), total household use is 13,500kwh annually and about 7000kwh is off peak night time use @ 12c/kwh. General average rate on PGE EV-A rate plan is 0.19c/kwh (been on TOU plan since Nov). With the solar array showing roughly LCOE 8-9c/kwh (perfect world) to 16-18 c/kwh (worst possible parameters used), it made no financial sense to chase after the off-peak usage at a "price/kwh delta" of +/- 2-4 cents vs the modeled LCOE so I modeled mostly after daytime use which had a larger delta and then slightly sized up since wife is pregnant and will run HVAC 24/7 in the coming years being at home with kids all day as well as knowing PGE will continue to shift peak TOU later and later into day (eventually will be selling bulk of production at semi-peak rates and buying from PGE at peak rates which sucks). 5.44 kw array will produce roughly 1.5kwh/W AC (~8000kwh) which I know isn't perfect but bulk of panels face 294 azimuth with just 6 of the 17 panels able to face due south.

    My most useful thing I tinkered with was the SAM program by far. I input nearly all of my per hour green button usage to more accurately estimate bills/savings which were a bit off most installers' estimates fyi. I downloaded the entire EV-A rate plan to the program as well. Very interesting and useful. Sadly I only have 32bit computer so couldn't do exact panel/microinverter inventory item analysis (program only does fancy analysis with 64bit) but I did slightly simpler analysis with PVWatts subset in SAM and worked just fine and tinkered with system losses to 10-15% with worst case scenario of slight shading. Overall, this should offset roughly 60% of my kwh usage and slightly more than 100% of my peak/semi-peak kwh usage (in order to model for pregnant wife future kids usage at home) while cutting my bill by 2/3 annually to around $900 ($2,000 savings per year) and ~5.5-6yr payback period. I was able to calculate an Internal Rate of Return of 17% which isn't too shabby.

    Thanks again all, particularly JPM, ButchDeal, solarix for their insightful posts about sizing appropriately (not 100%) and if/when higher efficiency panels may be useful.
    Last edited by bourbonbro; 03-18-2018, 11:59 AM.

  • #2
    For anything I may have pointed you to, you are more than welcome. Lots of fun, huh ?

    Question: How many years did you use for the LCOE analysis ?

    Thanx for the update.

    Good luck,

    J.P.M.

    Comment


    • #3
      It was quite fun tinkering with it. I modeled multiple scenarios with degradation from 0.25% for SP to 0.6% for LG, utility cost escalation from 2-6% (settled on 4% and that seems most likely based on past experience and articles), losses from 10-15%, LCOE analysis was 12-25yrs (lower bound is when Solaredge warranty runs out as I opted to save the extra $550 they wanted for 25yr warranty which seems ridiculous). I chose 12 years as lower timeframe as up to this point I won't have to sink any more money into the system on repairs due to full warranty coverage. Beyond that, its highly variable with the string inverter likely needing replacement which at that time I may revisit a battery compatible inverter. I got 8-9c/kwh with 25yrs (absolutely perfect world) to ~18-19c/kwh (modeled the reasonably estimated worst of possible parameters). Knowing the panel setup/orientations, panel quality, and that this c/kwh value only is realized at the end of that time interval since it is an average, I knew my situation was somewhere in between but likely a tad lower than the average between the two right around the off-peak PGE EV-A rate of ~12c/kwh which is why I didn't go chasing those kwh much. Another reason I also slightly oversized was knowing PGE will likely find a way to screw solar users on rates in the future somehow as they are doing now with shifting peak TOU hrs later in the evening to avoid paying any retail rates for peak production so wanted to ensure I had a tad bit more on the roof now. That LCOE will likely tick up a bit as kwh costs from PGE bump up towards the end of the interval despite my best assumptions. I tweaked my original post so thank you for making sure I clarify the financial timeframe.

      Due to this, I still am pondering even now whether to get the SE7600 (battery upgradeable) or stick with the lower sized inverter for future compatibility as PGE would likely pay for the bulk of the battery cost with SGIP program and I'd be left with the 4 figure installation cost. I know I wouldn't likely recoup that cost for a while and since I believe I am locked into the current TOU once interconnection occurs for 5ish yrs as well as NEM for 20yrs, the risk of my costs substantially changing in the 12 yrs timeframe for the Solaredge inverter isn't massive and is fairly known. I am thinking I'd rather save that money in that time frame and revisit once battery costs have dropped in the future substantially. The bulk of the cost avoidance (2/3 bill drop) has already occurred with the panels so chasing that last 1/3 with less developed and more complex storage system with many unknowns/cost risk is probably not best at this time.

