"I highly recommend Sandia Mountain Solar for accurate sizing and high quality installation. After waiting years for Solar PV Systems to become affordable we finally took the plunge in October of 2018. We had the system designed and installed by Sandia Mountain Solar and were producing power by December 2018. The system started producing power just as designed and our electric bills went almost immediately to $8 per month.
Let me back up though to say how we came to select Sandia Mountain Solar. Another Solar PV Solar Company came to our door in September wanting to sell us a Solar System. We said yes, we were actually interested in a solar system if it made sense economically. Their approach seemed fine at first. We gave them a copy of our electric bill and from Google Earth and their sizing/layout program they came up with a proposed system. They came back within a day and had a very nice presentation showing the panel array size and layout on our roof and data showing the predicted power generation and the pay back or ROI (return on investment). The system they sized was a 14Kw system at a cost of $56,000. Hmm? Is that the right size? We said we’ll think about it and do a little research. The salesman started to put the pressure on. “It’s the end of the month and we can make you a really good deal if you sign now”. Ya…..No we’ll do our research we said.
Well, the next day I had to travel out of town but my wife got online and using one of the many tools available, pulled up our house and designed a system with no previous knowledge of Solar PV. So I get a call from her telling me that the guy had over sized our system by almost 50% and not to answer my cell if he called until we could talk. She then called a competing Solar PV Company to request a second quote. They were also quick to come up with a PV Design and were out to the house with an equally flashy proposal. The difference was they had a better presentation, a better track record of installs and with some very important information that the initial company omitted. Turns out the system was over sized as my wife suspected but more importantly our power company, PNM, has system size limitations for residential PV systems. 10Kw is the limiting size in order to take advantage of PNMs residential program that allows customers to put the generated power into the grid when it is produced and get it back later when it is needed. In the meantime the original salesman is emailing constantly, cutting his price ever so minimally and if you can believe this, unintentionally includes an email between him and his office berating us, saying we were “reneging on the deal”. What a deal it was. Bye bye.
And by the way if you do use an online program to size your system be ready to be called by a number of solar companies that apparently have a way of monitoring those online programs. Most were not pushy and offered to price a system free of charge.
So the next step was to contact Sandia Mountain Solar. Wait a minute you might say, in September 2018 there’s no company called Sandia Mountain Solar. True but I had a contractor friend of 30 years that had been in the solar business for a number of years and maybe he will have answers to my many questions. I called Jerry and he did have the answers. He also told me he was starting his own company to install PV Solar Systems and in addition he would offer other construction services to compliment his solar projects. Other companies weren’t doing that.
Sandia Mountain Solar was started and lucky for me I was their first customer. Their price was substantially less even comparing the other quotes apples to apples considering the different sized systems. The job turned out fantastic. No ugly conduits going over my parapets, like Company A proposed, all conduits in my garage were concealed in the walls and roof top install was very clean and professionally done. After the system was up and running we decided to changed most of our lighting to LED to lower are usage. And this last October we got a fully electric 2019 Chevy Bolt. I can fully charge it on Saturday or Sunday while the PV system is producing so it is totally covered by the PV output. One charge lasts for the whole week. Production of the system almost perfectly matches our home use. We couldn’t be happier with our solar and wish we could have afforded it years ago. At this rate the system will have paid for itself in just under 8 years.
The next thing I would like to add to my system is AC Batteries. This would allow the system to store power during the day for our use in evenings and early mornings when the system is not producing. It’s really for more altruistic rather than economic reasons that I would like batteries. Even though we generate all the power we need from solar most of that power goes into the grid and then we get it all back at some point when our system is not producing. An AC battery system added to our PV Solar would save the power we generate for our own use and provide relief to our electric grid, in that we would not be using the PNM grid for storage. The fact is our US electric grid does not really have any capability to store power so when demand does not match renewable wind and solar production the power company must generate that additional needed power and currently that is being met by fossil fuels. If all PV Solar and Wind Generation included a battery component it would go a long way towards improving the performance of the electric grid and reducing our need for fossil fuel generation."