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This GoSolar initiative is such a terrific idea. Did everyone see the L.A. Times article yesterday (8/2/09)? The collective buying group, One Block off the Grid (1BOG.org) is currently running a campaign in Los Angeles. 1BOG has negotiated a $6.05 per kilowatt hour rate for their campaign, and would love to compare notes with our group. I viewed their webinar which was long but very informative, especially the Q & A. Then I called their offices, talked to Matt and Jonathan, and asked whether our organization, GoSolar, was coordinating with them (they said no).

Would it be a good idea for GoSolar to combine our efforts with theirs--what do you think? Solar City is also their installer; and their goal is to have 75 ppl signed up by Aug. 15th, with contracts signed with Solar City by Oct. 31st if not before. They also have a fun web map detailing the spots throughout L.A. where ppl have expressed interest in installing solar. Best, Rachel Lee

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Today I had Kevin from Solar City come out and give me an estimate on both a purchase and lease option. The terms are confusing and comparing to other programs is pretty difficult. I did get him to say that the cost per kilowatt hour for me would be $6.92 and that "no one" is going to give it at $6.05. I was told that the Mar Vista Community Solar Program (?same as GoSolar) discount is $500. I am definitely interested in going forward but would like more objective information before making a final decision.
Update: I mentioned to the Solar City rep the 1BOG campaign and he agreed to match the rate (actually it was very slightly higher @ $6.07 - about $100 more). So we decided to go ahead with the purchase, which according to S.C.'s forecasts, should pay for itself in about 7 years. There is about a 3-4 month wait before installation will occur.
Hi Anne -- great to hear you were able to get the $6.07 price! We had asked Solar City to extend the 1BOG price on cash purchases to all Mar Vista residents. They said they could not and noted that the lease offers for 1BOG and Mar Vista are the same -- and that the 1BOG cash purchase package does not include the Internet monitoring service and free Wi-Fi included in the Mar Vista program. Internet monitoring helps ensure the panel is operating at full capacity and is otherwise a $1,500 add-on.

Sounds like people are best requesting the lower case purchase price on an individual basis. Good to know!

I just had Tom from Solar City over yesterday and signed a lease agreement. I'm planning to post my cash/lease proposals so people can see some of the pricing details and savings.

Congrats on going solar!!

all the best,
James
Hi Anne,
I also got quotes from Solar City on both 1BOG and GoSolar Mar Vista leasing options (basically the same terms) and on 1BOG's buying option (b/c Go Solar Mar Vista's rate was much higher for buying, from what I understand). Just want a clarification on what Kevin at Go Solar wrote for you: are you getting the $6.07 rate with 1BOG or the $6.07 rate with Go Solar (meaning, you'll also get the $500 discount and/or free wi-fi plus the free Solar Guard internet monitoring )?

I'm waiting for my roofing quotes to come in before signing. I'll be happy to share details of my contract with others as well. Best, Rachel
Hi Rachel and James,

My contract (which technically was not through 1BOG but was the same terms) does not include the $500 discount or free wi-fi. The contract that was e-mailed to me included the Solar Guard but Kevin verbally told me this wasn't included (as I was signing a different contract...). I have asked the company to send me a written copy of the contract I signed and then I'll have to clarify with them about the Solar Guard. There were a few interactions like this that were less than professional in my opinion, and I plan to f/u with Solar City about this. My advice to others moving ahead with this is to review your contract line by line, ask plenty of questions and don't rush into anything- us greenies tend to think with our hearts when it comes to this stuff.

I do think the purchase option makes more sense for us- the costs are so low right now and the long term savings are much, much higher. As long as you have the cash (in my case about $8K after rebates) to plunk down, you'll see net savings in 7-8 years and over the life of the system will save tens of thousands of dollars.

Best of luck,

Anne
Hi Anne--Thanks for this info. The Solar City experience, from what I can tell, varies tremendously with whatever sales rep you get. I'm working with Michael Park (out of the SF office), but had a very unpleasant interaction with Kevin (the local rep) before that, which is why they placed me with Michael. I've also heard great things about Tom (I think the person James is working with).

We'd like to buy, but we just got roofing quotes which are MUCH more than what we had anticipated. The lowest quote I got for a full roof replacement (torch down) was from a roofer who hasn't installed solar and basically pooh-poohed the idea.

I'll post what we ultimately decide soon... Best, Rachel
Hello Neighbors! My name is Matthew Genender and I, too, live in Mar Vista. I work with Bonterra Solar, and we offer, both, Solar Electric and Solar Hot Water systems for residential (single family and multi-family) dwellings, as well as commercial properties. For anyone interested in solar, I would love the opportunity to meet with you and have a conversation. I believe there is no better decision than an informed decision, so I am happy to answer all the questions you may have, in order to help guide you through the process. Whether you choose Bonterra Solar, or any of the other great companies out there offering solar, I commend all of you for taking the initiative! My cell is (310) 944-5575, and my email is MGenender@BonterraSolar.com, and I am always available to you. Thank you, and again, I applaud your efforts!

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