American Solar Electric is the largest solar company headquartered in Arizona according to the Phoenix Business Journal’s The List of of Installers. (PBJ list in my previous article. Ratings are based on kilowatts installed in 2009.)
In my previous article, we looked at REC Solar’s calculator. It showed a 6 kilowatt system’s installed price at $35,400 or $5.90 per watt. If we look at American Solar Electric‘s Residential price sheet, it shows a 6.66 kW system for $31,068 or $4.66 per watt. American Solar Electric lists prices, rebates and tax incentives for APS, SRP and TEP (Tucson Electric Power). It is interesting to note that a 6.66 kW system has an installed price of $31,068 for both APS and SRP, but it is $32,270 for TEP. Is this $1,202 difference ($4.85 per watt) due to the drive to Tucson or because the installers in Tucson charge more?
American Solar Electric is obviously trying to price itself as the low cost leader. What kind of efficiency do the panels used in their $4.66 per watt system get? (In other words, will it take up twice the space on my roof to generate the 6.66 kW? Can American Solar Electric sustain these margins? Will others in the industry try to follow their lead? When you want a product to last 20 to 25 years, does it make sense to go with the low cost leader?
Unlike REC, American Solar Electric’s price guide does get the APS and SRP utility rebates correct. (SRP at $2.15/watt, but capped at $10,750 and APS at $1.95/watt with no cap.) Presently, TEP’s rebate is $2.25 per watt per their website, but American Solar Electric has them listed at $2.00/watt plus a Summer of Solar discount which ends 8/31/2010 which is another $0.25 per watt. Perhaps American Solar Electric knows something about an upcoming TEP rebate reduction that has not been announced yet? TEP petitioned and received approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission for a reduction from $3/watt to $2.25/watt just this past July.
Green Fuel Technologies was tied for sixth place on the PBJ’s Installer List with 1,000 kW installed in 2009. They have offices in Phoenix and Williams (Flagstaff), Arizona as well as in Nevada, Colorado and Texas. Green Fuel Technologies lists a 5.78 kW residential system for $33,062 or $5.72/watt. This puts them $0.18/watt lower than REC Solar and $1.06/watt more than American Solar Electric.
Green Fuel Technologies lists a utility rebate of $16,531. Their price/cost sheet doesn’t differentiate between APS, SRP or TEP. $16,531/5,780 watts = $2.86/watt rebate. Green Fuel Technologies, like REC Solar, is not keeping their utility rebates listing on their websites up to date. Have to wonder if they are too busy to take care of a detail like this, how carefully will they answer just a plain old residential consumer’s questions?