Adding Tesla Solar in Texas

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LUXMAN

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#1
OK.
I have been thinking about adding a solar system. Tesla Energy called me couple weeks ago, out of the blue and we talked about it and then we started a system design.
I have signed a deal for a 14.5 kW system on my house. This should provide 100% of our electricity needs based on our usage for the last 12 months. This is what it is projected to do for me over the course of a year based on my previous usage.

100graph-jpg.16518


The system doesn’t come cheap. Using the new black tesla panels made in Buffalo New York, rated at 315 W per panel and adding Critter Guards to the system, makes it quite pricey. Here is the price breakdown.

46 panels (315w x 46 x $3.20/watt) = $46.368
Surcharge for Premium panels ($0.15/watt x 46 x 315) = $2173.50
Critter Guards are priced per watt!!! (silly imo but still part of Tax credit) ($0.10 x 46 x 315) =$1449
Grand total = $49,990.50 :eek:

After the local rebate of $4500 from our energy company CoServ and the federal tax credit it works out to this.

$49,990.50 - 4500 - 30% of that = $31,843.35

I found out yesterday that Tesla MAY have gotten the paperwork done in time so I should be getting the CoServ rebate. Will know for sure today. There have been paperwork problems at Tesla for this rebate and the interconnection department has been very slow to get the paperwork done and CoServ is running out of their allotted funds for the year. With that in place, I will go forward with the install.

I am just waiting for the HOA meeting tomorrow for approval. And of course building permit in the city. The problem with the HOA is this. They do not allow solar systems on the front elevation of the home. But my home base south.
Now they cannot tell you in TEXAS that you cannot install solar but can restrict location. So I have to invoke a provision from Texas law that states if it produces 10% more being on the front of the home then it would on the sides, "it is to be allowed".
Tesla Energy has supplied me with a couple of reports that show this.
I have a feeling however, since no one else in this community of 2500+ homes has solar on the front, that they will pushback on this unless their lawyer tells them not to. So I think they will press to test and see if they can keep me from doing it. Which may delay my install at least two weeks as Tesla will not set up an install date until you have approval from the HOA (verbal from me is fine) as well as the city and the electric company.

site-png.16522
 

LUXMAN

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#2
So is it worth the outlay?
My thoughts.
If the rates stay low, like they are, the payback could be 20 years! Ouch.
If they go up 3% a year over the next 15 years, then the payback would be about 15 years.
So nothing spectacular, but it makes me self sufficient and RUBY can drive with sun power.

Since I referred myself ;), the system gets an extra 5 year warrenty to make it 25 years bumper to bumper, everything.
Plus since I did this the day before the changed the referral program, I will get either $750 Tesla Credit (cant be used in the store, only in Service Center) or $400 cash.

So the system is warrantied at least 5 years after I am paid back and it has a "lifetime" of 30 years. At which point I probably wont care :oops:.

adding it ot my homeowners policy will add about $9.25/month. But if we get a big hail storm as we tend to do here, I will get Fresh panels :) that probably produce more energy.
 

Feathermerchant

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#3
WTF? How are you ever going to pay back $32,000 in electric bills? It looks like your average consumption is ~1.500 kWh per month. At 0.10/kWh that's $150/mo or $1,800/yr for an 18 year payback (assuming no interest).
And where you live there is hail...
 

LUXMAN

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#4
So now I am thinking about a Powerwall as well.

Any inputs would be appreciated

They suggested I add at least two powerwalls.
But I’m trying to reconcile the cost of the system. Not including installation it will cost this...


wall-png.16524


and after federal tax credit will cost us $10150 plus installation (also at 30% off due to Tax Credit)

The tesla battery power wall has a 10 year warranty with a 70% capacity guarantee. So after 10 years he should at least have 9.5 kW per battery. I figure if I run two of these, they will be a good back up for the whole house and I won’t need a sub panel.
That said, we never lose power out here. I’ve lived out here for 14 years in two different houses and if we ever lose power it’s for like minutes. Rarely longer. So as a back up, it doesn’t necessarily make sense for me now.
Question is will that be an issue in the future? So if I take part of that price and dedicate it as a back up system, that lowers my affective price.
But does it make sense to use this at all? I mean; say during the day I produce 100% of my daily usage so some of the power goes to the grid. And someone else uses it instead of some Carbon fueled electricity. But at night I still need power so they’re still making that in a power plant in sending it to my house even though I am now zero. So it doesn’t change anything on how much is generated if I have a powerwall since the neighbor will still need fossil produced electricity at from the electric company since I saved what I overproduced during the day.
So with just solar, I am still at 100%. And haven’t changed anything by adding the batteries other than upgrading my cost. Does anyone else have ideas on this. Or am I thinking of this the wrong way?

Now there will be edge cases where I produce so much that I cover my use and fill the powerwalls and still export some power but not all the time.

