Why go Solar? Is it cost effective? We live in Nevada, which has sunlight for most of the year. For people in these type of circumstances.
- Going Solar might be the way to go.
- Solar is renewable.
- It reduces our Carbon Footprint.
- It really is the most cost effective solution for the long term.
- Better for the Planet, Reduces emissions.
But it needs to happen on a large scale to have an effect.
Here are some reasons to go solar
- Your energy costs stay at the same rate.
- Once your system is paid off most of your energy costs are gone.
- You can be off the grid, immune to power outrages. (Or shutdown by other Sources)
Some of the costs along the way. You may have to replace an inverter. Battery technology should be much better by the time you need to replace your battery anyway. Is going Solar REALLY Cost Effective. In the Long term yes, once you pay off your system, your energy is free, if you want to live in an off the grid situation, it is definitely the way to go. It depends on how you define the Big Picture.
If you simply want to pay the least amount on Energy in the short term then solar is not in your best interest. BUT Here in Nevada, NV Energy is using quite a bit of solar technology themselves. They are right that if you want to save make your house more energy efficient. The Cost advantage simply based on your Current power Payments or going solar, NV Energy might be more Cost effective. Solar is still relatively new and therefore new technology, is constantly being updated. The Powerwall Battery is new and there is a software and Operating Curve, really still in Beta development.(more on this later) We will break down our numbers after a couple of weeks to see how reality works with the numbers.
So here is our Journey.
We wanted to go solar when we built our new house, but two months before it was done, Nevada Energy stopped Net Metering and shutdown the solar industry. So we had to wait until now until new legislation forced Nevada Energy to comply. Nevada through a long and involved process finally reversed the ban on solar, and allowed for the new installation of Solar and the New Tesla Powerwall. All of this administrated by NV Energy. You have a few ways to choose your Solar System and 3 different ways to pay for the system.
You can get just the solar Panels, which will easily cover your daily energy use during the Day. When the Sun goes down you go back on the Grid, when the sun goes down. During the day any excess energy produced by your solar system, goes to the grid and NV Energy pays you a set amount per kilowatt. This is Net Metering. This offsets the amount you pay to NV Energy. (We will have our Numbers for the first week in the next post)
The Second Option is add a Battery/Backup system. Powerwall2 by Tesla. This acts as a Backup in case of power outage, and allows you to store energy for use at night. This type of system is perfect for an Off Grid solution for areas without power from a National Energy grid.
So the cost analysis and cost saving do vary depending on your house size insulation, etc. However in most cases the saving is a wash. Solar Companies have designed the pay structure to be about the same as you are paying now. Some people will save. You have a Couple of options. Buy the system Outright. Get a loan Lease the system. Most solar companies have set the payment options as a wash; this generally takes about 20 years.
Here is our Breakdown.
We chose panels to allow 97 percent efficient. Adding the Powerwall to use at night. Our long-range plan is to get an Electric gas hybrid, so the Powerwall can help with charging power. The Power Charge cost may be higher at night, depending on your plan, with your company. (like California)
Tesla has an app that records all of the energy coming in from the grid from the panels, and battery charging and usage. Here are our Preliminary Numbers.
Daily average 13.7 kwh usage, Solar Generated 34kwh sunny day 25.1 cloudy day. Power sent to grid 19kwh average
Back to Cost, (Numbers rounded off). Our average electric bill by Month is about $110 a month. (We have a brand new House, which is highly energy efficient.) So we chose to get a Loan. Our system solar panels only would be about $18000, with the Powerwall it was 26,795. We can then claim the 30 percent rebate from the government (described at the end of this story, with a lease the Solar company gets the rebate.) which is 7794 so the system costs us 19000 We got a 20-year loan, with a payment of $124 a month. If we went with just the panels it would have been a lower payment. This is a set amount each month.
Return on Investment
In most cases your Costs are the same with solar or your Energy provider. Some of the side benefits of the system. The value added to the house is generally believed to be 30 percent of your house value, but in realistic numbers the full cost of the system can be added to your value.
After it is paid off the energy cost is free. This is really only of value when you sell or if you pay it off early
Our House value has been rising on average 10 to 12 percent per year.
We could take some equity out and pay off the loan, and reduce the time of return on investment. (using other money, Leverage)
We chose Tesla, which has an app that shows estimated savings of their customers. As of March 27, 2018. 430,826,620 are the savings with their systems. This generally rises now about a million a day.
They also have a CO2 savings, at 7,282,594 so if you care about saving money and helping emissions. The Environmental impact of less carbon, and renewable energy, is in our opinion, the right thing to do. Any power outages are gone as the battery, takes over.
With our system, the credits should overwhelm the usage. At the end of the year any excess credit is paid back to you. This payment can also reduce the time of the loan.
