Periodically, I receive questions on my “Ask Green Talk” section or via my Contact Form. I respond to them privately via email. The other day I had an epiphany and said, “I should be putting these questions right on the front page for my readers to answer as well.” I have a bunch of great readers who provide me with wonderful insight Plus, even the Great Oz gets stumped too! (Yeah, hard to believe…)
So, here goes my first question that actually stumped the Great Oz. (I told you it happens.)
“I saw a commercial for solar panels and wind turbines on TV. Are they legit? Has anyone tried out their products? http://www.power-save1200.com/solar.html”
I watched that same commercial on PowerSave’s website. The message I took away from the commercial is I could eliminate or reduce my electric bill for free. Even their brochure temps you with a slogan that reads, “What if you could reduce your electric bill at no out of pocket cost.” Who wouldn’t want to check out their website? Ah, the power of marketing where fact and fiction sometimes blur.
Here is the fine print. Depending on the size of the system that you want and your state, you may not be one of the lucky recipients of a free system. Check out their state incentive chart. Note, the prices listed for the various packages are uninstalled prices.
I could not find any link to local installers on the site and the info commercial led me to believe that PowerSave or its network installers installed the systems. If so, why list the uninstalled price? However, if you are a DIYer, they do provide installation instructions.
What is the percentage of savings should you expect? The Company provides a state chart, which illustrates the percentage of saving associated with either a 1 kW, 2KW, or 3 KW. This chart is based upon the assumptions of 10,656 kW per yr. average annual household DOE 1999, and peak sun hours.
One I want to highlight is their POWER-SAVE SOLAR 1000 SYSTEM which is comprised of the following components:
6 – 170 Watt PV Panels, 1020 Peak Watts (UL Listed and CEC Listed)
1 – Flush Mount Roof Racking System
1 – 1100 PV Powered High Efficiency Inverter (UL Listed and CEC Listed)
Only $5,999.00 (uninstalled)
I have read in the past that you pay about $7-$9 per watt for good quality panels. Please correct me if I have made a misstatement. If you do the math based upon those numbers, the cost of the systems seems cheap; however, the Company may be buying mass quantities to reduce the price of the panels.
Here are some other questions that I have:
- What is the typical cost of installation so that you can figure out the overall cost of the system? Adding in that factor, is their price reasonable?
- How long have they been in business? Do they have a proven track record of being reliable in the case their products do not work?
- Is their warranty comparable to other systems out there?
- What is their track record?
- Is there any third party verification as to the amount of energy their system produces? Without that verification, I would be hesitant to buy any system from them.
- As I mentioned above, who installs the system?
In addition to solar systems, they also sell a 500W wind system, however, state incentives for wind are not as good as for the solar systems. In addition, this unit sits on top of the house. This idea raises a few flags for me. First, would you have to obtain a variance if the wind structure adds to the height of the house? Many cities have height restrictions associated with residential dwellings.
Secondly, I was told by a wind expert when researching another wind system that installing a wind structure on your house was not a good idea. He stated that the vibrations from the wind turbine would emanate into the house?
Thirdly, according to the Company, their wind turbine produces 2.5 times more energy than a conventional system. Again without third party verification, how do you know if this statement is accurate? Here is their comparison chart.
Power-Save Wind Turbine vs. Conventional Wind Generators
So, readers, take a look at all the facts and figures on the site, and let me know your thoughts. I will admit that I have not called them because I wanted to get Angela’s question to you. In addition, has anyone purchased from this company? If you have, how long have you had the system and where do you live.
Photos via PowerSave.