Larry with NW Solar Solutions came back with two proposals, one for 3.2 kW and one with 3.7kW. That being either 2 strings of seven (7) 235 watt PV modules or 2 strings of eight (8) 235 watt PV modules. At $5/watt plus a $250 Internet monitoring module, the cost would be either $16,700 or $19,050 respectively. The choice was easy if I went back to my original statement of , "as big as would fit", we went with the 3.7kW system.
The system would consist of the following basic components:
16 x Solarworld 235 watt PV panels (2 strings of eight)
1 x Advanced Energy PVP3000 PVPowered 3000 watt Inverter
1 x Advanced Energy PVM1010 Inverter data monitoring module
Various replacement meters and electrical wiring
One thing to note, that I found to be a huge plus, is that both the PV panels and the Inverter are made in Oregon. So on top of putting Roofers and Electricians to work, the products also provide for Oregon jobs. Cool.
The Incentives and the Net Cost:
In our case, it translated to the following:
|Total Value of Installed Photovoltaic System:||$19,050.00|
|Energy Trust of Oregon incentive:||$6,580.00|
|Total Out of Pocket:||$12,470.00|
|Federal Investment Tax Credit:||$3,666.00|
|Oregon RETC 1st year:||$1,500.00|
|Cost of system after first year of Incentives||$7,304.00|
|Oregon RETC years 2-4:||$4,500.00|
|Cost of system after Incentives:||$2,804.00|
WOW… $2804 ?!?!?! I could live with that. The tough part though can be the initial out of pocket, knowing that your state (Oregon) tax credits come to you over four taxes cycles. But some banks offer special loans just for these types of projects. Check out Umpqua bank’s Green Street Lending programs, they offer great rates and term. So we set off to organize our funding.
To qualify for ETO incentives, there are a number of requirements. I mentioned one previously, that the Solar Resource Fraction for the PV location needs to be least 75%. Another is that your roof must have at least 10 years of life remaining. If a roof must be replaced after the PV installation, the panels need to be removed and reinstalled and the ETO apparently wants to avoid that for at least 10 years. Our roof was 12 years old and qualified with more than 10 years of life remaining on it. But we considered that we wanted to avoid any type of removal and re-installation as long as we could. So, we got a quote and decided to re-roof only the section of roof that would have the panels installed on them. This also provides for a better overall installation, because the PV mounting stanchions can be installed while the roof is off and the new roofing installed around them.
Applications and Approvals:
After signing our contract to proceed, we then needed to fill out application for the ETO incentive and the PGE (Portland General Electric) Net Metering program. Larry had them pre-filled out and explained them to us. We signed them and he submitted the applications.
A few weeks later we received an acknowledgement, then an acceptance from PGE for the Net Metering program.
The ETO approval took a little longer. They reviewed the design and requested a modification to the inverter that was specified. Initially a 3500 watt inverter was specified, but apparently due to way the efficiency of the system decreases over it's lifetime and the times of year when full sunlight are not available, they wanted a 3000 watt inverter used instead. A 3000 Watt inverter will run at full capacity more often... apparently. So ultimately the ETO application was approved and we were set to go.
Next... the installation!