craigmartell
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:22 pm
Delivery Date: 08 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 008312
Location: Central Coast of California

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:15 am

shrink wrote:I did a Sunpower Solar lease last year, but I don't think they offer the terms any more.

I prepaid a 20-year lease on a 6.9kWh system for $7,186. In year 7, there is a buy out option of $926 (not long before I'll probably need a new inverter) for a total of $8,112.

So, $8112 / 6900 W = $1.17/Watt.

They needed programs like this to keep making solar more accessible. However, when I tried to get an additional 2.8 kWh system installed a couple of months later, my installer here in AZ said the program was no longer being offered. The IRS wasn't happy with the leasing company taking a 30% tax credit based on a full price system that was actually selling for about 80% less.

Wow. That's a ridiculous price! Wish I could have gotten that.

Craig

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

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:55 am

shrink wrote:I did a Sunpower Solar lease last year, but I don't think they offer the terms any more.

I prepaid a 20-year lease on a 6.9kWh system for $7,186. In year 7, there is a buy out option of $926 (not long before I'll probably need a new inverter) for a total of $8,112.

So, $8112 / 6900 W = $1.17/Watt.
How it so cheap? What's the rest of the equation/how are they not losing money?

shrink
Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:21 pm
Delivery Date: 26 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 21842
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:19 pm

QueenBee wrote:
shrink wrote:I did a Sunpower Solar lease last year, but I don't think they offer the terms any more.

I prepaid a 20-year lease on a 6.9kWh system for $7,186. In year 7, there is a buy out option of $926 (not long before I'll probably need a new inverter) for a total of $8,112.

So, $8112 / 6900 W = $1.17/Watt.
How it so cheap? What's the rest of the equation/how are they not losing money?
Those were the numbers. Straight up. It was a Sunpower lease from last year. Program is no longer offered.
2011 LEAF (Sold) | 2012 Volt (Sold) | 2012 LEAF (Lease Ended) | 2010 Tesla Roadster #501 | 2013 Tesla Model S #9001 | 6.827 kW SunPower PV System

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

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:58 pm

shrink wrote:
QueenBee wrote:
shrink wrote:I did a Sunpower Solar lease last year, but I don't think they offer the terms any more.

I prepaid a 20-year lease on a 6.9kWh system for $7,186. In year 7, there is a buy out option of $926 (not long before I'll probably need a new inverter) for a total of $8,112.

So, $8112 / 6900 W = $1.17/Watt.
How it so cheap? What's the rest of the equation/how are they not losing money?
Those were the numbers. Straight up. It was a Sunpower lease from last year. Program is no longer offered.
But what's the rest of the equation? There is no way they could sell the system for that kind of price and make money. Must be some kind of trickery or they were losing tons of money. Probably got more federal rebate money than if they had just sold the system to you by inflating the price?
Last edited by QueenBee on Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

shrink
Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:21 pm
Delivery Date: 26 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 21842
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:14 pm

QueenBee wrote:[But what's the rest of the equation? There is no way could sell the system for that kind of price and make money. Must be some kind of trickery or they were losing tons of money money. Probably got more federal rebate money than if they had just sold the system to you by inflating the price?
I would guess they were inflating the price to take advantage of the 30% Federal Rebate and utility company rebate.

What should a 6.9kW system cost? 40K?

30% of the that from the Feds is $12,000.
Utility company rebate probably equaled $10,000.
The $7100 from me (+ $926 buyout) = $8112

Hmm...that's only about $30K.

I'm not sure, but I imagine they were playing the numbers game based on those rebates. Perhaps inflating the system cost to get more Federal money? The utility company rebate in this area (Phoenix, AZ) is based on system-size, so they can't do much inflating there.
2011 LEAF (Sold) | 2012 Volt (Sold) | 2012 LEAF (Lease Ended) | 2010 Tesla Roadster #501 | 2013 Tesla Model S #9001 | 6.827 kW SunPower PV System

jspearman
Posts: 244
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:04 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Aug 2011
Leaf Number: 5954
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:35 pm

QueenBee wrote:
shrink wrote:I did a Sunpower Solar lease last year, but I don't think they offer the terms any more.

I prepaid a 20-year lease on a 6.9kWh system for $7,186. In year 7, there is a buy out option of $926 (not long before I'll probably need a new inverter) for a total of $8,112.

So, $8112 / 6900 W = $1.17/Watt.
How it so cheap? What's the rest of the equation/how are they not losing money?
The way they do it is simple. I have the same deal with Sunpower and I looked into our price, since it does seem ridiculously cheap.

