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Huntn

macrumors Core
Original poster
May 5, 2008
21,702
25,161
The Misty Mountains
I’m thinking about it, in the past, I have looked at a huge upfront price, 10 years to pay off, and then possible maintenance issues.

However here is the key if my payments equals my current electric bill or doubtful is less than my current electric bill, then it would be worth it. One solar panel rep who caught me in brief conversation at Costco says their panels have a 25 year warranty. I’m going to go for a free consultation.

Questions
  • I wonder who provides that warranty on panels, will they be around in 20 years?
  • Does the setup include batteries capable of running the house electrical/AC needs through the night, or does it start pulling from the grid?
  • Does a typical setup, feed back into the grid, and be paid for the contribution?
  • What incentives are available to defer the cost?
  • do solar panels function during overcast skies?
 

MAH11

macrumors member
Sep 24, 2010
37
10
My panels were installed in Sept 2014 and have required absolutely zero maintenance (as opposed to everything else in my house!). On my system, the warranty on the electronics that converts the DC voltage into an AC voltage and syncs it to the grid is 25 years. The panels themselves do degrade slightly with time due to radiation damage, on the order of ~1% per year. The generated electricity is fed directly into the grid. Any excess electricity that I generate (e.g., during the day) directly offsets my usage. If I generate excess electricity on a per annum basis, I do receive $$ for it, but that rebate is at a much lower rate. The panels work whenever the sun is shining (unless the panels are covered with snow); however, the amount of electricity generated does depend on the time of day and the weather.

I did not purchase a battery system to take myself off the grid. I live in the northern US, so I am skeptical I could do this in the depths of winter.

In the US, there may be both federal and state tax incentives that could lower your initial purchase cost. I think I paid about 25% of the going rate for my setup once my tax savings were accounted for. In many places, both the price of solar installations and the tax incentives have decreased, so you would need to talk to an installer about the current situation. At the time I purchased my panels, the installer calculated that I would reach a break-even point at 7 years, which is a few months from now. To date, I have generated 40.18 MWh. The average current cost of electricity in the US is $0.1042/kWh, so I have generated the equivalent of ~$4200 of electricity. Having said that, the cost of electricity varies widely between the states, so YMMV.
 

satcomer

macrumors G3
Feb 19, 2008
8,669
1,816
The Finger Lakes Region
I’m thinking about it, in the past, I have looked at a huge upfront price, 10 years to pay off, and then possible maintenance issues.

However here is the key if my payments equals my current electric bill or doubtful is less than my current electric bill, then it would be worth it. One solar panel rep who caught me in brief conversation at Costco says their panels have a 25 year warranty. I’m going to go for a free consultation.

Questions
  • I wonder who provides that warranty on panels, will they be around in 20 years?
  • Does the setup include batteries capable of running the house electrical/AC needs through the night, or does it start pulling from the grid?
  • Does a typical setup, feed back into the grid, and be paid for the contribution?
  • What incentives are available to defer the cost?
  • do solar panels function during overcast skies?

If you get Solar Panels think about Bi-Facial Solar Panels and a reflector underneath the panel and you will get great Electric from them!

Here is video review on them:
 

mikegoldnj

macrumors 6502
Apr 27, 2005
288
249
We’ve had our system for about 10 years. Ours are leased but we pay NO monthly payments. We paid $5k up front and that’s it. The company we leased from (originally Ad-Energy, now owned by Sunnova) gets tax credits and SRECs. We get the benefit of net metering. The system produces 10-11,000 kWh per year. We’ve got a total of 38 Mitsubishi panels, two SMA inverters. Typical utility bills range from $5-$17 per month but do jump up in the summer due to a/c and pool equipment. Additionally, when we’ve had bad winters, the panels can be covered in snow for a week at a time thus not producing.

FYI, we had just installed a new roof a few months before getting the panels.

c85880aff291239d291d29ac1d91cc6d.jpg
 
Last edited:

DaveSanDiego

macrumors member
May 12, 2020
75
105
My panels were installed in Nov 2019.... I pay $92 a month for the panels, and all the power... way less than my previous bill had been
 

sog1927

macrumors member
Nov 2, 2016
95
160
I've had a 5.2 kW grid-tie panel system since August, 2011. At the time, there was a significant tax incentive to install such systems, Colorado had enacted a "net metering" bill in 2004 (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_metering), and enacted a renewable energy requirement for utilities in the state. I was able to sell the renewable energy credits for my solar installation to my utility company to help them meet this requirement.

