Solar panel lease program NJ

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  #1  
Old 06-26-12, 10:42 AM
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Solar panel lease program NJ

I received a notice in the mail for the opportunity to lease a 6kw system for $64 a month for 15 years.

They say they will install and maintain at no cost to me. ( Well that's the $64 a month) I figure I can save that and it might be a wash when all is said and done. Not sure.

After 15 years I can purchase the system ( prorated) or have them remove it.

What do you all think? Here are the details.

http://www.njrhomeservices.com/solar..._FAQ_NJRHS.PDF

Residential Solar Lease Plan from NJR Home Services

Mike NJ
 
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  #2  
Old 06-26-12, 11:00 AM
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The lease payments alone are $11,520 - that's a lot, in my mind.

Never been to NJ, the sun shine enough there for this to make sense? Phoenix, sure. Here, not so sure.
 
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Old 06-26-12, 11:07 AM
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How does your current monthly power bill compare to the $64 a month?
Did they indicate it would be locked in at that rate for the length of the lease?

We have a lot of farms and what not in our area that are running the large systems. Given how far north we are compared to yourself, I suspect sun shouldn't be an issue.
 
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Old 06-26-12, 11:07 AM
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So you pay the $12K and then at the end they will sell you a system that has reached about 3/4 of it's expected life?

It's the "estimated savings" that bothers me. If rates shoot up then it might be a good deal. But the peak output will also vary as the panels degrade...thus reducing your savings as the lease payment stays the same.

I wouldn't doubt LED lamps and other energy saving measure would add up to more over time.

I'm not a big fan of leasing anything...though I know that many people lease water heaters across the country and seem happy with it.
 
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Old 06-26-12, 11:16 AM
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The $64 bucks a month is locked in for the life of the lease.

Here is my usage.

Average Daily Use (KWH) june 2011 / 20kwh June 2012 20kwh
Average Daily Temperature 66/ 80
Days in Billing Period 32/ 30
Last 12 Months Use (KWH) 6,968
Average Monthly Use (KWH) 581

NJ we pay about 15cents per KWH so it cost me $3 bucks a day or $1050 bucks a year for electric.

Mike NJ
 
  #6  
Old 06-26-12, 11:24 AM
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Vic,

The nice thing with this idea is that when the pannels are near their end of life, the lease is done, you tell them to take their stuff and run.

There is however some sort of fine print. Probably the unused power will be put back into the grid for free. I didn't see any mention about batteries or storage of the power, so this is likely the case.
If so, that would be where I walk away.
 
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Old 06-26-12, 01:07 PM
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Reading through that pdf again it say that is for a 6kw system. It says you can lease a 3 kw system as the minimum. So would that be half the price at $32?

I wonder, but regardless I called them to see what its all about. I am waiting for a return call today or tomorrow.

It states that on average homeowners save $40 a month after net lease payment of a 6kw system.

I may be missing something here but if I could have a system installed and maintained at no cost its a no brainer. That is if I save the $40 bucks a month. But I have low electric use. I average the same every month @ about 600kw

There is criteria though.

South facing roof. I have.

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Clear of any tree shading. I have no tall trees, although I only get full sun until about 3 pm. Then the neighbors trees on the left of pic kind of block the sun from the west.

The roof should be no more then 5 years old. Its about 5 years old.


OK here is the kicker if you read between the lines.

When lease ends you can

1. purchase the system at the current appraised value
2 .purchase electric from the panels based on NJR rates
3. Have the system removed by ending the lease

Now#2 has me baffled. I think I figured it out, plus I did ask the guy that changed my gas meter about this program.

He said that any credit or extra electric I generate does not give me a credit. He said that NJR gets the credit, or money. So the best I can do with these panels is have a $0 or reduced electric bill until I own the system.

So what do you guys think?

Mike NJ
 
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Old 06-26-12, 01:13 PM
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I think you should try it and let us all know how it goes - you know, be our guinea pig

Seriously, though, there seem to be way too many unknowns here to be committing to more than a $10K associated cost for me.
 
