This Old #%&@*$ House

My only note is be very sure that the roof they're getting installed over is in good shape, and will be for a while. When we got ours done, they thought ours was in decent shape, so we had them install. I asked about the process if we ever need the roof replaced, and they said they just come out, pull the panels, you have the roof done, then they come back and put them back on. About a year or so after the panels went on, we found we had leaks on the half of the roof without panels. The half with seemed okay, but I asked the solar company for a quote to get them taken off and replaced, in case we just wanted to do the whole roof.

They came back and quoted us $20k to do that. The initial install was about $30k. Not sure if that was their "we don't feel like doing it" price, or their "if you're asking, you probably need a new roof so you'll pay whatever we say" price, or if that's just really how much it is. If we'd known it would be that much, we probably would've just replaced the whole roof before doing the panels. For now, we're just crossing our fingers that no leaks develop on that half of the roof.

Chaz wrote:

My only note is be very sure that the roof they're getting installed over is in good shape, and will be for a while. When we got ours done, they thought ours was in decent shape, so we had them install. I asked about the process if we ever need the roof replaced, and they said they just come out, pull the panels, you have the roof done, then they come back and put them back on. About a year or so after the panels went on, we found we had leaks on the half of the roof without panels. The half with seemed okay, but I asked the solar company for a quote to get them taken off and replaced, in case we just wanted to do the whole roof.

They came back and quoted us $20k to do that. The initial install was about $30k. Not sure if that was their "we don't feel like doing it" price, or their "if you're asking, you probably need a new roof so you'll pay whatever we say" price, or if that's just really how much it is. If we'd known it would be that much, we probably would've just replaced the whole roof before doing the panels. For now, we're just crossing our fingers that no leaks develop on that half of the roof.

Sorry you experienced that, Chaz.

Considering the quality of the roof is a great point. Our installer included one free removal-replacement in our contract. Look into whether that option is available.

Decks. When ours needed to be replaced we had a concrete patio poured instead. One and done. It's not as atheistically pleasing as wood but hey. No refinishing no replacing.

Heretk wrote:

Decks. When ours needed to be replaced we had a concrete patio poured instead. One and done. It's not as atheistically pleasing as wood but hey. No refinishing no replacing.

I mean, the driveway needs to be redone too...

UpToIsomorphism wrote:
Heretk wrote:

Decks. When ours needed to be replaced we had a concrete patio poured instead. One and done. It's not as atheistically pleasing as wood but hey. No refinishing no replacing.

I mean, the driveway needs to be redone too...

Eventually. But at our age the patio will outlast us lol.

I just signed for solar panels since my rear roof is nearly due south. I talked to about 7 companies, using a combination of a door to door company, and more helpfully, I used Energysage.com to get more quotes, look at info on panels, inverters (everyone was using Enphase) and such. I actually went with a local company who uses Certainteed panels. They are not the best panels, but the difference there being a different approach to the warranty, where if he goes out of business, Certainteed will find another installer to take up the warranty work, but I go to the original installer first. Since Certainteed is large and well established in roofing, insulation, and more in both residential and commercial markets, I have faith they will be around for years to come. On that point, I would think about staying away from California based companies as I found they are all having to find new markets to stay alive. I also do not have faith that some of these 3rd party warranty companies will survive if a large problem comes up with certain panels.

Run away from any company that wants to put panels on the other side of your roof to hit a number. A least a few did, and tried to say it would be fine. They will benefit more than you will by selling more panels. My local guy has done jobs in my county, including finishing one the day before meeting me and knew what the county would and wouldn't accept in terms of codes and edge setbacks. That led to him being able to cram as many panels in as possible on just the south face side, and he did it by rotating panels when needed which was ok to me since it's the back of the house.

If you can, find someone who will give you a design and all without asking you to sign anything. A few companies required me to sign stuff that I had to cancel later, which turned into follow up calls and emails, and technically they could have charged me $500 or so, depending on what the documents said, but none of them did because I either asked to have that waived or they were decent enough to no enforce it.

One of the biggest things I liked about the local guy was he was using a better flashing solution than the rest, and he had a sample so I could see it. It had an integrated raised connector for the bolts instead of a flat metal, so it will be much harder for rain water to infiltrate. This is a huge factor to me. Flat metal flashing and washers / sealant around the penetration are not good enough for me, especially after seeing what he will use.

My cost will be just shy of $34,000, before the tax credit. The loan will have an effective interest rate of 8.01%, but I'm also not paying to buy down the interest rate, which would drastically increase the lifetime cost of the loan. Most of the large companies were offering 4% (or less) loans, but that ended up driving up my lifetime cost to over $60k and beyond. Do not go for the low interest rate loans. I have a higher interest rate, but a lower lifetime cost.