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  • zzzzyyyyxxxx
    started a topic SunPower vs LG Quotes in North California

    SunPower vs LG Quotes in North California

    Hi, I live in bay area, North California, and am looking for a 3.5kW solar system. Here are the best 2 quotes I received:

    1. SunPower, from SunPower Direct
    10 * X22-360-C-AC: 3.6kW total.
    $3.95/W before tax credit. Net Cost $2.77/W after tax credit.

    2. LG Neon R, from a reputable local installer
    10 * LG350Q1C-A5: 3.5kW total.
    10 * Enphase IQ 6+ micro inverter
    $3.42/W before tax credit. Net Cost $2.40/W after tax credit.

    I'm wondering if I should continue negotiating the price, or they seems about right.

    Note:
    I also quoted LG Neon 2 and Panasonic, they are about the same price as Neon R. I had a feeling that panel cost is no longer the major contributor here, but installation/labor cost is. Therefore choosing a cheaper panel will not save much, at least in bay area.

    To my surprise, SolarEdge+optimizer actually cost more than Enphase micro invertor, since my system is small.
    Last edited by zzzzyyyyxxxx; 05-04-2018, 12:51 AM.

  • icorradoi
    replied
    Hey there, new to the forum. I got a couple of quotes for solar in my all electric home in the Los Gatos, CA mountains. We have a flat roof home with some shading and limited space. We have a detached garage with a flat roof as well. I guess there is additional cost when installing on flat roofs.

    Sunpower has quoted us $37,444 for an 8.5Kw system using 23 of the X22 370W panels mounted on both the home and garage. With the rebate and friends and family discount this comes down to $24,211. Sunpower also said they would not charge me an extra $1700, which is typical for flat foam roof installs.

    Cinnamon Solar quoted us $31,777 for a 6.5Kw system using 18 LG NeONR-360Q1C-A5 B-W panels mounted only on the home. After rebate cost is $22,244

    I am right in thinking that both of these are really high? Should I spend the extra money on Sunpower since I do have some shading and space limitations? Should I try Solaredge or just any local solar company in my area?

    Thanks for any input!

    Leave a comment:


  • jflorey2
    replied
    Originally posted by ay79 View Post
    So you say that paying a little bit to the POCO for the extra power I need is much more cost effective than overbuilding and adding more panels.
    Do the math and see if it is.

    If you are on a tiered rate, the first kwhrs you generate are worth a lot more than those extra kwhrs you generate. So your first (say) 6kW may do a lot to reduce your bill - the next 4kW not so much.

    Our usage is probably just under 10kW but with a growing family that usage will increase as well.
    That's a good thing to consider. If you determine your "ideal" power is 6kW, for example, you might want to increase that by some amount (say, 25%) to allow for growth. Future purchase of an EV may also affect that.

    re: Sunpower being the best - the installer showed me the panels and "explained" that they have better tech (something about connections, heat and front vs back of the panel) and he has Sunpower on his roof. I suppose the good ones are all about the same and indeed, I am skeptical of the degradation rates they quote. Comes down to money and the difference in cost isn't huge. As long as the system works and I can break even in year 5 I'll be happy.
    Sunpower makes good panels. But so do other manufacturers. Compare the panels on specs, not on salemanship. He may be referring to temperature coefficient, which gives you less power loss when it's hot. Fortunately that's readily available in the specs.

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by ay79 View Post

    So you say that paying a little bit to the POCO for the extra power I need is much more cost effective than overbuilding and adding more panels. Our usage is probably just under 10kW but with a growing family that usage will increase as well. The cost of meeting that need more of the time is clipping mid-day. What can I say it's Massachusetts - we live on that green media (but don't discount the health benefits of positive thinking and feeling good about what you're doing and the choices you make!)

    re: Sunpower being the best - the installer showed me the panels and "explained" that they have better tech (something about connections, heat and front vs back of the panel) and he has Sunpower on his roof. I suppose the good ones are all about the same and indeed, I am skeptical of the degradation rates they quote. Comes down to money and the difference in cost isn't huge. As long as the system works and I can break even in year 5 I'll be happy.
    No, that's not what I'm writing. I'm writing that the most cost effective way to meet long term electrical energy needs is not usually replacing 100% of annual residential electrical usage with PV, and the way to find out is to start by not assuming, or knee jerking because you've got a woody for the POCO, or get B.S.ed into it by some peddler who makes money putting PV on your property and not providing you with the most cost effective way to meet your long term electrical needs, that a 100+% offset makes the best sense. What I am writing is that if you're after the most long term cost effectiveness, it ain't that simple - not terribly more involved, but more than throwing simplistic and lazy thinking illogic at the situation.

