saleem145
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:53 am
Delivery Date: 09 Nov 2012
Location: Westport, CT

Pricing a 5KW system

Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:24 am

Hello,

I am looking into setting up a PV solar array on my home and see how much it is going to cost and what I will save. This will be based in Connecticut and will be rated 5kW. This is the information I have been able to glean so far --

I will need (from EcoDirect.com) --

21 Canadian Solar CS6P 240P panels @ $259.95 per piece
21 Enphase M215 micro inverters @ $148.95 per piece

Total is $8600 so far.

Couple of questions --

1. Can I get these items cheaper -- what is the recommended supplier??
2. What else will I need to buy -- I want a complete bill of materials??
3. What is a good estimate for labor costs??
4. Any recommendations for an installer in Connecticut??

Next item is rebates. My understanding is --

State of CT will give me $2.275 per watt for system up to 5 kilowatts in size. It works out to $11,375.
And Federal Govt will have me 30% of net costs.

Couple of questions --

1. Can someone confirms the CT rebate?? I have read different numbers in different places??
2. How do I apply for the CT rebate??
3. As far as Federal Rebate is concerned I understand it is 30% off the different of cost of system minus state incentives??
4. How do I claim the Federal rebate. I understand that I need to file some form with my taxes. Question is which one??
5. Does everyone quality or AMT or something else can reduce the amount??
6. Can I get a check from th federal govt as opposed to this being part of tax process??

Next here is power usage --

Last month I used 865 kWh and my bill was $142 which works out to 16.4 cents per kWh. My average consumption has been 810 kWh per month. (This excludes the Leaf I am buying).

Questions here are --

1. How much electricity can I expect my 5kW system to generate on average per month in kWh. And what would my savings per month be??
2. I presume if I am a net producer of electricity I only save on the cost of production, as opposed to transmission costs, etc which seem to be roughly 50% of the total bill??

Thanks,

Saleem

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

Re: Pricing a 5KW system

Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:53 pm

saleem145 wrote: 1. Can I get these items cheaper -- what is the recommended supplier??
2. What else will I need to buy -- I want a complete bill of materials??
3. What is a good estimate for labor costs??
4. Any recommendations for an installer in Connecticut??
Certainly can get things cheaper but I think unless you are going to be doing the actual install yourself it probably makes the most sense to hire a contractor who would both install the system and also sell you the entire BOM.

You are going to need a racking system with roof mounts, misc wiring supplies, Enphase trunking cable kit, Enphase Envoy, grounding supplies, etc.

I think you should easily be able to get a complete installed Enphase microinverter system for between $3.5 and $4 per watt.
saleem145 wrote: Next item is rebates. My understanding is --

State of CT will give me $2.275 per watt for system up to 5 kilowatts in size. It works out to $11,375.
And Federal Govt will have me 30% of net costs.

Couple of questions --

1. Can someone confirms the CT rebate?? I have read different numbers in different places??
2. How do I apply for the CT rebate??
3. As far as Federal Rebate is concerned I understand it is 30% off the different of cost of system minus state incentives??
4. How do I claim the Federal rebate. I understand that I need to file some form with my taxes. Question is which one??
5. Does everyone quality or AMT or something else can reduce the amount??
6. Can I get a check from th federal govt as opposed to this being part of tax process??
http://www.ctcleanenergy.com/YourHome/R ... fault.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/index.cfm?state=CT" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As far as I know the federal incentive is not affected by local incentives. The form is 5695. AMT doesn't seem to apply. It's part of your tax return. There are federal grant programs that will pay outside of a tax return but they are complicated.
saleem145 wrote:
Next here is power usage --

Last month I used 865 kWh and my bill was $142 which works out to 16.4 cents per kWh. My average consumption has been 810 kWh per month. (This excludes the Leaf I am buying).

Questions here are --

1. How much electricity can I expect my 5kW system to generate on average per month in kWh. And what would my savings per month be??
2. I presume if I am a net producer of electricity I only save on the cost of production, as opposed to transmission costs, etc which seem to be roughly 50% of the total bill??