      Besides, I'd need that cash for diapers. Sorry for the rambling... need coffee. I don't know all the financial ins/outs as much as you and others on here (biology major myself), but hopefully this helps others see how just a basic and not too difficult analysis can greatly help with sizing/ROI. I 'll give an update once shade analysis occurs tomorrow and then once installed and see the juice/numbers flowing to see how close my estimates will likely be. Just need to take the time when spending that much money and understand everything is life is negotiable
      Last edited by bourbonbro; 03-18-2018, 12:02 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bourbonbro View Post
        It was quite fun tinkering with it. I modeled multiple scenarios with degradation from 0.25% for SP to 0.6% for LG, utility cost escalation from 2-6% (settled on 4% and that seems most likely based on past experience and articles), losses from 10-15%, LCOE analysis was 12-25yrs (lower bound is when Solaredge warranty runs out as I opted to save the extra $550 they wanted for 25yr warranty which seems ridiculous). I chose 12 years as lower timeframe as up to this point I won't have to sink any more money into the system on repairs due to full warranty coverage. Beyond that, its highly variable with the string inverter likely needing replacement which at that time I may revisit a battery compatible inverter. I got 8-9c/kwh with 25yrs (absolutely perfect world) to ~18-19c/kwh (modeled the reasonably estimated worst of possible parameters). Knowing the panel setup/orientations, panel quality, and that this c/kwh value only is realized at the end of that time interval since it is an average, I knew my situation was somewhere in between but likely a tad lower than the average between the two right around the off-peak PGE EV-A rate of ~12c/kwh which is why I didn't go chasing those kwh much. Another reason I also slightly oversized was knowing PGE will likely find a way to screw solar users on rates in the future somehow as they are doing now with shifting peak TOU hrs later in the evening to avoid paying any retail rates for peak production so wanted to ensure I had a tad bit more on the roof now. That LCOE will likely tick up a bit as kwh costs from PGE bump up towards the end of the interval despite my best assumptions. I tweaked my original post so thank you for making sure I clarify the financial timeframe.

        Due to this, I still am pondering even now whether to get the SE7600 (battery upgradeable) or stick with the lower sized inverter for future compatibility as PGE would likely pay for the bulk of the battery cost with SGIP program and I'd be left with the 4 figure installation cost. I know I wouldn't likely recoup that cost for a while and since I believe I am locked into the current TOU once interconnection occurs for 5ish yrs as well as NEM for 20yrs, the risk of my costs substantially changing in the 12 yrs timeframe for the Solaredge inverter isn't massive and is fairly known. I am thinking I'd rather save that money in that time frame and revisit once battery costs have dropped in the future substantially. The bulk of the cost avoidance (2/3 bill drop) has already occurred with the panels so chasing that last 1/3 with less developed and more complex storage system with many unknowns/cost risk is probably not best at this time.

        Besides, I'd need that cash for diapers. Sorry for the rambling... need coffee. I don't know all the financial ins/outs as much as you and others on here (biology major myself), but hopefully this helps others see how just a basic and not too difficult analysis can greatly help with sizing/ROI. Just need to take the time when spending that much money and understand everything is life is negotiable
        Thank you. FWIW, I use 12 yrs. for all my LCOE and other process economic analysis. Technology will change, costs will (perhaps) come down, or up for that matter, I'll have moved, and I assume zero salvage value or added resale value. Best LCOE I get is ~ $0.19/kWh or so, but I didn't do PV for the economic benefits.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
          For anything I may have pointed you to, you are more than welcome. Lots of fun, huh ?

          Question: How many years did you use for the LCOE analysis ?

          Thanx for the update.

          Good luck,

          J.P.M.
          Btw, you did have Sunpower installed (I reviewed your CSI app number which seems sized very similar to mine) but I never did find your story on the forums why you don't like them later on?
          Last edited by bourbonbro; 03-18-2018, 12:05 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

            Thank you. FWIW, I use 12 yrs. for all my LCOE and other process economic analysis. Technology will change, costs will (perhaps) come down, or up for that matter, I'll have moved, and I assume zero salvage value or added resale value. Best LCOE I get is ~ $0.19/kWh or so, but I didn't do PV for the economic benefits.
            Thank you. Yup, costs only go up. I'm in healthcare which shares a similar trajectory and will likely break down in the next decade. With the off-peak rate somewhere in between my two LCOE values, I knew I definitely didn't want to chase that remainder down. One of my quotes was so ridiculous at an LCOE of 6c/kwh and 25yr savings of $138,000 that it went right in the shred pile. I also didn't account for any salvage/resale value which may/may not be a bonus when the house is sold. Maybe big black ugly panels on the house at that time would be a turnoff to buyers when we might have mini fusion reactors in the garage for self-generation. PV (and EV) adoption was partly economic, partly social/psychological with now being a bit more independent from POCO/big brother meddling, reducing long-term carbon footprint, pleasant thought of now commuting in my Bolt based on energy from the sun (and additionally now forget what a gas station or oil change even is), etc.
            Last edited by bourbonbro; 03-18-2018, 12:22 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bourbonbro View Post