One other factor is I am subject to monthly net meter where if I overproduce for the month, I get nothing back, not even a thank you. But if I use a net amount, I pay full rate.


Say I cycle the batteries every night all 27kw, every day for 10 years. But isn't that the same as if I just exported it to the grid and then used their power at night and netted Zero??
 

LUXMAN

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#5
WTF? How are you ever going to pay back $32,000 in electric bills? It looks like your average consumption is ~1.500 kWh per month. At 0.10/kWh that's $150/mo or $1,800/yr for an 18 year payback (assuming no interest).
And where you live there is hail...
Right. Like I said above 15-20 year payback.
But hail is covered under the homeowners policy and they pay to replace them.
And acting as the contractor (20% extra payout), I have never had an out of packet after a hail storm (twice)
 

LUXMAN

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#7
Too bad you are on a CooP and cannot choose electric providers.
Exactly. I wish I could pick one with better net metering policies.

Interestingly enough, I found out that my Coop CoServ is a subsidiary of ONCOR. How is that possible /allowed?

But we are planning on staying in this house. So I am hopeful that I live long enough to see the cost recoup. HA!
But if we move, I would hope it would add some value.

I know TESLA may be more than other providers but that said, I got one quote from a company that uses SunRun (?) panels that wanted $3.50 a watt and didn't include the skirting or event the Critter Guards.
Plus I figure TESLA may be around for the long run (hoping)
 

Enginerd

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#8
I think what you might be struggling with is quantifying the unquantifiables. How much is it worth to you to be fossil-fuel independent, in terms of dollars? What value do you place on being self-sufficient in the event of a weather-induced (never-happen?) power outage? I don't know my own answers to those questions. But after hurricanes Florence and Michael came through, the self-sufficient part is gaining in value. Unless you can place value on these things and stand behind it, it's hard to make a purely economic case for it. But not everything is a numbers game.
 

Feathermerchant

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#9
To be self sufficient after a hurricane/tornado you need to have a house left standing.

I see nothing that indicates CoServ is a subsidiary of Oncor. Oncor is an investor owned company like Tesla. CoServ is a Coop which is composed of members who can vote but pay no regular dues.
The concept of coops stems from a need for rural electric service in the 30's which investor owned companies would not provide because it was not profitable (not enough load and sparsely populated).
In Texas, the coops have a very large lobby in Austin. They and the municipalities were able to convince the Texas legislature that they should be able to opt out of retail electric competition. Guess what? They all but one opted out. So since I have choice, my electric bill for this year is $28 per month as long as I stay under 1,000 kWh per month.
For many reasons I think the time for coops has passed but here we are...
 

Johnston

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#10
I think in Texas with our energy costs it'd take a very long time to recoup the costs of installing solar. One has to do it for the environment and not the cost savings alone.

Also, the 30% federal credit is a credit right? Not a rebate. This means you have to make sure you'd owe that much in taxes to get the full credit.

For example, 30% of $45,000 is $13,500, but if you only owe say $10,000 in taxes, $10,000 is what you'd get. This is what I understand from the $7500 credit, so someone can correct me if I am wrong on the solar credit.
 

LUXMAN

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#11
To be self sufficient after a hurricane/tornado you need to have a house left standing.

I see nothing that indicates CoServ is a subsidiary of Oncor. Oncor is an investor owned company like Tesla. CoServ is a Coop which is composed of members who can vote but pay no regular dues.
The concept of coops stems from a need for rural electric service in the 30's which investor owned companies would not provide because it was not profitable (not enough load and sparsely populated).
In Texas, the coops have a very large lobby in Austin. They and the municipalities were able to convince the Texas legislature that they should be able to opt out of retail electric competition. Guess what? They all but one opted out. So since I have choice, my electric bill for this year is $28 per month as long as I stay under 1,000 kWh per month.
For many reasons I think the time for coops has passed but here we are...
That was told to me by Tesla. As I was reviewing the plans, I found they reference CoServ and on another sheet ONCOR. I thought it was an error and they said no. That CoServ is under ONCOR. So IDK know what the deal is here, but it is all fishy, just like the Lobby you mention above.

So how do you pay $28 a month? do you have a system that will produce that? my bill will be about that in Fees if I go Solar
 

LUXMAN

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#12
I think in Texas with our energy costs it'd take a very long time to recoup the costs of installing solar. One has to do it for the environment and not the cost savings alone.

Also, the 30% federal credit is a credit right? Not a rebate. This means you have to make sure you'd owe that much in taxes to get the full credit.

For example, 30% of $45,000 is $13,500, but if you only owe say $10,000 in taxes, $10,000 is what you'd get. This is what I understand from the $7500 credit, so someone can correct me if I am wrong on the solar credit.
You are Correct. It is a Credit. So you have to owe that much in Taxes. I thought you could carry it forward if needed into the next year but after looking at the IRS Form 5695 instructions, I do not see that.

