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LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

So I've found a house I'm interested in and want to do a full solar install (net metering & possibly a small battery bank), there are a few threads on this site that talk about it but nothing overly indepth.

I've started a little bit of research & here's what I've gotten so far for financing and government programs, if anyone could add to this I'd be grateful and I'm sure it would be useful for others looking into this option.


GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS:

USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants

Maximum Incentive: 25% of project cost
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Rural Electric Cooperative, Agricultural, Institutional, Public Power Entities

http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapResEei.html

Agricultural can be a very loose definition, you'd be suprized who would qualify for this, I see this as a usable grant for a lot of people.

USDA - High Energy Cost Grant Program Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Municipal Utility, Institutional
Amount: $20,000-$3,000,000
Maximum Incentive: $3 million
Installation Requirements: Both grid-connected and off-grid renewable energy installations are eligible

2013 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)

The 2013 Funding announcement will be made in the spring if funds are available. The funding announcement will be similar to the 2012 NOFA.

http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UEP_Our_Grant_Programs.html

Gonna have to keep an eye on this one as it is not funded yet this year, however it seems widely applicable and attractive.

Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar-Electric Technologies, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Residential
Amount: 30%
Maximum Incentive: Solar-electric systems placed in service after 2008: no maximum
Solar water heaters placed in service after 2008: no maximum

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index
it says 30% and "no maximum" I'm guessing that means 30% of what ever you spend for solar, decent for sure. I'll definitely use this.

**NOTE*
There are a lot of state & even county programs that are not listed here, be sure to check for your local programs if you are interested in this.


FINANCING OPTIONS:

The Energy Efficient Mortgage Loan

An energy efficient mortgage is a loan that allows you to incorporate the cost of your solar improvements into your mortgage loan. The improvements can cost up to 15 percent of the total value of your home. The lender will calculate the energy savings for you home because of the new solar system and will add that to the total loan value, letting you borrow more than normal. Put another way, it doesn’t matter how much equity you currently have in your home, the solar financing is added on top of the loan. This, of course, lets you get a solar system without much out of pocket expense and you get to recover a good chunk of the cost through an increased mortgage interest deduction. Throw in tax credits, rebates and net metering incentives, and solar is getting mighty cheap if you know how to work the system.

Energy efficient mortgages have very few restrictions. You can get them for new construction or existing homes. The can be issued for single family residents, duplexes, condos and so on.

.

http://bestsolarenergykits.com/financing-residential-solar-power/
http://www.fha.com/energy_efficient.cfm

This looks like one of the best options.

PowerSaver

•Up to $25,000 to be used for energy-efficiency improvements including solar leasing and solar installation
•$7,500 minimum loan amount
•20-year term for solar
•Minimum FICO score of 660
•45% debt-to-income ratio
•100% combined loan-to-value ratio (CLTV)
•No upfront loan fees (excluding 1% mortgage insurance)

Now more than ever, it's easy and affordable to go solar. W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital, LLC has been chosen by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD), to offer affordable PowerSaver loans for homeowners to go solar. Homeowners can get low interest loans up to $25,000 specifically designed to finance residential solar systems. PowerSaver is insured by the Federal Housing Authority.

http://solar.wjbradley.com/solar-by-powersaver.php

Depending on the rates this could be very attractive.


PACE financing

PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy. PACE is an innovative means of financing rooftop photovoltaics and other energy improvements. In areas with PACE legislation in place municipal governments offer a specific bond to investors and then turn around and loan the money to consumers and businesses to put towards an energy retrofit. The loans are repaid over the assigned term (typically 15 or 20 years) via an annual assessment on their property tax bill. PACE bonds can be issued by municipal financing districts or finance companies and the proceeds can be used to retrofit both commercial and residential properties. One of the most notable characteristics of PACE programs is that the loan is attached to the property rather than an individual.[1][2][3][4]

PACE programs help home and business owners pay for the upfront costs of green initiatives, such as solar panels, which the property owner then pays back by increasing property taxes by a set rate over about 20 years. This allows property owners to begin saving on energy costs while they are paying for their solar panels. This usually means that property owners have net gains even with increased property tax.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PACE_financing

sounds like PACE is getting to be rare due to the loan security issues it brings up, however if it is available in your area it sounds like a good program.


