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Solar Pannels & Power Purchasing Agreement / financing
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Lightbulb Solar Pannels & Power Purchasing Agreement / financing - October 20, 2015, 06:53 PM

A dude on my block have solar panels, and while at the mall I checked out one of the Solar City booths and set up a consultation.

The gist of what they told me at the mall...

Free install, free everything.
20 year contract agreeing to buy power from them
must have credit score of 650 and above.
example he gave of buying the power from them is like this...

If Pepco charge 20 cents per Kwt
They sell it for 13 cents per Kwt
and it can only go up possibly 2.9% or some figure...but at the same time normal electric cost go up so it should technically be cheaper...

Im scared of the 20 year contract, but its with the house, but I also do not plan on selling the house.


I just wonder if its better to wait to get the money to buy my own pannels that way i can have next to free electric at times and the ability to sell the electric to the power company.

Anyone have information on this of done it?


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October 20, 2015, 07:18 PM

Ask them if you need shingles or a roof repair what they charge to remove the panels and reinstall.
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October 20, 2015, 07:27 PM

It won't provide you with 100% of your power needs. The power company is not obligated to pay you for anything you put back into the grid. If you want to sell your house and the new owners don't agree to sign up, you pay to remove along with a penalty. I think the R&R fee for new shingles is about $600. You'll be lucky if the panels last 20 years and my bet is they won't come replace. You'll just be getting less and less power from solar. My 2 cents.
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October 20, 2015, 08:16 PM

They are making money like a champ on you.

If you are really interested in making your own power, buy your own panels and take the tax credit (soon).

If you want to save money on heating and cooling, air seal and insulate...it will save you more than the $0.065 per Kwh.
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October 21, 2015, 03:18 AM

Hold off. Cells are getting cheaper and more efficient. Also, this isn't AZ or the sunbelt. Panels don't make the best sense around here. Not yet anyway. You'll still need pepco.

Now the place in VA might be a candidate for a solar setup. Since you aren't there every day. You could set up a battery array to store power. Plus you have enough space to put up multiple adjustable cells. But the DC place? I'd pass.


Then again... That's just me.

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October 21, 2015, 05:50 AM

I reached out to them in the past, its really not a bad deal IF you're power usage is on the 'above normal' side (mine was not). The also do a survey of how well your house captures sunlight.

It's a lease agreement. They state that the lease cost + your 'new' energy bill should be less than your old energy bill.

What they also gain from this are SREC's (solar renewable energy certificate) which each state is responsible for earning so many. These are what they sell to the power companies.

You'll almost never earn anything if the system puts power back in to the grid if it's a lease.

The panels usually have a lengthy warranty and Solar City will help get them replaced (as per the lease agreement), additional costs are always a possibility considering roof problems, tree coverage, etc that will require extra work from the techs.


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October 21, 2015, 07:37 AM

My understanding was that Pepco doesn't pay you for power you add to the grid, they pay solar city.

At any rate, I chose not to go with them at this time. I'm holding out for a system that stores power into batteries instead of feeding the grid, so I can use my own power at night.
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October 21, 2015, 09:01 AM

I am so glad I posted this.
When I talked to the guy at the mall, he made it sound like there was no down side to this, and I told him there have to be some kind of hidden cost or negative something. You dont get something for nothing.


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October 21, 2015, 09:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drnknmnky13 View Post
Hold off. Cells are getting cheaper and more efficient. Also, this isn't AZ or the sunbelt. Panels don't make the best sense around here. Not yet anyway. You'll still need pepco.

Now the place in VA might be a candidate for a solar setup. Since you aren't there every day. You could set up a battery array to store power. Plus you have enough space to put up multiple adjustable cells. But the DC place? I'd pass.
Panels for the va house interested me more than DC...
I get wicked sun and like you said have a ton of space to build an battery array.
But so far these company's do not do Va.
I think I would have to just come out of pocket and get something set up.


