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155 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1524441 2-Apr-2016 09:37
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Peak demand and the cost of maintaining the network would still be the same, so fixed charges would stay the same. The energy charges and the amount retailers give for exported power would probably drop.



725 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1524471 2-Apr-2016 10:31
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So, if all these Distributed Generation users obtained Panasonic/Tesla batteries that filled up at off peak hours, they wouldn't contribute so much to this peak loading effect.

 

BTW, Unison is a distribution company that is owned by the Hawkes Bay Consumers Trust.


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1524577 2-Apr-2016 13:08
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That's why maximum demand metering is probably the way of the future.

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Geek
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  Reply # 2013413 10-May-2018 13:59
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Hey folks, 

 

 

 

I'm looking into signing up for Solarcity's "SolarZero" package that has recently been updated. They now offer a battery (Panasonic 5kWh) as a standard which has finally made it look a while lot more attractive to me - a battery used to be extra on top, or had to be bought outright.

 

 

 

 

 

They initially offered me a system with:

 

15 Panels and 6kWh Battery which would cost me $145+GST (so $166.75) per month - this is called their "Kauri" package.

 

 

 

They've since decided that they can't fit 15 panels on our roof, so have now offered:

 

12 Panels and 6kWh Battery which would cost me $125+GST (so $143.75) per month - this is called their "Rimu" package.

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you unfamiliar with how it works, SolarCity own and maintain the whole system (panels, battery, inverters, and cabling). They pay for the installation and promise to replace the battery once over the next 20 years (after approx 10 years). The customer pays the above monthly cost to rent the system from them, and then all power generated by the system is the customers to use how they see fit (power the house, charge the battery, or export and sell on the grid). You sign up to this for 20 years and the only way to back out of the deal is to pay the rest of the monthly payments in advance, although if you sell your house you can either convince the new owner to take over the rest of the contract, or pay an undetermined amount to have SolarCity move the system to your new house and carry on with the payments.

 

 

 

At the end of the 20 years the system still belongs to SolarCity and you have the option to either have it removed (at their cost), potentially have it upgraded (and start another contract), or extend your contract by 5 years (can do this twice if you want).

 

 

 

SolarCity have got an agreement with Ecotricity (who they sign you up with initially) so their customers get wholesale rates, spot pricing and they include a "buyback guarantee" which apparently means you're paid the same rate that it costs you to buy energy at that time (although this excludes network charges and GST). I'm assured the system provided is smart enough that you can tell the battery to draw power from the grid during cheaper/off peak (it can apparently read the current spot price) periods which can then be consumed during peak periods - cool option!

 

 

 

The battery is also st up to provide power to some circuits during a power outage and apparently you can tell the installer which circuits you want that to be (Lighting, fridge, etc.) - the salesperson actually said that I could have the whole house powered from it during an outage, but that would likely drain the battery too quickly so they suggest only limited circuits - I'm not 100% he's correct about that.

 

 

 

SolarCity estimate that I should save $390 in the first year, and $15,300 over the 20 years when compared to my current power company. They estimate a daily average production of 12kWh, calculated based on average sunshine hours in my area.

 

 

 

 

 

From what I can see:

 

 

 

Pros:

 

- SolarCity guarantee you will save money over the 20 years (based on what you've currently been paying for power) - if it turns out you don't then they'll pay the difference.

 

- Monthly rental fees won't increase over that 20 years, so if power prices increase you apparently save even more money.

 

- The system is maintained by them - any faults, panel replacements, inverter failures, etc. are their problem.

 

- No initial setup cost to the customer

 

 

 

 

 

Cons:

 

- Locked in for 20 years

 

- You don't own anything at the end of the 20 years

 

- Technology could improve a lot over those 20 years, and whilst SolarCity makes vague mention about upgrading the system should there be a technology breakthrough, there's no guarantee of that - so you may be stuck with an outdated system.

 

- ???

 

 

 

 

 

Keen to hear anyone's thoughts/opinions on this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Other than being a potential customer I have no affiliation with SolarCity, nor have they provided me with any incentive to supply you with this information.

7685 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2013434 10-May-2018 14:42
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so you are paying $34,500 over 20 years for a system that costs about 12-20k and you still have to buy power you need?

 

seems expensive

 

if you were you buy the same system outright you would save about 10k because you can exclude imported power as it would be the same.

 

 


2730 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2013446 10-May-2018 14:49
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Jase2985:

 

so you are paying $34,500 over 20 years for a system that costs about 12-20k and you still have to buy power you need?

 

seems expensive

 

if you were you buy the same system outright you would save about 10k because you can exclude imported power as it would be the same.

 

 

 

 

Snap. I had just polled out the larger $40,200 unit in the calculate and was scratching head how its better


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2013469 10-May-2018 15:30
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Jase2985:

 

so you are paying $34,500 over 20 years for a system that costs about 12-20k and you still have to buy power you need?

 

seems expensive

 

if you were you buy the same system outright you would save about 10k because you can exclude imported power as it would be the same.

 

 

 

 

And you can exclude the margin made by the SolarZero retailer.


607 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2013474 10-May-2018 15:45
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Can they racket up the monthly charge each year for inflation, or after 19 years will you still be paying 143 a month.

 

(EDIT: I see now that they are fixed for 20 years)

 

I assume it is basically a 20 year fixed interest loan that includes a service guarantee and a battery replacement.

 

The first question I'd look at is how much power can you generate from your site. I know my house in Dunedin has a 15-20 year payback so solar very is marginal for me

 

Then maybe look at a bank loan to install the same gear.

 

Try asking someone else to quote you for installation if you buy it out-right.

 

That will give you an idea how there monthly fee compares. Then you need to decide if servicing is worth the extra.

