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SolarCity

Customer Review(s)
+++++We recently had panels installed by SolarCity. It’s a 20-year lease; you have exclusive use of the panels, SolarCity takes care of the install, warranty, and maintenance. Since they own the panels, they get all the tax deductions and renewable energy credits; the customer gets a lower price and minimal paperwork hassles. There were three payment options: no money up front and a monthly fee, a lump sum up front with no monthly fee, and something in the middle. So for example, we paid about $7500 up front with no further fees for a 5.67kW (DC) system. Depending on electric prices, etc, payback should be in 8-10 years. Our roof faces west, so we’re somewhat suboptimal. MD net metering laws let you offset your own electric usage directly, but if you generate more than your own usage over a year you are “donating” the excess to PEPCO. Note that it’s a grid-tied system with no storage, so it shuts down if there’s a power outage. So it’s not a solution to PEPCO. I have nothing but good things to say about SolarCity themselves; they’ve always been very friendly and responsive and the panels went up months earlier than the initial estimate. I think it’s the whole “saving the planet” thing, they mostly seem young and idealistic. They provide a web interface to see your solar production and download the data. They also guarantee the output of the system, if it produces less than 95% of the estimate in a given year they pay the difference.