SOLARCITY PPA & Lease

SolarPPA and SolarLease are both great options. They offer similar financial advantages to the homeowner. The primary difference is that with a lease you pay by the month, and with a PPA you pay per kWh. Another benefit of the SolarPPA is that you can purchase the system anytime after year five. Availability of SolarPPA and SolarLease vary by location based on what your local utility company prefers.

http://www.solarcity.com/residential/solar-ppa.aspx
I'm not sure I like either of these options, but they are avalible & interesting providing low/no cost entry into solar power.
Here's some news on solar financing options:
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Solar-Finance-Innovations-from-SolarCity-and-Honda-OneRoof-SunPower-Vivi

Another PPA option:
https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Clean-Power-Finance-is-Now-a-PPA-Firm-Too/

again, I'm not very interested in paying for power from panels located on my property, or leasing, I'd rather finance to own.

Here is a nice Interactive Map of Solar Energy Incentives :
http://www.getsolar.com/cost_solar-energy-incentives.php

and a decent article on Buying, Borrowing or Leasing solar:
http://www.getsolar.com/blog/buy-borrow-or-lease/

Federal incentives:
http://www.getsolar.com/cost_solar-energy-incentives-federal.php

For equipment companies I've found I like this site the best so far:
http://www.wholesalesolar.com/

I still need to find out a local installer (probably can't DIY this) and maybe some other equipment maufacture offerings..

Quote
Topic starter Posted : March 19, 2013 2:49 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Here's an interesting article from the Daily News:

http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/wapa-eliminates-requirement-for-net-metering-1.1462067

Looks like they are serious about an interconnection to PR which I find absurd given the cost. For the amount of money they have to spend to do this, to be reliant on PR, we could have our own state of the art power producing plant.

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Posted : March 23, 2013 1:28 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

I have a friend, Rick, who just installed that back in Oct. He really likes it.
When you see the white Hummer 2 with I think designs on the side and a drag racing (NHRA)decal in the rear window, stop him and ask him about. He also drive a turquoise Jeep or a custom Dodge Dakota pick-up I think Red and Blue.

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Posted : March 23, 2013 1:48 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Here's what a friend had to say after the DN article /March 23 regarding 20,000 customer's losing power thanks to WAPA's unit 23.

"The latest WAPA "Unit 23" generator failure this week pretty much says it all. But I will post here again some basic recommended steps that any functional utility would have done long ago, which echo things stated in multiple federal and regional reports, and which have yet to be carried out in the VI.

1) Carefully and thoroughly review the 2009 Comprehensive VI Energy Strategy document;
2) Review the 2009 U.S. OIG report on WAPA (focusing on the LEAC)
3) Work with experts (industry experts, well seasoned in utility management and problem solving) to come up with a checklist of things needing to be done to accomplish the following:
a) Stabilize and dramatically improve operational efficiencies for WAPA's power production and distribution system (existing system);
b) Implement utility policies that will best accommodate as large percentage penetration by solar / wind as possibly (NREL, Bob Hebner - UT's CEM, etc. say greater than 50% is doable, if the right set of grid management elements are incorporated, including distributed power management systems at user end);
c) Implement incentivized program activities to ramp up deployment of renewables (rebates for qualifying low income persons, low interest loans for middle to higher income levels, etc., which will stretch program dollars), and make sure training is obtained by those who'd represent the utility on inspections prior to installations to ensure that rebates and/or loans are administered so as to reach minimum contribution / power production requirements to grid;
4) Using checklist for above items, make distribution to WAPA / VIEO of further funding and rate approvals be performance-based. This must be done in a fashion comparable to what was done at the federal level for the VI's broadband network project. Federal funds should be withheld until local performance warrants their release. Otherwise, the VI public continues to suffer while local VI utility heads and govt. programs "play Monopoly" with federal and local funds.