Thanks,

Saleem
In WA we use a rule of thumb that for every watt of a unshaded DC PV will generate 1 KWH of AC annually. So a 5,000 watt DC system should produce at least 5,000 KWH AC. There are a lot of variables that go into that though. Getting a solar evaluation will help get a realistic number based on your site. http://www.nrel.gov/rredc/pvwatts/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; can also help.

On an annual basis you are going to be a net producer of electricity. Looks like your state has net metering that rolls over so you will get the full value of any excess production you have month to month. So essentially you'll get the full 16.4 cent value for all the power you produce (Don't forget to exclude fees/etc. that not based on consumption when calculating your cost) http://www.ctenergyinfo.com/dpuc_net_metering.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I'd recommend getting in contact with someone from this list: http://www.ctcleanenergy.com/YourHome/R ... fault.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hopefully there will be some forum members in CT who can also provide recommendations.

Good luck and with a state incentive like you have combined with relatively high power rates I think you'll find that solar is going to be a no brainer financial decision. I'd think you would want to install the largest system you can fit on your roof and still qualify for all the rebates.

saleem145
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:53 am
Delivery Date: 09 Nov 2012
Location: Westport, CT

Re: Pricing a 5KW system

Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:25 pm

Hello,

If the cost does work out to be between $3.50 - $4.00 per watt and the system does produce 5000 kwh per annum then with the incentives in place I believe this is will be a no brainer.

I am going to call some local contractors tomorrow and see what they have to say in terms of price.

Only disadvantage in CT is that the state incentives are not as attractive for systems beyond 5kW, so that will have to be the size I settle for. I do not think I will be a net producer but should be able to cut my electricity bill in half!!

I plan to buy the Leaf in November and install the system early next year just after winter. If someone has experience with installers in CT I would love to hear from them.

Regards,

Saleem

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

Re: Pricing a 5KW system

Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:01 pm

saleem145 wrote: Only disadvantage in CT is that the state incentives are not as attractive for systems beyond 5kW, so that will have to be the size I settle for. I do not think I will be a net producer but should be able to cut my electricity bill in half!!
Once your get some more firm answers to the questions you've been asking it will be interesting to see how the payback of a 5kw system vs a 10kw system ends up being.

saleem145
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:53 am
Delivery Date: 09 Nov 2012
Location: Westport, CT

Re: Pricing a 5KW system

Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:56 pm

Will keep you posted about my findings. Another question I have is are Solar Water Heaters are a no brainer too??

Saleem

madbrain
Posts: 281
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:53 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Oct 2012
Leaf Number: 023874
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Pricing a 5KW system

Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:41 pm

Hi,
saleem145 wrote:Hello,
I will need (from EcoDirect.com) --

21 Canadian Solar CS6P 240P panels @ $259.95 per piece
21 Enphase M215 micro inverters @ $148.95 per piece

Total is $8600 so far.
The Enphase M215 each need a "trunk" cable which is an additional $30.
There are panels much cheaper than those Canadian solar if you are willing to go with Chinese panels.
See https://king-solarman.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; . I bought some Talesun 240W poly for $156/panel.
Of course, you will need to have them shipped.
2. What else will I need to buy -- I want a complete bill of materials??
Racking, electrical box, etc. Best to hire a contractor to install and have them buy all the other smaller parts.
You can buy the major parts yourself (panels and micro-inverters), and contract for the rest, which is what I did.
3. What is a good estimate for labor costs??
That's mainly dependent on your labor market, and even then there are huge variations between contractors.
I got the major parts very cheap, and the labor ended up costing more than both of them.
3. As far as Federal Rebate is concerned I understand it is 30% off the different of cost of system minus state incentives??
The federal incentive is not a rebate but a tax credit. It will reduce your taxes owed.
If you don't owe enough enough taxes for the year, you don't get a refund beyond that, but I believe you may rollover the rest to another year.