    FWIW, the most long term cost effective way of supplying electrical needs to a residence is usually a mix of use reduction, conservation improvements, conventional POCO power, and finally alternate energy generation - and probably in something of that order in proportions that result in the lowest long term life cycle cost of supplying a current and future anticipated electrical load.

    As you wish on oversizing. NOMB. While I believe the way I've learned and studied such things makes flexible sense, it's probably more involved than most folks want to spend time on.

    As for your installer explaining things and perhaps hoping you'll infer that he'll be more believable or honest because he has a Sunpower system on his roof and thus perhaps a valid reason for you to perhaps believe him: I too have a Sunpower system on my roof. By my criteria, it's not cost effective for me but that's not why I have it.

    Nor do I have Sunpower because the quality is better - it is not, at least not for the premium paid. It's good quality, but no better or more fit for purpose than other equipment that's less expensive. Why I have Sunpower is a long, boring story and explained here in prior posts, but unrelated to (non)cost effectiveness.

    Opinions vary, and mine is but one. But, unlike your potential installer, I've got no skin in the game, and only more opinion or conjecture, I suspect I may have a working knowledge about some things related to alternate energy cost effectiveness (or, perhaps more correctly, the lack of cost effectiveness) than your potential installer may be aware of.

    Take what you want of the above. Scrap the rest.
    Last edited by J.P.M.; 11-01-2018, 08:02 PM. Reason: Spelling

    Leave a comment:


  • ay79
    replied
    Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

    Since you seem to be asking:

    What makes you think Sunpower is worth any premium in the first place ? They are, in the opinion of many informed folks, no better and no more fit for purpose than other quality panels, and less so given the premium paid for Sunpower for no real benefit.

    Inverters are usually sized to the array. Learn that some clipping is probably acceptable from an economic standpoint, but oversizing an array relative to annual electrical load is not and usually hurts the economics.

    Your $$/your choice, but know that there's more than a small chance, depending on assumptions/guesses about the future used, that a less than 100 % offset of annual load will be more long term cost effective than a 100% or greater offset. In spite of what solar peddlers and the green media will imply as a given and done deal (those sneaky devils), more PV generation capacity is not necessarily better from a long term economic standpoint.

    On what you call overengineering: That's more like oversizing or building for excess generating capacity, not overengineering. Your money to spend, but if you're as concerned about cost effectiveness as you seem to write, why so much oversize ? Learn how your POCO rates are affected by usage (or lack of it via conservation) and something called LCOE or other life cycle costing method. Then learn how to optimize an array size for best (lowest) long term cost. Then find a system size and price/STC watt that minimizes that LCOE to meet the goal of supplying your long term electrical loads as you see fit.
    So you say that paying a little bit to the POCO for the extra power I need is much more cost effective than overbuilding and adding more panels. Our usage is probably just under 10kW but with a growing family that usage will increase as well. The cost of meeting that need more of the time is clipping mid-day. What can I say it's Massachusetts - we live on that green media (but don't discount the health benefits of positive thinking and feeling good about what you're doing and the choices you make!)

    re: Sunpower being the best - the installer showed me the panels and "explained" that they have better tech (something about connections, heat and front vs back of the panel) and he has Sunpower on his roof. I suppose the good ones are all about the same and indeed, I am skeptical of the degradation rates they quote. Comes down to money and the difference in cost isn't huge. As long as the system works and I can break even in year 5 I'll be happy.

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by ay79 View Post
    Anyone have any thoughts on over-engineering ie. building more capacity than you can use.
    The POCO limits us to 10kW to get 100% for net metering. I'm planning on using a 10kW inverter to keep us under that and not be downgraded. It has been suggested to overbuild by ~10% in terms of generating capacity so that even when the sun isn't at peak I'd still be making my 10kW.

    Estimates for Sunpower E series are about $3.45/kW with a string inverter and about $3.30 with Panasonic panels. Competing quote from a less established installer is around $3.10/kW using Panasonic. We're in New England. High local power rates. Repayment after taxes is around 5-6a. difference being probably about 4 months of power consumption.

    From what I'm reading it's most important to go with a trusted and experienced dealer/installer.
    Many suggest that Sunpower are fine but not much better than other panels. Is this price difference within the accepted margin to go for the Sunpower or would people just save the 4%.
    Since you seem to be asking:

    What makes you think Sunpower is worth any premium in the first place ? They are, in the opinion of many informed folks, no better and no more fit for purpose than other quality panels, and less so given the premium paid for Sunpower for no real benefit.

    Inverters are usually sized to the array. Learn that some clipping is probably acceptable from an economic standpoint, but oversizing an array relative to annual electrical load is not and usually hurts the economics.

