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  • Solar system help need (Northern California - Bay area)

    Hi, I have been looking for about 6 weeks on the solar system and received more than 10 quotes from different installers. Can someone help me understand if these costs are good for the quotes I have received? and which inverter will work better with these panels?

    I am from Northern California (bay area)

    A
    1. Total Cost: $16,550
    2. System: 4.68 KW
    3. Panels: LG 360W
    4. Inverter: Enphase IQ6+
    5. Cost per watt - $3.54

    B
    1. Total Cost: $15,430
    2. System: 4.69 KW
    3. Panels: LG 335W
    4. Inverter: Enphase IQ7
    5. Cost per watt - $3.29

    I also checked Qcell but was worry about the 12 years warranty but the price is good. Here is offer for Hanwha Qcell
    C
    1. Total Cost: $14,690
    2. System: 4.875 KW
    3. Panels: Hanwha Qcell DUO-G5 325
    4. Inverter/optimizer: Solaredge SE5000H-US/P370
    5. Cost per watt - $3.01

    I am curious if these quotes are good or? because I have seen people getting much lower offer for the same or similar system on the forum but not sure if they are also from the Northern California. Any input would much appreciate it.

    Questions:
    1. How are the quotes above?
    2. Is the consumption monitoring recommended? Some of the installers suggesting using Sense to do the consumption monitoring
    3. Which inverter is recommended for these systems? I am more favorable to Enphase or Solaredge
    4. Rack/Mount - Unirac or Ironridge?

    If anyone is from the bay area please feel free to message me your learning as well thank you.
    Last edited by ccjw33; 02-26-2019, 10:08 PM.

  • #2
    Hi ccjw33,

    I would be happy with any of the above mentioned panels, but unless you have un avoidable shading issues I would never consider micro-inverters or a bolt on power optimiser system, the reason being panels are very simple animals, they just sit there and work creating their DC current, it very rare to have an issue with a panel. Inverters and optimisers will be the thing to give you issues generally, I prefer a traditional string inverter like SMA or Fronius because they have proven themselves to me to be reliable.It seems around $3 per watt is achievable in CA I doubt you will get any better.

    This might help, https://www.solarreviews.com/blog/pr...-microinverter

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by solar pete View Post
      Hi ccjw33,

      I would be happy with any of the above mentioned panels, but unless you have un avoidable shading issues I would never consider micro-inverters or a bolt on power optimiser system, the reason being panels are very simple animals, they just sit there and work creating their DC current,
      A little easier to meet rapid shutdown NEC 2017 with optimisers and micros.
      I don't know if it is a good idea to say anything like "never consider" for products with the largest market share...
      Last edited by ButchDeal; 02-26-2019, 08:03 PM.
      OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

      Comment


      • #4
        I assume this is residential roof mount? You'll need rapid shutdown. Many folks here on the board prefer SolarEdge to Enphase. But either is probably fine. I have Solar Edge myself. Why is your array so small? Do you really use that little power or is your roof small/constrained?

        How do installer (and independent) estimates of potential system productivity compare to your annual usage? What percentage solar offset are you anticipating?

        Calculate the cost per Watt of your offers. Pricing should be between $2.75 and $3.25 / W as a rough rule of thumb. Be sure you are buying the system outright (with cash or a loan) do not get a PPA, Lease, or TPO arrangement.

        Panels are largely a commodity, though some have a back track record than others. Panasonic, LG, Trina, Hanwha, Jinko are all good brands. Panasonic/LG/SunPower are premium. If you have a small roof and you're trying to maximize productivity paying extra for a high efficiency panels may be worthwhile.

        I have Solar Edge Consumption monitoring and really like it. I use it every day. Racking should be whatever a reputable vendor prefers / is most experienced with.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JSchnee21 View Post
          I assume this is residential roof mount? You'll need rapid shutdown. Many folks here on the board prefer SolarEdge to Enphase. But either is probably fine. I have Solar Edge myself. Why is your array so small? Do you really use that little power or is your roof small/constrained?