You must deduct any state rebate from your cost before reporting it on form 5695.
See http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The instructions for 5695 are clear about that - you can't take a tax credit on the amount paid for by your state rebate :

Subsidized energy financing. Any amounts provided for by
subsidized energy financing cannot be used to figure the
nonbusiness energy property credit. This is financing provided
under a federal, state, or local program, the principal purpose of
which is to provide subsidized financing for projects designed to
conserve or produce energy
6. Can I get a check from th federal govt as opposed to this being part of tax process??
No.
1. How much electricity can I expect my 5kW system to generate on average per month in kWh. And what would my savings per month be??
Look up PVwatts for a rough estimate.
Estimation is generally the job of your installer.
2. I presume if I am a net producer of electricity I only save on the cost of production, as opposed to transmission costs, etc which seem to be roughly 50% of the total bill??
The treatment of excess electricity depends on your state laws, specific utility, and rate plan. I'm not in Connecticut so can't help on this one.

Mothernaturesolar
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:17 pm

Re: Pricing a 5KW system

Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:45 pm

Madbrain-

You can expect approx 8,750 kwh of solar production your first year, if your panels are faced anywhere from 180 to 210 degrees, and if you have no shading issues. You're doing it the logical, and hard, way to save money on a solar system. But sometimes the logical way isn't the best way.

You're up to $1.89 per watt cost with the material pricing that you have so far, and you haven't yet factored in the racking, flashing/mounting, wiring, grounding, breakers, conduit, delivery time and cost, time spent for the PGE rebate application and meter application, taxes or labor.

Installers get a lower price for product than you can, and if they are reputable they will pass along the savings to you, the consumer. Most are not, however. The average installed price in 2012 (here in California) is almost $6.00 per watt, based upon the California Solar Initiative statistics.

For a complete 5.04 kw system, materials and labor, my price is $3.49 per watt installed ($17,589). I do all the paperwork- building permit, PGE rebate, and PGE solar meter, for you. Your only additional cost would be the cost of the permit, which in San Jose is about $300.

21 Canadian Solar CS6P-240P panels (25 year guarantee), 21 Enphase M215 inverters (25 year guarantee), Enphase Envoy computer (1 year guarantee, and with free lifetime monitoring of your system), Snapnrack racking, Quickmount flashing, and the Balance of the System is guaranteed by Mother Nature Solar for 10 years.

Your net cost, after the rebate and tax credit, is approx $11,432. This is not a lease, for this price you will fully own the system yourself.

If you decide to buy the materials yourself, and go with a contractor for only the installation, make sure that they correctly licensed and bonded, and are registered with the CSI so that you can get your rebate. San Jose inspectors require that the GEC connections are to be done only with irreversible crimps, so make sure that your contractor knows this. The rebate process with PGE/CSI is lengthy and convoluted, make sure that he knows how to do the paperwork correctly. 20% of PGE rebate applications are not finished, and therefore not paid out. And the PGE solar meter application has 4 different parts to it, also make sure that he is familiar with that one.

Good Luck!
Mark Davis
Mother Nature Solar

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

Re: Pricing a 5KW system

Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:33 pm

Mothernaturesolar wrote:San Jose inspectors require that the GEC connections are to be done only with irreversible crimps, so make sure that your contractor knows this. The rebate process with PGE/CSI is lengthy and convoluted, make sure that he knows how to do the paperwork correctly. 20% of PGE rebate applications are not finished, and therefore not paid out. And the PGE solar meter application has 4 different parts to it, also make sure that he is familiar with that one.

Good Luck!
Mark Davis
Mother Nature Solar
Mark, thanks for responding! It's exciting that everytime I hear from you your price has dropped. I think you got the original poster and a responder mixed up though. Maybe you'd be willing to take a vacation to Connecticut to help saleem145 out? ;)

So what do the irreversible crimp connections for the GEC look like and where do they require them? I assume they allow standard lugs for bonding the rails all together and the standard clamps on the grounding rod right?

And while we are on that topic. I'm in the process of expanding my system and am wondering what the best method (product) to either splice in the middle or splice at the end of my #6 GEC to continue onto the new rails?

madbrain
Posts: 281
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:53 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Oct 2012
Leaf Number: 023874
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Pricing a 5KW system

Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:07 am

Mark,

I'm not the one looking was was looking for a new system.