The reason year 7 is magical is because that's the year the depreciation can no longer be written off of their lease. They are leasing solar panels like other companies lease things like copiers, and are therefore entitled to write off the depreciation: something a typical homeowner could not do. If I don't buy back in year 7, then the buyout price gets higher and higher, as they need top recoup the cost they will inevitably outlay for new inverters before the 20 year lease runs out. We plan to buy it out, just because we will probably not live here in ten years and it's harder to sell a house with leased panels. At least that's what a couple of agents have told me.

I wasn't aware that Sunpower was no longer offering this deal. I know that demand has been ridiculous this year in Arizona and that APS is paying very little right now because their fund has been nearly tapped out.

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

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:35 am

jspearman wrote:
QueenBee wrote:
shrink wrote:I did a Sunpower Solar lease last year, but I don't think they offer the terms any more.

I prepaid a 20-year lease on a 6.9kWh system for $7,186. In year 7, there is a buy out option of $926 (not long before I'll probably need a new inverter) for a total of $8,112.

So, $8112 / 6900 W = $1.17/Watt.
How it so cheap? What's the rest of the equation/how are they not losing money?
The way they do it is simple. I have the same deal with Sunpower and I looked into our price, since it does seem ridiculously cheap.

The reason year 7 is magical is because that's the year the depreciation can no longer be written off of their lease. They are leasing solar panels like other companies lease things like copiers, and are therefore entitled to write off the depreciation: something a typical homeowner could not do. If I don't buy back in year 7, then the buyout price gets higher and higher, as they need top recoup the cost they will inevitably outlay for new inverters before the 20 year lease runs out. We plan to buy it out, just because we will probably not live here in ten years and it's harder to sell a house with leased panels. At least that's what a couple of agents have told me.

I wasn't aware that Sunpower was no longer offering this deal. I know that demand has been ridiculous this year in Arizona and that APS is paying very little right now because their fund has been nearly tapped out.
But being able to depreciate something doesn't make money come out of thin air. Normal business expenses can be deducted in the year the the money is spent but things that have multi-year life spans have to be deducted (depreciated) over their lifespan. The only way I see this game working is if they are "paying" way more than they should be which lets them get way more local/federal money.

shrink
Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:21 pm
Delivery Date: 26 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 21842
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:49 am

QueenBee wrote:But being able to depreciate something doesn't make money come out of thin air. Normal business expenses can be deducted in the year the the money is spent but things that have multi-year life spans have to be deducted (depreciated) over their lifespan. The only way I see this game working is if they are "paying" way more than they should be which lets them get way more local/federal money.
Well, whatever they were doing, it stopped. When I tried to add on a 2+ kWh system a couple of months later, my installer told me the program was no longer offered.

It's too bad. It was really a great way to make solar more accessible. I heard 5kWh systems were only requiring about $4-$5000 on a fully pre-paid 20-year lease.
2011 LEAF (Sold) | 2012 Volt (Sold) | 2012 LEAF (Lease Ended) | 2010 Tesla Roadster #501 | 2013 Tesla Model S #9001 | 6.827 kW SunPower PV System

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

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:17 am

shrink wrote: It's too bad. It was really a great way to make solar more accessible. I heard 5kWh systems were only requiring about $4-$5000 on a fully pre-paid 20-year lease.
At today's good prices that's a $20k system and back then it was even more. Who owns the power that it generates? Do you have to pay them for the power it is generating for 20 years? That's the only way I can think that this makes sense without them defrauding the government, which as you point out does make solar more accessible.

shrink
Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:21 pm
Delivery Date: 26 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 21842
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What did you pay per watt DC for solar?

Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:19 pm

QueenBee wrote:At today's good prices that's a $20k system and back then it was even more. Who owns the power that it generates? Do you have to pay them for the power it is generating for 20 years? That's the only way I can think that this makes sense without them defrauding the government, which as you point out does make solar more accessible.
It's on a net-metering (I think that's the correct term) program with the utility company. Basically, the lessee/homeowner uses whatever is generated first and the excess goes back to the utility company. You accumulate the excess until the end of the fiscal year, at which point the utility company cuts the lessee, not Sunpower, a check for that electricity. However, I think it's only at the wholesale rate of electricity, which is quite low.

I think you can do a plan in which you get paid out at each month for any excess generated, but I did not go that route. I need the on-peak excess during the Winter and Spring for the high A/C usage during hot Phoenix summer.

The lease and buyout fee is the only money paid to Sunpower out of the lessee's pocket.
2011 LEAF (Sold) | 2012 Volt (Sold) | 2012 LEAF (Lease Ended) | 2010 Tesla Roadster #501 | 2013 Tesla Model S #9001 | 6.827 kW SunPower PV System

Return to “Solar”