So, as I said, my system is a grid-tie system. There's no battery. Surplus power is is sold back to my utility at the same rate I pay them for power I draw from the grid (this is what "net metering" means), so my meter spins backwards when I'm supplying them power. Not all states have net metering laws - this differs from state to state and can drastically affect the economics of a solar panel system (as does the loss of some of the tax credits). I have considered adding battery backup at various times but I just haven't done it. My backup grid power comes from a wind farm in Wyoming (I pay extra for that), so I'm still pretty much carbon neutral

You will produce *some* power when it's overcast, but your output will be drastically reduced. Output will be (much) lower in the winter. How much is dependent on your latitude. Also, output is very dependent on how well your panels are oriented. My roofline did not permit optimal placement of the panels, so my peak output is more like 4-4.5 kW, rather than the system's rated 5.2kW. Snow, of course, will reduce your output to zero.

If there's a possibility that some of the panels will be shaded during the day, you will want to investigate microinverters. Having a separate microinverter on each panel will allow the panels to function independently. If you don't do this, one shaded panel will reduce the output from all the other panels.

I had enough savings to pay for the panels up front, so financing wasn't an issue.

Current generation panels are more efficient than the ones I have so they'll generate more power per square foot (and per dollar). My panels are 250 watts each (the best you could do in 2011). You can buy > 400 watt panels now.

I have not required any maintenance whatsoever and I haven't experienced a significant drop in output, either.

It's hard to describe the joy that comes from having your electric company send you checks. ;)
 
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QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
11,888
5,678
Bay Area
I have panels and a battery backup from Tesla installed a few months ago. It’s been terrific. We produce enough power for current use and to support a future EV. the storage is also nice given the wildfires and blackouts here.
 
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JohnBrowny

Suspended
Nov 13, 2021
3
0
I am thinking about installing solar panels in my homes. I live in California. And I think that my staff is not so bad for installing solar panels. I read a lot of information on the sites on this issue. Here's what I can say. First of all, I save a lot of money. I will save $ 13,566 on energy bills each year, which is quite a lot. In addition, for the first year of use I will have a 30% discount on federal tax. And more. It is profitable for me. And I will put these panels. By the way, which panels are currently considered the best on the market?
 

Huntn

macrumors Core
Original poster
May 5, 2008
21,702
25,161
The Misty Mountains
I’ve got a quote from a large solar provide called Sunrun. I‘ll be looking it over. It seems that this involves the expense of $40-50k, that the loan would be 10 years of paying 30-40% more than my average electric bill and then how many more years to break even? This is a long term investment I’m almost 70, and I don’t know how long we’ll be in this house. If the house is sold, paying off this loan would result in a loss, if it were to happen before the break even point.

Now as far as the grid and future price increases or reliability, I suppose the dynamics could change along with the break even point.

Of interest, this company offers a leasing program. They pay for the install, you sign a 25 year lease (need to confirm) and you pay less than the going rate for electricity say $.10 a KW instead of $.13 the going rate, with limits on on how much the rate could go up yearly. I need to get a better feel for how much savings there is with this option, but the length of the lease and what actually dictates price increases is a concern. According to them, if you sell your house, this breaks the lease, and they will either negotiate with the new owners or uninstall the equipment. This is also a concern to me as far as possibly making the house less appealing for selling.

The last but not least option is to renew a contract with a local electric provider. Texas is good in this regard. The system here is that electric providers feed into the grid, and you can choose to pay whoever is offering the better deal via short to longer term contract.

More to come.


I am thinking about installing solar panels in my homes. I live in California. And I think that my staff is not so bad for installing solar panels. I read a lot of information on the sites on this issue. Here's what I can say. First of all, I save a lot of money. I will save $ 13,566 on energy bills each year, which is quite a lot. In addition, for the first year of use I will have a 30% discount on federal tax. And more. It is profitable for me. And I will put these panels. By the way, which panels are currently considered the best on the market?
No clue. Tesla advertises that they make their own parts while they claim other companies use a variety of manufacturers off the shelf, implying that their system is better, more coherent and reliable. I’m not in a position to judge this claim.
 

BoxerGT2.5

macrumors 68020
Jun 4, 2008
2,094
14,105
Without decent tax incentives the cost is prohibitive unless you intend to stay in your home for 30yrs. Or you have 50K to burn and don't care because your not getting that back in equity in the house when it comes time to sell if you own the equipment. If you lease it, you just signed over equity to a solar company when it comes time to sell your house.
 