But just for the record, last month, buying the major parts myself and using a contractor for the rest, I just did a 2880 W addition to my system for $8454, which is $2.94 installed. That was using some Talesun 240W panels at $156/piece and some Enphase M190 at $99 a piece. After incentives - the small $0.20/watt CSI rebate, and the big 30% federal tax credit - the net price will be down to $5554 . That is $1.93/watt installed, inclusive of all taxes.
The total cost is less than your $3.49/watt, and it's only a 2880W addition to my system - a 5kW system would have cost even less per watt.

$6/watt before incentives is the price I paid in 2010 for my initial 6580W system. Total system cost was $39,679 before incentives. And $26,321 after incentives. Ie. $6/watt before incentives, $4/watt after incentives.
Prices have come way down since 2010 however. Only someone living under a rock would pay $6/watt now. It's very sad the CSI is reporting that as the average price still.
Mothernaturesolar wrote:Madbrain-

You can expect approx 8,750 kwh of solar production your first year, if your panels are faced anywhere from 180 to 210 degrees, and if you have no shading issues. You're doing it the logical, and hard, way to save money on a solar system. But sometimes the logical way isn't the best way.

You're up to $1.89 per watt cost with the material pricing that you have so far, and you haven't yet factored in the racking, flashing/mounting, wiring, grounding, breakers, conduit, delivery time and cost, time spent for the PGE rebate application and meter application, taxes or labor.

Installers get a lower price for product than you can, and if they are reputable they will pass along the savings to you, the consumer. Most are not, however. The average installed price in 2012 (here in California) is almost $6.00 per watt, based upon the California Solar Initiative statistics.

For a complete 5.04 kw system, materials and labor, my price is $3.49 per watt installed ($17,589). I do all the paperwork- building permit, PGE rebate, and PGE solar meter, for you. Your only additional cost would be the cost of the permit, which in San Jose is about $300.

saleem145
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:53 am
Delivery Date: 09 Nov 2012
Location: Westport, CT

Re: Pricing a 5KW system

Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:04 am

Hello Madbrain,

If I can do a 2880W addition to my 5000W planned system for $8454 installed in CT, I would quality for a $1.075/W state incentive which is $3096. After a 30% Federal Rebate, my cost would be down to $3,750. The power generated would be 2880 kwh per annum which would earn me $460 per annum. I understand that the economics for a 5kW addition would be even better.

My plan is buy the Leaf this month, do the first 5kW system just after winter. And then the year after if things work out do the addition to take myself fully off the grid.

Madbrain, couple of questions for you --

1. I understand the only thing you did was buy the panels and inverters?? Contractor bought everything else, did the install and paperwork and approvals??
2. Please can you provide a breakdown between labor and materials. Your systems has 12 panels?? So your inverters and panels cost $3060 and the contractor took $5,394?? Of the money given to contractor how much was materials, and how much labor??
3. What is the area in sq ft taken up on your roof??

Mothernature -- I have heard good things about your work, and the price seems right, but too bad you are not based in CT. I would let you do the first 5kW system. If you can refer me to someone in CT that is good that would be very helpful.

Thanks,

Saleem
madbrain wrote:Mark,

I'm not the one looking was was looking for a new system.

But just for the record, last month, buying the major parts myself and using a contractor for the rest, I just did a 2880 W addition to my system for $8454, which is $2.94 installed. That was using some Talesun 240W panels at $156/piece and some Enphase M190 at $99 a piece. After incentives - the small $0.20/watt CSI rebate, and the big 30% federal tax credit - the net price will be down to $5554 . That is $1.93/watt installed, inclusive of all taxes.
The total cost is less than your $3.49/watt, and it's only a 2880W addition to my system - a 5kW system would have cost even less per watt.

$6/watt before incentives is the price I paid in 2010 for my initial 6580W system. Total system cost was $39,679 before incentives. And $26,321 after incentives. Ie. $6/watt before incentives, $4/watt after incentives.
Prices have come way down since 2010 however. Only someone living under a rock would pay $6/watt now. It's very sad the CSI is reporting that as the average price still.

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