  #9  
Old 06-26-12, 01:27 PM
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Just read all the fine print. I got something from a different company. I forget which and I forget the details. At worst, you commit to a $64 a month electric bill for 15 years. You need to do the math on your usage and how many panels will make sense. Just make sure whatever you ask about is in writing.

NJ is plenty of sun. NJ solar is second only to California. NJ has required the utilities to generate a minimum amount of power from renewable resources. If they don't do that themselves, they can buy credits from the exchange they set up. People with excess solar generation earn these credits and can sell them. The rates vary but can be quite valuable. So the question would be if you lease, who earns the credits?
 
  #10  
Old 06-26-12, 01:53 PM
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So what do you guys think?
I may be missing something here. I think my question is "What is a 6kW system? Is it 6kW/day or 6kW/hour?

If you get a 15ft.[SUP]2[/SUP] panel, you should average a litle more than 6kW/day, based on the Solar Energy Potential value for your location at Energy.gov. That would mean you'd be paying $2.10/day to replace electricity that's costing you only $0.90 now. So that makes no sense.

So... If you're getting an array large enough to generate 6kW/hour (over an average of 12 hours), then you'd have about 180ft.[SUP]2[/SUP] of panels and you'd be generating an average of 72kW/day. Your bill would go down to only $64/month, but you'd be paying NJR about 2/3 of that money for the privilege of generating power for them to sell to other customers. Sweet for the POCO.

Given the 6kW/hour premise and your average usage of just under 20 kWh/day, it seems to me that the half-size option might be a better deal for you, even if the actual cost was a little more than half. In fact, it might be a pretty good deal.

JMO
 
  #11  
Old 06-26-12, 01:53 PM
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I would give a call to a local solar installer too to see what they can offer in terms of buying and installing a system outright. With the rebates and such NJ provides, it may be worth installing a half-sized system and paying for it by a loan or whatever, and then owning and selling back excess power to the grid.

It may be a better deal, or not. I typically don't believe that the utility companies give out very many good deals though.
 
  #12  
Old 06-26-12, 03:00 PM
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It isn't the utility company offering the lease program. lawrosa's power comes from JCP&L.

I believe it is 6kw per hour. And that is the max output. You won't get that in the morning or the evening. You won't get that in the winter either. It will also depend on the direction and angle of the roof. This will all affect output of the panels.
 
  #13  
Old 06-26-12, 03:18 PM
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One of my clients installed about 100' x 24' of panels on top of his barn. Now he doesn't use the electricity produced by them. Similar to the farms. The power company buys the electricity at a particular rate. Ours is higher than our usage rate. The POCO installs their switch gear and it goes to the grid through a meter, or meters. He says his return on investment will be about 12 years, then it's all a wash if the equipment is still producing. He says what the POCO pays him supercedes his monthly usage bill, so he is able to show profit to pay off the cost of installation. But it is his from the start....no lease.
 
  #14  
Old 06-26-12, 05:20 PM
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Here is a cool app for all NJ residents that will see if your house qualifies.

Solar Qualification

Also I found this online. Apparently its shows net metering but may be if you own the sytem and not lease it.

Residential Solar :: The Sunlight Advantage

Net metering may also be referred to as a two-way meter. A net meter and a solar net-metering policy allow customers to reap the full benefits of a solar system. When solar panels are installed, the local utility replaces the existing electric meter with a net meter. Whenever the solar system makes more electricity than a home is consuming, the net meter spins backwards. The unused electricity goes back into the power grid and the customer receives credit for that electricity. The meter spins forward when the solar system isn't fully meeting a home's electric needs but is using power from the grid. This is more likely to occur at night and, at times, during the winter.
A net meter tracks how much electricity your home pulls out of the power grid during the year and how much power your solar electric system puts into the grid. At the end of the year, the utility calculates your "electricity balance" and any credit or debit will be applied by the utility to your account.