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October 21, 2015, 09:18 AM

The reading I've done suggests that 'rent-to-own' companies are using the Go Green bandwagon to make money. Like the old siding scam but this one is new enough that they can nail you to a twenty year contract where you have to pay them whether you're getting what you pay for or not. I smell an industrial class action suit coming.

How much of your roof is south facing? What kind of meter do you have? Check directly with your power distributor on what their requirements are.

If the power your panels generate goes into the grid through a separate meter it will most likely be at the wholesale rate while the power you use will be at the retail rate. Supposedly a smart meter can run both ways (actually run backwards) and that 'surplus' is supposed to go through at the same rate as power used.

Many electric power providers have strict rules about what kind of equipment they will accept power from and strict limits on how much of it you can place in that system. In addition they will not actually send you any money if you generate more than you use during a given period, they will just credit your account. How long that 'credit' will exist on your record is also an item to check.

Not all panels are created equal and any system should be researched. There are modular types of systems that can be installed for less and then added to cost effectively if you are able to lift about 50 lbs and use a screw driver. Also, depending on your location/conditions, you could also investigate adding some small, roof mounted wind turbines. It's possible they could take up some slack when sunlight is less effective.

The idea that we can cover our roofs with solar panels, cover all of our own use and then get the company to pay us for the extra has been short-circuited by industry and government regulation. The best you can manage is to get some of your usage covered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackHatch View Post
If you want to save money on heating and cooling, air seal and insulate...it will save you more than the $0.065 per Kwh.
^^ If this is about saving then this would be the first step.


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October 21, 2015, 09:42 AM

Solar City lease details--
20-years of solar production
All repairs, including inverter, free of charge
Monitoring (you must supply internet access)
Insurance
Free removal at the end of 20 years

You are responsible for keeping trees trimmed to allow light.
You are responsible for cleaning the panels (rinsing once a year).


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October 21, 2015, 09:53 AM

Von, check the wera forum, there are a lot of info threads about solar on there, but the general consensus is dont.


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October 21, 2015, 01:25 PM

I have run the numbers on this about 2-3 times.

Unless you have a home over 2500 sq ft. under roof.

Three words: NOT WORTH IT.

Most of a home electric energy cost are derived from heating and cooling the home (if on a heat pump system), the refrigerator, the hot water tank, and the clothes dryer The last few appliances, if they are high efficiency systems, become negligible users of electricity and less costly when run during off-peak hours.

Leasing panels under an exclusive single source electric supplier agreement is a waste of money. Not to mention you don't own the excess energy you produce and send back into grid. They (the lessee) captures all that profit and shares none of it with you although they're using your home structure to build out their energy grid.

The mere thought of that offends every one of my business principles.

It would be akin to letting an oil & gas driller have exclusive oil & mineral rights to your land for no cost, not paying you a royalty for what they extract, and demanding that you buy all your oil only from them the next 20 years.

Would you sign up for a deal like that? Of course you wouldn't - not if your head is screwed on straight.

I'm surprised Solar City and Vivint are doing such torrid business right now under this non-profit sharing model. They give you nickel to dime discount on Kwh and got suckers singing up in droves overlooking the dollars they're missing out on.



“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a Prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires”.

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October 21, 2015, 01:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark View Post
Solar City lease details--
20-years of solar production
All repairs, including inverter, free of charge
Monitoring (you must supply internet access)
Insurance
Free removal at the end of 20 years

You are responsible for keeping trees trimmed to allow light.
You are responsible for cleaning the panels (rinsing once a year).
The problem is most of us in this age bracket are NOT going to stay in the home for 20 years. We're going to upgrade if income allows or move to other states to follow our careers or new job opportunities.

Now, here's where it gets dicey and potentially deal killing.

The new buyer now must not only qualify for a home loan, they also have to qualify with the solar panel company because your lease transfers to the new homeowner - a party who may or may not want solar or your solar company. A party who many or may not qualify w/your solar company. A party who may demand you buy-out the remainder of the lease before going to closing or include it as a line-item on the HUD-1 on the Seller side so it comes out of your profit and goes into escrow.


