Originally Posted by elkhaven
We spent 30k on a 4 kw, 20 panel system 8 years ago... I hope it pays off better for you than us... our panels are to flat and have to be shoveled daily in the winter and have too low of an angle of incidence to make much power in winter anyways. They're about rigt for summer, but we live on a gravel road and they get covered with dust... more cleaning daily. We did get about 7K in obama aid and tax breaks for a while... We are on a net metering system with an annual reset, but usually end up paying for some power in the dead of winter (140 year old log house).... I know there have been massive advancements since we got our system, but if I had to do it over again, I'd pencil numbers much more carefully and plan better on the install. We didn't do adjustable mounts as it added a lot of cost and the installer said it wouldn't help much... bull shit.
Before I moved out of that house I was going to mount the system on a sun tracking system, or at least a passive adjustable system... now it's my X's problem! Almost as happy to ditch them as her
Your story is way too common. I do solar for a living and poor designs and unrealistic promises are bad for the whole industry. I won't put solar on my own house because it won't pencil out where I live and with the roof space and orientation I have to work with. It literally will never work for my home at any realistic price unless a new breakthrough allows for solar paint or some other technology that always seems to be "just a few years from market." Yeah...fusion has been just a few years away for 60 years now.
I do utility scale power plants, mostly 20 MW and up (150 acres paved in glass), for a big multinational company and it drives me nuts that residential installers will promise the moon to make a sale and then folks who were trying to be environmentally conscious get stuck with a system that never pays for itself. They never tell you that the inverter(s) are only designed to last 10 years and you (or the current owner of the system) are going to be forking out another $2-3k in a couple of years.
That being said, your were over $7/kw installed and prices are well less than half of that now. For anyone waiting for prices to keep going down, they have pretty well bottomed out (unless your salesperson is doing a 200% markup on parts and pieces). Prices are actually likely to go up a bit since tariffs were put in place on Chinese modules. They had been dumping modules into the US and European markets at less than the manufacturing cost.
Solar is a good technology and it works, but it is not for everyone in every location. People are always hitting me up for advice, which I freely give, because I do solar for a living but don't sell anything. I had a good friend who was building a cabin and he really really really wanted to do solar. When I showed him the real math he begrudgingly called the local electric co-op and got regular electric service installed in his place.
I've got another friend building a place where it is somewhat prohibitive to bring in a mile of utility line and he knows that he is paying a premium to be off grid (battery replacements, inverter replacements, keeping a backup generator on standby, less in home conveniences, etc.) He wants to do it anyway and is willing to pay. You don't need a New Mercedes SUV when a used F-150 will do, but it's your money
He is going into with his eyes open and good for him.
OK, public service announcement over.