Mike NJ
 
  #15  
Old 06-26-12, 05:33 PM
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Also I found this online. Apparently its shows net metering but may be if you own the sytem and not lease it.
This is how the company that leases the panels makes some money. They will get some rebates from the state, but that isn't going to be enough to turn a profit on the lease.
 
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Old 06-26-12, 05:35 PM
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Yes, Net Metering is actually a federal law that bars any Public Utilities company (co-ops are exempt) from buying back co-generated power at wholesale rate (or any rate less than retail). They must pay you the same rate that you pay - hence why the meter runs backwards. They DO tally what you generate in excess of what you use each month, and (in NJ, other states are different) that excess is paid to you in the form of tradeable energy credits. That is most likely what Option #2 is talking about - the solar company hangs on to these credits and offers them back to you at the end of 15 years (less any appreciated interest of course).

For a 6kW system I'd say it's not worth it. You're more than likely not going to generate enough power to keep your power bill negative each month. It would have to be a 10kW or better system at that same price to break even IMO.

Chandler is that client you're talking about on a public power co or a co-op? If it's public power, then they're in violation of federal law by not paying full retail for the cogenerated power.
 
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Old 06-26-12, 06:36 PM
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The client is on our local POCO, Electric Membership Cooperative. He doesn't pay for anything but his regular power bill. He does not have this grid hooked up to his residence or barn. It purely runs power back to the grid and is metered.
 
  #18  
Old 06-26-12, 08:37 PM
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For a 6kW system I'd say it's not worth it. You're more than likely not going to generate enough power to keep your power bill negative each month. It would have to be a 10kW or better system at that same price to break even IMO.
If Mike's power usage is just under 20 kWh/day and the system can produce up to 6kW/hour, then the solar array can supply his needs in about 3 hours and 20 minutes. Presumably the smaller system can supply that much in twice the time.
 
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Old 06-26-12, 10:49 PM
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He said he only gets full sun until 3pm due to the shading of his neighbors trees to the west (if his neighbors across the street's trees are similar to what's around his house - and in most of NJ it would be - I have a hard time even believing he gets that much sun). So that means during the peak of summer it would be JUST meeting his needs, then production is downhill for the rest of the year. I don't think he's a good candidate for a small system.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 11:46 AM
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Well I did not get a call back from the company yet.

If Mike's power usage is just under 20 kWh/day and the system can produce up to 6kW/hour, then the solar array can supply his needs in about 3 hours and 20 minutes. Presumably the smaller system can supply that much in twice the time.
Yes. I would assume the goal is to have a $0 electric bill. The trick is to have the meter spin backwards enough to build up credit. The other certificates I think the owners of the panel.

We will see.


Here is full sun all morning. This is around 11:45 am.

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This is around 2:15 pm. And thats the tree that is in my way. Talked to the neighbor and he said OK to cut if needed.

Cutting that tree should give me sun until? ( I am still watching. Will post back later)


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Mike NJ


Mike NJ



 
  #21  
Old 06-27-12, 12:08 PM
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Yes. I would assume the goal is to have a $0 electric bill. The trick is to have the meter spin backwards enough to build up credit. The other certificates I think the owners of the panel.
I thought NJR got all the credits and you got the bill for the lease. Not so?
 
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Old 06-27-12, 12:16 PM
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The way I read it he pays for the lease and any electricity used in excess of solar generation. If solar generation exceeds grid use, then NJR takes ownership of any excess power generated in the form of the solar energy credits (that's how NJ pays out excess cogeneration) until the system is paid for.
 
  #23  
Old 06-27-12, 12:19 PM
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Sounds like you are considering this (or really have the time to look into it).

By the sounds of it, you want to break even or just a hair under (feed the grid).
If you are feeding the grid, it sounds like they are cashing in on the credit, and if you are drawing from the grid, your paying more.
Was there any mention anywhere about power storage? I didn't see anything which would mean that you would have some draw from the grid during the nights.
 