              Btw, you did have Sunpower installed (I reviewed your SCI number which seems sized very similar to mine) but I never did find your story on the forums why you don't like them later on?
              Long story, but since you ask:, one more retelling with feeling:

              1.) Sunpower is good stuff. Never said otherwise - right from the beginning.
              2.) Sunpower is way overpriced, overhyped and oversold. Never said otherwise.
              3.) Sunpower tells half truths and preys on the solar ignorant, using that ignorance to screw the ignorant and separate them from their assets. Never said otherwise. That's no different than other peddlers or outfits. But, IMO only, S.P. has almost raised it to an art form.

              One possible and short answer may just be that I have more time than money and more money than brains.

              Some of the rest of the (perhaps alternate) story:

              In 2012 I bought 10,000 sh. of Sunpower stock @ ~ 4.50/sh. dollar cost average over about 4 months and 1,000 sh. Tesla @ ~ $23/sh. with an unexpected pension buyout from a former employer. Found money. I finagled both around into my Roth IRA. I then sold 1,000 sh. S.P. 2 yrs. later out of the Roth at ~ $36/sh. and paid for the array and some, at the time required, roof work. FWIW, I chickened out on the TSLA and bailed at ~ $159/sh. Tesla and Musk suck, but this is business, not social awareness.

              I got the S.P. because it was bought and paid for with appreciation on found money. I also wanted to see for myself whether or not my suspicions about all decent panels being mostly equal in terms of output and fit for purpose quality. I got S.P. on the logic that it was probably good stuff, but primarily because most folks who own S.P. are clueless about what may be needed to verify or disprove S.P. claims, even anecdotally. Also, I figure most folks who got duped and drank the S.P. Kool-Aid about "most efficient" and all the other crap that S.P. spews would never admit to same performance from less costly equipment even if they knew how to figure it out. They'd look stupid in their own eyes. Then too, I don't expect S.P. to be forthcoming. So, as usual, I'm on my own, with the big advantage of being beholdin' to no or anything.

              Over the last 4.5 + years, my array has met expectations. It is fit for service. No question. So are all of the other 125 or so arrays in my HOA, S.P. and others. Comparing other arrays' output in my HOA to mine, performance is about equal once corrected for orientation, regardless of panel. Comparing my array's output to nearby arrays per PVOutput, the outputs are about the same once adjusted for orientation, regardless of panel. One mod/poster (Sensij) has had 2 non S.P. arrays. All of his outputs match mine to what to me seems like a surprising degree on a daily and often hourly basis. As best as I can guess, we're about 25 miles apart. Orientations are quite similar.

              Bottom line: I got S.P. because I could afford it, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity. I learned a lot. I now get to speak some truth to B.S. 1X/awhile, and feel the numbers I use can be substantiated. My array is marginally cost effective, but not by much and that's OK. If I did PV with optimum cost effectiveness in mind, I'd have waited until about 18 months ago before NEM 1.0 expired and haggled a quality deal for maybe $3.25 - $3.50 /Watt on a 3.6 kW non Sunpower system and replaced about 80 % or so of my usage with PV, which is, as best as I can figure it, is my sweet spot for cost effectiveness and lowest lifecycle cost to supply my electrical needs based on my assumptions about the future as best as I can SWAG them.

              IMO, there is little, if any justification for ever spending extra time or $$ for Sunpower equipment. I've had the luxury of time and a few bucks to satisfy my curiosity. Think of it as pro bono work for the clueless.

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Are allowed to share what Sunpower installer you used? I am in the same boat and dont have a lot of roof space and need about the same size system. The sunpower installers I've seen have quoted e20 327 or x21s. Those are exactly what you said, around $3.50/W. I also got a few quotes using Panasonic 330 and one was more than the x21s and another was ~$3.30.
                Im really curious to see if I can find an installer still selling e19s.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Link101ooh View Post
                  Are allowed to share what Sunpower installer you used? I am in the same boat and dont have a lot of roof space and need about the same size system. The sunpower installers I've seen have quoted e20 327 or x21s. Those are exactly what you said, around $3.50/W. I also got a few quotes using Panasonic 330 and one was more than the x21s and another was ~$3.30.
                  Im really curious to see if I can find an installer still selling e19s.
                  For $0.20/Watt less 30%, I'd spend all my effort in vendor selection. In the bigger scheme of things that much difference to the bottom line amounts to exactly fly crap when referenced to vendor quality.

