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Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:11 pm
Delivery Date: 16 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 5123
Location: Vancouver, BC

Re: Need Opinions - Use SolarCity to Install for Free or....

Fri May 09, 2014 10:43 am

oakwcj wrote:
QueenBee wrote:So the total cost of the system was $4,030 and you get to use all the electricity it produces for free?

Hmm, the California incentives were too difficult for me to figure out quickly so I'm not sure how big of a factor they were in that price but that's the kind of price that is too good to be true :) I wonder what kind of trickery they are doing.
They use two or three kinds of legal "trickery," although I'm not sure that the third one is entirely kosher. First, they assign the contracts, which are technically power purchase agreements, rather than leases, to companies, like Google, that need tax credits to offset their tax liabilities. Second, they can write off depreciation on the installation, something which homeowners can't do. Third, they may well be overstating their costs to obtain higher tax credits. In my case, the papers they submitted claimed costs of nearly $20k, although I paid only $9k.

I had SC install a 3.6kW system two years ago, when California's incentives had declined quite a bit. [They're gone now.] It still cost me $9,000 on a fully pre-paid system, which I thought was a good price. Devin must have gotten his system before 2012. I haven't paid any electricity bills for the past two years. The system has given me "free" charging for my LEAF and "free" heating for my hot tub, as well as "free" power for my house.
Yes, I also live in LADWP territory which had very attractive rebates at the time - further reducing the cost. I signed my agreement with SC in early 2012. The ability to assign the contracts to offset tax liabilities and depreciation is definitely how SC can offer those sorts of prices. As someone who owns both a C corp and an S corp I know that those kind of tax deals can be worth way more than the average person might expect. I've heard some people refer to tax accountants as magicians since they are skilled at making numbers appear and disappear depending on the desired outcome.
2014 Toyota RAV4 EV

RIP: 2011 Nissan LEAF SL

30,140mi & 54.11 AHr as of 2014FEB27

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