Huntn

macrumors Core
Original poster
May 5, 2008
21,702
25,161
The Misty Mountains
We’ve had our system for about 10 years. Ours are leased but we pay NO monthly payments. We paid $5k up front and that’s it. The company we leased from (originally Ad-Energy, now owned by Sunnova) gets tax credits and SRECs. We get the benefit of net metering. The system produces 10-11,000 kWh per year. We’ve got a total of 38 Mitsubishi panels, two SMA inverters. Typical utility bills range from $5-$17 per month but do jump up in the summer due to a/c and pool equipment. Additionally, when we’ve had bad winters, the panels can be covered in snow for a week at a time thus not producing.

FYI, we had just installed a new roof a few months before getting the panels.

c85880aff291239d291d29ac1d91cc6d.jpg
Do you have a backup battery?

Without decent tax incentives the cost is prohibitive unless you intend to stay in your home for 30yrs. Or you have 50K to burn and don't care because your not getting that back in equity in the house when it comes time to sell if you own the equipment. If you lease it, you just signed over equity to a solar company when it comes time to sell your house.
Sunrun offers a lease option, but there you are only getting a discounted electricity price, along the lines of $.03kw per hour, and it is subject to going up, and it’s a 25 year lease. I’ve got such a proposal and I’m going to run it by my lawyer because although I have gotten verbal reassurances that selling your house with such a setup/agreement is no issue, but I need a legal read of the agreement.
 

A.Goldberg

macrumors 68030
Jan 31, 2015
2,532
9,695
Boston
Last I checked investing in home battery storage for your average household isn’t really worth it, between the cost of the batteries and they’re limited longevity (about a decade), it doesn’t make financial sense to do this. My dad is on the board of a grid storage company (similar to Tesla PowerPack) and they have avoided going into the residential market for this very reason. Most people realize it’s not worth it and so it’s a pretty limited market. And a lot of the companies that have gone down this road have failed.

It might make sense if energy prices go way up or certainly you live in an area where electricity is not available. If you consider also using lithium in leu of a home generator, it still doesn’t make a ton of sense financially, generators are far cheaper and offer far more power per dollar (and can basically run indefinitely, provided you have access to fuel). And keep in mind in the context of recharging the backup batteries during an outage, solar isn’t necessarily going to necessarily be a reliable energy source during some forms of inclement weather (snow, rain, wildfires, etc).

Solar + lithium has revolutionized sailboats, to the point where a lot of new boats are forgoing generators all together. But obviously the power needs are far different than a home and the engine(s) alternator(s) also have the ability to recharge the batteries.

I definitely think we’ll get to a point where batteries make more financial sense and will be more widely used. IIRC the new Ford F-150 Lightening EV has the ability to effectively act as a home battery backup, which makes a lot of sense since you already have the battery to use. It would be great to see other brands adopt this, particularly Tesla given their popularity. I suspect they won’t, at least for some time, in an effort to sell PowerWalls, but we’ll see I suppose…
 

mikegoldnj

macrumors 6502
Apr 27, 2005
288
249
Do you have a backup battery?


Sunrun offers a lease option, but there you are only getting a discounted electricity price, along the lines of $.03kw per hour, and it is subject to going up, and it’s a 25 year lease. I’ve got such a proposal and I’m going to run it by my lawyer because although I have gotten verbal reassurances that selling your house with such a setup/agreement is no issue, but I need a legal read of the agreement.

We do not have a battery system attached. I looked into the Tesla power wall but pricing was not great and there may be an issue adding on to the leased system.

We do, however, have a whole house natural gas generator for when utility service is down (as this situation also automatically shuts down the solar).
 

mikegoldnj

macrumors 6502
Apr 27, 2005
288
249
Do you have a backup battery?


Sunrun offers a lease option, but there you are only getting a discounted electricity price, along the lines of $.03kw per hour, and it is subject to going up, and it’s a 25 year lease. I’ve got such a proposal and I’m going to run it by my lawyer because although I have gotten verbal reassurances that selling your house with such a setup/agreement is no issue, but I need a legal read of the agreement.

I do recall from my research at the time that most leases are power purchase agreements (“PPA”) as you describe. We were able to avoid that type of agreement. Our lease also specifically states that it is transferable. That being said, whether your buyer actually wants it is another matter.
 
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Huntn

macrumors Core
Original poster
May 5, 2008
21,702
25,161
The Misty Mountains
Well I have considered purchase, and this is too long of a commitment for me to think I can break even. I’m 68.