  #24  
Old 06-27-12, 12:25 PM
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Oh I don't know... There has to be some kind of incentive. Why would I pay 65 bucks a month and still have my electric bill?

I heard they get the certificates you get when you generate 1000kw's, but dont know about the meter credits .

Hmmm...do you me my bill just gets reduced for sun generation and any credits the electric company gets?

That's not good. If you think about it most of my 20kw use a day might be at night and not during the day.

I was reading about another solar company that gives the credits I believe.

The SERC certificates can be sold at $655 I think is current value. It can only be accumulated during the first 15 years I read. So after the lease is over, what good is the system?

Mike NJ
 
  #25  
Old 06-27-12, 12:29 PM
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Here's another take....those panels are going to right on the front of your house and (IMHO) will look ugly as sin!

If I went solar at least the panels would be less visible from the street due to the orientation of my house to the passing sun.

Just an opinion...and you know what they say about those.....
 
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Old 06-27-12, 12:43 PM
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Why would I pay 65 bucks a month and still have my electric bill?

I heard they get the certificates you get when you generate 1000kw's, but dont know about the meter credits .

Hmmm...do you me my bill just gets reduced for sun generation and any credits the electric company gets?

That's not good. If you think about it most of my 20kw use a day might be at night and not during the day.
I think you pay only the $65/month, so long as you don't draw any power.

I think they calculate it as net per day, or maybe even per month - not on a minute-by-minute basis, so it doesn't matter what time of day you're generating more and what time you're using more. That's also why I think the smaller system might be all you need.

But those are things I'd want to be clear on if I were considering this offer.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 12:58 PM
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Oh...I'm sure you'll be paying more than just the $65 even if you generate a surplus. Look at your bill...I bet you have things like minimum service charge, delivery charge, infrastructure charge or similar. Some of those never go away even if you use no power from them.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 01:03 PM
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Vic, don't get me started......Our local Electric membership Cooperative is building a new facility in our town to replace an older one. This thing is BIG. At first it appeared the money to build it was coming from electric bill payments of members. NOW, I see that I am being charged a $17 per month "customer charge", which I see is to pay for the building, which is over due and over budget, naturally. I have three accounts...house, shop and cabin. I am paying $54 a month to help build a building??? Something has gotta give. I use about $12 a month in my shop and about $30 a month in the cabin.....THEN tack on the $17 OK, OK I'm through.
 
  #29  
Old 06-27-12, 01:27 PM
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His customer charge is $2.20.
 
  #30  
Old 06-27-12, 01:35 PM
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Yeah...I understand....I pay about 10% of my bill for green energy tariffs...so I'm the one subsidizing the businesses and individuals that are also getting tax credits and lower bills. The law says they need this much green energy so they offer incentives or subsidies and they bill us for it. They also charge me more for the percentage of power that comes from green sources.

Hey...I'm all for wind and solar...those are 2 things we won't run out of...esp here in AZ. And I know that the tech is getting better and cheaper...but I really hate paying for it right now.
 
  #31  
Old 06-27-12, 01:37 PM
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Thanks drooplug...
Did he state that prior or are you guys on the same system?
 
  #32  
Old 06-27-12, 02:32 PM
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We live about 30 minutes from each other and have the same electric and natural gas company.

There is that customer charge. Then there is a delivery charged based on usage and a basic generation charge based on usage.

I pay an extra 1.8 cents per kilowatt for all green energy.
 
  #33  
Old 06-27-12, 02:55 PM
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Gotcha....

Boy...I wish I could keep my usage that low. Even in winter I go about 500kWh or so and in July/Aug it spikes to 1500-1700. And this is with me flipping off lights all the time and CFLs most places. Luckily I think our rates are pretty low due to our proximity to Hoover Dam. Looks like I'm about 9-10 cents per kWh.
 
