REPORT: HelioPower Offers Lowest Cost PV

03 April of 2012 by

panel cloud beautiful REPORT: HelioPower Offers Lowest Cost PV

How low can the cost of solar go for residents at this point? Pretty low, according to PV Solar Report’s latest data on solar prices in California. The report, which is based on California Solar Initiative (CSI) reporting and other data, found that HelioPower was installing photovoltaics for an average installed per watt rate of $5.55 at the end of February 2012.

The report found that the average price for installed solar was $7.82 per watt and the highest price was $12.57 as of March 14, according to HelioPower. Using that math, a 5 kilowatt home system would cost $27,750 from HelioPower and $35,100 more—$62,850—from the most expensive installer in the report.

The company does much of its business through SunRun power-purchase agreements, according to HelioPower spokesperson Glenna Wiseman. The company partners with SunRun to finance projects and sets its prices based on what it can get from its manufacturer partners.

“HelioPower is by far the value leaser among the top 15 companies,” said PV Solar Report Managing Director and Founder Stephen Torres. “It changes month-to-month, but you can tell who the value folks are. The higher price-per-watt folks are typically a little smaller; they have their own leasing arrangements or are selling smaller systems.”

HelioPower wasn’t the busiest installer on the list; it was right in the middle, so it’s not just about economy of scale.

“It’s about how we price our projects, we’re looking to price very fairly,” said Wiseman. “We make sure we’re doing enough volume with our PV manufactures and suppliers that we pass those savings along to our homeowners and customers.”

The company is working to drive down system, installation and hard costs of equipment.

Homeowners have been able to get better deals by checking out multiple installers, according to Wiseman—even among those that offer the same power-purchase agreement financing through SunRun.

“There are homeowners that contact multiple SunRun providers and then pit them against each other,” she said. That has helped them get the best deal on their system.

Having resources like PV Solar Report and CSI helps.

“The whole goal is to increase homeowner awareness, to make decisions about purchasing a system, looking for price per watt and getting a good value,” Wiseman said.

After all, once homeowners sign a lease or power-purchase agreement, they are making an agreement that affects their energy bills for years to come.

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  1. Another reason there prices are lower is because they are using central inverters (Old technology that only comes with a 10 yr warranty) EnPhase micro inverters (25 year warranty) are arguably the most significant advancement in solar in the last 25 years. We adopted the technology before it became popular and as such have the ability to show monitoring of sytems that have been installed for years. We are seeing at a minimum 10% gains in productivity up to 25% vs a central inverter. The only companies who do not like enPhase are the ones who offer leases that force them to sell private labled central inverters. They are not able to sell EnPhase as their leasing company will not allow it. Remember the panel is only 1/2 the equation. I agree homeowners need to do their research.

    • Adam,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree that we (HelioPower) do install a lot of SMA central inverter systems, but your comment about Enphase is incorrect. HelioPower not only offers Enphase to customers who prefer microinverter technology, but our financing partner, SunRun, absolutely accepts enphase microinverters. Additionally, SunRun warranties the SMA inverters for 20 years, so for SunRun customers, the warranty delta is not nearly as great as you represent in your post. For cash customers, SMA offers a 20 year warranty option for a very reasonable cost. Lastly, SMA inverters are extremely reliable and well made products. We’ve had very few failures over the thousands of units we’ve sold over 12 years. As much as we like SMA products, we are increasingly selling more Enphase product as our customers ask for it or we feel it is necessary for shading and/or design considerations. In either case, our stated goal as a company is to drive down the cost of solar for all regardless of the technology in question. So to summarize, Enphase is part of our product offering, SunRun accepts Enphase, and we will continue to drive competitive pricing regardless of the technology we choose to deploy in the future.

  2. ADAM,

    Does, it really matter where you get your electricity from ? as long as its cheaper, right !

    Do you really think the homeowner really cares about the equipment….they don’t own it!

    Bottom line, is people want to save money… please, don’t take cheap shots….at any company

    that is partner of Sunrun.

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