    Your $$/your choice, but know that there's more than a small chance, depending on assumptions/guesses about the future used, that a less than 100 % offset of annual load will be more long term cost effective than a 100% or greater offset. In spite of what solar peddlers and the green media will imply as a given and done deal (those sneaky devils), more PV generation capacity is not necessarily better from a long term economic standpoint.

    On what you call overengineering: That's more like oversizing or building for excess generating capacity, not overengineering. Your money to spend, but if you're as concerned about cost effectiveness as you seem to write, why so much oversize ? Learn how your POCO rates are affected by usage (or lack of it via conservation) and something called LCOE or other life cycle costing method. Then learn how to optimize an array size for best (lowest) long term cost. Then find a system size and price/STC watt that minimizes that LCOE to meet the goal of supplying your long term electrical loads as you see fit.

    Leave a comment:


  • bcroe
    replied
    Originally posted by ay79
    Anyone have any thoughts on over-engineering ie. building more capacity than you can use?
    The POCO limits us to 10kW to get 100% for net metering. I'm planning on using a 10kW inverter to keep us under that and not be downgraded. It has been suggested to overbuild by ~10% in terms of generating capacity so that even when the sun isn't at peak I'd still be making my 10kW.

    Estimates for Sunpower E series are about $3.45/kW with a string inverter and about $3.30 with Panasonic panels. Competing quote from a less established installer is around $3.10/kW using Panasonic. We're in New England. High local power rates.
    I do not know what you mean by to get 100% for net metering. 10KW is substantial, I manage to heat
    and cool the house with 15KW. If your inverter is limited to 10KW output, there are ways to increase total
    energy collected. Common practice is to raise the panel DC rating perhaps 20% over the AC rating. Clouds
    will often drop output to 10 or 25% of clear sky peak. With a simple string inverter system, adding more
    strings can bring that up proportionately. But facing all those panels south will produce a clear sky peak
    that will be lost to clipping at the inverter rating. The solution to THAT here is tilt those panels to the east
    and the west to get more even power over the day, increased early and late but lowered mid day. See one
    power curve here, but this generally only works with simple string systems, with a ground mount permitting
    varied panel orientation. Your partners may not approve. Bruce Roe

    NScurve.jpg

    Leave a comment:


  • ay79
    replied
    Anyone have any thoughts on over-engineering ie. building more capacity than you can use.
    The POCO limits us to 10kW to get 100% for net metering. I'm planning on using a 10kW inverter to keep us under that and not be downgraded. It has been suggested to overbuild by ~10% in terms of generating capacity so that even when the sun isn't at peak I'd still be making my 10kW.

    Estimates for Sunpower E series are about $3.45/kW with a string inverter and about $3.30 with Panasonic panels. Competing quote from a less established installer is around $3.10/kW using Panasonic. We're in New England. High local power rates. Repayment after taxes is around 5-6a. difference being probably about 4 months of power consumption.

    From what I'm reading it's most important to go with a trusted and experienced dealer/installer.
    Many suggest that Sunpower are fine but not much better than other panels. Is this price difference within the accepted margin to go for the Sunpower or would people just save the 4%.

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by TJsport View Post
    I have a Sunpower quote for a 5 KW system for about $21K prior to rebate. I'd like to get it down to $3.50/watt if that is a decent price in the bay area. But that would be ~$4K drop. I might even be OK $3.75 per watt given the labor costs in the bay area. How do I get them there with a quality installer? OP - Can you please provide some guidance to the vendor you eventually selected.
    Another person who drank the Sunpower Kool-Aid.

    Leave a comment:


  • TJsport
    replied
    I have a Sunpower quote for a 5 KW system for about $21K prior to rebate. I'd like to get it down to $3.50/watt if that is a decent price in the bay area. But that would be ~$4K drop. I might even be OK $3.75 per watt given the labor costs in the bay area. How do I get them there with a quality installer? OP - Can you please provide some guidance to the vendor you eventually selected.

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by itw View Post
    Thank you! I am also thinking I'll try using that $2,000 rebate from Sunpower as a reason to get a better deal from the local installer. Can't hurt to try.
    Take this from a former peddler FWIW as you please or not: Suit yourself, but if you reveal any pricing or other financial info, you will never get a lower price than $0.01 lower than the one you reveal. That's why the price matching game is always to the vendor's benefit and buyers' detriment. One thing sellers always want to know is to know is where the competition is on price. Price matching gives it to them on a silver platter. Dumb move. You just gave away one of your negotiating advantages and got precisely squat in return. Buyers ignorantly and lazily do that for no reason other than lack of knowledge that it's a con. Try this: Set a price that's maybe 10% or whatever you think below what you feel is a good price and tell a vendor that's what you're ready to sign a deal for today/right now and see what happens. You can always come up in price and the vendor won't know exactly where they need to be (although if they're sharp, they probably have a pretty good idea where they need to be. If they don't know they may not be that competent and so maybe you might be better off not dealing with them).