EDIT to update IRS info
 
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Feathermerchant

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#13
I have no system. I have a very efficient 33 year old Lennox 2 speed 3 ton A/C unit and gas heat and water heat. The rate is from First Choice Power and AFAIK is no longer listed. But I have been receiving and paying bills for $28 the last several months.
 

Johnston

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#14
That was told to me by Tesla. As I was reviewing the plans, I found they reference CoServ and on another sheet ONCOR. I thought it was an error and they said no. That CoServ is under ONCOR. So IDK know what the deal is here, but it is all fishy, just like the Lobby you mention above.

So how do you pay $28 a month? do you have a system that will produce that? my bill will be about that in Fees if I go Solar
I wonder if the confusion could also be how it is where I live. My electricity provider is CenterPoint Energy, but my electric company that I pay the bills to is Discount Power. If you look at your bill you may see if there's surcharge to the electricity provider.

And if you don't already know, powertochoose.org is a great place to shop for electricity.
 

LUXMAN

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#15
I wonder if the confusion could also be how it is where I live. My electricity provider is CenterPoint Energy, but my electric company that I pay the bills to is Discount Power. If you look at your bill you may see if there's surcharge to the electricity provider.

And if you don't already know, powertochoose.org is a great place to shop for electricity.
Yeah, But as noted above, We are in a Coop Area and hence have no power to choose. We HAVE to have CoServ. You cant change.
 

Dr. J

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#16
I have no system. I have a very efficient 33 year old Lennox 2 speed 3 ton A/C unit and gas heat and water heat. The rate is from First Choice Power and AFAIK is no longer listed. But I have been receiving and paying bills for $28 the last several months.
How do you stay under 1,000 kWh in a month with a 33 year old A/C system? How is any 33 year old A/C system efficient? Just curious. Do you live in a tiny house, or keep it at, like, 85 degrees in the summer? :)

Edit: Maybe a better question is: how is a 33 year old A/C system still running?
 

Dr. J

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#17
That was told to me by Tesla. As I was reviewing the plans, I found they reference CoServ and on another sheet ONCOR. I thought it was an error and they said no. That CoServ is under ONCOR. So IDK know what the deal is here, but it is all fishy, just like the Lobby you mention above.

So how do you pay $28 a month? do you have a system that will produce that? my bill will be about that in Fees if I go Solar
I haven't researched the ownership structure, but I suspect you're like the rest of us in North Texas: ONCOR maintains the wires that deliver the power, and CoServ generates and sells you the power. However, it's possible co-ops maintain their own wires, in which case I have no idea why ONCOR is a party to the deal. :confused:
 

Dr. J

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#18
As long as we're pooling our ignorance, I researched this topic (solar in a deregulated Texas retail environment) several months ago and came away thinking the metering worked like this: as soon as (instantly) I produced more power than I was using, that excess fed back to the grid and I was not compensated. Not on a monthly basis, but instantly. If that is true (for me), it would require a couple of Powerwalls to store the daytime energy to be used at night. I ran the numbers and figured my current rate (8.1 cents/kWh) would have to double for me to benefit economically from solar power. Just not in the realm of feasibility. I think there was one REP that did net-metering (i.e. they paid you for power you produced)--one, out of dozens of REPs. And it was not price competitive.

However, I'm sure it's different with co-ops. @LUXMAN, I admire you for taking the plunge.
 

LUXMAN

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#19
I haven't researched the ownership structure, but I suspect you're like the rest of us in North Texas: ONCOR maintains the wires that deliver the power, and CoServ generates and sells you the power. However, it's possible co-ops maintain their own wires, in which case I have no idea why ONCOR is a party to the deal. :confused:
I am gonna ask that question soon. Probably AFTER I get my rebate check! LOL!
But CoServ does have their own trucks and also run the natural GAS. So they have a double monopoly out here.
I think they maintain the wires and pipelines and buy the electricity and gas for resale.

I just got word that I made it in under the wire and qualify for the Solar Rebate. Now have to get this plan past the HOA tomorrow night and hopefully be able to schedule the install Friday for sometime soon, hopefully before the middle of November
 

Dr. J

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#20
I wonder if the confusion could also be how it is where I live. My electricity provider is CenterPoint Energy, but my electric company that I pay the bills to is Discount Power. If you look at your bill you may see if there's surcharge to the electricity provider.

And if you don't already know, powertochoose.org is a great place to shop for electricity.
To be precise, CenterPoint, ONCOR, AEP and TNMP are Transmission/Distribution Service Providers. They deliver electricity, i.e., maintain the wires, and get a fee for each meter. Their former power producing subsidiaries were split from them during deregulation.