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SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:2

[Green Tech] Solar Panels sold door to door!

A door-to-door solar panel salesperson tried to pitch the idea of solar panels on my home today. My home has a large, flat roof that the majority of faces south. Because of the orientation of the roof, the salesperson knocked on my door. I think the company was SolarCity. »www.solarcity.com

Basically, the pitch was to "lease" the panels from SolarCity over a period of years, where I would buy the power they generate at a price far under what I could get from the power company. In exchange, they would retain the ownership of the panels, install them for free, take the 30% tax credit for themselves, and would sell any excess power generated by the panels on my home back into the grid.

I declined, but it was an intriguing offer. I didn't get into the fine print as I have too many things on my plate to add something else. Some things that come to mind would be: is the rate I am offered locked for the life of the lease? who pays for damage to the panels? who maintains them? what if I need to replace the roof? what if I want out of the lease? Maybe the fine print had these answers.. but I don't really know.

In any event, anyone here lease solar panels using a program like that? Please DON'T start demonizing the evils of tax credits or the people who take advantage of them- been there, done that in too many threads in this forum. I'm more interested in the leasing of solar panels for a residential install and how others understand the process (or how it worked out for them if they did it).


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
If you search the forum with 'lease solar' you will get a number of returns and a couple talk about the leasing companies within the threads.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to SwedishRider
said by SwedishRider:

Please DON'T start demonizing the evils of tax credits or the people who take advantage of them- been there, done that in too many threads in this forum.

So you put this on a public forum and command those who don't happen to agree to just shut up and be quiet? That's asking a lot IMO. Discourse is what this site is about.

Personally I've looked into leasing but since my home is facing the wrong way and even if it were physically orientated being able to only generate 1/2 of my usage is a big flat negative and deal killer.

kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
reply to SwedishRider
... another question is who beefs up the roof if it won't support the panels .....


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:2

1 edit
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

So you put this on a public forum and command those who don't happen to agree to just shut up and be quiet? That's asking a lot IMO. Discourse is what this site is about.

No, I don't want this thread to degenerate into a pissing contest between those who favor green subsidies and those feel their tax dollars are being wasted. If I didn't post that, this thread will spiral out of control and the mods will have to lock the thread.

I want to focus any posts on the topic at hand, which is the leasing of solar panels for homeowner use, and how that process works. I don't care about government subsidies vs private investment, democrats vs republicans, liberals vs conservatives, capitalism vs democracy, or cats vs dogs. Take it to another thread or forum if you want to go down that road.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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reply to CylonRed
Thanks, I'll look it up. I'm hoping someone has done it and has some experience with it.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

said by SwedishRider:

Please DON'T start demonizing the evils of tax credits or the people who take advantage of them

So you put this on a public forum and command those who don't happen to agree to just shut up and be quiet?

Discussions of whether tax credits are good or bad are of a political nature and there are other more appropriate forums for that type of discussion.

Back to topic -- I think the leasing programs serve a purpose. Basically the purpose is to build a power plant that is distributed over peoples roofs instead of taking land for a dedicated plant. It would be nice if everyone could afford to finance their own system but many people don't have that financial luxury and therefore the usefulness of the leasing programs. Having said that, if a person has the funds then my opinion is that they should buy their own system.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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join:2006-01-11
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reply to kherr
said by kherr:

... another question is who beefs up the roof if it won't support the panels .....

Good question. Didn't really think about that either. My roof wasn't designed with panel weight in mind. And it's stick-built, not trussed.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
The new panels they are using are very light per square foot. There would not be a problem with weight.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by robbin:

The new panels they are using are very light per square foot. There would not be a problem with weight.

Only a structural engineer could make that determination and definitely cannot be blessed off on without even looking at it. Especially not even knowing the weight and number of panels.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

1 recommendation

reply to SwedishRider
said by SwedishRider:

said by kherr:

... another question is who beefs up the roof if it won't support the panels .....

Good question. Didn't really think about that either. My roof wasn't designed with panel weight in mind. And it's stick-built, not trussed.

If you are leaning that way it would be in your interest to have it checked by an engineer to see if it can support the weight.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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reply to SwedishRider
I've been reading through a few threads, and it seems the leasing program is for 15-20 year terms, and might lower the cost of electricity, but can add some complexity to a house sale or termination of the lease agreement.

One thread detailed someone who put panels on their home at a homeowner cost of about $13K. My current electricity rate is about $0.16/kWh ($0.0799/kWh of that for generation). Payback time would still be years.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
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kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

If you are leaning that way it would be in your interest to have it checked by an engineer to see if it can support the weight.

Not a bad idea. I'd rather that than a problem after they're up there.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

3 recommendations

Typical solar panels weight 3 - 4 pounds per square foot. Any modern building will have no problem with that distributed weight.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
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kudos:2
reply to SwedishRider
Another interesting concept I found concerned electric cars. Tesla Motors has a deal with SolarCity where they will hook-up solar panels when installing the recharging equipment for a Tesla car, effectively offsetting the fuel the car uses with solar energy. I've been considering electric cars lately, but other than the Tesla, most have a range of about 80 miles, and that's a deal breaker.

I do like the concept though. If Tesla does release a model for about $35K, the math for me would finally work for long-term savings.

iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

The new panels they are using are very light per square foot. There would not be a problem with weight.

until you get a heavy snow. then watch out!.

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
said by iknow_t:

said by robbin:

The new panels they are using are very light per square foot. There would not be a problem with weight.

until you get a heavy snow. then watch out!.

