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Thread: Get solar panels or no?????

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    Default Get solar panels or no?????

    The wife and I are thinking of getting solar panels installed by solar city... We will be leasing since we don't have the $25k to buy the system out right... I hear good and bad( as with anything) the system they built for my house will cover 100% of the electricity we use( based off the last 12 months of usage). Our bill in the summer ranges from $450-$600 just to try to keep the house tolerablezz but I just had to have a capacitor changed and the unit seems to be running better... But anyway need info from all of you who has solar... Want to heR all the food and bad stories so I can make up my mind

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    Down Under Member Sticka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    I researched it quite a bit, you are better off to buy instead of lease, IMHO.
    Even financing it, the payments work out to be less than your PGE bills are now.
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    Member Dynewind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Double check all the incentives and whatnot.

    Optimally you'd want to not use solar to completely replace your power - the best Return on Investment is to simply buy enough solar panels to lower your energy consumption down to the lower price bracket.

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    Senior Member Jetstream01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    I debated solar heavily when my wife and I had our house built a few months ago. We ultimately decided to skip solar for now, but mostly because the cost of leasing a solar system was more than just paying the PGE bill. But in your situation PGE is a lot more expensive so I'd consider it. Research PGE's "true up" bill. Basically you'll get no PGE bill for the whole year then they bill you for your annual usage all at once in a big lump sum.

    I'm still waiting for solar until the systems start to come with batteries to power the house at night, which I'd say those will start to be offered very shortly as Tesla announced the home batteries recently and they're tied to Solar City.

    Last, beware that by leasing you'll get none of the tax benefits from having solar. Solar City will be the ones taking all your rebates and stuff. But in the end leasing is still cheaper than buying.
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    DESMOSEDICI DUKE Papa Duck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Solar is always advancing w/ new and up-graded equipment which is good.At one time we to thought about it but decided against it being there's to many Scammer's w/ there small print chit in there contract's.Peterson/Dean have a clause that you are not to put them on any public forums like facebook etc.Solar City has a numbered of people saying some horrible stories of shoddy work and customer service.It's to dark to buy,you don't know of which two evils to pick,just saying...Some day we can buy our own kits and hire a Tech. to install it w/ no B.S...
    See Ya,Wouldn't want to be ya

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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetstream01 View Post
    Last, beware that by leasing you'll get none of the tax benefits from having solar. Solar City will be the ones taking all your rebates and stuff. But in the end leasing is still cheaper than buying.
    We are aware of this but the sales rep and talking to a buddy who is leasing solar say that since we are leasing solar that we and solar city won't get any tax credits. Now if we were to do a lease to buy that we would get tax credits but either way there is no money, it's just a tax credit... But yeah leasing would still lower our monthly bill year around... Last year we had a bill that was over $500 and pissed us off... With solar we will be paying 15 cents per kilowatt versus $1 per kilowatt with PGE.

    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Duck View Post
    Solar City has a numbered of people saying some horrible stories of shoddy work and customer service.
    Very true but you will have the horror stories with any big company. Solar city warranties all their work and if there is any issues after the install I will be all over them until it's corrected. We still have a couple weeks to decide on this...

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    Senior Member Jetstream01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Handyman View Post
    We are aware of this but the sales rep and talking to a buddy who is leasing solar say that since we are leasing solar that we and solar city won't get any tax credits. Now if we were to do a lease to buy that we would get tax credits but either way there is no money, it's just a tax credit... But yeah leasing would still lower our monthly bill year around... Last year we had a bill that was over $500 and pissed us off... With solar we will be paying 15 cents per kilowatt versus $1 per kilowatt with PGE.



    Very true but you will have the horror stories with any big company. Solar city warranties all their work and if there is any issues after the install I will be all over them until it's corrected. We still have a couple weeks to decide on this...
    Yeah man that's a pretty damn expensive PGE bill. Sounds like it's worth it in your case.
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetstream01 View Post
    Yeah man that's a pretty damn expensive PGE bill. Sounds like it's worth it in your case.
    LOL and it all my fault...I'm always hot so I like it cold in the house.. I'm the guy in the winter that sleeps with the window open with the house fan on sucking in the cold air and has a floor fan pointed at me while I sleep with a light blanket or just a sheet...

    that's probably why I can ride in 26 weather in summer gloves, jeans, and perforated leather jacket and watch the ice form on the mirrors and gloves and be comfortable

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    TeamLoBudget hippylong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    funny my PGE is $48 to $150
    3 bedroom house with air..
    stop spinning the meter...
    i find self control is way cheaper than solar....
    just my view...

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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Quote Originally Posted by hippylong View Post
    funny my PGE is $48 to $150
    3 bedroom house with air..
    stop spinning the meter...
    i find self control is way cheaper than solar....
    just my view...
    If my bills were like that I wouldn't even consider solar... The cheapest my bill has ever been is $110... That was in the winter when I don't run heat or AC

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    Member Dynewind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Those are some pricey bills.

    1. Insulate! The easiest and cheapest way to save is to seal anything that'll leak your conditioned air to the outside. This ranged from installing an under-the-door-seal thing, caulking your window sills that are leaking air, or blackout curtains that reflect more light out, to even having a double pane windows. Though if you're a hardcore, a whole house fan is always great, since heat collects on the ceiling, you'd want to get rid of those accumulated heat / distribute them around the house before having your AC work so hard trying to compensate for it.

