SurfHawk
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:43 pm
Delivery Date: 22 Sep 2016
Location: Santa Barbara

Help with getting good solar pricing

Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:10 am

Now that I have the Leaf, I'm trying to get solar installed by the end of 2016. Had three local companies out, two quotes in, waiting for the 3rd. Pricing so far seems high ($4.20/W) compared to friends/neighbors seeing $3.85/W, so wondering: are these quotes negotiable? Any tips on getting a better deal from a reputable installer? I've seen some DIY places selling parts for almost identical systems for 1/3 the cost of these installs. Not that I'm going to do it myself, but that seems like a hefty markup.

Installer #1:
4.16kW system
13 LG Panels
SMA Inverter
$4.14/W cash price

Installer #2
4.23kW system
13 Panasonic panels w/ optimizers
SolarEdge inverter
$4.23/W cash price

Installer #3 (estimated based on conversation):
4.14kW system
12 Sunpower panels
Built in microinverters
???/W cash price - prob higher than #1 and #2 based on Sunpower panels.
2013 Leaf S w QC - Purchased 10/2016
4kW Solar - Installed 11/2016

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DuncanCunningham
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Posts: 437
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:02 am
Delivery Date: 15 Apr 2015
Location: Bountiful, UT

Re: Help with getting good solar pricing

Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:32 am

I would go to 'Wholesale solar' and get pricing for the parts so you know where they are going up from. there are many many installers who do not have high overhead costs (ie. Sales and marketing people) in your area, I'm sure.

i have a friend who wants to get into Solar and he is doing a 8.04Kw system for about $20,000 for me. We are going to use Canadian Solar Commercial panels (they are bigger) and so we'll need less. 335Watts each 72cells. Solaredge P400 Power optimizer attached to each and a Solaredge 7600 inverter, all on the ground (we have lots of space in our yard that I struggle to keep watered) so this is good for me.

Anyway, if he wasn't going to do it I'd try to do it myself. I'd go to the local city to look up the process to install solar and the power company too. they will both have their codes and rules for you or your installer to follow.

So for a solar company they are probably 1/3 parts, 1/3 sales and the last 1/3 is the installer and city/electric company fees.. that is a guess which will be put right by someone in the industry and is willing to be frank about the cost splits.
Statler: Wake up you old fool. You slept through the show.
Waldorf: Who's a fool? You watched it.

2015 Leaf S (leased until May 2018, Bought out in Jan 2017)
2012 Leaf SL (purchased May 2015)

SurfHawk
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:43 pm
Delivery Date: 22 Sep 2016
Location: Santa Barbara

Re: Help with getting good solar pricing

Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:50 am

DuncanCunningham wrote:I would go to 'Wholesale solar' and get pricing for the parts so you know where they are going up from. there are many many installers who do not have high overhead costs (ie. Sales and marketing people) in your area, I'm sure.


Exactly. I did that and found this 3.2kW system for $5,847 (actually less, says call for pricing): http://www.wholesalesolar.com/1891550/w ... 320-panels

Before I bought the Leaf and thought I needed a 3kW system, I got a quote a 3.2kW system with these same panels and inverter for $15,754. Add in two days of installation, having to monitor the system, come out for warranty, parts cost for wiring sure, but where does the rest of that $10,000 difference go? Glossy presentations I guess.
2013 Leaf S w QC - Purchased 10/2016
4kW Solar - Installed 11/2016

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RegGuheert
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: Help with getting good solar pricing

Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:52 am

There is a high markup involved since installation is a bit involved and there is significant profit included for the installers. Perhaps your friends' systems which had a lower price/Watt were larger than 4 kW?

I would be a bit leary of the new Sunpower Equinox system with integrated microinverters since this product was just announced this year and therefore has no demonstrated reliability. If you are interested in integrated microinverters, Enphase and LG are making an offering based on their best-of-class products, but I expect it will not be available this year.

As far as inverters go, I would stick with SMA SunnyBoy central inverters, SolarEdge with optimizers or Enphase microinverters to be sure you get a reliable system.

If you want to save money, find out if any of your friends are willing and capable to do the install with you. You can buy complete kits on eBay for less than about $1.75/W.

Good luck with whatever you choose!
Last edited by RegGuheert on Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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DuncanCunningham
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Location: Bountiful, UT

Re: Help with getting good solar pricing

Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:53 am

SurfHawk wrote:
DuncanCunningham wrote:I would go to 'Wholesale solar' and get pricing for the parts so you know where they are going up from. there are many many installers who do not have high overhead costs (ie. Sales and marketing people) in your area, I'm sure.


Exactly. I did that and found this 3.2kW system for $5,847 (actually less, says call for pricing): http://www.wholesalesolar.com/1891550/w ... 320-panels

Before I bought the Leaf and thought I needed a 3kW system, I got a quote a 3.2kW system with these same panels and inverter for $15,754. Add in two days of installation, having to monitor the system, come out for warranty, parts cost for wiring sure, but where does the rest of that $10,000 difference go? Glossy presentations I guess.


Sales, marketing, installation and City and power company fees i suppose.

the prices for the parts never include the drawings, city fees and any power company requirements which are usually at least $1000 in city fees and you'll probably have to upgrade the meter and externals boxes too.
Statler: Wake up you old fool. You slept through the show.
Waldorf: Who's a fool? You watched it.

2015 Leaf S (leased until May 2018, Bought out in Jan 2017)
2012 Leaf SL (purchased May 2015)

QueenBee
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:14 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 2062
Location: Bellevue (Seattle), WA

Re: Help with getting good solar pricing

Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:51 pm

I think the main reason you are seeing higher prices is this is a relatively small system. Much of the overhead cost of the system is fixed regardless of the size.

SurfHawk
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:43 pm
Delivery Date: 22 Sep 2016
Location: Santa Barbara

Re: Help with getting good solar pricing

Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:44 am

QueenBee wrote:I think the main reason you are seeing higher prices is this is a relatively small system. Much of the overhead cost of the system is fixed regardless of the size.



Well it's good to know this pricing doesn't seem crazy for this system size then. The SunPower installer came in at $4.95/W for SunPower panels (DC) or $4.19/W for LG panels, both with an SMA inverter.
2013 Leaf S w QC - Purchased 10/2016
4kW Solar - Installed 11/2016

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