                  Upfront price is important but nowhere near as important as getting the most bang for your long term buck. The two are not the same. More time spent in vendor selection and interviewing is much more important than a few pennies/watt haggled over.

                  As for vendor used, see the CSI listing # SD-CSI-17646. It's a matter of public record and the vendor is listed there. I got a good job and more than I paid for, but I don't recommend vendors and, FWIW, I do not take whore referral money. Look around and you can do just as good for closer to $3.00/STC W and the same quality by using a less expensive panel and with some sharp negotiating.

                  What's the big deal that you want the high priced spread anyway ? You do know that panel efficiency means nothing, right ?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sorry, I should have specified that I was asking bourbonbro for his installer since he said N. Cali. I've only received 6 quotes so far and did not actively pursue these companies. They reached out to me. Very first company quoted Panasonic. I didnt request those panels, that's what they were pushing. 2,3,4 were Sunpower guys. 5 was all over the phone and I requested the Panasonic to get apples to apples comparison. May go back to them and ask for other options. Last one offered CSun (economy), SilFab (standard), Solaria (premium). This was just via email and need to research that company more. The last quote was around $3.00/W but quoted monthly payment for finance was more than my cheapest sunpower quote. Need to run the numbers because don't know how their monthly is coming out higher.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Link101ooh View Post
                      Sorry, I should have specified that I was asking bourbonbro for his installer since he said N. Cali. I've only received 6 quotes so far and did not actively pursue these companies. They reached out to me. Very first company quoted Panasonic. I didnt request those panels, that's what they were pushing. 2,3,4 were Sunpower guys. 5 was all over the phone and I requested the Panasonic to get apples to apples comparison. May go back to them and ask for other options. Last one offered CSun (economy), SilFab (standard), Solaria (premium). This was just via email and need to research that company more. The last quote was around $3.00/W but quoted monthly payment for finance was more than my cheapest sunpower quote. Need to run the numbers because don't know how their monthly is coming out higher.
                      Understood. No apology necessary.

                      FWIW, the more your learn about the solar process and how to best make it work to meet what I bet is your goal of lower energy use and thus lower electric bills, the better and more fit for purpose will be the equipment and system you settle on (if any). You'll also be better able to see through the B.S. you've probably gotten from those who throw prices at you without what sounds like, for the most part, so much as setting foot on your property.

                      Set your goals after you learn more about what's possible, what's unrealistic and what's the most long term cost effective and fit for purpose in the way of outcomes before you talk to vendors.

                      You'll have a better outcome.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                        Long story, but since you ask:, one more retelling with feeling:

                        1.) Sunpower is good stuff. Never said otherwise - right from the beginning.
                        2.) Sunpower is way overpriced, overhyped and oversold. Never said otherwise.
                        3.) Sunpower tells half truths and preys on the solar ignorant, using that ignorance to screw the ignorant and separate them from their assets. Never said otherwise. That's no different than other peddlers or outfits. But, IMO only, S.P. has almost raised it to an art form.

                        One possible and short answer may just be that I have more time than money and more money than brains.

                        Some of the rest of the (perhaps alternate) story:

                        In 2012 I bought 10,000 sh. of Sunpower stock @ ~ 4.50/sh. dollar cost average over about 4 months and 1,000 sh. Tesla @ ~ $23/sh. with an unexpected pension buyout from a former employer. Found money. I finagled both around into my Roth IRA. I then sold 1,000 sh. S.P. 2 yrs. later out of the Roth at ~ $36/sh. and paid for the array and some, at the time required, roof work. FWIW, I chickened out on the TSLA and bailed at ~ $159/sh. Tesla and Musk suck, but this is business, not social awareness.

                        I got the S.P. because it was bought and paid for with appreciation on found money. I also wanted to see for myself whether or not my suspicions about all decent panels being mostly equal in terms of output and fit for purpose quality. I got S.P. on the logic that it was probably good stuff, but primarily because most folks who own S.P. are clueless about what may be needed to verify or disprove S.P. claims, even anecdotally. Also, I figure most folks who got duped and drank the S.P. Kool-Aid about "most efficient" and all the other crap that S.P. spews would never admit to same performance from less costly equipment even if they knew how to figure it out. They'd look stupid in their own eyes. Then too, I don't expect S.P. to be forthcoming. So, as usual, I'm on my own, with the big advantage of being beholdin' to no or anything.

