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Community and Q&A

Getting Quotes on Solar Install

evolart | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I am in the process of quoting out solar and one of the vendors is offering a what they call an energy efficiency home solution. This includes sealing of attic leaks/all fixtures and adding a radiant barrier and solar attic fan for $8550 on top of our solar.

Based off research I am torn as to whether or not this will be worth it for our 3300 sq foot home. The cost difference on the 15 year energy loan is about $78 per month going with this home solution + solar vs solar only. We are told with the solar setup we have specced out we would be at a 101% offset and with the full home solution + solar we would be at a 109% offset which would only increase as our home ages and building and insulation materials deteriorate.

Our home is brand new, only 6 months old and located in the Denver, CO area. Which appears to be climate zone 3B.

Let me know if any information would help here in helping us figure out if it’s worth the extra cost/debt.

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  1. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #1

    Skip the solar attic fan. You generally do NOT want to intentionally depressurize your attic like that. The radiant barrier probably won’t do a whole lot either, they’re more of a niche product.

    Air sealing might help you, but probably not much, if any. I have family in one of the many massive new developments in aurora. The houses are pretty well sealed already since they’re built to current code. Air sealing is more of a benefit to older homes that tend to be pretty leaky. With a newer, tighter, home, there is less to be gained with an air sealing project. That’s not to say there is nothing to be gained, but think of it as all the easy stuff has probably already been done — only the hard stuff is left. Chances are you’re not going to see enough improvement to be worth the cost of the package you were offered.

    I know a lot of those houses have been built with bagged batts insulating the basement walls. Keep an eye on that, rigid foam is a better option. If you have any moisture issues, consider replacing the batts with rigid foam.

    Note that most insulating materials don’t degrade much over any reasonable periods of time. Your home will get a little leakier, but it’s too soon to try to address that right now with such a new home.

    On a plus side, with the usual amount of sunlight you get out there, your solar system will probably produce pretty well for you over it’s life. I do wonder a bit how well they stand up to the fairly frequent hail out there though.


  2. walta100 | | #2

    +1 on Bills comments.

    Has the home been blower door tested?

    Blindly sealing “leaks” without before and after testing is a pig in a poke.

    If you do not test over 2 ACH you are unlikely to see much improvement without a lot more work than you described.

    To my ear it sounds like fast talking salesman speak to me.


  3. evolart | | #3

    Thanks for the awesome detailed responses. We haven't had any tests done at all and it's all just been part of us getting this solar system quoted out.

    Even the solar system we are ultimately questioning due to the high cost and how long it will take to fully pay back even with the close to 14.5k we will be getting back from the government and cashback offerings for going with the RENU loan program.

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