TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

Pulled the trigger on Solar in Dallas, Texas

Discussion in 'Tesla Energy' started by MajorCuddles, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. MajorCuddles

    MajorCuddles Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Dallas
    Well Tesla family, I've just signed my commitment for a residential solar system in no small part to the threads here and the active contributions by @Ullmo and @ohmman in the group.

    I know that Texas power rates make solar a hard sell in most cases, but I felt fortunate to have a good set of available incentives, a home that allowed a wide array of design options, and some somewhat aggressive pricing after engaging multiple installers.

    I'm a total home automation nut, so this seems like just another step in optimizing my home to meet my needs. Surprisingly enough, I still don't have a 240 outlet for my Model X here as my employer offers free charging that's met all of my needs to date.

    I've 'earned' a Powerwall 2 through one of the prior referral programs and I look forward to integrating it to the system especially as time of use shifting becomes available.

    So, what can I tell this group about my experience? I had a great time exploring options and visiting with multiple installers in the Dallas - Fort Worth area. Let's hope that the coming steps go well as the design confirmation, installation, and interconnection occurs.

    System Design:
    Inverter: 1 x SolarEdge SE7600A
    Panels: 35 x Hanwha Q-Cells 280W
    System Size: 9.8 kW
    Location: Dallas, TX


    Incentives:
    Utility Rebate: $6,000
    Retail Provider Rebate: $1,470
    Federal ITC: $6,689
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like x 3
    • Informative x 1
    • Love x 1
  2. swaltner

    swaltner Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Messages:
    651
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    Is that a flat root (level to the ground)? I'm curious about the design decision to have the solar panels rotated 45 degrees to the apparent roof line. Wouldn't the installation be simpler (cheaper) if the racks ran parallel to the roof line, so you only had a couple individual racks to install. It may not matter in the grand scheme of things, but I am curious.
     
  3. MajorCuddles

    MajorCuddles Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Dallas
    Hi @swaltner !

    The roof is flat. The rotation that you see in the overhead is to allow them to orient directly south (180 degrees) with the racking at 20 degrees. That orientation and angle maximizes the incentive* from the local power distribution company while maximizing production.

    The installer indicated that they would be willing to optimize the orientation relative to roofline to maximize production without a price change. The roof isnt terribly visible from the ground level, so the aesthetics are less concerning.

    *The incentive would actually be higher with a 204 degree orientation vs 180 shown in the picture. That orientation would maximize the utility's benefit with respect to their demand curve. However, my individual production would be higher with 180 degree orientation and would pay back over a few years.

    Here's the website for my local power distribution utility (Oncor) which shows how their incentive value is calculated. eCalc ONCOR
     
  4. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,139
    Location:
    McKinney, TX
    Awesome! I just signed a contract with Solar City/Tesla for a 9.3k system and a PowerWall 2. Unfortunately, the incentive funds from my power company (CoServ) are depleted for the year. Rather than wait; however, I'm going ahead with the installation anyway.
     
    • Like x 1
  5. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,727
    Location:
    Texas/Washington
    I hope you have better luck than we did. Remember that you do not have a "contract" on how your utility will treat solar in the future. Just because they have a policy now does not mean it won't change in the future.
     
  6. MajorCuddles

    MajorCuddles Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Dallas
    Very cool! I hope that your design & installation goes well!
    Bummer on the CoServ incentive!

    I'd love to hear about how the Powerwall 2 integration goes. I hope that the ones from the incentive programs come available in the not too distant future.
     
  7. MajorCuddles

    MajorCuddles Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Dallas
    Hi @BerTX ! Do you mind if I ask what made your experience bad? I'd love to understand more.
    Agree on the comments above. I think I should end up decently isolated from any changes to a less generous utility policy if the system is sized at ~98% of use with a Powerwall 2 eventually coming. It should leave a very small ongoing bill regardless of changes to buy-back policies.
     
