Please keep me informed of all things happening with this Sunrun Company. I thought i was doing a good thing, but my electricity is higher than when I started with Sunrun. It really does make me upset that companies take advantage of senior citizens and veterans, and other people.
There’s also the fact that the system is likely to have a lot more than 20 years of useful life. Most warranties are somewhere along the lines of “will produce at least 90% of rated capacity” through the first 20 years. Why would you throw it out after 20 years if still produces 90%, or even 50%, of the original capacity? Don’t want free electricity? The system is paid off and it’s not like you have to pay for fuel. I could see removing it in order to upgrade to more efficient panels that create more power on the same limited roof space. It’ll be interesting see how many systems end up having useful lives of 40-50 years.
Hi Dave - welcome!
They will indeed get the 30% federal tax credit (since they own the system) but because it is a “commercial” system for them, they also get accelerated depreciation. Taken together, that accounts for ~50% of the system cost. You commented on a post regarding PWP’s rates - if that is your utility, they will also get a rebate from PWP which is presently $0.85/Watt, which on an 8 kW (CEC AC) system would be worth $6,800. So, putting that altogether, on a $30,000 system, they get $6,800 from PWP and after the tax incentives, they need to recover ~ $12,000 from you over the course of 20 years. By my calculations, using your $135/month starting point and increasing by 2% every other year, they break even sometime in Year 8. By Y10 they are $4,600 to the good and by Y20 they are $23,000 to the good. Pretty sweet profit on an 8 kW project! So that is what is in it for them.
That is why we have never done residential leases, and never will.
The good news is you have other options - home-equity lines of credit are now available as are solar loans. Even HERO funding can be a good option if you can pay it off in 5 years (otherwise the interest rates are just too high).
Hope that helps…
As a home owner considering solar install I’m looking at possibility of either ownership outright or Operational Leasing. The Leaser is offering me 1/2 my electric bill currently (averaged out over past 12 months) plus a 2% increase every other year and option to purchase system at end of a 20 year PPA with them. I am just wondering what is really in it for them (as they call themselves “Independent Power Producers” (which I’ve never really heard of before)? They say they will establish a 20 year PPA with my utility which makes me also wonder what kind of value do they get for doing something like that? Do they also get SREC’s (if there was enough to qualify) and the Tax rebate from the Fed’s?
Could you please break down for me what you think there is in it for them? How can they survive of half my electric bill (will amount to about $135 mo) on what will probably be a $30K system (about 8kW)?
Thank you for your thought.
Yes! If you have any money in savings … It earns what? A few %? If you install solar, you get Dividends in the firm of saved utility expenses immediately.
Put your $ to work and get those solar panels up. Our array is nearing the 19 MEGAWATT milestone in 20 months. We did not have all the $ at the start so We installed 12, then another 12, and finished our 48 last April. Worth it every day!
We bought in to the whole dog and pony act. The first 2 years were great and our end of the year reconciliation from SCE was under $50. Roll forward to the last 3 years where they have averaged around $500 + a year. And this year after 9 months, we owe SCE around $1000. Combine that with the $156 that we pay Sunrun and it comes out to over $2500 yearly bill. We are retired senior living on a fixed income of around $3500 and it eats up a sizable chunk of money that we can’t afford. Does anyone know how the lawsuit is going.
David - We are currently in a lease with Sunrun & have experienced things very similar to what others have posted. We are trying to find out the status of the lawsuit. Can you give us any updated information? Is the lawsuit still pending or was it settled?
The sad part of this is SDG&E pays $0.03 kw for the excess energy from the solar customers and then sell it to the non-solar customers for alot more. SDG&E makes money from the solar customers, but I guess it isn’t enough for them. Greedy!
I do solar Repo’s, If the numbers work I buy the system and resell it as a used system at a 25% discount over a new system. This gives the home owner some of the money to pay off the loan, though some keep the money.
Hey Jeff -
Thanks for the back story on the solar racers - I hope they do catch on as I agree that they were really fun to watch! (And really fast!)
