I had been waiting a few years – but figured the time to get on board for solar is now. share.solarcity.com/coupons4LV
So long as your home has some decent sized roof sections SE or SW exposure it will likely meet the litmus test.
Also, you should make sure your roof is not nearing the end of it’s useful life. If you have an architectural GAF roof, it should last around 25 years or so.
Figure if you have less than 5 years of useful life left, either replace your roof prior to the solar install, or wait till you ready to replace your roof.
Keep in mind that the solar panels may likely extend the life of the shingles where they cover as the shingle will degrade from solar exposure over time.
SolarCity software program on the reps computer analyzes the roof, lays the ideal panel locations and makes sure that the overall system efficiency is above a certain threshold. You approve the rough draft the panel locations on the roof from a rendering. (Sometimes you will have some options depending on your roof-line) Trees and surrounding shade generating items are factored in to the analysis. System efficiency calculator enables them to mount panels on roof sections that aren’t as efficient from a solar harvesting perspective – so long as there are enough panels that have high efficiency (by being directly pointed in the Southerly direction). Micro-inverters make this happen, they are able to optimize each panels performance and make it so the system doesn’t depend on every panel getting the same amount of light.
With PPA (Power purchase Agreement) from Solar City – you can decrease your homes carbon footprint. All while not outlaying a dime. Currently I am in a 3 year contract with an energy supplier at a very aggressive rate on Kwh with PPL(our local electric company), but by switching to solar power, my monthly bill will remain the same, and I will reduce the burden on fossil fuel burning power plants. (Solar City will sell back any excess power generated to the grid) After 2018, it is highly likely that our rate per kw will be even more competitive – as I don’t expect the price per kwH from the electric company PPL to decrease. Inflation makes all rates rise(typically at around 4% per year), and I expect price per kwH to keep increasing over the next 20 years. The 20 year PPA with Solar City fixes the power rate per kwH which protects you against inflation and market volatility.
I also did some research and it appears that homes with solar sell 20% faster and for more money that those that don’t …
So essentially, I pay the same for power for the next 3 years, then the system should be net positive for our home moving forward.
An old friend once told me, think long term. “If it is not right long term, then it is not right short term.”
Solar City also gives you the option of buying the system outright after 5 years if you sign up on a PPA, then every year anniversary. It may make sense to buy the system at a certain point, especially if your power bill is high. You will have to crunch the numbers for your given set of parameters.
The apps are neat too, everything can be monitored from your phone/computer and it is turnkey warrantied for 20 years.
Thus far, the rep from Philly drove up and went over some rough panel position plans and crunched the numbers to makes sure that our home was a good candidate for solar.
Next they setup a tech to come and do some detailed measurements: roof, meter location, attic, circuit breaker panel – the process took about 2 hours. (and you don't need to help, ha!) There were a few forms to esign online a day or so later on the MySolarcity website, and their concierge assisted me over the phone for one document.
Next step is for them to come and install the system, I will update this blog entry when that happens and add some pictures.
To get started on a system for your house click here:
Update 12/22/16 - system was installed yesterday in 1 day! These guys did a great job and have good attention to detail. Next step is the electrical inspection which will be done next week. Additionally, they also installed a free NEST thermostat which is a local incentive from our power company PPL. The phone control and learning features are really neat.
Update 3/30/17 - system has been online for a few months now and working well. Can monitor the whole system from a phone which is neat as well. Below are some screen shots of the app.