          How do installer (and independent) estimates of potential system productivity compare to your annual usage? What percentage solar offset are you anticipating?

          Calculate the cost per Watt of your offers. Pricing should be between $2.75 and $3.25 / W as a rough rule of thumb. Be sure you are buying the system outright (with cash or a loan) do not get a PPA, Lease, or TPO arrangement.

          Panels are largely a commodity, though some have a back track record than others. Panasonic, LG, Trina, Hanwha, Jinko are all good brands. Panasonic/LG/SunPower are premium. If you have a small roof and you're trying to maximize productivity paying extra for a high efficiency panels may be worthwhile.

          I have Solar Edge Consumption monitoring and really like it. I use it every day. Racking should be whatever a reputable vendor prefers / is most experienced with.
          Thanks Jschnee. Yea we don't use that much of power at home that's why 4.6KW will work just fine. We only used 5100 kwh last year and with solar system I am adding 15% plus EV charging (which we charge 40% of time at home).

          For the similar panels from other posting I have see people paying less so I was curious if anyone can advise the reasonable price for the system I am looking for. And yes I am looking for buying the system.

          My roof can fit about 14-15 panels on the south area plus we can also place some panels on the SW or SE if needed in the future. Any idea where I can find the project to compare if my cost is reasonable? Thank you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by solar pete View Post
            Hi ccjw33,

            I would be happy with any of the above mentioned panels, but unless you have un avoidable shading issues I would never consider micro-inverters or a bolt on power optimiser system, the reason being panels are very simple animals, they just sit there and work creating their DC current, it very rare to have an issue with a panel. Inverters and optimisers will be the thing to give you issues generally, I prefer a traditional string inverter like SMA or Fronius because they have proven themselves to me to be reliable.It seems around $3 per watt is achievable in CA I doubt you will get any better.

            This might help, https://www.solarreviews.com/blog/pr...-microinverter
            Thanks Solar Pete but I am still more interesting only Enphase or Solaredge due to the popularity and easy expansion if needed.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by solar pete View Post
              Hi ccjw33,

              I would be happy with any of the above mentioned panels, but unless you have un avoidable shading issues I would never consider micro-inverters or a bolt on power optimiser system, the reason being panels are very simple animals, they just sit there and work creating their DC current, it very rare to have an issue with a panel. Inverters and optimisers will be the thing to give you issues generally, I prefer a traditional string inverter like SMA or Fronius because they have proven themselves to me to be reliable.It seems around $3 per watt is achievable in CA I doubt you will get any better.

              This might help, https://www.solarreviews.com/blog/pr...-microinverter
              $3/W even for the LG 360 or 365W panels?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post


                I don't know if it is a good idea to say anything like "never consider" for products with the largest market share...
                It is for me, Im in Australia, we dont have to adhere to your wacky rules, so I never will consider micro's or bolt on optimisers if I have to deal with shade I use Suntech Smart DC 300 Watt Mono with Maxim tech, but thats just me

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by solar pete View Post

                  It is for me, Im in Australia, we dont have to adhere to your wacky rules, so I never will consider micro's or bolt on optimisers if I have to deal with shade I use Suntech Smart DC 300 Watt Mono with Maxim tech, but thats just me
                  Wacky? Australia they face the panels north.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Comparatively, you're going to pay more $/Watt on a smaller system than on a larger system because the overall project cost is less and not all of the installers costs are as scalable. Check EnergySage for costs / comparative bids in your area but your pricing is pretty much in line with other full service turnkey systems. The LG Neon R's are expensive, as much or just slightly less than SunPower in many cases. In the middle it's Panasonic and LG Neon2, and then on the higher end of "value" are Trina, Hanwha, and Jinko.

