“Save this endangered species and one of our most precious resources, your taxes. Don’t waste our solar tax incentives. Learn how to buy a solar system without getting ripped off”
“Free quotes, not a contractor referral service”.
“You don’t have to buy a system from an installer. First get quotes for at least 3 system designers and then get quotes from installation contractors”.
“The average cost of a PV System Installation is $1.50 per watt”.
Why? Because of the incredible system and installation charge some installers think its fair to charge. It’s buried in the “"installed system quote”.
Not ALL contractors do this of course but some do. The small solar companies that pioneered the PV business and were in it 25 years ago worked off nickels and dimes, $.05 to $.20/watt profit on solar modules and many still operate that way. You see they believe its not just a business solar is about more than that.
That’s a 5 to 10% profit margin on modules which represent about 80% of the cost of a complete system. As we all know, most electrical contractors charge $200 to over $300/hr. Now apply that to the cost of solar system and you end up with with huge margins.
The average grid tied system price is $3.00/watt then add $1.50/watt, that’s $4.50/watt. However, if you look at a lot of quotes for installed systems, commercial or residential, and you will see a cost of $7.00 to $8.00/watt or higher. If you subtract the complete system cost, $3.00/watt, that leaves $5.00/watt effectively being charged for the installation.
Take a 5000 watt system for example (Florida’s most popular size residential system because of the maximum limit of the residential rebate here) = 25 ea. 200 watt solar modules ($420 ea. $2.10/watt) and 1 grid tie inverter ($3,200 ea. $ .65/watt) and aluminum racks, cables, etc. ($.27/watt) the total system cost is $3.00/watt or $15,000.00.
Add an installation charge of $5.00/watt (significantly higher than the cost of the system) and the cost jumps from $15,000.00 to $40,000.00.
The solution is to look for ways to get the installation cost down. Look around for someone to help you find a contractor who will give you a fair price, maybe a friend, or a friend of a family relative who is a contractor. Installing solar panels is not that difficult. Most any electrical contractor can figure it out. The Federal Tax credit/rebate allows people to install the system themselves. You should have someone around who knows how to do it however as the power is enough to kill you. It is best, however, to stick to a contractor unless you have the education and training. If you do you can save a lot of money.
Remember it’s our money, America’s money your spending, your neighbors, your city, your kids and they’re kids, they are paying for all these Fed. and State tax credits, rebates, grants, utility rebates, etc. Let’s face it far fewer people would buy solar panels for electricity at today’s prices unless someone else wasn’t paying for it.
Anyway if the installation $5/watt that’s $25,000 and if it takes 3 days for 3 people to install it, that’s plenty = 72 hours. Those 3 guys up on the roof are making $25,000 in 3 days or 25,000$ / by 72 hrs or $357.00/hr. (My accountant and attorney makes less than these, guys that probably haven’t graduated from high school, don’t speak English and probably aren’t American citizens either.) I have nothing against either. We are just trying to make a point here.
That’s your money, the taxpayer’s money, the ratepayer’s money, America’s money because that’s whose paying for these system in most cases. The point is, if you want to save a lot of money follow this advice.
We want to put together a team of installers who we would recommend to people who were competent and willing to sign a pledge not to charge more than $1.50 to $2.00 a watt for a typical installation.
Look it only takes about 3 days for 3 people it install a 5000 watt system. You only have to put 25 panels on the roof which are clipped on to say 5 sets of aluminum rails attached to the roof. Cables then go to the inverter which is connected to a disconnect switch. That is connected to the utility line. That’s really about it.
The public is going to get tired of this type of “GREEN”. Solar electricity doesn’t need to cost that much, it’s already expensive, about 3 to 5 times the cost of utility power, here in Miami it’s only $0.065/Kwh. When it gets to say $0.30/Kwh it starts too make economic sense. (we are not including the cost of all the other stuff of course, you know the sad stories, I’ll spare you). We are just talking about some of the most basic economic factors regarding contractors that’s all.