Wellfleet Micro-inverter Example with “Adders”
In this example we assume that a homeowner purchases a 5kW rooftop solar system at the basic rate, with micro-inverters and $1500 in other “extras”. The example is based on the final draft of the SREC II program that will take effect at the end of the first or beginning of the second quarter of 2014.
The conclusion we reach is that discounted to the present, the owner would have a payback period of 5.4 years and would earn back their investment and an additional amount with a present value of $15,900.
Assumptions: Solar Ownership Model
The price of electricity is expected to rise significantly for the next few years in the Northeast because of a shortage in natural gas line transmission capacity. After that, we conservatively assume that electric prices will generally rise with inflation. Over the last year, electric rates have risen faster than this.
Size: | 5 kW (5,000 watts) |
Annual Production (1^{st} year): | 6000 mWh |
Panel Degradation: | 1% Annually |
Electricity Price (See below): | $0.21/kWh |
Electricity Price Escalator: | 3% Annually for 3, years then 1% |
Life of System: | 20 years |
SREC Value: | $285 declining to $189 |
SREC Factor | 1.0 SRECs per mWh |
Timeline for SREC Sales: | 10 years |
Federal Income Tax Rate: | 28% |
Discount Rate: | 4.0% above inflation |
Wellfleet Tier 5 Price: | $3.50 / Watt |
SRECs assumed not taxable | |
System installed 4th quarter 2014 |
Assuming that Solarize Wellfleet reaches tier 5, we will have a very advantageous base cost of $3.50 per watt. In addition in this example there is a Commonwealth Solar rebate of $2000, a Federal tax credit of $5250 and a Massachusetts Tax Credit of $1000. Taking these credits into account, the basic cost of the system will be $11,000. That cost will be offset by not paying NSTAR for electricity and by income from SRECs.
Calculations
Item | Value |
Notes |
Basic Installation Cost | $17,500 |
Assumes Tier 5 without any adders |
Adders | $2,500 | Micro-inverters and average extras |
Total Installation Cost | $20,000 | |
CSII Rebate (base of $0.40/watt) | -$2,000 | Taxable ( 1099 issued) |
Total Upfront Cost | $18,000 | |
Federal Tax Credit (30% of cost) | -$6,000 | Applied on 2014 tax return in 2015 |
MA Tax Credit | -$1,000 | State taxes will be reduced by the credit amount, but federal taxes will have a corresponding reduced state tax deduction. |
Total After Tax Credits | $11,000 | |
Here are some details.
Assuming your federal taxes exceed $5250, you will be able to take a federal tax credit. If your state taxes exceed $1000, you will also get a Massachusetts state tax credit. Credits can be carried forward and spread over several years.
Offsetting these credits, you will need to pay taxes on the CS II rebate. In addition, the amount you can deduct on your federal taxes for Massachusetts state tax will be reduced because state taxes will go down due to the state tax credit. That is, in the 28% federal bracket, you only retain 72% of the CS II rebate and state credit.
You will also be saving on the cost of electricity over the next 20 years (or more) and will be able to “mint” solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and sell them. The cost of electricity in the future is speculative, but will probably go up. The value of SRECs can go higher than the numbers stated, which are the “floor” prices.
Payback
The chart below includes the effect of taxes and the expected income streams. It has two columns of costs. In the first, the after-tax costs and income streams are summed. In the second, the “Net Present Value” is considered as well. “Net present value” takes into account that a dollar of income promised for five years from now is worth less to you than a dollar in hand today, since you could invest the dollar now and presumably have more than one dollar in five years. The chart assumes 4% return over the rate of inflation.
The chart does not calculate or assume a specific rate of inflation. It assumes that the price of electricity and the return on your investments will be inflated equally. An alternate way of saying this is all numbers are in “2014 dollars”.
The bottom line is that whether you consider present value or not, the payback period (the time it takes to recover your investment) is between four and six years.
Item | After Tax | NPV After Tax | Notes: NPV discounted at 4.00% |
Upfront Cost | $18,000 | $18,000 | |
Credits |
$6,160 | $5,914 | Federal Tax Credit + MA Tax Credit – federal taxes on CSII Rebate and MA Tax Credit |
Cost after tax credits | $11,840 | $12,086 | |
SREC Income (over 10 yrs) | $11,313 | $8,909 | |
Maintenance | 0 | 0 | Micro-inverters generally don’t need replacement in 25 years |
Electricity Savings (over 20 yrs) | $26,890 | $16,819 | Cost escalated and discounted |
Net Project Value | $27,620 | $15,904 | In current dollars. |
Payback Period | 4.7 | 5.4 | Years |
NSTAR Rates 2014 for Wellfleet (Estimated)
Distribution | $0.07332 |
Transition | $0.02922 |
Transmission | $0.01863 |
Energy Conservation | $0.00250 |
Renewable Energy | $0.00050 |
2014 Generation Rate | $0.09334 |
Total | $0.21751 |
Disclaimer: The example on this page is an estimate made by Solarize Wellfleet and is not intended to be a guarantee or a pricing offer. It is based on our best estimate at this time.