  8. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,727
    Location:
    Texas/Washington
    We are "served" by a co-op, which in Texas is an unregulated utility that can make their own rules and change them at any time. When we made the investment to install solar, their policy was net metering and any excess generation was banked to be used at a later time when solar is not available.

    They decided this was not fair to those members without solar. They changed to a system where any usage was charged at the retail rate and any solar generation will be paid at the wholesale rate -- basically giving half- credit for solar generation. The payback for our system went from 8 years to, well, never.
     
  9. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    5,485
    Location:
    Maine
    Well, it gives you more motivation to improve home efficiency. Also, you can look for some good crock-pot recipes to improve self-consumption. :p
     
  10. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,727
    Location:
    Texas/Washington
    Haha, yes, it does require some changes! It's a little like having an off-peak rate structure, but in reverse. I have to try to concentrate usage during the daytime when the sun is shining...
     
  11. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,582
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Remind the co-op what happened to NV Energy when they decided this type of payback was "fair".
     
  12. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,139
    Location:
    McKinney, TX
    Our north Texas co-op net metering policy is: They use any of my over production to offset my consumption within any single billing period. Any over production above what I consume in that billing period is theirs to keep, entirely without compensation to me. If I entirely offset my usage, the billing period has a monthly service charge of $10. Not a great policy, but better than many have.

    If a Powerwall wasn't involved, it would be a simple matter to size the system so that I produce as much as possible, while over producing as little as possible in order to optimize my payback time. The addition of a Powerwall, however, coupled with the size limitations of my roof, complicate things considerably. After crunching numbers for a year and going back and forth about system size and watching the solar panel tariff drama heat up, I just snapped and said "f--- it," called Solar City/Tesla, and ordered the biggest system my roof can accommodate and had them throw in a Powerall (just because I think Powerwalls are cool and I want to send more love to the Tesla mothership).

    What pushed me over the edge was the absurdity of trying to convince myself that payback was x years or y years and that was I going to stay in the house that long and blah blah blah. I decided that I wanted solar, just because. So I ordered it. If I had convinced myself that I wanted a swimming pool or a gazebo or a upgraded patio I wouldn't have spent months asking myself if the swimming pool or the gazebo or the patio was going to pay for itself. I would have simply asked "Do I want this? Can I afford this?" and gone from there.
     
    • Like x 2
    • Love x 1
  13. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,582
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    So in July and August solar customers can save the entire grid millions by shaving the air conditioning peak, and they don't evendo you the service of netting that out in the fall. Ridiculous.

    The best thing about the early days of solar in a new market is that it virtually eliminates the need to build out new peaker plants. Solar customers are kicking power back into the grid when demand is at it's very highest in the hot summer months, so the immediate impact is phenomenal in areas where air conditioning is the big draw on the grid.

    If this were a fair and open marketplace, a co-op would have to pay out the price it would cost them if that solar customer weren't there. In a lot of instances that's likely higher than retail net metering.
     
  14. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,139
    Location:
    McKinney, TX
    I agree. Overall, despite how much I chafe at their policy, I think I do more good for the cause of individual energy choice if I take the deal than if I were to refrain from putting solar on my roof. (I'm not suggesting that you were advocating that, mind you.)
     
    • Like x 1
  15. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,582
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    100% agree. I would probably build a big sign on my lawn with a digital counter tracking how much money I was saving everyone else.

    * Edit - These notes from real world Texas solar customers are great. Such a deregulated market.....you'll likely go through changes faster than the rest of the US. Things will evolve quickly!
     
  16. oktane

    oktane Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Messages:
    1,380
    Location:
    USA
    Good choice of a system. You won't regret solar.
     
  17. MajorCuddles

    MajorCuddles Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Dallas
    @Rockster & @BerTX : Thanks for sharing about your experiences with the coops. It's a little crazy that we can have consumers within 30 miles of each other who all have vastly different incentives and buyback programs available to them.

    In our area, it's: CoServ, Garland Power & Light, Denton Municipal Electric, and Oncor... are there others? LOL
     

Share This Page