Even then. I've seen people get 14-20 inches of wet snow on their roof then clear a spot to stand and proceed to clear the rest. Even have their kids up there helping! Businesses allow people to hoist up a gas 2 stage snow blower to clear snow. Roofs are designed to take some serious weight. It's humorous as $%#^ that people think solar panels would be the straw that breaks the camels back. ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1

1 recommendation

It's not your roof so it's easy to dismiss concerns ROFLMAO. I find that very easy to do when I don't have any risk.

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
said by Jack_in_VA:

It's not your roof so it's easy to dismiss concerns ROFLMAO. I find that very easy to do when I don't have any risk.

Really?!?! You know bring a knife to a gun fight isn't wise right?
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who

iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
reply to Critsmcgee
said by Critsmcgee:

said by iknow_t:

said by robbin:

The new panels they are using are very light per square foot. There would not be a problem with weight.

until you get a heavy snow. then watch out!.

Even then. I've seen people get 14-20 inches of wet snow on their roof then clear a spot to stand and proceed to clear the rest. Even have their kids up there helping! Businesses allow people to hoist up a gas 2 stage snow blower to clear snow. Roofs are designed to take some serious weight. It's humorous as $%#^ that people think solar panels would be the straw that breaks the camels back. ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!

yeah, read this.. »www.njm.com/Information/ ··· apse.pdf

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02

1 recommendation

We had a roof collapse at a local school last year from snow. Shit happens but you don't plan for the extremely rare stuff. If you did you'd live in a bubble because you'd be scared a bear would maul you or sharks would fall out of the sky from tornado's and eat you.
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to Critsmcgee
said by Critsmcgee:

said by Jack_in_VA:

It's not your roof so it's easy to dismiss concerns ROFLMAO. I find that very easy to do when I don't have any risk.

Really?!?! You know bring a knife to a gun fight isn't wise right?

I might would worry about a real gun rather than a limp noodle. Knives are very good at cutting them.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:2
reply to SwedishRider
This is on the bottom of SolarCity's website:

A solar power system is customized for your home, so pricing and savings vary based on location, system size, government rebates and local utility rates. Savings on your total electricity costs is not guaranteed. Financing terms vary by location and are not available in all areas. $0 due upon contract signing. No security deposit required. A 3 kW system starts at $25-$100 per month with an annual increase of 0-2.9% each year for 20 years, on approved credit. SolarCity Corporation will repair or replace broken warranted components.

How would that save me money?!?

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

said by Critsmcgee:

said by Jack_in_VA:

It's not your roof so it's easy to dismiss concerns ROFLMAO. I find that very easy to do when I don't have any risk.

Really?!?! You know bring a knife to a gun fight isn't wise right?

I might would worry about a real gun rather than a limp noodle. Knives are very good at cutting them.

English please!
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to SwedishRider

Upward Force?
In fact the biggest issue when dealing with solar panels is not weight, but rather the uplift. The uplift is an upward force from wind going up and under panels. With enough upward force solar panels can be dislodged from the roof or even worse, your roof can be pulled off along with the solar panels.

There are numerous issues and that's why it's critical to get expert evaluation of your installation site. Not from a public forum.

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
reply to SwedishRider
said by SwedishRider:

Some things that come to mind would be: is the rate I am offered locked for the life of the lease? who pays for damage to the panels? who maintains them? what if I need to replace the roof? what if I want out of the lease? Maybe the fine print had these answers.. but I don't really know.

The rate is locked for life. Solar City pays for damage and maintenance on the panels. Solar city will remove the panels so you can repair/replace the roof if needed. You have to buy yourself out of the lease if you want out. Solar City also covers theft.
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who

iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
said by Critsmcgee:

said by SwedishRider:

Some things that come to mind would be: is the rate I am offered locked for the life of the lease? who pays for damage to the panels? who maintains them? what if I need to replace the roof? what if I want out of the lease? Maybe the fine print had these answers.. but I don't really know.

The rate is locked for life. Solar City pays for damage and maintenance on the panels. Solar city will remove the panels so you can repair/replace the roof if needed. You have to buy yourself out of the lease if you want out. Solar City also covers theft.

yes, they have theft covered alright.

A 3 kW system starts at $25-$100 per month with an annual increase of 0-2.9% each year for 20 years


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Upward Force?
In fact the biggest issue when dealing with solar panels is not weight, but rather the uplift. The uplift is an upward force from wind going up and under panels. With enough upward force solar panels can be dislodged from the roof or even worse, your roof can be pulled off along with the solar panels.

There are numerous issues and that's why it's critical to get expert evaluation of your installation site. Not from a public forum.

I must have missed that post. I went back and read every post and the quote you have posted is not in this thread as far as I can see. Can you point out to me who posted it?

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
reply to iknow_t
said by iknow_t:

said by Critsmcgee:

said by SwedishRider:

Some things that come to mind would be: is the rate I am offered locked for the life of the lease? who pays for damage to the panels? who maintains them? what if I need to replace the roof? what if I want out of the lease? Maybe the fine print had these answers.. but I don't really know.

The rate is locked for life. Solar City pays for damage and maintenance on the panels. Solar city will remove the panels so you can repair/replace the roof if needed. You have to buy yourself out of the lease if you want out. Solar City also covers theft.

yes, they have theft covered alright.

A 3 kW system starts at $25-$100 per month with an annual increase of 0-2.9% each year for 20 years

That's not what they offered me. There are about 3 different options to pick from. My rate was locked for the life of the lease with zero increase.
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:2
That quote is right from SolarCity's website: »www.solarcity.com/states ··· cut.aspx