 

 


35 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 2013479 10-May-2018 16:00
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Jase2985:

 

so you are paying $34,500 over 20 years for a system that costs about 12-20k and you still have to buy power you need?

 

seems expensive

 

if you were you buy the same system outright you would save about 10k because you can exclude imported power as it would be the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good point - just did some very quick calculations - buying a similar system through Harrisons:

 

 

 

Their $8999 special for 12 x Jinko 270W solar panels and 2kW Fronius inverter. (Includes basic installation, excludes independent inspection fee of $150, tilts, scaffolding, out of town travel or switchboard upgrade.)

 

Add on an 11kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 for $10,850 (not including installation)

 

Total: $19,849 (and add a little extra for some installation)

 

Lets say $20,000 thrown on a 20 year mortgage (at current 4.49%) = monthly payments of $126, and total cost (including interest) of $30,341.

 

Doesn't include a battery upgrade after 10 years, but you could argue that's offset by the fact the battery is roughly twice the capacity.

 

So after 20 years I'd own the system and be $4,000ish better off?

 

 

 

 


2386 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2013491 10-May-2018 16:29
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Jase2985:

 

so you are paying $34,500 over 20 years for a system that costs about 12-20k and you still have to buy power you need?

 

seems expensive

 

 

I guess someone has to pay for all the advertising they're doing. (My rule of thumb: if they're advertising it aggressively, it's probably not a good deal).

 

What I don't like about the deal is being tied to them for 20 years. I expect that there will be much better systems available within (say) 10 years. And they'll be much cheaper.

 

 


155 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 2013570 10-May-2018 19:45
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What happens if you want to sell the house?

2730 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2013572 10-May-2018 19:48
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larknz: What happens if you want to sell the house?

 

Already mentioned. You best be prepared to bankroll the remainder of the 20yrs or hope the new owners agree to pay the same you have been


2901 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2013704 11-May-2018 01:42
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How are the guaranteed savings calculated? Total $ amounts of the bills based on solar Vs no solar scenarios. Or something different. What would happen if grid electricity prices were to drop to say less than 10c per unit, but you then have to pay large fixed or capacity based fees.


What about if there is a large increase or decrease in the amount of power that you use? Meaning that the solar system is now completely mismatched to your power usage.

Are you required to remain living in the same property as the solar system? Can you rent out the house and just include the fixed fees in the rent?

Will they only ever replace the battery once over the 20 year term? Or will it get replaced multiple times if needed? What happens if the battery looses capacity but otherwise still works? (same as what has happened to some Nissan leafs) How is a failed battery defined under such a scenario ?





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Geek
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  Reply # 2013719 11-May-2018 07:07
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Aredwood:

 

How are the guaranteed savings calculated? Total $ amounts of the bills based on solar Vs no solar scenarios. Or something different. What would happen if grid electricity prices were to drop to say less than 10c per unit, but you then have to pay large fixed or capacity based fees.

 

What about if there is a large increase or decrease in the amount of power that you use? Meaning that the solar system is now completely mismatched to your power usage.

 

 

According to their Agreement:
20 Year Value Proposition: You will save money every year
during the 20 year term of this agreement, and if for some
reason you don’t, we will refund you the difference based on
your pre-solarZero retail energy plan costs (adjusted per
published MBIE quarterly regional electricity price movements),
total energy consumed (including consideration of 5% energy
efficiency gains) and the sum of solarZero Monthly Payments,
less any refunds made and Retail Service Provider payments,
excluding any late payment penalties.

 


Aredwood:

 

Are you required to remain living in the same property as the solar system? Can you rent out the house and just include the fixed fees in the rent?

 

 

You may let the Property but you will continue to have all your
responsibilities as the Customer and you must procure that the
tenants and other occupants of the Property respect solarcity’s
rights under this Agreement. You will be responsible for the tenants’
and their agents’ and invitees’ compliance with the requirements of
this Agreement applicable to you as the Customer.

 

Aredwood:

 

Will they only ever replace the battery once over the 20 year term? Or will it get replaced multiple times if needed? What happens if the battery looses capacity but otherwise still works? (same as what has happened to some Nissan leafs) How is a failed battery defined under such a scenario ?

 

Warranty & Performance Guarantee
Subject to the terms of the limited warranty... solarcity warrants that during the Term the System will operate within a tolerance of 20% of the Expected Energy Production, subject to you complying with your obligations under this Agreement and subject to a performance degradation of 0.8% per year (being the standard manufacturer warranted performance degradation of such systems).

If after the Switch-On it becomes apparent that the annual energy
yield of the System is 20% or more below the Expected Energy
Production for a period of at least six months based on actual NIWA
data, measured in kWh, then the parties will confer to agree on
appropriate enhancements to the System so as to produce an
annual energy yield within the required tolerance of 20% of the
Expected Energy Production or (if enhancements are not agreed)
on a reduction to the Expected Energy Production (with a
proportionate reduction in the quantum of the Monthly Payment).

solarcity undertakes to replace the battery when it reaches the
manufacturer’s end of life criteria. (expected around Year 10)
solarcity undertakes to perform its obligations under this Agreement
to the usual and reasonable professional standards within the
industry and prudent electrical practices, complying with all statutory
and regulatory requirements and professional codes relevant to the
work being undertaken.

During the Term, under normal use and conditions the System will
be free from defects or breakdown in materials or components. We
will repair or replace any defective part of the System within a
reasonable period upon receipt of your advice or if we identify via
remote monitoring that there is an issue to which this Limited
Warranty applies. We may use new or reconditioned parts or
upgrade parts when making repairs but in any case ensure the
System performs to the design specification at the time of the
System Switch-On.


7685 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2014136 11-May-2018 15:17
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sounds like you are already sold on it.


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