Thanks for your input! Good info to have.
I will say that Blue Sky / GreenRock has been super so far -- very communicative. I am one of those nerds who asks a million detailed questions and then when I get answers I ask a million follow-up questions. Our email thread already has 13 detailed, informative messages in it, and it just started Sunday night! (36 hours ago, and yes, their first reply to me came Sunday night)
They are between models... they are adding battery management to each battery stack; the new version should be out early next year, but in the meantime they are not selling any more of the old version. Bummer for our timing, since we'd like to get up and running this year not only because we need power at our construction site, but also for the tax credit.
Well, they are willing to sell us two Discover lithium batteries, and then swap them for 8 of their saltwater batteries whenever they are available, for no additional fee! (The price tag is just a tad bit more than lithium for a generously bigger battery bank to hopefully have similar performance). It is true that the big footprint is not lost on us -- in our little house, it will be a space hog compared to lithium. We were originally thinking lead acid when we designed the utility room, though, so we should be able to do it.
They are also writing us a quote for a complete turnkey system including panels and everything else you need (inverters, charge controllers, etc etc).
The other vendor we are looking at is Wholesale Solar -- with them also we are going for a turnkey system (including backup generator). We could also do a Wholesale Solar all-but-batteries kit, and get the batteries from BlueSky (lithium for starters, swapped out for saltwater when available). We are normally DIYers, but have way enough DIY on our plate at the moment, in the middle of a house build, finishing up our earlier greenhouse build, farming, and just managing day-to-day life living outside.
And we thought we were retired.
So we are OK with delegating solar system design and detail planning to a vendor! We'll still have to pull permits, install the system, arrange inspections, etc. That's enough.
Any input on wholesale solar would be welcome. Or input on Heliene panels, Schneider inverter...
I have still not been able to find any info on buying Aquion batteries currently. I've heard they are available overseas, and I did find 2 vendor sites that mention them (https://www.solar-electric.com/aquion-energy-batteries
and i didn't record the other) but neither had them for sale on their site, and I have calls in to both to see if they actually are selling them (solar-electric just said no, haven't sold them since they went bankrupt). The Aquion site itself does not seem to be working. If anyone has a link to some place where you can buy Aquion, I'd be interested. Also, if anyone has any comparison between Aquion and GreenRock batteries, I'd love to hear that too. In the meantime, I am pretty impressed with Blue Sky / GreenRock. They have been selling GreenRock batteries in the US for four years.
Thanks again -- I'll shoot off the 14th email with the questions raised by David!