Solar City

We (Ed and Debbie Averill) went solar in May. We did so because we found Solar City. Solar City is partly owned (it's a public company) and run buy Elon Musk and his brother. Elon Musk is the fellow associated with Space X and the Tesla automobiles. Knowing that caused me to listen to the Solar City pitch with some seriousness.

Solar City does much of it's business in states like Oregon that allows them to provide the solar installation, but not require the homeowner to buy it. Ownership remains with Solar City. All labor and materials are installed as a Solar City investment, and are at no cost to us, the homeowners. I had my original shake roof replaced with standard shingles in about 1998. Solar City told me that they would inspect the roof, and if they didn't think the roof would last 20 years, they would need to replace it. I was afraid that if they decided that, I would be footing the bill for the new roof. But, no, they paid for the new roof, entirely. (Yes, they decided it would not last another 20 years. And, by the way, enough of the roof is sheltered by the solar panels that the expectation is that the life of the new roof will be doubled.)

The energy is generated and some of it is used by me, the customer. I pay Solar City for what I use. Surplus energy is delivered to the grid, and generates credits. This happens during the nice sunny long summer days we get. As long as those credits are available, they cover nights and darker winter days.

To the extent that I use more energy than the local solar installation generates, I will pay PGE for that additional power at PGE rates. In addition, I pay about $30 per month for use of the grid.

The rate that Solar City charges me starts out at a small discount from the PGE rate. So, in the short term, there is little cost benefit to me, the consumer. However, Solar City sets a very low cap on inflation of their price – much lower than the PGE historic increases. The contract is for 20 years, and by the 10-year point, my power rate with Solar City will probably be about half of the expected PGE rate.

The big benefit to me is that I lowered my carbon footprint tremendously without having to foot the bill for the investment.

You can see my generation graph by following this link:

You will see the whole year, at first. You can click around on it to see any month, week, or day. By the way, the lighter color is the array facing east. The darker one faces west, and has a few less panels because of conflict with skylights. On a day graph, the east side contributes better in the AM, and the west side in the PM. Though, when we get the morning clouds that burn off during the day, that changes.

–Ed Averill

solar_city.txt · Last modified: 2014/11/02 23:04 by eda