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Solar panel experience

3,767 Views | 42 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by BCS-Ag
rsa
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AG
Anyone have any recent (last 2 to 3 years) experience with having solar panels installed on your home? Good, bad, or a mix?
badbilly
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AG
We had them installed in 2021 with Texas Green Energy(BCS), I've been pleased with them. I had four bids and Texas Green Energy was the best and they make sure the job is done right. Feel free to PM me.
KidDoc
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AG
I've had mine 3 years now I think. Done by sunpro and install was fine. Getting warranty repairs has been slow but it eventually gets fixed.

I'm on COCS utility so they don't have net metering, the city just buys excess at market cost. I added batteries 2 years ago and that made a huge difference.
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El_duderino
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What's the time frame to break even these days?
aneisch
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AG
Due in part to CSUs lack of net metering, last I looked it's around 10 years.
maddiedou
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AG
badbilly said:

We had them installed in 2021 with Texas Green Energy(BCS), I've been pleased with them. I had four bids and Texas Green Energy was the best and they make sure the job is done right. Feel free to PM me.



Is the owner adam. I believe that was his name if so i talked with him about 12 years ago He was smart then about solar I cannot imagine how up to date now with his expertise

aneisch
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AG
Do you mind sharing what the "market cost" is?

KidDoc
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AG
Roughly 0.04 per kwh. Then you buy it back at 0.12.

We actually had credits on electric the last two months even with batteries saving most of it for later use. My issue is peak production is 10-2 or so and that is not our peak usage.
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KidDoc
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AG

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BattleGrackle
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I would have guessed $.02-$.03.

And the issue of peak production vs peak load is what ERCOT is fighting on a daily basis. Peak wind is evening to morning, peak solar is mid day, peak load is afternoon/evening
AggiePhil
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So is it worth it or not? Sounding like not. 10 years is a long time to commit to, depending on how much you'd be out of you left before then.
aneisch
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My takeaway when I looked last year was "no, not worth it." There is still a 26% tax credit though (until it steps down in 2023) IIRC. At 30% it looked better.
KidDoc
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AG
I had a 28% tax credit. Assuming electric costs don't change in the next 20 years (haha) it is still a winning deal within about 10 years. I expect electric cost to increase fairly dramatically in the next 5 years.
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UmustBKidding
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Also have to include potential hidden cost. Friend in Austin had solar water heat when he bought his house. Had roof leak and cost to remove and replace the solar system was over $10,000. Cost to wreck it off was $3K which is what he did. His insurance would not cover remove/replace of the rooftop solar system.
Also for systems that are financed typically if you want to sell you have to pay off the remaining balance which catches lots of people.
I wish it made sense but in most cases its not. As interest rates increase having money tied up for 10 years will be even less viable proposition.
KidDoc
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I had a new roof done with the hail last spring and insurance covered removal and replacement of solar 100%. Not sure why your friends didn't cover maybe some leak exception in their policy?
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UmustBKidding
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Not sure either but got to the lawyer step and he said he had no hope. But this was maybe 8 years ago before popular. I would check your insurance before assuming they would cover it.
badbilly
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maddiedou said:

badbilly said:

We had them installed in 2021 with Texas Green Energy(BCS), I've been pleased with them. I had four bids and Texas Green Energy was the best and they make sure the job is done right. Feel free to PM me.





Is the owner adam. I believe that was his name if so i talked with him about 12 years ago He was smart then about solar I cannot imagine how up to date now with his expertise

Yes


badbilly
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AggiePhil said:

So is it worth it or not? Sounding like not. 10 years is a long time to commit to, depending on how much you'd be out of you left before then.
Is it worth it is a personal decision. My Rate of return is 6.5% tax free, I would have to earn over 9% interest at a 20% tax rate to do better. If power cost go up, my ROR is only better and with inflation like we have it now, power costs increasing is a good bet. If I had taken that same money and put it in the S&P at the same time last year, it would be worth 20% less now. That being said, I would never finance solar. Probably equally important to me is ERCOT can't take my power. I don't have natural gas so a whole house generator didn't make sense to me.

Bottom line, never take financial advice from TexAgs.
KidDoc
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Agree with you 100%. We financed it but at 0% over 4 years. I would not pay interest on solar panels at all that is just burning $$$

If you live in an area with cheaper electricity it also decreases the value of solar. COCS is very expensive for Texas. An hour away you can get electricity for 0.07 from the same power plant that we pay 0.12 for. The extra $$$ just goes to the city general fund, it is a clever hidden tax.

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techno-ag
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KidDoc said:

Agree with you 100%. We financed it but at 0% over 4 years. I would not pay interest on solar panels at all that is just burning $$$

If you live in an area with cheaper electricity it also decreases the value of solar. COCS is very expensive for Texas. An hour away you can get electricity for 0.07 from the same power plant that we pay 0.12 for. The extra $$$ just goes to the city general fund, it is a clever hidden tax.


Yup. IIRC the argument for this was to stick it to the students since they typically do not pay property tax. However, it also affects every homeowner in the city.
Flatlander
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Quote:

IIRC the argument for this was to stick it to the students since they typically do not pay property tax.