  #34  
Old 06-27-12, 03:41 PM
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I wish I could keep my usage that low.
Yeah, tell me about it. I've been enjoying some of the usage numbers I've seen here. I just checked and our lowest reading over the last two years was 1166 kWh about a year and a half ago - in the winter. Our highest is the current one: 1856 kWh! Average is 1400 - 1500, and we usually only get to 1800 in August. The good news is the rate has stabilized at .12, taxes and all, since the first of the year.

Time to get the refrigerant topped up, I expect.
 
  #35  
Old 06-27-12, 03:52 PM
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Why the high usage? A lot of square feet? I expect the usage to be high during summers in AZ for sure.
 
  #36  
Old 06-27-12, 04:11 PM
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I think Droo is on the same poco.

Hey just looked at the bill again.

This is for this month. A/c only on 4 days possibly on thos hot days. I dont normally run a/c. Its a 7.5 amp window unit for the whole house 10kbtu. Upstairs two 4.5 amp units 5k btu for the kids.

pool pump two speed at 3 amps.

well pump 13 amps

All CFL's and flat screen tv,s.

Customer Charge 2.20
Basic Generation Service
159 KWH x 0.104591 16.63
438 KWH x 0.093082 40.77
597 KWH x 0.007219 4.31
Delivery Service Charges
159 KWH x 0.003019 0.48
438 KWH x 0.003037 1.33
597 KWH x 0.025846 15.43
Current Consumption Bill Charges 81.15

Looks like I am at roughly 23 cents a KW? " Is that insane"!!!!!!! I know all thiese #'s dont make sense. 159,438,597?

I think I really need to move out of Jersey.

Droo are you similar?

Mike NJ
 
  #37  
Old 06-27-12, 04:40 PM
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You are paying about 13 cents per kwh. The winter rates are much more straight forward. When summer comes along (started with this bill) they do this bracketed pricing. The more you use, the more you pay. You used 597 kwh total for the billing period. They charge different rates foir the actual power and then for delivery of the power. You don't add all of those rates up for your total. The easiest way is to take your total amount owed, subtract the 2.20 customer charge. Then divide that number by the number of kwh used.

This is interesting though. I used 931 kwh for the month. But my usage is broken up into 366 kwh and 565 kwh. I'm paying about 15 cents per kwh. That's before the extra I pay for the green power too.

If you look under your graph, you will see your average monthly usage. That should com ein handy for figuring out your solar needs.
 
  #38  
Old 06-27-12, 04:52 PM
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You know what, I am wrong in my explanation. I believe it is broken up like that because there was a rate change in the middle of the billing cycle. If the rate stays the same during your current billing cycle, you should see on rate for delivery and one rate for generation. I don't understand why your rates are lower than mine. In the "charges from JCP&L" box, what is listed next to "rate"? I have residential service JC_RS_01D
 
  #39  
Old 06-27-12, 05:26 PM
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Same

JC_RS__01D

I don't understand why your rates are lower than mine.


Probably because you live in the Hoity toity area of Keyport... LOL ( Just joking ) Probably because your closer to the water?

So they raised their rates? Still $81 bucks for electric is outrageous to me. Especially for the shed I live in. LOL

As far as solar I see other companies offer similar leasing programs in NJ with some ppa ( power perchase agreement) lease.

Does anyone out there know how this actually works?

I am going to call them again tomorrow.

Mike NJ
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 06-27-12 at 05:42 PM.
  #40  
Old 06-27-12, 05:27 PM
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They make sense to me....sorta. I pay one low delivery rate up to 400kwh per month then a roughly double rate beyond that. I pay the same power supply charge for each kwh. There's something called PPFAC that I think may have something to do with Power Factor.....but it's a credit. Plus taxes and the tariffs I mentioned earlier.

My June bill was $107 total for 930kwh. 1600sf ranch with all gas appliances but a 20 yr old package HVAC unit on the roof.
 
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