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Author: anuragupta Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide CAPS All Star Global Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5162  
Subject: Guaranteed 15% annual returns? Date: 1/30/2011 4:19 PM
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Today at costco, I saw the rep of a local solar power company. He told me that their firms can take care of all the fed and state discounts giving me an installation price of $8K - 25 years warranty on panels (direct from kyocera which they take care of) - >90% output after 10 years and >80% output after 20 years - 10 years of warranty on inverter. Bi-annual maintenance of 2 spray washes.

My electricity bill is $1200 per year. The above quote of $8K is based on this consumption implying that I won't pay anything. Any unused electricity goes directly into the grid that is reimbursed at 1:1 by the electricity board - essentially the meter moves in reverse! I reside in a desert town with ample sunshine and rare rain. So it appears that $1200 over $8K is 15% annual returns. Any downside here that anyone can see that I might be overlooking?

Anurag
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Author: bcnu6 One star, 50 posts 5 Year Anniversary! Global Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4076 of 5162
Subject: Re: Guaranteed 15% annual returns? Date: 1/30/2011 5:12 PM
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I would be very surprised if an $8K solar setup will meet 100% of your electricity needs, so you need to expect to continue to pay something to your local electric company.

I am in Hawaii, have lots of sunshine, am modest in my electricity use, and have 2100 watts of panels to meet my electric needs most days. Even at Costco prices, I don't think you will get enough panels plus inverter, charge controller, and boxes to meet your needs for $8K. Around here system prices start at about $20K, and $50K systems are not unusual, although those includes batteries which you probably will not be buying if you have a grid-tie.

But the satisfaction of making one's own power is worth something, even if not dollars.

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Author: typeoh Big red star, 1000 posts Home Fool Global Fool SC1 Red Motley Fool One Everlasting Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4077 of 5162
Subject: Re: Guaranteed 15% annual returns? Date: 1/30/2011 5:51 PM
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anurag,

If you do it, please let us know how it goes!

I am also doubtful that you could get 100% of your electricity needs met by such a small capital outlay.

However, if the above deal truly is legit, then it seems worthwhile indeed.

brian

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Author: anuragupta Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide CAPS All Star Global Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4078 of 5162
Subject: Re: Guaranteed 15% annual returns? Date: 1/30/2011 7:09 PM
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1. The deal is with REC solar that has a good internet reputation in service quality. And the fact that COSTCO is mediating the deal makes it appear better.

2. The system is worth $15K. After 30% fed rebate, $1K state rebate and something else makes it $8K. The good part is that I do not have to pay $15K upfront as the company has reached a deal with the relevant tax authorities that lets them get the remaining $7K from the govt.

3. I plan to install the size that gives me 15% annual return whether or not it meets my annual requirement. As per the system advertized, the resultant $8K systems was supposed to produce ~$1200 worth of annual electricity. If true then it should be worth it.

Anurag

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Author: brianmccurdy Three stars, 500 posts CAPS All Star Global Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4081 of 5162
Subject: Re: Guaranteed 15% annual returns? Date: 1/30/2011 9:48 PM
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Anurag,

1. REC is a great firm. They have a very good history in the solar industry.

2. This is the hitch with PV systems in the US right now - they are worth much more to a 3rd party than a homeowner.

3. You should assume that you will have to buy a new inverter at year 10. They are the part of the system that will break first.

Kyocera makes good panels, and I think that is a good warranty to take (versus someone like SolarFun). What is your fully delivered cost of power (generation + transmission + distribution)?

B

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Author: billjohn4 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Global Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4083 of 5162
Subject: Re: Guaranteed 15% annual returns? Date: 1/31/2011 6:41 AM
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Anurag,

I've been trying to find an installation that makes financial sense for about 3 years. The best I've seen is a return of investment in about 12-13 years with a return of 8%, so I also doubt the $8k cost to supply all your electricity. The lowest cost proposal I've received to supply MOST of my power is around $25k less about $12k in rebates (and the state - NH - is very "ify" right now with the budgetary pressures). I'm focusing on solar to power my hot water.

One suggestion I might make to reduce your installation cost is to find an organization that sponsors "energy raisers." Similar to the old time "barn raisers," these group organize local residents to spend a weekend helping their neighbors install the panels. You also learn a lot about how the system works, and your cost is greatly reduced. Good luck!

Bill

N.B. I live in NH where sunshine is NOT a sure thing, especially this time of year.

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Author: anuragupta Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide CAPS All Star Global Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4084 of 5162
Subject: Re: Guaranteed 15% annual returns? Date: 1/31/2011 8:20 AM
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Hi Bill,

Thanks for your post.

Southern Arizona, where I live has ample sunshine to make this work. The company is saying no more than $8K capital outlay. At this point, I am not worried whether or not it can supply all my electricity. As long as its supplies > $1200 worth of electricity, it still makes sense unless I am missing something.

This is the first time I have come across such deep rebates and a system that costs this low. In the previous years, it had always been $20K capital outlay. This is also the first time I have come across a case where I won't have to file and claim my rebates. I will directly get the net price and the company will claim the rebates from the govt. I will be checking with the state board on 1:1 metering and if my income level won't disqualify any rebates.

Anurag

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Author: GaryPAZ Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4091 of 5162
Subject: Re: Guaranteed 15% annual returns? Date: 2/3/2011 10:09 AM
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Well, since you are in AZ, here is a site I would do some research.

I also doubt that a $8K system will bring you back $1200 in savings a year. Go to SRP's website where they compare systems installed in AZ, their cost, their return, and their power generated....

http://www.srpnet.com/environment/earthwise/solar/solarelect...

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Author: anuragupta Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide CAPS All Star Global Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4093 of 5162
Subject: Re: Guaranteed 15% annual returns? Date: 2/3/2011 3:52 PM
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I GOT STIFFED AT BOTH ENDS AND THE MIDDLE BY THE SNAKE OIL SALESMEN

a) REC solar screwed me up by creating a build that cost me ~70% more than the original price quoted at costco. My agent tried to defend the actions of the company rep at costco with following arguments: the rep at costco was not tech guy, did not intentionally misinform if he did, my roof had slightly (8%) inefficient tilt and anyway it should not matter since I still save money and then he tried to give me investment advice. I told him that the rep promised by $1200 of annual savings with a net $8K capital outlay and this has turned out to be false even for an ideal system. Finally the agent agreed to retrain the costco rep. I complained bitterly to the costco manager about this misinformation.

b) the local electricity company says that with net metering, I can use off peak credits only for off peak usage. Fair enough since peak and off peak rates are different. But then I asked, just to check, if I could use the peak credits to offset off peak usage and I was stunned to learn that peak credits can offset on peak usage. That means that when my solar panels are most productive during midday, they will happily take my electicity and pay me way less than off peak usage (wholesale prices). So that means when I leave for work, I better leave my AC on and set the applicance to start at mid day to use my peak credits. IS THIS HOW ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND GREEN ENERGY SUPPOSED TO WORK???

Sorry for shouting but I am really mad at this point with the vendor and with the local electricity board.

Anurag

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