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I got an email from Arcadia Power that offered some new service of being able to "subscribe" to a number of solar panels for a fee that are already installed at some other person's house/property.

So for "Jim's House in DC", I can subscribe up to 3 panels for $650 a pop. The estimated savings after 3 years (subscription term I guess?) is $706 per panel, with an estimated $20 credited to my electric bill every month during the 3 year subscription term.

Sounds interesting, but basically I am fronting $650 and (maybe) receiving $706 in return after 3 years, or less than 3% ROI per year....that barely beats inflation. Unless I'm missing something, this doesn't seem to be a very good deal? Minimal upside with potential to lose money?

http://www.arcadiapower.com/solar?utm_source=dormant&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email1&utm_campaign=dormant_email_solar
 

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The community solar projects are not designed with a profit motive in mind. The idea is to allow the majority of us who cannot afford a roof over our heads to purchase an alternative, renewable, less-polluting source of electricity than fossil fuels. Living in condominiums and multi-unit apartments, the majority of Americans cannot purchase solar panels for our own properties. The one percenters who control almost all of the wealth in the United States would complain that the forty-seven percent allegedly free-loading on society by not purchasing expensive, huge carbon-footprint houses are increasing the utility bills of the rich if Arcadia Power offered cheap solar electricity to homeless people. I have paid higher electricity rates for wind power to supply my household as long as Xcel Energy offered the plan. I try to limit my carbon footprint by keeping my electric consumption at 100 KwH per month.
 

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I got an email from Arcadia Power that offered some new service of being able to "subscribe" to a number of solar panels for a fee that are already installed at some other person's house/property.

So for "Jim's House in DC", I can subscribe up to 3 panels for $650 a pop. The estimated savings after 3 years (subscription term I guess?) is $706 per panel, with an estimated $20 credited to my electric bill every month during the 3 year subscription term.

Sounds interesting, but basically I am fronting $650 and (maybe) receiving $706 in return after 3 years, or less than 3% ROI....that barely beats inflation. Unless I'm missing something, this doesn't seem to be a very good deal? Minimal upside with potential to lose money?

http://www.arcadiapower.com/solar?utm_source=dormant&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email1&utm_campaign=dormant_email_solar
Some people have very low rates such as 5 and 7 cents per kWH; however, most are never quite so clear when you add in transmission fees and "other" fees. Where I live in Kentucky, the basic rate is 10 cents per kWH; however, that is not the true cost. We have a basic service charge of 16.44, plus an environmental surcharge (coal scrubbing fee) plus school tax. You can never predict your bill exactly because the coal fee varies month to month. Anyway, it really works out to around 13-15 cents per kWh, depending when considering a total cost.

I say all this to use my bill as an example. We have solar and our system produced 1,160 kWh last month and we were able to bank an additional 78 kWhs, and we received our bill today. It was a grand total of 18.77. $16.44 for basic service charge (have to pay it regardless of usage) $1.78 Coal scrubbing fee called environmental surcharge, and $.55 cents school tax. A hundred dollar usage would equate to 10-20 dollars environmental surcharge, a 200 dollar usage would be 20-40 dollars and so forth.

Bottom line, it is better to install and own your own system. There are no moving parts and basically there is very very little that can go wrong.
 

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I'm all for community solar projects, but that seems like a ripoff to me. What I saw was a 10-year subscription for the same price, so I think the 3 years is for ROI (hence the ~3% after 3 years). Essentially, after 3 years, you will start receiving a benefit, but at least you have piece of mind of where your power is coming from for the first 3 years. :rolleyes:

I would much rather invest in a cooperative than "subscribe" to a network like this. Plus, if these panels are really on some individual person's roof, I can see a number of potential issues and risks.
 

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If they are offering it... they are making money off it somehow via a cut somewhere. I'd love to be 100% solar powered but the high setup and investment cost does indeed suck. Lots of companies are taking advantage of this and offering plans/financing/etc, but ROI or actual money savings take upwards of a decade or more.

