SolarCity

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Achiever, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. Achiever macrumors 6502

    Achiever

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    #1
    Considering making the move from my local electric company to SolarCity. While there are apparently two ways to do it (either buy the equipment or "lease" it for 20 years) they are pushing for the latter, which locks me into using them for my electric for 20 years without paying anything upfront or for the equipment.

    In reading their contract, it doesn't appear to save very much over my current electric. It also seems like I would be surrendering to them my tax rebate for it (couldn't be true, could it?).

    Does anyone have any experience with SolarCity? How was it? Did you save money? Any hassles? Regrets?

    Positive experiences with other companies also welcomed.
     
  2. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Location:
    The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
    #2
    I am curious about this as well. I guy down the street from me did this last year and he is making more electricity than he uses.

    The selling point of the cost of electricity will go up but the cost of your leasing the panels stays the same logic sounds good.

    I have a flat roof and solar city told me they don't do flat roofs.
     
  3. Achiever thread starter macrumors 6502

    Achiever

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    #3
    I thought so, too, but it turns out not to be the case.

    Salesman quoted me a price of $0.109 per kwh as a fixed costs for 20 years. Then they provided a comparison chart showing my current rate and estimating a 4.9% increase over 20 years. But I reviewed my proposed contract, and the $0.109 rate is for year one. They tell you that it will increase 2.9% after year one and that it may go up thereafter, but for no more than 2.9% per year. So what are, essentially, offering is a cap on the increase, but not an actual flat rate for 20 years like they tried to sell it to me. That was one of the key discoveries I made while reviewing the contract which prompted me to post this. I would love to know of people's experiences.
     
  4. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Location:
    The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
    #4

    Interesting, Well I hope we see some good experiences here.
     
  5. Dekema2 macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
    Location:
    WNY or Utica
    #5
    SolarCity is building a factory (well actually SUNY Polytechnic is building it) in Buffalo, NY to manufacture their solar panels, and it will be the largest solar panel factory in the Western Hemisphere. They want vertical integration like Apple has and are serious about competing with overseas labor. As a company with Elon Musk as it's chairman, I'd say they will be making reliable panels in the coming years and they'll be cheap enough to buy without all the upfront costs.

    Therefore, in regards to OP I think as they bring on vertical integration, labor costs may go down as they will receive more revenue. If I were you, I'd wait a few years until they get rocking and rolling. Then again, I'm not a homeowner so I don't completely know your situation.
     
  6. Achiever thread starter macrumors 6502

    Achiever

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    #6
    I was familiar with the Buffalo factory and can appreciate the idea of waiting for costs to come down further or the technology to improve. But with the lease program, I am not paying anything for the equipment so I don't know that costs would decrease for me. More importantly, people who get these things are (allegedly) in line for federal tax rebates. My salesman said $5,000 but I need to verify that (one of the reasons for the post). The US federal government currently has these tax rebates through 2016. While they could be extended, they currently aren't available after that, so waiting isn't too much of an option.

    Which bring me to another concern I have with the SolarCity contract (aside from the kWh mentioned above). Despite the tax rebate being promoted by the salesman, there is a clause in the Contract which states that SolarCity owns and controls all green energy tax rebates and I must work with them to get them. If I have to turn over (or pay out of pocket) a tax rebate it greatly diminishes the utility of the program to me. So again, if anyone has any experience with the company (or know someone who does) I am curious if they have liked it or not.
     
  7. Achiever thread starter macrumors 6502

    Achiever

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    #7
    A follow up post with my experiences with SC for anyone interested:

    SC needed to do a site visit wherein they were to evaluate and measure my roof so they could design the panels. Seemed straight forward and logical enough. Things they didn't tell me until the inspector showed up to conduct the site visit:
    1) the site visit takes at least 90 minutes;
    2) In addition to the roof inspection, they needed access inside the home to get access to the electrical panel (which in my case was buried behind a bunch of things including furniture. With some notice I would have cleared it out in advance.);
    3) they needed access to the interior of the rooms/areas underneath the section of roof where panels will be installed. In my case, that means our master bedroom, closet and a crawlspace through the closet. Again, not a huge deal had they told me in advance that this would be necessary to clean up and clear out. Also to put away personalty in the rooms;
    4) many, many pictures were taken of the interior portions of the house for structural evaluation. Again, not a huge deal had we been told in advance, but in our bedroom and closet - without warning - this was an unexpected invasion of privacy;
    5) They needed access to the boiler which, again, had a bunch of stuff in front of it which could have been moved in advance;
    6) Apparently the panels have to feed into the electrical panel which, in my case, was on the other side of the house, meaning a line would have had to be run along the entire length of my house;
    7) A minor quibble, but the evaluator came 2 hours earlier than the appointment I had made. Familial reasons made this an inconvenience.

    At the conclusion of the inspection I was told it would be about 4 business days before my salesman would get back to me with the design. I heard nothing for several weeks. A few days ago, I finally got a call from a SC general line asking if my salesman had gotten back to me. When I replied he had not, they advised that my house wasn't a candidate for panels after all, as they had concerns over the weight of the panels on the section of the roof we were planning on using. So, in the end, I can't even go with SC. Crappy of the salesman to not even follow up, but I guess since I was no longer a sale...

    Hope those who sought more info on the SC experience are helped by this. If you have any questions, post them.
     

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