We were fortunate enough to have been referred to Justin and Vinyasun to set up our solar system by a good friend. I am a trained materials engineer, and had interviewed about a dozen solar companies, many of which simply did not impress me with their knowledge of their products (or their products), or of the real-world power usages of their customers.
Vinyasun (Justin the owner) was the first person that actually knew what he was talking about in regards to how to optimize the # of panels we would need to offset our actual usage in a meaningful way. They did not try to sell us on ‘upgrading’ our hot water heater to the hybrid water heaters that many other companies tout (..they break more frequently), but really focused on designing the best solar-system possible based on our needs. Being in South Florida, our main interest was being able to hopefully be able to live ‘off grid’ in case of a hurricane, and luckily we were one of the few people to receive Tesla Powerwalls before their manufacturing shortages/delays in 2020/2021. Justin spent many many hours going through all of the calculations and teaching us how to figure out what our current electrical consumption is, and how many panels and batteries we would need to be self-sufficient in case of a hurricane. The key thing he taught us that no-one else did, which is really simple actually, is to consider your power consumption needs during August/Sept when hurricanes are most likely to occur.
Since installing the system last February, our electric bills are now at FPLs minimum, ~$10/month, down from the $250-$350/month bills. We also went off-grid for about a week as a test in February and were completely fine.
The system we designed uses top of the line SunPower solar cells, which only a few authorized dealers carry. If you watch the video on how these are made, the solid copper backing is just so superior to printed metal paste, in terms of strength and durability.. for our extreme weather down here they really are the best. We had a complicated roof installation, and Vinyasun worked with our roofer to ultimately get us the best installation possible despite some communication hiccups (our roof contractor left the company the day after we signed our contract.. ugh.. which caused some unnecessary headaches and delays).
Some added benefits we found since installing the system are:
We installed an array on our flat roof, which adds further insulation and shade to it, and really cools off our patio greatly (in addition to the insulated roof and fans we installed). Now we enjoy our patio in the summer (fans really help with the mosquitos too)
We have had a few ‘brown outs’ in the neighborhood, and since I work from home, these minor inconveniences no longer effect us, as the Tesla Powerwalls switch the electricity on so quickly my computers and wifi don’t notice at all.
My in-laws live next door, so we’ve even joked about running an extension cord to their house in case a hurricane comes (We all lived through Hurricane Andrew back in ’92, and were without power for 3 months then.. so, we’d rather not re-live that experience again.. although.. if a Cat5 comes through here I’ll be impressed if the roof/solar panels are still there ! )
Since we’re talking about potential scenarios, another thing we’ve half-joked about is that if there is a big power outage in the summer, and we are one of the few houses in the neighborhood with power, that my kids could set up a lemonade stand and cell-phone charging booth on our front lawn :). Hopefully we won’t have to do that.. but.. it’s still a fun idea.
Vinyasun is a small business, and sometimes can be tough to get ahold of— however, what might not be clear to the new customer is that Justin lives off of his electronic calendar, and you can book appointments with him at https://calendly.com/solar-justin/ which I found more useful than leaving phone messages.
Overall, we are extremely impressed with the system that Vinyasun designed, and hopefully, it will last for 30+ years.. I think it will.
-Peter G. (Broward, FL)