                    In general I would say your quotes are maybe 10% high, and the price differential seems larger than I would expect, but you're changing both the panel and the inverter. If it were me, I'd stick to Solar Edge, compare the cost of Neon R, Panasonic, and Neon 2, etc. and try to aim for ~$3/Watt.

                    Also, many here are unpleasantly surprised by how much electricity their first (or second) EV uses. So don't sell yourself short on capacity. I would try and get as large of a system as your roof and PoCo interconnect agreement will allow.

                    I don't think you mentioned how your PoCo rate plans work. What is your cost per kWh. Tiered? TOU? How much credit will you get for production during the day when you're not home?

                    Based on your usage, the cost of your usage, and the anticipated credits (net metering, export, etc.), and the Federal tax rebate, how many years will it take before you will break even? Will you still be living there at that time?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by solar pete View Post
                      It is for me, Im in Australia, we dont have to adhere to your wacky rules, so I never will consider micro's or bolt on optimisers if I have to deal with shade I use Suntech Smart DC 300 Watt Mono with Maxim tech, but thats just me
                      You might be down under but the OP as stated is in California.

                      And the SunTech Smart DC modules HAVE optimizers built into them. So you are fine with optimizers as long as they are in the junction box.
                      OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wouldn't say fine as far as I am concerned its just something else to go wrong but shade must be dealt with one way or another, and yes I prefer three little chips in the junction box versus a unit bolted onto the panel. We have used all available options and still will use solar edge when requested but due to replacing many, many micro's and bolt on optimisers yeah I figured maxim tech (which is different to a solaredge optimiser) simply cant be any worse.

                        In the interests of full disclosure we did have some TV interference issue on the fist model maxim panels but Maxim and Suntech sent their techs here to our jobs in South Australia, now we have an Australian version or model.

                        This may help you https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/...-dc-optimiser/
                        Last edited by solar pete; 02-27-2019, 04:14 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by solar pete View Post
                          I wouldn't say fine as far as I am concerned its just something else to go wrong but shade must be dealt with one way or another, and yes I prefer three little chips in the junction box versus a unit bolted onto the panel. We have used all available options and still will use solar edge when requested but due to replacing many, many micro's and bolt on optimisers yeah I figured maxim tech (which is different to a solaredge optimiser) simply cant be any worse.

                          In the interests of full disclosure we did have some TV interference issue on the fist model maxim panels but Maxim and Suntech sent their techs here to our jobs in South Australia, now we have an Australian version or model.

                          This may help you https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/...-dc-optimiser/
                          It sounds like the Electric code for Australia does not include the requirement of rapid shutdown as we do in the US or you fill that requirement using different equipment then micro's.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Howdy Sun Eagle, to be honest I have never looked into your codes and is a reason why I try not to delve into technical issues with US installs, we have an AC breaker in the meter box, a DC isolator on each string on the roof and DC isolators mounted adjacent to the inverter, the Fronius has an inbuilt type of DC isolator so we dont have to use additional dc isolators with Fronius, so there is no need for us to use micros or optimisers as a way to deal with this rapid shut down business, to me they are just bits that fail and need replacing and are a PITA, cheers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by solar pete View Post
                              Howdy Sun Eagle, to be honest I have never looked into your codes and is a reason why I try not to delve into technical issues with US installs, we have an AC breaker in the meter box, a DC isolator on each string on the roof and DC isolators mounted adjacent to the inverter, the Fronius has an inbuilt type of DC isolator so we dont have to use additional dc isolators with Fronius, so there is no need for us to use micros or optimisers as a way to deal with this rapid shut down business, to me they are just bits that fail and need replacing and are a PITA, cheers
                              I agree with you. Additional electronics are just more points of failure in the system.

                              Sometimes the NEC puts in "suggestions" that seem a little off the wall and IMO costly with the chance of maybe saving someone from electrocution. But rules are rules and we have to obey the requests of the AHJ no matter how much we disagree with them.

                              Comment

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