If I was serious about getting into the solar game I'd do tons of research and build my own system, start small just a few basic panels and small battery array. Smaller ROI period/risk and you can always expand it later on once the first phase is paid for or you want increased capacity.
 

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If you have space for it, a reasonable solar array can be set up for less than $5,000. That's what I'll most likely be doing this year. My family is still not ready to commit on a house, so I am looking into a ground mounted system just large enough to keep us out of peak usage.

I would skip the batteries, though. To me, the ROI just isn't there yet. I'll be ready to go batteries when I'm ready to go off grid.
 

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If they are offering it... they are making money off it somehow via a cut somewhere. I'd love to be 100% solar powered but the high setup and investment cost does indeed suck. Lots of companies are taking advantage of this and offering plans/financing/etc, but ROI or actual money savings take upwards of a decade or more.

If I was serious about getting into the solar game I'd do tons of research and build my own system, start small just a few basic panels and small battery array. Smaller ROI period/risk and you can always expand it later on once the first phase is paid for or you want increased capacity.
Once you did a ton of research, you would not be interested in batteries. You would simply grid tie "net meter" and go with Enphase Micro Inverters along with SolarWorld solar panels. You would also use IronRidge Rails ;)
 

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Once you did a ton of research, you would not be interested in batteries. You would simply grid tie "net meter" and go with Enphase Micro Inverters along with SolarWorld solar panels. You would also use IronRidge Rails ;)
LOL, that is literally the array that I am planning out right now.
 

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Here's what's being offered in our area.

View attachment CPS-Rupinder Singh-2016-03-10-02.pdf

My co-worker, Rupinder, gave me permission to share his quote. The price for the system that he's looking at - 120 panels - came out nearly to the penny of what we paid for our rooftop array 3 1/2 years ago. But, it is projected to produce 30% more power than ours with a similar boiler-plate rating. The primary difference is that the panels are optimally installed in a commercial PV farm with sun tracking.

All of the maintenance and insurance is built into the price, so, like some have mentioned in posts above, as long as you remain in our utility's service area, you can move from place to place and have net-metering against your bill. If you move out of the area you can sale your stake in this system.

Our utility's rates (CPS Energy) are not as convoluted as some that have been detailed on this forum. We only have a couple of variable fees that are related to the fuel mix being used to power the plants, a Regulatory fee and a small surcharge in summer for usage over 600 kWh/month. There is a Service Availability Charge of $8.75 but that, along with all of the other charges, can be wiped out in net-metering with over-production to get to a $0.00 bill. We've had a few of those over our 3.5 years in the program. There are no taxes on electricity or NatGas service here [same utility for both.]

We typically pay more [except for maybe two months in winter] to the city for garbage pickup every month than for electricity and NatGas combined after net-metering.

Our electricity rates are not as low as some I've seen on this forum but, they're not too bad. Since our utility is city-owned and opted to not participate in deregulation, there are no options to use anyone else if you live in their service area. Currently, they're at an effective rate of fraction over 10 cents/kWh [all in w/fees.]

I pulled out our receipts for the 8 years prior to us committing to install our array and calculated the utility's rate of inflation at 3.8%/year on average. With that plugged in, our array will break even between years 7 and 8 - taking into account the gasoline savings for charging our Volt for ~800-1,000 EV miles/month.

Before I forget: It's cheaper to conserve a kWh than to generate a kWh with solar!!!!

Here's my record keeping: https://1drv.ms/x/s!AuAvg0DMohwAsW1otjJJiC97g0-B
 

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One other factor I forgot to include was that of rate inflation - how much your utility's rates increased over time. Ours tracked at an annual average of 3.8% [all-in costs] across the previous 8 years before ee installed solar. Factor that into your calculations for your area before determining your ROI.

An item that I first missed in my calculations was that of the benefits we receive from NOT purchasing additional fuel for our vehicle. We average close to 1,000/month as an EV on power from our array. And since ~ 99% of our household needs are also met from the array, I can safely claim that as a direct equivalence.
 
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