Thursday, January 19, 2012

Inspection completed

The next step in getting the solar system operational was completed today. The county came and signed off on the final inspection. It was a bit anti-climatic, as the inspector was at the house for all of 10 minutes. Real Good Solar sent a rep out to the house to meet with the inspector and make sure everything was good. I feel a bit sorry for him, since he had to drive 3 hours each way for something that took 10 minutes. Although, he did hook up the internet monitoring to the system while he was at the house. Unfortunately, the system is not using WiFi to connect to my internet access point. Instead, it uses some other wireless technology to transmit to a receiver that then is plugged in through an Ethernet connection to my router. This wireless receiver needs to be plugged in to the wall as well. Should I subtract out the power needed for this from what the system generates?

Monday, January 9, 2012

A little more drama

Today, the install of my new solar system started. However, it almost didn't happen. On Friday, I received an e-mail from the sales rep at Real Goods solar asking me to call him. I thought it was just a reminder about the Monday install. No such luck.
Apparently, the shade readings that I was told were a resolved problem, were not resolved. Rather than the 95% sun the contract specified, my roof would only be getting 90% sun. This means that the panels will generate about 8% less electricity then planned. The sales rep said that he had been too aggressive trying to get me a good price. The next question I had was what does this mean to me.
The short answer is that the panels would now only save me $60-$70 a month, rather than the $90-$100 I had expected. My monthly payment for the panels would stay the same, but since they generate less electricity, the effective rate for the power would go from 22.7 cents a KWh to about 28 cents a KWh. Needless to say, I wasn't happy. I felt that the new numbers were not advantageous enough to me to justify going solar.
The salesman offered several other options, none of which were acceptable to me. I let him know I was not happy. Letting me know of an issue the business day before the install for the second time was not acceptable. Especially since I was told the issue was resolved 2 weeks ago, and I had heard nothing from them since.
Two hours later (it was now almost 3pm on Friday), I got a call from the sales manager. He asked for an opportunity to fix it. About an hour later, he told me he had gotten approval to lower the price of the system to where I was now paying 23 cents a KWh. The system would still produce 8% less then before, but now I would pay less per month in order to maintain the price per KWh at close to what it was supposed to be.
I agreed, with the proviso that I wanted the install to go ahead on Monday. I had already made plans to handle my meetings on the phone from home, and didn't want to change plans at the last minute. He agreed, and had the new pages of the contract e-mailed to me so I could sign them and e-mail them back over the weekend.
Today, at around 10:30, the installers showed up. They installed the brackets that will hold the panels and the inverter. Tomorrow, they are supposed to finish. The installers will be back at around 9:30 in the morning (they are coming from about 3 hours away, so I guess I can't complain about the late start).