After $20 Million was spent on the EDIN project, the power still goes out with failed WAPA generators, and woefully inadequate and unstable WAPA power generation and distribution equipment. We are talking about BASIC systems, not to mention failure to effectively deploy and encourage use of distributed renewable energy supplies like solar and wind. Set things like the cost-prohibitive ($450-500+ Million submarine cable connection from PR to STT) be set aside. That's akin to running an extension cord to a fried appliance, hoping the darned thing will work better. Such an "extension cord" will only expend and deplete resources that need to be spent otherwise for true energy independence and clean, affordable and reliable energy supplies for the VI."

Regards,
Susan Parten, P.E.

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Posted : March 23, 2013 6:36 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

I've been educating myself here: http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/forum.php

Pretty disapointing that most grid tie systems go down with the utility, looks like you have to spend a little more to keep your own power up during outtages.

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Topic starter Posted : March 25, 2013 3:58 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

Roof connecting hardware: http://www.schletter.us/support/I400003_Components%20Overview.pdf (FixE and FixT)

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Topic starter Posted : March 25, 2013 8:11 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2013/03/26/wapa-s-switch-alternative-fuels-coming-sooner-rather-later

http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2013/03/26/wapa-and-energy-office-looking-ways-make-net-metering-fair-all/blockquote >

St. Croix grid is currently only using 787 kW of its 5 MW cap. The St. Thomas/St. John grid is just over 1MW into its 10MW cap. What has gotten Knight’s attention is how rapidly the rate at which new systems are coming online is increasing.
.......
With these larger systems going online, it’s hard to tell how long it will take for the cap space to run out, but Larry Aldrich, owner of the V.I. Solar Depot, is encouraging his prospective net metering customers not to drag their feet.

“If you procrastinate for two years, forget it. Cross it off your wish list because you’re not going to get one. There ain’t going to be no permits,” he said.

I'm suprised THEY are supprised, at .58c the time to go solar is here, for sure.

It's good to see the utility is going for new projects; but I'm afraid of how those will be managed based on what I'm seeing so far from WAPA; I don't think those projects will change my mind at all.

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Topic starter Posted : March 26, 2013 3:38 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

Here's what I've found for local installers, list may be incomplete.

http://www.visolardepot.com/index.html

http://prosolaramerica.com/virgin-islands/

http://www.solarsystemsvi.com/

http://www.quad-state-solar.com/virginislands.aspx

http://www.purelogicsolar.com/

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Topic starter Posted : March 26, 2013 6:48 pm
Bruno
(@Bruno)
Advanced Member

www.ewsvi.com Electricity Wise Strategies

quad-state no longer in VI

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Posted : March 27, 2013 12:34 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

I got a quote from Solar Delivered, its a bit more expensive than I thought I would be spending, but definately cheaper than WAPA

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Topic starter Posted : September 12, 2013 5:04 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Definitely talk to Larry at VI Solar depot...
He is willing to work with you if you want to do some, or all, of the installation yourself. We did our own permitting process and part of the installation. They saved us a bundle!

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Posted : September 12, 2013 6:51 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

http://www.heliovolt.com/products/

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Posted : September 12, 2013 7:15 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

Definitely talk to Larry at VI Solar depot...
He is willing to work with you if you want to do some, or all, of the installation yourself. We did our own permitting process and part of the installation. They saved us a bundle!

I'm definately interested in that type of deal!

I can screw some rails into my beams and mount the pannels, run wire.. hell I bet I can do everything but the final tie in.

I'll give em a call, thanks!

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : September 12, 2013 7:22 pm
Ca. Dreamers
(@ca-dreamers)
Advanced Member

Definitely talk to Larry at VI Solar depot...
He is willing to work with you if you want to do some, or all, of the installation yourself. We did our own permitting process and part of the installation. They saved us a bundle!

I'm definately interested in that type of deal!

I can screw some rails into my beams and mount the pannels, run wire.. hell I bet I can do everything but the final tie in.

I'll give em a call, thanks!

Keep us posted on your progress.

This 30% WAPA decrease aint gonna happen!

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Posted : September 13, 2013 12:30 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Definitely talk to Larry at VI Solar depot...
He is willing to work with you if you want to do some, or all, of the installation yourself. We did our own permitting process and part of the installation. They saved us a bundle!

I'm definately interested in that type of deal!

I can screw some rails into my beams and mount the pannels, run wire.. hell I bet I can do everything but the final tie in.

