SolarHackr for EVs

Hi Hackrs,

I’m planning to install solar panels on my roof to charge my EVs and to reduce/eliminate my electricity bill. I just started my research and it seems there are many options (purchase, loan, or lease), kind of similar to car ownership options.

I wonder if there is any good website or forum on this topic to guide me through the process, or if you can share your experience / thoughts.

p.s., I’m in SoCal and LADWP and I don’t plan to live in the current home for more than 5 years, so I’m thinking leasing might make the best sense?

Below is the gist of discussion:

A couple of points I’ll share when I looked into it last year.

  • Purchasing is expensive if state/Fed rebates don’t exist (especially the best panel technology)
  • Leasing is expensive, and many companies are providing older, outdated panel technology, not the best / most efficient panels that available.
  • The process of installing Solar, may require you to refresh / update your roof depending on age / condition (factor in any costs for this). And if the company installing the equipment is not really good, you could encounter roof leaks.
  • I’ve also had companies tell me I needed to remove trees, and that’s an extra expense.
  • If you monetized the lease costs vs. actual electrical bills, there’s not enough saving to justify conversion.
  • Also, I wanted to build as large as a Solar farm that my roof could fit, however the leasing company said they were only allowed to build a system that accomodated 80-90% of our usage. I don’t remember the exact number, but they won’t build you a system where you create excess electricity that you can sell back to the power company for profit. SO AT END OF DAY, I WOULD STILL NEED TO PURCHASE SOME ELECTRICITY?!?!
  • Be aware, when you lease and install solar on your house, you need to make sure the new buyers/owners will accept your current solar lease, since they are typically based on a 10-20yr ROI

So if you think you will stay only 5yrs and when you sell your home, that the Solar leasing company will come and uninstall your Solar, they won’t and it could become a hinder to your reselling your property if the new owners don’t want to accept the Solar lease transfer.


Talk to He knows all the ins and outs, and has a system himself.

If you only have 5 years…it’s complicated.
You may be able to get to brake even on a good buy deal but what happens to the home afterwards? Sell…rent? What annual millage are you looking to cover on ev? What is your annual electric consumption? where in SoCal? Roof surface and orientation?
Leasing is the worst option and should only be considered as last resort.
There are a few on here that have experience and can help you get an idea. As for websites, i have yet to find a reliable one.

I thought you were the expert? Not being an asshole when I say that, but you seem to know a thing or 2

LOL…i do have experience with this and helped a few but i’m definitely not the only one on here that knows stuff as noticed in the few discussions we had on this forum. Thanks for the prop.

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Have you looked into Tesla’s Solar Subscription? It sounds almost too good to be true, but is a relatively low risk option if your house checks out (no need to do any electrical panel upgrades, roof repairs, tree trimming, etc…)

It has the benefits of leasing ($0 upfront costs), but without the contracts. It’s a month-to-month subscription where you can pause or cancel at any time. If you decide you want the system removed altogether, Tesla will uninstall it at no cost. So this sounds like it would fit your needs of having solar panels ASAP without being locked into a long-term agreement that you have to worry about transferring if you sell your house.

I guess the question is, do you want Solar just to charge EV, or replace power on entire home. The latter is obviously much larger of a system, and more costly. I don’t think the Tesla option is for a home just EV.

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I don’t tend to follow the solar threads other than a skim or 2 here and there as they don’t really affect me. Electric is relatively cheap here and we get less sunny days than Seattle.

That said, you’re probably the only one that pops in my head regarding solar, as I recall having a conversation with you at one point when you were newer. So, not sure of the others. Looks like @CaptQ knows a thing or 2 also

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To me here in NJ, it didn’t make financial sense. I have a perfect southern exposure in my backyard, and I laughed at the guy who said the one tree in the center of my yard needed to come down. Its 50=60’ from my house, and the shadow line on Goole Earth showed it never hit the roof.

