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  • SunPower End of Lease Buyout

    Hello,

    I purchased my home about four years ago and assumed the solar lease at that time. The lease expired at the end of last year (10 year lease) and I have been trying to either renew it, buy the system, or have it removed. I have played phone tag with SunPower for several weeks and finally this last Friday talked to "my" rep. The current buyout amount is just over $12,000, they asked me "what price would I be willing to purchase the system for right now?" I shot out $5,000, which the rep said "he would run it by management for approval." After lots of reading here it looks like SunPower:
    1. Doesn't want the liability of extending the lease and having to cover warranty work.
    2. They dodged my question about renewing and kept asking for a buyout offer.
    3. Already deprecated the systems value and took all of the incentives.
    4. Doesn't want to remove the system and deal with the costs of removing it or having to sell it to a third party for removal.

    My SunPower account has spotty data at best, it will show for example a net kwh of .43 for a one hour time frame but not what I produced just what I put back into the grid. It will also show that some days I don't generate at all and then have peaks of 7 kwh with an average of 4.5 kwh. SunPower and the builder have zero information on my system (number of panels, panel rating, invert, etc.). I did look at my inverter and its a SPR-4000m but the panels are the roof tile type that are set into my roof and I cannot get a good angle from the street for a count. I am located in So Cal and the roof with the panels is not blocked or covered by shadows from other houses or trees and faces south. There are 10 rows that are ~15' long and one row that is ~12' long.

    With that said:
    1. Has anyone else had this happen where SunPower is willing to let the system go for 40% of the estimated value?
    2. How do I know if my system is performing properly?
    3. Will the invert actually convert 4 kw from the panel at peak?

    I just want to make sure I'm not buying a broken system. Anyways, any feedback or suggestions you have is greatly apricated, along with any recommendations for inspection services.

    Thank you for reading this far!

  • #2
    Once upon a time, we sold solar using leases with one of the top three national companies (not Sunpower). We were told not to tell customers they could expect to be given the system at the end of lease. But was true that one contractual option is the company is obligated to pay for removal and that it is cheaper for the company to give customer the system rather than pay for removal.
    Sunpower makes the highest claims for "quality" in the industry. In practice, your frustrations with their customer service are not unusual...

    Offer Sunpower to not sue them if they give you the system, then pay a good local, Solar Reviews rated installer to get your system in good working order (the original inverter is on its last legs after 10 years anyway). Use an inverter from a top tier manufacturer that stands behind their product with free monitoring available to the customer.
    BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >2500kW installed

    Comment


    • #3
      Though not a dealer, I'd agree with and support Solarix' comments and advice and low ball it. You can always raise the offer in a negotiation. But know this: Sunpower doesn't want the expense of removal.

      Another source of system info that may be of some use to you: If your system is 10 years old, and your POCO is one of the 3 CA I.O.U.'s, there's a pretty good chance it's in something called the "CSI data base". That's a huge spreadshhet based data base that has every residential and most every commercial system that got a CA incentive back in the day.

      It includes, owned, leased and PPA systems. About the only thing not in the data base is the street address of the system location. In the day it was a great source of information for folks shopping for residential PV as it also included total system selling price and other information such as time between signing and startup that vendors definitely didn't want users to know about.Trouble was, most folks didn't know it existed.

      Sort the database by zip code, vendor (if you know it), system size (probably about 4 kW STC size or so), leased systems (called 3d party by the database), Sunpower panels and date.
      You can pretty much zero in on your system with a fair degree of confidence in very short order.
      Tracking stuff in my HOA, I found the database information to be very accurate.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by homealone View Post
        .........

