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Solar installations in Texas

Has anyone had personal experience with Solar installation in Texas? I'm getting quotes primarily because the City of College Station is the only electric provider I can use and they charge a pretty high 0.12 per kwh. With the Tesla & a pool our bills are pretty dang high.

I met with Enviroserve and it seems like a pretty good deal. Net cost of $33k which is less than half of what I would pay the city over 25 years ($88k) at our current usage. They also do a whole energy audit which includes solar shield attic insulation and LED bulbs in he entire house.

I'm meeting with gosunpro on Wednesday. I'm not really interested in Solar City as I plan to live in this house until I die so don't want to lease.
 
Has anyone had personal experience with Solar installation in Texas? I'm getting quotes primarily because the City of College Station is the only electric provider I can use and they charge a pretty high 0.12 per kwh. With the Tesla & a pool our bills are pretty dang high.

Can't help with solar (I've done research but don't have solar).

But for pool, you can save a LOT of electricity by installing an efficient variable speed pump. Cost of pump broke even with electric costs after only 6 months!

I met with Enviroserve and it seems like a pretty good deal. Net cost of $33k which is less than half of what I would pay the city over 25 years ($88k) at our current usage. They also do a whole energy audit which includes solar shield attic insulation and LED bulbs in he entire house.

I'm meeting with gosunpro on Wednesday. I'm not really interested in Solar City as I plan to live in this house until I die so don't want to lease.
 
I used Treehouse in the end (who outsourced a bunch of the work to Lighthouse Solar). Kind of a mixed experience, mostly because of the Powerwall, the project took way longer than in should have to complete (and the Powerwall still isn't right, a full month after install....). At the time, they were one of the only companies outside of Solar City that were Powerwall certified.
 
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McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
6,078
LA
It's pretty hard to break even if you can buy power at .12 kWh. That is more a 'green movement' purchase than a real money saver.

Capital has costs. Money grows. PV does slowly lose output. And you never get full nameplate output on average.

If it's a money saving effort, do your math. Do not trust a solar company to do it for you. They tend to skip things like cost of money.
 
KidDoc, can I ask how many kWh your system is for $33k?

40 Panels 295 watts per panel with one inverter with "optimizers".

My gosunpro quote is 56 panels 325 per panel with micro inverters with a $40k net cost.

For me with fairly high energy usage I can either pay the city $88k over the next 25 years, assuming no price increase (haha!) or pay the $40k now. I'll bargain with half price energy at current rates. Gosunpro is 25 years labor & parts warranty and has been in business 20 years so far.


Those figures include 30% fed tax credit. Compare that to investment income which will add to my already incredible federal tax burden from being a high income earner and I think this is a good investment since I hope to retire in this home (45 currently).

I'm still shopping though, not really in a hurry since winter is here and in Texas the big energy bills are in the summer.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,765
7,434
Austin, TX
It's pretty hard to break even if you can buy power at .12 kWh. That is more a 'green movement' purchase than a real money saver.

Capital has costs. Money grows. PV does slowly lose output. And you never get full nameplate output on average.

If it's a money saving effort, do your math. Do not trust a solar company to do it for you. They tend to skip things like cost of money.

The two quotes I received assumed 10% annual increase in energy costs. When I politely asked them if they could redo the chart assuming 3%, they said they didn’t have time and never called back.

Perhaps off to the next customer that doesn’t ask questions.
 
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The two quotes I received assumed 10% annual increase in energy costs. When I politely asked them if they could redo the chart assuming 3%, they said they didn’t have time and never called back.

Perhaps off to the next customer that doesn’t ask questions.

The gosunpro assumed 4% increase yearly so yeah I'm ignoring their numbers. I'm sure they are overly optimistic. But still paying half of CURRENT rates for the next 25 years of electricity assuming no increase is worth it for me.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,765
7,434
Austin, TX
The gosunpro assumed 4% increase yearly so yeah I'm ignoring their numbers. I'm sure they are overly optimistic. But still paying half of CURRENT rates for the next 25 years of electricity assuming no increase is worth it for me.
I’m ok with the long game too, combined with a bit of “green”, and a bit of hating to write that check to the utility company.

Just wish they were a bit more honest.
 
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Reactions: KidDoc

McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
6,078
LA
Step 1:
Look at all your available power plan options from your utility. You are most likely want to target a Time Of Use plan or Tiered Usage plan for solar generation.
Step 2:
Look at your current kWh average monthly usage for July and Aug for about 3 years.
Step 3:
Using the highest $/kWh TOU or Tiered summer rates, see how much power you need to generate insure you only buy power at the cheapest rate.
Step 4:
Using realistic CEC-AC output numbers (these are based on panel angle and direction) size your system. You might have to do separate calculations for each sub-array if you have house roof where not all panels are aimed the same.
Step 5:
Using your calculated production, figure out what your bill will be under a TOU or Tiered plan. Compare this to your actual bills.


So what your goal is, is to get a "dirt cheap at night, expensive during day" plan or a "More you use, more you pay per kWh" plan.

Example:

Say you can buy power 24/7/365 at .12 a kWh.
But you COULD chose to buy power at .06 kWh at night and weekends, and .24 a kWh during peak day rates.

Your solar should be sized to bring the .24 kWh down to .06 kwh average during the day. This might only be 1/3 your consumption worth of panels. However, each kWh worth of power you make with your panels is worth .18 instead of .12, and your off-peak consumption is 1/2 price. Now you program your pool pump, EVs, programmable appliances to only use .06 off-peak power.

You will end up roughly doubling bang per buck on your panels, or reducing payback in 1/2. Never generate cheap power when you can buy cheap power. Generate expensive power.

------------------

A solar salesman wants to sell you as much panels as they can. Even if it causes you to lose money.

Example: Sales wanted $120k to do a biz. Would delete the power bill of $15,000 a year. It would be just about neutral on annual utility consumption. Some months a producer, others a consumer.
By doing the math, $40k worth of system reduces the bill to $6,000 a year (saves $9,000 a year). Every month a consumer, but at a much lower $/kWh rate.

Not counting cost of money, you can see which plan makes more sense. It is future proof because I can always expand if necessary.

$120k plan after 10 years = (15000*10 - 120000 cost) Saves $30,000, which is below cost of money.
$40k worth after 10 years = (9000*10 - 40000 cost) Saves $50,000, which is a profit center.

Note: You don't pay taxes for the 'profit center' your solar becomes. Because it is not generating paycheck income. It is reducing the cost of living, which is not taxable.
 
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Great in concept. I can only buy energy from the city and they don't offer any type of tiered plan.

I've already looked at the average & peak usages that is where the size of system comes from. If I could shop companies like my neighbors down the road in Houston I likely wouldn't be shopping solar as they can often get it as low as 6-7 cents/kwh.
 

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