With a roof my size that part of my roof it 30x50’ and I could put a $H!T ton of panels there, but they told me we can only build a system for 80% of my usage. So I would have to pay the Solar company lease, which was less expensive than the current electric rate, but I would still need to buy energy from a local provider for the remainder. I laughed them our of my house, when they couldn’t provide me w/ a report that said the system would pay for itself.

You really need to look into it carefully and consider all factors and costs, but as I said, w/ only 80% of need being fulfilled by Solar, is was a non-starter.

1 Like Many thanks for your inputs!
May I know why leasing is the worst option?

I probably would rent it out after 5 years. I’m in the processing of buying a home so I don’t know what my electric bill would look like but my guestimate is $200-$250/month including the cost for EV charging and a heated pool.

That’s what I’m struggling with. All solar panel websites seem to be designed to sell you solar panel so I can’t find a source of info that I can generally trust.

Thanks. I will look into it but won’t keep my hope high given the track records of Tesla’s promises :wink:

For what it’s worth, I signed up and within a month had the panels installed. I went with the small package, which should cover about 90% of my needs.

Now I’m just waiting for the green light from my utility company to turn it on.


The math is against it…sure you will save some $ with it but you are basically sharing your profits with the provider. When i did the math for my system it was shocking to see the difference…the purchase had a 300% return (on 25 years) while the leasing only about 50%…also remember when leasing you give the fed credit to the leasing company. Leasing is the easy way out, quick and easy…but like anything else in life, quick and easy is most often the worst way to do things.

It’s too bad you don’t have any numbers we could do some math with…you could estimate to some extent based on your current consumption and how big the next house is.
SoCal is perfect for pv the more inland you go. My system is pretty small (one mistake i made was not thinking i will go exclusively ev) at 5.4kWh and still produces well over 8000kWh all while only one out of 17 panels has a southern exposure.
BTW, negotiating may be a bit though right now since everyone wants to jump in before the fed credit gets cut at the end of the year.

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Is this the subscription you mentioned?

I went with solar after a pretty thorough 9 vendor selection process that included Sunrun and Solar City/Tesla.

Energysage is a great resource if you decide to buy.

There are plenty of things I can point out, but in the interest of being succinct, the main issue is 5 years doesn’t make much sense. We started with leasing and realized they were absolutely not able to get a ROI compared to owning after 7 years when you factor in the incentives. It’s like buying that E-Golf for $12k (after tax credit and rebates) vs leasing for $10k…

So unless you actually own your current home and plan to lease that out (then you can increase the value of your rental property), a short term lease doesn’t really make much sense. You’ll see if you start talking to the guys trying to sell you a lease: they try to paint a rosy picture but it’s like the finance guys at the dealership, a bunch of number shifting to hide their profits and you overpaying.


Yup - I was surprised by how quickly it all worked out.

With it being Tesla, there’s going to be some risk involved. Sure their goal is to rapidly increase their solar customers/subscribers in order to get more people into their ecosystem, and they’ve been known to cut corners and ask for forgiveness in the past. But at $65/mo, I feel like it’s a pretty low risk scenario.

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Haha, I was thinking of exactly the same analogy when I read from a couple of solar panel websites.

What array size? What was your yearly consumption?

Interesting, Tesla is offering the option for subscription solar in six states – Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico. They give pricing examples for the small system, and unfortunately NJ has the lowest payback, it basically will cost $600/yr for the subscription service, and the small system will generate about $600-800 in offset energy costs. I’d like to see what the medium and large systems cost & generate to evaluate their financials, but if similar to the small system, it may not make sense.

Tesla does offer some flexibility w/ their lease compared to companies I’ve spoke to in NJ.

Tesla offers three system sizes – small, medium or large. The $65/mo that @temporaryaccess mentioned is the small system out of Cali.

  • A small system is 3.8 kW
  • A medium system is 7.6 kW
  • A large system is 11.4 kW
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