    Think about it from two perspectives. Your own, as in what real benefit do you gain by revealing price ?; and from the vendor's perspective: You are given something that, as a seller, you want and need, and that will will help you sell for the highest price available with no uncertainty.

    Besides, you're getting screwed on price at $4+/W anyway. Before you start any negotiating, you can do much better by maybe a buck/STC watt and still get quality and reliability. Just get off the high priced panel wagon and educate yourself.

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

    Leave a comment:


  • itw
    replied
    Thank you! I am also thinking I'll try using that $2,000 rebate from Sunpower as a reason to get a better deal from the local installer. Can't hurt to try.

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by itw View Post
    I'm in a similar situation - also in Northern CA. I got quotes from both Sunpower and a reputable local installer who wants to put on LG panels. I don't currently have an absolutely equivalent bid, but here's what I have:

    1. Sunpower from Sunpower Direct
    15 * X21, 350 watts
    $23,101 before tax credit

    2. Local installer
    16 * LG360W
    16 * SMA America microinverter
    $24,921 before tax credit

    I can currently get a $2,000 rebate from Sunpower because I know an employee. That is very attractive. However, I've been reading a bit about Sunpower on this forum and I now have concerns about:

    - whether their microinverters are a bad idea
    - whether it's a bad idea to get my system installed by the same folks who make it, because if they go out of business I am SOL, with neither an installer nor a manufacturer to turn to

    For context, I have a roof with no shade.

    It is more important to me to get a system I can trust than it is to save a few $.

    Thoughts?
    Since you ask: Seems more of the usual Sunpower overpricing, but the LG price is too high as well. I paid $4.50/Watt for S.P. over 5 years ago.

    Panels are a commodity these days as are most other PV system components . Both of those are good equipment, but no better or more reliable than lots of others of equal quality and reliability. Unless you've got some unusual conditions, you've been quoted prices that are WAY too much. A system with quality components, installed by a competent local electrical contractor that's been around since way before solar can most likely put a system on your roof that will provide reliable service for as long as you're likely to own it for closer to $3.00 - $3.50/STC Watt - not the $4.30 - $4.40 or so that you're thinking about.

    Also, if your worried about reliability, string inverters have much less in the way of parts to fail and are simpler. Plus, with no shade, you have no need or advantage to micros.

    Get more quotes for other paneled systems using string inverters. You'll pay less and get equal or better quality and reliability.

    Leave a comment:


  • itw
    replied
    I'm in a similar situation - also in Northern CA. I got quotes from both Sunpower and a reputable local installer who wants to put on LG panels. I don't currently have an absolutely equivalent bid, but here's what I have:

    1. Sunpower from Sunpower Direct
    15 * X21, 350 watts
    $23,101 before tax credit

    2. Local installer
    16 * LG360W
    16 * SMA America microinverter
    $24,921 before tax credit

    I can currently get a $2,000 rebate from Sunpower because I know an employee. That is very attractive. However, I've been reading a bit about Sunpower on this forum and I now have concerns about:

    - whether their microinverters are a bad idea
    - whether it's a bad idea to get my system installed by the same folks who make it, because if they go out of business I am SOL, with neither an installer nor a manufacturer to turn to

    For context, I have a roof with no shade.

    It is more important to me to get a system I can trust than it is to save a few $.

    Thoughts?

    Leave a comment:


  • voodooboy
    replied
    Originally posted by zzzzyyyyxxxx View Post
    Hi, I live in bay area, North California, and am looking for a 3.5kW solar system. Here are the best 2 quotes I received:

    1. SunPower, from SunPower Direct
    10 * X22-360-C-AC: 3.6kW total.
    $3.95/W before tax credit. Net Cost $2.77/W after tax credit.

    2. LG Neon R, from a reputable local installer
    10 * LG350Q1C-A5: 3.5kW total.
    10 * Enphase IQ 6+ micro inverter
    $3.42/W before tax credit. Net Cost $2.40/W after tax credit.

    I'm wondering if I should continue negotiating the price, or they seems about right.

    Note:
    I also quoted LG Neon 2 and Panasonic, they are about the same price as Neon R. I had a feeling that panel cost is no longer the major contributor here, but installation/labor cost is. Therefore choosing a cheaper panel will not save much, at least in bay area.

    To my surprise, SolarEdge+optimizer actually cost more than Enphase micro invertor, since my system is small.

    Hey! Can you tell me which installer in NorCal is giving you the $3.42/W rate fir the LG Nein R

    Leave a comment:

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