Except they do pay property taxes indirectly through their rent. Or directly if they (or their parents) own the home they are living in, in which case they (or their parents) are paying property taxes.
BattleGrackle
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KidDoc said:

Agree with you 100%. We financed it but at 0% over 4 years. I would not pay interest on solar panels at all that is just burning $$$

If you live in an area with cheaper electricity it also decreases the value of solar. COCS is very expensive for Texas. An hour away you can get electricity for 0.07 from the same power plant that we pay 0.12 for. The extra $$$ just goes to the city general fund, it is a clever hidden tax.




I dont think the $0.07 plans exist anywhere
KidDoc
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Holy cow you are right! I didn't believe you as when I was looking into all this a few years ago there were tons of them. It looks like my estimates of energy cost going up is true.

Historical Texas Electricity Rates | Texas Electricity Ratings

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BattleGrackle
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In general the municipal utilities are more stable (CS, BTU, CPS, AE) but I expect they will all be raising rates to some extent.

Nothing in the electric industry has been steady since URI happened
UmustBKidding
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COCS has all but said they are going up. But that is more driven by the fact they rob CSU which is supposed to be an enterprise subsidiary to augment they general fund. Already one of the highest in state, lets add on more.
ElephantRider
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Flatlander said:

Quote:

IIRC the argument for this was to stick it to the students since they typically do not pay property tax.

Except they do pay property taxes indirectly through their rent. Or directly if they (or their parents) own the home they are living in, in which case they (or their parents) are paying property taxes.

If property taxes are getting paid, why does the city care who is paying them?
techno-ag
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ElephantRider said:

Flatlander said:

Quote:

IIRC the argument for this was to stick it to the students since they typically do not pay property tax.

Except they do pay property taxes indirectly through their rent. Or directly if they (or their parents) own the home they are living in, in which case they (or their parents) are paying property taxes.

If property taxes are getting paid, why does the city care who is paying them?
It was presented as a matter of fairness, making the transitory student population pay their fair share while here.

Again this is going back a ways. Maybe somebody else can chime in with better memory.
maggie16
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Just a note about the tax credit. It is a non-refundable credit. You can only apply the credit to taxes that you owe, if you don't owe anything, you won't get any of that as a refund check issued to you.
GrimesCoAg95
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Adding solar does take a bit of a mind shift. You can get tiered power plans that give you cheap electricity at night and expensive electric during the day. Additionally many people are gone all day, so they try to shift the load of use to the evening/night.

If you have solar, it can be more advantageous to shift loads to midday because that is now the time your electricity is the cheapest. The biggest load we have in homes today are the 220V loads which include hvac, ovens, and clothes dryers. The easiest to load shift is hvac. You can use programmable thermostats to cool the house a few degrees extra from 10-3 so that you are selling less at 4 cents and buying less from 3-7pm. You can also use the delayed start on the dishwasher to run midday. This is not a significant load, but it can help a little.
nwspmp
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GrimesCoAg95 said:

Adding solar does take a bit of a mind shift. You can get tiered power plans that give you cheap electricity at night and expensive electric during the day. Additionally many people are gone all day, so they try to shift the load of use to the evening/night.

If you have solar, it can be more advantageous to shift loads to midday because that is now the time your electricity is the cheapest. The biggest load we have in homes today are the 220V loads which include hvac, ovens, and clothes dryers. The easiest to load shift is hvac. You can use programmable thermostats to cool the house a few degrees extra from 10-3 so that you are selling less at 4 cents and buying less from 3-7pm. You can also use the delayed start on the dishwasher to run midday. This is not a significant load, but it can help a little.
Note: Not all areas can get these kinds of plans. If you're on a municipal utility, these plans often aren't available.

But if you can, figuring out when your electrical loads are highest and reducing those or shifting to solar as said above is a great idea.
techno-ag
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GrimesCoAg95 said:

Adding solar does take a bit of a mind shift. You can get tiered power plans that give you cheap electricity at night and expensive electric during the day. Additionally many people are gone all day, so they try to shift the load of use to the evening/night.

If you have solar, it can be more advantageous to shift loads to midday because that is now the time your electricity is the cheapest. The biggest load we have in homes today are the 220V loads which include hvac, ovens, and clothes dryers. The easiest to load shift is hvac. You can use programmable thermostats to cool the house a few degrees extra from 10-3 so that you are selling less at 4 cents and buying less from 3-7pm. You can also use the delayed start on the dishwasher to run midday. This is not a significant load, but it can help a little.
Every little bit helps. Looks like things are going to get lots worse.
Tent Magic
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Solar Panel companies make 10x so make sure it's done right, they can afford to do so
GrimesCoAg95
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Even if you can't get a tiered plan, you are still better off using the power you generate versus selling and buying it back. The OP is selling at 4 cents and buying at much higher. The tiered plan just makes it even better.
nwspmp
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GrimesCoAg95 said:

Even if you can't get a tiered plan, you are still better off using the power you generate versus selling and buying it back. The OP is selling at 4 cents and buying at much higher. The tiered plan just makes it even better.
No disagreement there, just noting that tiered plans aren't universally available.
GrimesCoAg95
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good point
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