We have selected a solar panel installer, and signed the paperwork, and are officially underway!
Cost: The cost of solar will net out to about $11k to cover roughly 100% of our electricity usage including charging one car. (This was less than the initial estimate.) Break-even point is about 7 years.
pickmysolar: Our experiences with pickmysolar.com have been “AAA++ would buy again.” They exist to insulate consumers from the pain of dealing with many solar companies. They explain everything, put together your project specs, send it out to solar contractors, and bring you back the best to choose from. They receive a referral fee from the solar vendor. They were very professional and everything has gone smoothly. Recommended.
PickMySolar received 8 bids and from that they presented 3 to us. The costs for solar were $16,000, $18,500 and $20,200 (before tax incentive). The winner, Illum solar, had the lowest bid, high quality components and a good reputation.
Reroofing: If your roof is old then it’s wise to do it before you add solar. Many solar companies came from the roofing business so most are set up to do both at once. And it may be cheaper to do both at once from the same vendor. In our case the extra cost of doing the roof $3,500 was less than it would have been if done alone. (It might end being more depending on the state of the roof under the existing shingles.)
Specific cost breakdown:
$16,085 for solar project ($11,259.50 after 30% tax credit)
+ $3,500 for roof job
+ $600 for car charger outlet
= $20,185 gross costs
– 30% tax credit of $6,055.50
= $14,129.50 net cost for roof job, solar and charger
Here is what the bid looked like, if you care to see the components used:
Electric car charger: We are getting our solar people to add our car charger outlet for our future electric car. Your regular 120 volt outlet is considered Level 1 and it’s slow. The outlet they are installing is basically a 240V outlet, considered Level 2. It’s basically just an outlet like you’d have for an electric clothes dryer. The “charger” unit is not really a true charger but which basically passes the current through to the car where the real charging circuitry resides. The solar installer is charging $600 (not including the charger itself which will be another $500 roughly). Yeah, I could save a couple of hundred by getting my own electrician, but wha’eva.
Technicalities for those considering solar panels:
– Our system is for 5.3 kW of generation and 7,570 kWh / year.
– This has 25 year warrantee on the equipment and 20 years on workmanship.
Next up: Plans and permits are starting, then roof job when we have a stretch of dry weather, then solar installation. It could all happen quite quickly, weather permitting.
Meanwhile, I’m still trying to find a competent dealer in the Bay Area to sell me a Bolt EV! Hmm… should I buy or lease?? Should I bail on the Bolt and just get a used Volt to tie me over until the Tesla Model 3 comes out?