As for contacting you in advance for B of B tickets, consider it done!
Thanks for the show summary. Since I always struggle to tour the show floor, I rely on you, Tor, and Tom Cheney to tell me what is new and interesting.
The Solar Rollers race car competition does have industry relevance, but since they are a startup non-profit they were not as effective at communicating their message to the solar industry.
Solar Rollers is a non-profit organization based in Colorado that organizes competitive solar charged remote control race cars at the high school level. Each school that competes is limited to $1000 to build a solar powered remote control race car. The cars are all charged under a light hood or out in the sun. The winning cars will likely combine light weight, higher efficiency solar cells, more powerful powertrain, and better steering/suspension.
Currently, the program is taking place in Colorado high schools, but Solar Rollers is planning to expand the program to California and other active solar states.
I was very impressed with the speed and sophistication of the cars and hope to see this program catch on big time. There is no better way to interest youngsters in solar than cool fast cars that demonstrate the power of solar energy!
I don’t think you can call Unirac’s products “cheap,” but I do agree with @no_unirac that their purchase by Hilti has not been good for the company. (A point with which I know some Unirac folks would concur, albeit not for attribution.)
As for finding a new torch bearer, I think we have. Watch for my Intersolar Wrap-up post, coming (hopefully) on Friday!
Hey Dale -
SMA’s install manual for that inverter says nothing specific about either point. We did use PV wire coming from the array into the combiner, but not back to the disconnect. The remaining DC wires are in conduit (a raceway)and per 690.35 (ungrounded PV systems):
(D) The pv source conductors shall consist of the following:
(2) Conductors installed in raceways, or
(3) Conductors listed and identified as PV Wire installed as exposed, single conductors.
Given that - we used PV wire where exposed, and regular conductors in the conduit.
As for the fusing on both conductors, again, we used the fused disconnect that SMA has listed for this inverter. I believe the requirement with an ungrounded system is that the disconnect must disconnect both conductors (since both are ungrounded) and presumably the SMA disconnect, which is designed and listed to be used in this configuration, does that - though I admit I did not test it.
Hey Jim, long time Nor-Cal reader of the blog. We get these calls too and debugging older systems can certainly provide some surprises. We try to give original installers the benefit of the doubt (but most have gone out of business, so we don’t want to speak ill of the dead!).
The reasoning for upgrading the inverter alongside the re-wire is bang on. My issue with this post though is the photo - does not a transformerless inverter require a)the use of PV wire and b)a fuse on both sets of conductors?
Also agree 100% with pointing to NABCEPs resources for contacting qualified installers in one’s area.
Freedom Solar, Inc.
Something has really changed for the worst with Unirac! I have been an installer in the California for over 6 years and recently I have seen a shift in there business model. I suggest looking for another racking system. Unirac’s business model is cheap products with sub-par service. The only thing going for them was this SM-e product line. I will not use them anymore!
MY APOLOGIES. I Previously ENTERED THE WRONG email address. This one is correct.
I agree! We see many DIY’ers lamenting they wished they had at least hired a solar energy consultant to guide them through. Much more costly to go back and fix the problems with proper equipment selection, wiring, design-engineering, layout, ROI IRR. I find no problem with wanting to curb costs, but knowledge, and safety cannot be compromised. Some may say that they simply can’t afford to hire a consultant. However, I encourage DIY’ers to be creative and think about what professional talents they have to offer a solar energy consultant as a sort of “barter". If you’re a marketing professional, then offer some free marketing consulting to the solar consultant. But please do not short cut your pocketbook, safety or the performance of your solar energy system.
Congrats to all my fellow women in solar leaders. I hope I will make the list next year! I invite all of you to connect with me on LinkedIn. I would love to pick your brains on better ways to get women get more excited about solar. Although my company has made great strides in this area in our targeted marketing campaigns, I would love to see improvements and advice is welcome. Here is my LinkedIn address: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laureenpeck
Laureen Peck, Vice President of Marketing & Director of Inside Sales
Solar Energy World
They are significantly higher, and in most cases, the benefits do not outweigh that cost premium.