    2. Economize! Not quite sure how this work without being a hassle, but I tend to alternate between 1-2 hours of AC with 30 mins of fan. If you have a smart thermostat or whatnot, I'm sure spending 20 minutes learning the advance control will be worth your buck.

    3. Reiterating my previous point of installing just enough solar to knock off the peak demand from your residence. Rates goes up by a lot once you go over a certain threshold - find out what that is, and compare it to your historical usage, then install enough solar to go down to the cheaper rate. I think it's a good hybrid in getting a quick return on investment.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Quote Originally Posted by hippylong View Post
    funny my PGE is $48 to $150
    3 bedroom house with air..
    stop spinning the meter...
    i find self control is way cheaper than solar....
    just my view...
    Amen to that.
    2400 ft open 2 story and my summer bill is $175 at the worst.
    My house was built in '95 and was never intended to have a swamp cooler but I managed to work it in without touching the current AC system. If it is under 105 I don't need to turn on the AC.
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Before you do that, have you done everything you can do save energy? I'd like to add to Dynewind's recommendations.

    First thing we did was install new windows. Saved $100 a month right off.

    Then I bought smart power strips. These things are great. You plug in the main appliance, like your big screen, into the control port. Then when you turn it off, it turns off everything else HARD so they don't leach power. Like stereo, cable box, etc. I have a few of these sprinkled around the house. Also great for computers with always-on monitors, speakers, etc.

    There are other brands but here's the one I bought:
    http://smile.amazon.com/Smart-Strip-...r+strips+smart

    SmartAC control. Like a Nest or one of the newer Honeywells.

    Whole house fan. In the thick of summer, when its hot at night, it doesn't work - BUT it extends the usefulness of spring and fall. You can turn on the AC later and turn it back off earlier in the year. Also on nights like last night, you can kill the AC earlier, too. This morning, I fired it up for an hour then locked the house up tight. It'll still be cool when I get home. My April bill was down 20% and May a full 50%. Sometimes PG&E even has rebates for installing these.

    Now, my electric bill isn't super low, but it's WAY lower than it was. We're a pretty wired family with a grip of gear. We also have two fridges because it ultimately saves money with two boys. But I can still keep it pegged to $180 or less 9 months a year. Use to be $370-450.
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    TeamLoBudget hippylong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    i can't express enough the benefit of a whole house fan system.
    and having a programmable thermostat.
    i'm lucky that my house came with the roof full of blown and rolled insulation.
    also the walls were blown full...
    and my house came with windows...

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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    I Do have a whole house fan and night we run itto blow out all the hot air in the attic so we can put off turning on the AC the next day.. We have black out curtains on all the windows.. All the windows don't leak air. I have went by every window and checked no cool air was coming out.. The only thing the leaks is the doggie door insert for the sliding glass door. I do have a Honeywell smart thermo and am looking at the NEST thermo.

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    Member Dynewind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Handyman View Post
    I Do have a whole house fan and night we run itto blow out all the hot air in the attic so we can put off turning on the AC the next day.. We have black out curtains on all the windows.. All the windows don't leak air. I have went by every window and checked no cool air was coming out.. The only thing the leaks is the doggie door insert for the sliding glass door. I do have a Honeywell smart thermo and am looking at the NEST thermo.
    Oh wow, so you've done all you can then.

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    DESMOSEDICI DUKE Papa Duck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    "Luke come to the Dark Side" we want you money........choose wisely handyman..
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    My bills averaged $500+ per month and I then put solar in from Solar City (I was very happy with their work). Because I bought the solar I got rebates from PG&E (about $17,000) and federal tax credits (about $25,000) so my $80,000 solar system cost be about $38,000. I'm grandfathered into a 3 tier rate with PG&E so when I use power at night I pay about 1/3 the cost during the day and during the day when I supply power to PG&E they pay me 3 times the night rate. So I pay zero for heating, air conditioning, lights, etc., my yearly bill is $0. I've had this system for 5-6 years and I'm ahead on the investment. The system is guaranteed for 20 years, PG&E electric costs go up 5-10 percent every year. This of course increases the value of my home. For example if I were try to sell it and I could tell the potential buyer that he wouldn't have to pay for electricity, I think that would make it very appealing. If you plan on keeping your home or at least staying there long enough to break even on the expense of putting in solar, I would recommend putting in solar. If you can't afford to buy the system I would recommend taking out a loan and then buy the system, this way you get the rebates and the cost of the loan could be totally offset by the savings on electricity.

    The insulation suggestion above is also very good. Another thing to do is get a split AC/heating unit so that you can cool/heat the living room during the day with the bedrooms not getting anything and reverse the process at night when you're sleeping. There is no reason to cool/heat the living room when you're asleep in the bedroom.

    Good luck, $500 every month is a burden and it's not going to get better by itself.

  19. #19
    Senior Member tripleplay6543's Avatar
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    Default Re: Get solar panels or no?????

    If anyone is interested in seeing options regarding solar, I work for Arise Solar, a locally owned contractor that has specialized in solar since 2007. We offer all options, from purchase with or without a loan (I have access to many different terms and APR from 2.49% and up) as well as lease and PPA options. I'd be more than happy to discuss different options, equipment, warranties, etc.

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