        ........... SunPower and the builder have zero information on my system (number of panels, panel rating, invert, etc.). I did look at my inverter and its a SPR-4000m but the panels are the roof tile type that are set into my roof and I cannot get a good angle from the street for a count. I am located in So Cal and the roof with the panels is not blocked or covered by shadows from other houses or trees and faces south. There are 10 rows that are ~15' long and one row that is ~12' long.
        ........ Anyways, any feedback or suggestions you have is greatly apricated, along with any recommendations for inspection services.
        Have you tried a satellite view to get the panel count? You would still need to estimate panel size. Inverter size is another clue that the system is somewhere around 8kW.
        I bought some used Sunpower panels for $0.30 a Watt. That could be a ballpark estimate of what the panels might be worth. I would not put much value on the inverters but the wiring and installation could have some value. If it were me, I would find some installers who would quote you for installing two inverters. They would have to count the panels and estimate production to size the inverters. They could also answer your other questions. I am not sure I would believe everything a salesperson told me but getting two or more opinions would give you some data to evaluate. Then you might have a basis for a low ball offer, or decide to wait and see if Sunpower will walk away from the terminated lease as @Solarix suggested.
        Last edited by Ampster; 03-03-2020, 12:32 PM.
        9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you for the replies!

          Spent a good chunk of time on the phone today and finally got my system specs: Panel type- SPR-76R-BLK-U, 32 panels total, DC watts- 2432, AC watts 1993.73.

          I also was able to get my system output history to download. My output dropped off pretty dramatically after the 7 year mark, at one point I had zero output recorded for over a year. I talked with a person and they said "the system functioned fine the whole time it was under warranty but should be looked at now as the inverter may be going bad." I pointed out the drop in production and they claimed it was a software reporting glitch and my system was in perfect order up to the end of my lease. I have to dig out my lease paperwork as I believe there was a minimum output guarantee in it. They cant prove it met the guarantee as far as I am concerned. There were also odd spikes in output, it would be 0 for 30 days then jump to 200 kWh then drop to 3 then jump to 4 then zero again for a few days. Again when I pointed it out I was told "it looks fine to me." My overall output data in kWh over 3,787 days is: [TABLE="border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 208, height: 70"]
          [TR]
          [TD] [/TD]
          [TD]average[/TD]
          [TD]min[/TD]
          [TD]max[/TD]
          [TD]median[/TD]
          [TD]sum[/TD]
          [/TR]
          [TR]
          [TD]yearly[/TD]
          [TD]2,439[/TD]
          [TD]0[/TD]
          [TD]4,618[/TD]
          [TD]3,726[/TD]
          [TD]29,264[/TD]
          [/TR]
          [TR]
          [TD]monthly[/TD]
          [TD]232[/TD]
          [TD]0[/TD]
          [TD]1,214[/TD]
          [TD]256[/TD]
          [TD]29,264[/TD]
          [/TR]
          [TR]
          [TD]daily[/TD]
          [TD]7.7[/TD]
          [TD]0[/TD]
          [TD]478[/TD]
          [TD]9[/TD]
          [TD]29,264[/TD]
          [/TR]
          [/TABLE]

          There was also mention of paying me back if the system didn't meet the minimum so I need to find the paperwork and calculate that amount if any. I also talked with my rep today and the $5,000 offer was approved but I have zero intention of paying for the system at this point. I'm tempted to buy some replacement panels and inverter and install them and give SunPower 30 days to get their property off of my property.

          Anyways, thanks again for your input and help. I'll update this as I move through the process so other can learn from it.

          Thank you!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by homealone View Post
            Thank you for the replies!

            Spent a good chunk of time on the phone today and finally got my system specs: Panel type- SPR-76R-BLK-U, 32 panels total, DC watts- 2432, AC watts 1993.73.
            ................. I also talked with my rep today and the $5,000 offer was approved but I have zero intention of paying for the system at this point. I'm tempted to buy some replacement panels and inverter and install them and give SunPower 30 days to get their property off of my property.
            Thanks for he update. Yep, $5000 for that system size is over $2 per Watt
            When the system was functioning did it offset your usage?
            9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

            Comment


            • #7
              It had to have offset the usage, no?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dewees View Post
                It had to have offset the usage, no?
                It was never stated so I was just checking. If it were my decision that would be an important factor in deciding how much to pay.
                9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

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