So if you decide to lease, then your payments are a set amount, increase or decrease, depending on the payment arrangement you make, but either way, you know what your payments are. You have a set budget of what your costs are. You avoid future pay increases by your energy company, and in our case we eliminate the 250 to 300 summer charges. If you sell your house you can transfer to system to the buyer, they would take over any payments or you can take the system with you. So you do have options.
- If you are just installing solar Panels.
- Maybe 4 to 8 weeks.
- 2 weeks to design system
- Energy Company approves
- A Day install
- Turn On.
We were the first one of Two Battery systems to be installed in Nevada, the first to be turned on, so we helped pave the way for the process.
We started this Process on Sept 16th 2017.
September 26, 2017 Site Survey
Oct 1st System Designed, Submitted to NV Energy
Oct 24th 2017 NV Energy paused Battery installs (to set up Guidelines)
January 27, 2018 NV Energy finally allows the install of the Battery and System
Feb. 21, 2018 the system is installed the Second Battery install in Nevada, the first a week before. (This takes two days)
March 1st City Inspection a week later fixes needed.
March 15st City Inspections approved, Paper work filed with NV Energy
March 28rd NV Energy Safety Inspection.
Turn The System on
This took about 6 months. With the delay in Pause and City inspection done the installs should be faster. The process is set now for install, specifications have now been approved, so everyone now knows the specifics. Our Sales guys told us a realistic time line was 6 months because of the newness of the battery system. (we have heard there is a 6 month delay on Battery installs now)
We would anticipate this would be the new timeline for the system now.
- Sign Contract for Battery & Solar
- Site Survey (2 weeks) depending on schedule
- Design System (2 Weeks)
- Approval (2 weeks) By NV Energy
- Install (2 Days)
- Inspection (1-2 Weeks)
- Safety inspection (2 weeks)
- 10 to 12 weeks for panels (maybe longer until battery production can be wrapped up)
When our technicians installed our system they said they were booked for at least 6 months, so the tide is rising for changing over. Also Tesla is going to have an area in Home Depots, so this is anticipated to add more solar installs.
Tesla Powerwall Battery
The Battery is rated at 13.8kwh capacity. Our Daily usage is 13kwh but solar during the day even during cloudy days make our nighttime usage around 7.9 kwh, so the battery easily covers this plus reserve. The Downside Right now is the Battery is fairly new. They are still working out some bugs. Our battery is currently only charging to 57% capacity and only covering 2.9 kwh of power.
We have been waiting for a response. They decided to build a new battery to replace our first one. We are now waiting for it to arrive in Las Vegas to be installed. More on this in the next post.
What is the solar tax credit?
- The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on its value. Thanks to the ITC, the average EnergySage Solar Marketplace shopper saved nearly $9,000 on the cost of going solar in 2015.
- What does the federal solar tax credit extension mean for the solar industry?
- The federal ITC was originally established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was set to expire at the end of 2007. A series of extensions pushed the expiration date back to the end of 2016, but experts believed that an additional five-year extension would bring the solar industry to its full maturity. Thanks to the spending bill that Congress passed in late December 2015, the tax credit is now available to homeowners in some form through 2021. Here are the specifics:
- 2016 – 2019: The tax credit remains at 30 percent of the cost of the system. This means that in 2017, you can still get a major discounted price for your solar panel system.
- 2020: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
- 2021: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 22 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
- 2022 onwards: Owners of new commercial solar energy systems can deduct 10 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes. There is no federal credit for residential solar energy systems.
So as my wrap up.
We want to be as green as we can be. We also understand that we are in the startup stages in the US because we are behind the wave. I understand Software Beta. (being involved with many Lighting Consoles BETA) so I am willing to be a guinea pig. Our bottom line, once the battery issue for us is solved, We can run our house totally off grid, Our Battery will supply the power overnight, and Solar during the day will charge. The Power going to the grid will offset some of the Initial Cost.
If you want a just a solar system, the power generated covers your house and sends excess to the power company that more then offsets the Energy bill.
On paper, It is a wash in cost for us. As it will be for most people. (the results in next post)
This is our experience with Solar. This is a new industry with the battery, So patience is a must, until they work through the issues. Most solar companies will go over all of the specifics, but if you have any questions please feel free to ask us we would be glad to answer any questions, and can update you on our progress. We do want as many people as possible to go Solar.
We plan on a couple more posts. Next we will breakdown all of our actual numbers, to see the real results. Then because everything is attached to our local network. There is a forum on Tesla Motors
There are several people who have been working out their own programs and how to access the battery and controller. We will be learning about this and pass along the info and links.
We will also update you on our experience with Tesla and their response to our battery.
Here are some links where you can find out more.
We made a short video of the Install.