And lease, there is not enough of a savings. Right now I project my expense to lease a solar system is $.14 per KW and I can find a contract at $.13 per KW. There is one slight advantage that in the event the grid goes down, my power will remain, but I wonder if all the effort to install such a system on my house under a lease basis is worth it. According to Sunrun, that with a lease, they maintain ownership of the equipment, and if the house is sold, this breaks the lease obligation. They will either negotiate with the new owner, or they will remove their equipment at their expense.
 

A.Goldberg

macrumors 68030
Jan 31, 2015
2,532
9,695
Boston
Well I have considered purchase, and this is too long of a commitment for me to think I can break even. I’m 68.

And lease, there is not enough of a savings. Right now I project my expense to lease a solar system is $.14 per KW and I can find a contract at $.13 per KW. There is one slight advantage that in the event the grid goes down, my power will remain, but I wonder if all the effort to install such a system on my house under a lease basis is worth it. According to Sunrun, that with a lease, they maintain ownership of the equipment, and if the house is sold, this breaks the lease obligation. They will either negotiate with the new owner, or they will remove their equipment at their expense.

Question: How many KW is this proposed solar array and does it include batteries?

I don’t think it makes much sense at the age of 68. If you lease the panels I’m curious what happens when you expire? Assume your estate is responsible for paying the lease termination fee? If you lease I’d definitely have a lawyer look over the contract. If you buy the panels, you’ll eligible to tax credits, but assuming you’re retired at 68 you that benefit may not be so significant. If you sell your house, your certainly not adding $40-50k in value to your house. And while you may not be planning to move, who knows, in 7 years you might have a stroke and require assisted living (let’s hope not!).

I would also not consider solar a reliable backup for power outages. Usually power outages are associated with bad weather, conditions where you won’t be producing much energy. And when the sun goes down you’re in the same situation as everyone else. And generally it’s at night when a power outage is most frustrating. And then the question is do the solar panels generate enough to actually power what you want?

You’re already paying an very low cost for electricity (at least compared to where I live). I don’t think the investment makes sense given where you are in life. And if some degree of your motivation is energy security, rather than spending $50k on solar spend $5k on a standby generator that can actually provide reliable backup power. A standby generator will actually probably add more value to your house than 50k worth of solar.

My friend just bought a house in TX and he and his wife are terrified about losing power. They just had their offer accepted, aren’t moving in for weeks, but are already looking into generators. Haha.
 
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monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,974
515
Ithaca, NY
My advice is to move cautiously. When I lived in Hawai'i I had a 16 panel setup that I bought outright, for I think about $30K (this was in 2012) but I had tax credits that I think brought it down into the $15k range. Grid-tied but no battery. Electricity rates were very high there ($0.47/kw) so the pay off was rapid in that sense. $20/month to the utility if I made all my own power. The utility was fond of messing with their solar customers (most are, I believe) and so at one point I wanted to upgrade the microinverters but that would have made the system a new install (from their POV) and I'd have been shoved into the new net metering scheme, which was unfavorable.

Then I moved to near Ithaca NY. The house I bought has a 53 panel system, grid-tied, and it was leased and so I inherited the lease (no other option, except a ridiculously-high buyout option). It's not very favorable: $120/month with many years to go. The utility (NYSEG) grid tying agreement is a good one. I pay $18/month when I don't use any of their power, and when I run through all the excess power I've made during the sunny part of the year, I start to pay. Usually (see attached) this is December-February. This year, I ran through all my excess power in late November (the summer was unusually cloudy, but in any case I'd expect to run through my generation by mid-December).

The whole thing is marginal from a financial point of view -- I had no choice anyway -- but it works well. I have geothermal heating, which requires only electricity to run the pumps and compressors so there are plusses for the setup, but basically the lease and NYSEG are costing me somewhere north of $2k per year. Against that, of course, is that apart from a small expense for propane, that's it for my energy costs in a wintry environment.

I say "move cautiously" because there are bound to be a whole basket of gotchas. In Hawai'i the leasing companies were predatory (many said). "Free power!" except, not really.

I'd say you need to start with a careful audit of your electricity use, for a couple of years at least. You'll get nowhere without that. And remember -- as others have said -- "grid tied" doesn't mean that you'll have power when the grid isn't delivering it. It goes down, you go down, although it seems to me I've seen some clever (and safe) hacks that will let you use your own power during those times that don't involve a battery. Not sure. I have a propane backup generator for those times.