But it does highlight the spot that LG is putting its most loyal customers - it’s installers - in not providing us with a reliable supply of their flagship products. We don’t compete in a vacuum, and someone else is always looking to swipe our lunch!
Great list Jim!! It’s nice to have women recognized in this wonderful solar world! GO GREEN! I would have to mention the wonderful Christina Danenhower, Co-Owner and Marketing mastermind for The Solar Company! She is wonderful to work with and is passionate about all things solar!!!
Holy Moly! Blush!
AND how about all these astonishing women in the IREC family (our bench of solar women is deeeeeeeeeep):
Jane Weissman, Pat Fox, Laure-Jeanne Davignon, Kristen Ferguson, Laurel Passera, Sky Stanfield, Erica Schroeder McConnell, Mary Lawrence, Sara Baldwin Auck, MT Colello, Michelle Barrett, Diane DePuydt, Ruth Fein, Barbara Martin, Cheri Olf, Louise Urgo.
But wait…here are a few more:
Vicki Colello, NYSERDA
Adele Ferranti, NYSERDA
Deep bows of gratitude to all.
Holy Moly! I’m ineffably honored. Our bench of solar women is deep. Here are a few more IREC women to thank:
Jane Weissman, Sky Stanfield, Erica Schroeder McConnell, Pat Fox, Laure-Jeanne Davignon, Mary Lawrence, Ruth Fein, Kristen Ferguson, Cheri Olf, Michelle Barrett, Chelsea Barnes, Laurel Passera, Sara Baldwin Auck, Barbara Martin, Louise Urgo, Diane DePuydt, MT Colello
Vicki Colello, NYSERDA
Adele Ferranti, NYSERDA
Deep bows of gratitude to all women in solar.
David - I am sorry to hear about your experience.
Leases and PPAs make sense for large-scale commercial operations, but they are a poor fit for residential clients like you.
The solar industry really needs standardized disclosures so that all consumers can fairly evaluate what is being offered to them and properly compare one proposal against another.
Hi I have to comment on sunrun. I have sunrun panels on my roof. When sunrun came to my door I told the rep that we wernt interested because we herd all about people getting stuck in a lease agreement. The rep assured us there were no lease agreement. He also told us that if we were not happy we just tell sunrun to get the system off our house. He also told us if we wanted more panels all we had to do is call them. I asked him if we were to sell the house what would happen to the panels. He told us if we sold the house they would count on the new owners wanting to save money and turn the system back on. There was no catch or strings. The rep told us that sunrun would maintain the panels for 15 years. I asked him if I still had the house what would happen to the panels after fifteen years and he told me the panels would be mine they wouldnt want them because technology would have got better. We signed everything had them installed and right to the end he assured us we would not be stuck in a lease or anything like it. Over the last week I have had solar companys call me and asked me who I had and what kind of agreement I had and I told them everything I just said. They told me I needed to call sunrun because they thought I was in a power purchase whicth they said was the same as a lease. I called sun run and they said I was responsible for 20 years and if I wanted more panels then I would have to have a whole new system put on my roof. After I found that out I started looking on line and found out I wasnt the only one lied too. Sunrun reps told other people the same line. I contacted a lawer and he said I was already part of the law suit against sun run for the same thing. I dont want to be stuck with these panels for 20 years. The receipt shows they only cost 15 to 16 thousand dollars. These big companies keep taking advantage of people they got whats coming to them. Thank you
I guess the question for Caddy is whether they really want to self-identify with that degree of “brash Americanism". Or more to the point, whether anyone who would actually consider buying a Caddy wants to?
The Caddy commercial is about challenging the euro-luxe brands that stole their market over the last 30 years. How else are you going to take down MB & BMW other than through sheer brash Americanism?
Which is not to steal anything away from Ford for the shrewd countermove.
But let’s be honest with ourselves… it’s a battle out there in the auto industry, and we should applaud both these brands for fighting.
Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
In addition, Run on Sun offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.