Essentially this leasing of solar panels nonsense takes your $400-500K asset and binds it up over a $20-30K lease and strips your buyer of choice if they want to move in.

No thank you!



“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a Prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires”.

- Nicolo Machiavelli 1469-1527

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October 21, 2015, 01:41 PM

Leased solar panels can complicate — or kill — a home sale





Leased solar panels can derail home sales
Can going green by leasing solar panels for your roof cost you money — or give you headaches — when you go to sell the house?

Possibly both.

Say you get pitched by one of the growing number of companies offering solar panels at no upfront cost that they claim will save you lots of money on electricity bills. Sounds like a slam-dunk. So you sign on.

Then a few years later you decide to sell the house. You assume that the presence of solar panels can only be a marketing plus, maybe even get you a higher price. Everybody goes for green, right?

But that's when it gets weird. Some would-be buyers balk when they learn that they'll need to qualify on credit to take over your solar lease payments for the next 15 to 17 years. Others say they like the house but won't sign a contract unless you buy out the remaining lease payment stream — $15,000 or $20,000 or more — because they're worried that the solar equipment will become obsolete or won't save as much on electricity bills as advertised.

Issues like these are popping up increasingly in California and other states and are interfering in sales and closings, according to real estate industry experts.

Consider what happened to Nora and Andrew Barber when they wanted to sell their home near Fresno. They needed to move because of an employment transfer to Thousand Oaks. Their house attracted offers quickly, but two successive sets of buyers backed out of contracts because of the leased solar panels on the roof. They either thought the long-term cost of the lease from Clean Power Finance was too high or got cold feet after hearing what credit qualifications they'd need to take over the lease.

Meanwhile, the Barbers were in the middle of negotiations to purchase their new house and making preparations to move.

"It was a nightmare," Nora said. "We were in a panic" — pressured by the need to close the new purchase yet still dealing with unexpected complications caused by the leased panels. Finally, they paid $22,000 to get out of the lease and sold the house.

Steve Olszewski, senior vice president of operations for Clean Power, said that as a matter of policy, the company does not comment on cases involving its customers. He added that "we have seen very few instances" of home buyers "not wanting solar." In 95% of cases, he said, buyers take over the solar agreement as-is or the home seller "pre-pays the agreement" or purchases the equipment outright.

Lynn Farris, a realty agent with Windermere Hulsey & Associates in Vacaville, Calif., says disputes arising over solar panel leases are "becoming an increasing problem" for sellers and buyers, and because of the rising popularity of solar, "it's going to get worse."

She has seen sales fall apart when the parties couldn't agree on how to handle the substantial payments owed on long-term leases — in one case it was nearly $30,000 — or because buyers thought the leases "were really bad deals." Out of four leased panel agreements she has analyzed, "only one was any good," she said.

Nationwide, residential solar installations are booming — up by 50% per year since 2012, according to the Solar Energy Industries Assn. More than 600,000 homes and businesses now have on-site solar, with the fastest growth rates occurring in Maryland, Massachusetts and New York.

The biggest player in the field, SolarCity — backed by deep-pocket venture capital and chaired by Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk — says it now has 190,000 customers in 16 states. Jonathan Bass, vice president of communications, says working out smooth transfers of leased systems from sellers to buyers — or buyouts of systems — is a priority. SolarCity has a 12-person team that already has arranged "close to 3,000" transfers, Bass said.

Takeaways from all this? Top of the list: Be aware of the potential complexities that can occur when you lease, rather than buy, solar panels.

If you opt for a lease, understand your long-term obligations, and talk to your current utility company about the savings claimed. Most important, if you've got a leased system and plan to sell, contact the leasing company well in advance to learn about the lease transfer and buyout options. That way you'll be ready if prospective buyers have problems with your panels.



“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a Prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires”.

- Nicolo Machiavelli 1469-1527

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