I wouldn't worry about your age. I'm pushing 80; I may or may not see the end of this lease, but what difference does that make? When I'm gone, the house will be sold or the kids will inherit it -- either way, it makes no difference to me.


power generation near Ithaca NY.jpg
 

LuCarl

macrumors newbie
Dec 7, 2021
1
0
Hi,
We purchased our first house just over a month ago (Orange County, CA). On a recent trip to Costco we talked to a SunRun rep and had them come out to figure out if solar is a viable option for us. After meeting with them it seems like a great deal. That is why I'm nervous. Almost too good to be true.

As I mentioned, we only have one month of data. Here are some of the numbers:

House = 1,700 s.f. (single story)
November used 400 kWh.
SoCal Edison Rate: Mid Peak = $0.48063, Off Peak = $0.31390, and Super Off Peak = $0.27222
Total costs for November: $130.48 - $23.66 (credits) = $106.82

The SunRun rep. prepared a plan model that should produce 9,300 kWH annually. Again, with only one month of data we had to guess on what our usage will be during the summer months. NOTE: I work from home and we also have a 2 year old that is home all day with her nanny. So, during the summer months we will be running the AC all day/night. 9,300 kWh seemed to be our best guest.

With that said, the solar system will cost me $89.3/month or $0.115 per kWH (significantly less than the lowest tear from SoCal Edison at $0.27222).

The solar panel would be financed:
Loan amount of $24,718 for a 20 year term at 1.49%
Monthly payments of $89.3.
This monthly rate will be for 18 months. In order to continue at this rate we need to pay back 26% of the loan ($6,426.68) within the first 18 months, which basically comes out to be the suggested tax rebate that we should be getting. If we don't pay that back and keep the tax rebate, the monthly payments will be raised to $122.44/month.

$89.3 x 12 = $1,071.6 x 20 = $21,432
$6,426 (26% of loan) x $21,432 = $27,858.68

$89.3 x 18 = $1,607.4
$122.44 x 222 = $27,181.68
Total = $28,789.08

Its seems like keeping the tax rebate might be the better deal. Considering that I can invest that money and make more from it than what it will costs me by the end of the 20 year loan term.

Anyway, there are no upfront costs. Even if we end up using more than 9,300 kWh annually, we still save money since we will be paying a rate of $0.115 per kWh up to the 9,300 kWh.

A co-worker suggested I add a few more panels in case I purchase an E.V. in the future. This plan also doesn't include a Tesla battery. I don't have an E.V., so it doesn't make much financial sense. It will be an additional $60/month for the Tesla battery, plus more panels since a number of panels are designated to power the battery exclusively.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Am I missing anything as far as maintenance costs, hidden fees others have discovered, etc.?

Thanks!
 

mikegoldnj

macrumors 6502
Apr 27, 2005
288
249
Well I have considered purchase, and this is too long of a commitment for me to think I can break even. I’m 68.

And lease, there is not enough of a savings. Right now I project my expense to lease a solar system is $.14 per KW and I can find a contract at $.13 per KW. There is one slight advantage that in the event the grid goes down, my power will remain, but I wonder if all the effort to install such a system on my house under a lease basis is worth it. According to Sunrun, that with a lease, they maintain ownership of the equipment, and if the house is sold, this breaks the lease obligation. They will either negotiate with the new owner, or they will remove their equipment at their expense.

If the grid is down, the solar panels and inverters will shut down. This is code, as you could be sending power back into the lines endangering utility workers on the lines.
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
11,888
5,678
Bay Area
Without decent tax incentives the cost is prohibitive unless you intend to stay in your home for 30yrs. Or you have 50K to burn and don't care because your not getting that back in equity in the house when it comes time to sell if you own the equipment. If you lease it, you just signed over equity to a solar company when it comes time to sell your house.
$50k to burn? My system cost $25k, including battery, and produces more than we use. add the tax credit and it’ll be $20k. Given the cost of electricity in CA, we’ll recoup that in far, far less than 30 years, and we have energy security in blackouts.
 
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44267547

Cancelled
Jul 12, 2016
37,643
42,509
My advice is to move cautiously. When I lived in Hawai'i I had a 16 panel setup that I bought outright, for I think about $30K (this was in 2012) but I had tax credits that I think brought it down into the $15k range. Grid-tied but no battery. Electricity rates were very high there ($0.47/kw) so the pay off was rapid in that sense. $20/month to the utility if I made all my own power. The utility was fond of messing with their solar customers (most are, I believe) and so at one point I wanted to upgrade the microinverters but that would have made the system a new install (from their POV) and I'd have been shoved into the new net metering scheme, which was unfavorable.

