I purchased a 5.30 kWh system from SunBug Solar three years ago in September, and I highly recommend them to anyone that cares to listen.
The whole operation is knowledgeable, courteous, and very professional. Hmm, all true, but very “stuffy” now that I read it over. Honestly, these are some of the nicest, and smartest people I’ve ever dealt with. Their capable team will handle all the paperwork (which is substantial), and keeps you informed throughout the whole process.
Let’s not forget the installation and electricians who did an outstanding job of putting them up, and making it look as though there isn’t a wire or connector attached to them anywhere . . . remarkable.
As I mentioned above, my system size is considered to be 5.30 kWh, but has actually over-produced by a full megawatt each year that I can attest to, making it effectively a 6.3 kWh system. So don’t think they are over-inflating your production values. Of course, this is all subject to the amount of sunny/rainy days over the course of a year.
Now for the return on investment (ROI):
I did receive a number of incentives (State/Fed) when I purchased my system, almost 3 years ago. All of which may not be available now, but if you were seriously considering going solar, I’d look into it sooner rather than later because once funds run out, they may not be offered again.
I can safely say . . . my system has already paid for itself, which is due to a number of factors, and not just the State/Federal incentives. Or, the fact I haven’t had to pay for my electricity since installation. Actually, my total bill for May last year to this year was $47 . . . must have been all those darn Christmas lights. ;-)
Depending on your household heating needs, the cost-savings will vary. In my case, I use home heating oil, which also produced my hot water. Since installing the panels, I have changed my oil-fired hot water heater to an electric (hybrid) hot water tank (aka: heat-pump), which switched heating the water from oil to solar power, and has reduced the number of times I need to have the oil tank filled by almost a tank a year (which is factored into my ROI calculations).
So, between these factors: Government incentives, less heating oil, the 15 Megawatts I’ve already produced, along with something I haven’t mentioned yet . . . Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), which buys every Megawatt you produce for 10 years. SRECs are a lot more complicated than you want to read about here. I would recommend reading up about them here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/renewable-energy/solar/rps-solar-carve-out-2/.
As for maintenance costs, I haven’t had any since installed. But I am still in contact with SunBug on a regular basis . . . usually, to brag about my production, or to ask all the little questions that inevitably come up along the way. I must say Mike O. has never made me feel like I was bothering him with any of my questions, big or small.
Bottom line: I have never once regretted my choice of installing with SunBug Solar, and I couldn’t be any happier with the decision to install solar in general. It’s more than just the savings . . . it’s how it makes you feel about yourself at the end of the day.