I'll give em a call, thanks!

Keep us posted on your progress.

This 30% WAPA decrease aint gonna happen!

The "final tie in" is a simple breaker if you use micro-inverters. Under 10 KW systems now don't require a manual disconnect other than that.
You will need an electrician to advise wire sizes, proper grounding, breaker size, etc..and to sign your permit papers.
Edit to add: Thirty panels are averaging about 1000kWh per month for us. So figure 33kWh per panel, per month.

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Posted : September 13, 2013 1:44 pm
Jamison
(@Jamison)
Trusted Member

Ill check into how we get ours. We are looking for a few more smaller ones now.

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Posted : September 13, 2013 4:19 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

Thanks guys, I'll keep you updated on whats going on.

I just found out today that there's a guy in the Naitonal Guard here that is trying to get a bunch of systems together for a group discount; so I might have a situation that is not applicable to everyone... either way I'll update whats going on.

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Topic starter Posted : September 13, 2013 5:13 pm
gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
Advanced Member

We have 10 panels/microinverters and we are averaging about 320KW per month. Our last 2 WAPA bills were under $10 and the next one will be about $20 due to the 4 days of cloudy/rainy weather last week.

We installed in May 2012 and so far have generated about 4800 KWH. AT .53 per KWH, that works out to about $2500 plus a $3800 tax CREDIT in 2012.

I would not hesitate to install solar in the VI but likely no where else. It would take years to pay it off at .09 per KWH.

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Posted : September 13, 2013 8:12 pm
polemicturtle
(@polemicturtle)
Active Member

Gonetropo: If you don't mind. What all are you running/not running in you house? I think it be insightful to picture what 320 KW a month actually powers.

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Posted : September 20, 2013 7:41 am
gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
Advanced Member

Large Refrigerator, Standalone Freezer, 2 hot water heaters (sometimes 3 when we have guests) (20 gallon and 10 gallon, no timers and set to about 110F), computer, microwave, TV, lights, ceiling fans at times (only on low).. Pool pump is run 2 hours per day, every other day. 220V Pentair Whisperflo pump. We do use the electric dryer but only to finish off the laundry and are very careful about it. A few minutes on heat and the rest on air.

For the last 3 months we have generated 319, 323, 331 KWH which works out to be about 10-11 per day.

Regardless of where we have lived, our electric bills have always been reasonable. Before the solar, our WAPA bills were about
$150-$180 per month. I only saw the last bill of the previous owner and it was $311 back in early 2009. We were using between 11-14 KWH per day prior to the solar and it seems to be about the same now.

I just went out and read the meter, which is running backwards full tilt and we are 3 KWH less than the last WAPA reading on Sept. 12.

Hope this helps. We are very pleased with the solar to date.

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Posted : September 20, 2013 3:11 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

I'm looking at producing around 8,000 KWH per month... but that is just a guess as I haven't even seen a Wapa bill yet. (and I would like a little extra "breathing room" for future use).

GoneTropo you are being very efficent, I have 4 kids & don't think I could get anywhere close with them in the house... haha

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Topic starter Posted : September 20, 2013 4:10 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

I'm looking at producing around 8,000 KWH per month... but that is just a guess as I haven't even seen a Wapa bill yet. (and I would like a little extra "breathing room" for future use).

GoneTropo you are being very efficent, I have 4 kids & don't think I could get anywhere close with them in the house... haha

8000 kWh per month?:-o That would require 250 panels to get to zero :S

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Posted : September 21, 2013 3:45 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

I'm looking at producing around 8,000 KWH per month... but that is just a guess as I haven't even seen a Wapa bill yet. (and I would like a little extra "breathing room" for future use).

GoneTropo you are being very efficent, I have 4 kids & don't think I could get anywhere close with them in the house... haha

8000 kWh per month?:-o That would require 250 panels to get to zero :S

haha, you're right, I meant an 8,000 kW system, like 40 panels.

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Topic starter Posted : September 23, 2013 3:33 am
Bruno
(@Bruno)
Advanced Member

10 KW system is 40 panels. That will produce avarage 1350 Kwh per month, or $700 worth of WAPA at today's rate.

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Posted : September 23, 2013 10:46 am
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