Then I moved to near Ithaca NY. The house I bought has a 53 panel system, grid-tied, and it was leased and so I inherited the lease (no other option, except a ridiculously-high buyout option). It's not very favorable: $120/month with many years to go. The utility (NYSEG) grid tying agreement is a good one. I pay $18/month when I don't use any of their power, and when I run through all the excess power I've made during the sunny part of the year, I start to pay. Usually (see attached) this is December-February. This year, I ran through all my excess power in late November (the summer was unusually cloudy, but in any case I'd expect to run through my generation by mid-December).

The whole thing is marginal from a financial point of view -- I had no choice anyway -- but it works well. I have geothermal heating, which requires only electricity to run the pumps and compressors so there are plusses for the setup, but basically the lease and NYSEG are costing me somewhere north of $2k per year. Against that, of course, is that apart from a small expense for propane, that's it for my energy costs in a wintry environment.

I say "move cautiously" because there are bound to be a whole basket of gotchas. In Hawai'i the leasing companies were predatory (many said). "Free power!" except, not really.

I'd say you need to start with a careful audit of your electricity use, for a couple of years at least. You'll get nowhere without that. And remember -- as others have said -- "grid tied" doesn't mean that you'll have power when the grid isn't delivering it. It goes down, you go down, although it seems to me I've seen some clever (and safe) hacks that will let you use your own power during those times that don't involve a battery. Not sure. I have a propane backup generator for those times.

I wouldn't worry about your age. I'm pushing 80; I may or may not see the end of this lease, but what difference does that make? When I'm gone, the house will be sold or the kids will inherit it -- either way, it makes no difference to me.


View attachment 1924408
This was an outstanding read and it educated me quite a bit. I don’t have the availability of solar in my area, however; we are looking at building in the future, (probably in the next three years) and that was one of the discussions that actually was ‘on the table’ per se, which is unlikely to happen for us, but always interesting to read from others with years of experience like yourself.

I think the big takeaway is, is how long does somebody plan on living in that house for such a major investment.
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,974
515
Ithaca, NY
This was an outstanding read and it educated me quite a bit. I don’t have the availability of solar in my area, however; we are looking at building in the future, (probably in the next three years) and that was one of the discussions that actually was ‘on the table’ per se, which is unlikely to happen for us, but always interesting to read from others with years of experience like yourself.

I think the big takeaway is, is how long does somebody plan on living in that house for such a major investment.
Thanks. As others have said, an owned system sells with the house and almost certainly would add to its value. I know mine did. A leased one, probably not so much. As I wrote, I had no choice (except for a ridiculously high-priced buyout). At some point this house will be sold or inherited, but by then the lease should be in its final time and shouldn't affect anything.

Something that I didn't bring up, and I haven't seen others bring up, is the question of solar installations as being what in Hawai'i we call pono (righteous, moral, correct behavior). Obviously this isn't something that every would-be buyer thinks about, but my partner and I certainly did, and this was especially the case in Hawai'i, where much of the energy is shipped in as fossil fuels. Going solar was pono.

I fully understand that there are arguments about the environmental costs of solar systems, and so on. This isn't the place for that discussion. I'm only meaning to point out that, for some, the decision isn't entirely financial. A prospective buyer/lessee should, I think, contemplate this.

I also went back and put my NYSEG bills into an Excel sheet and discovered that my energy bill (including the solar lease) was farther north of $2k than I thought -- it's just over $3k. Sorry for the misleading number.
 
Last edited:

Huntn

macrumors Core
Original poster
May 5, 2008
21,702
25,161
The Misty Mountains
If the grid is down, the solar panels and inverters will shut down. This is code, as you could be sending power back into the lines endangering utility workers on the lines.
My understanding is with a backup battery, your house stays powered. Yes, I could be wrong.
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,974
515
Ithaca, NY
My understanding is with a backup battery, your house stays powered. Yes, I could be wrong.
No, you're not wrong.

It's when you have no backup battery, and are 100% grid-tied that your system shuts down (disconnects) when the grid goes down. It's a safety issue for the utility workers. If your system feeds power into the grid, then while they're trying to fix the problem they are at risk of being electrocuted.

A system with a backup battery disconnects but is able to power the residence (only) via the panels and battery. The circuitry makes sure nothing goes out to the grid.

It's the same with backup generator installations. When I have a power outage, the solar cuts itself off from the grid, and after that happens, the backup generator can start. Obviously it can't be allowed to feed power into the grid either.
 
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