                        Over the last 4.5 + years, my array has met expectations. It is fit for service. No question. So are all of the other 125 or so arrays in my HOA, S.P. and others. Comparing other arrays' output in my HOA to mine, performance is about equal once corrected for orientation, regardless of panel. Comparing my array's output to nearby arrays per PVOutput, the outputs are about the same once adjusted for orientation, regardless of panel. One mod/poster (Sensij) has had 2 non S.P. arrays. All of his outputs match mine to what to me seems like a surprising degree on a daily and often hourly basis. As best as I can guess, we're about 25 miles apart. Orientations are quite similar.

                        Bottom line: I got S.P. because I could afford it, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity. I learned a lot. I now get to speak some truth to B.S. 1X/awhile, and feel the numbers I use can be substantiated. My array is marginally cost effective, but not by much and that's OK. If I did PV with optimum cost effectiveness in mind, I'd have waited until about 18 months ago before NEM 1.0 expired and haggled a quality deal for maybe $3.25 - $3.50 /Watt on a 3.6 kW non Sunpower system and replaced about 80 % or so of my usage with PV, which is, as best as I can figure it, is my sweet spot for cost effectiveness and lowest lifecycle cost to supply my electrical needs based on my assumptions about the future as best as I can SWAG them.

                        IMO, there is little, if any justification for ever spending extra time or $$ for Sunpower equipment. I've had the luxury of time and a few bucks to satisfy my curiosity. Think of it as pro bono work for the clueless.

                        Take what you want o the above. Scrap the rest.
                        Figured you had quite a story to tell I work with drug reps for a living and whether to add their drugs to the hospital formulary so I'm used to sniffing out B.S every day from them on why I should buy their $10,000 drug when a generic works great for $10 for my patients. All marketing always has some sort of sensationalism and slight falsehoods, otherwise it wouldn't be attention grabbing. I can completely relate to your cynicism.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Link101ooh View Post
                          Sorry, I should have specified that I was asking bourbonbro for his installer since he said N. Cali. I've only received 6 quotes so far and did not actively pursue these companies. They reached out to me. Very first company quoted Panasonic. I didnt request those panels, that's what they were pushing. 2,3,4 were Sunpower guys. 5 was all over the phone and I requested the Panasonic to get apples to apples comparison. May go back to them and ask for other options. Last one offered CSun (economy), SilFab (standard), Solaria (premium). This was just via email and need to research that company more. The last quote was around $3.00/W but quoted monthly payment for finance was more than my cheapest sunpower quote. Need to run the numbers because don't know how their monthly is coming out higher.
                          My quote was all cash. You should be able to get much closer to $3/watt for low 300s wattage panels that have a good warranty. My E19 320s were the very last of inventory. I wasnt stuck on Sunpower, just knew I had max of 21 panels i could fit and what kwh i wanted to offset as my sweet spot. Having an EV makes my % bill offset lower than most but i spend so little on the other kwh its a wash. Not sure if I can post the installer. I just found out this forum has a PM function... you need to activate messaging under your profile settings. Shoot me a msg.
                          Last edited by bourbonbro; 03-19-2018, 12:03 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bourbonbro View Post
                            I just found out this forum has a PM function... you need to activate messaging under your profile settings. Shoot me a msg.
                            When did PM's come back ?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bourbonbro View Post

                              My quote was all cash. You should be able to get much closer to $3/watt for low 300s wattage panels that have a good warranty. My E19 320s were the very last of inventory. I wasnt stuck on Sunpower, just knew I had max of 21 panels i could fit and what kwh i wanted to offset as my sweet spot. Having an EV makes my % bill offset lower than most but i spend so little on the other kwh its a wash. Not sure if I can post the installer. I just found out this forum has a PM function... you need to activate messaging under your profile settings. Shoot me a msg.
                              I'm not stuck on Sunpower either, but I am about in the same spot with roof space. It looks like my roof only has space for about 18-20 panels on the south facing portion based on the design plans and some basic measurements. I can fit a few more on a section of my roof that is east facing. As I mentioned, half of my total quotes have come from Sunpower dealers. I don't have an EV, but the wife works from home full time and I work from my home office about 2-3 days a week.

                              I don't think PM's work or came back if it was available before. I turned it on in my profile but don't see a way to PM you.

                              Comment

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