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With controversial debates raging on the cost-effectiveness of solar energy over conventional energy resources, consumers can get overwhelmed and opt against investing in solar alternatives. We conclude and assure prospective clients, not only is solar cost on an equal footing with conventional energy resources, but is also conducive to our fragile environment. We all have a moral obligation to keep our home planet beautiful.
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Solar Panels Installation Costs Comparison and Solar Power Facts
Welcome to this new comprehensive web site on solar resources, ranging from solar components selection (PV modules, inverters, charge controllers, batteries etc) to full installation cost comparisons, and beyond to solar leasing, PPA and alternative DIY solar projects. We emphasize a working knowledge, through each step of your solar energy investment, by presenting worked examples ranging from power electronics (PV module daily energy output, estimating battery cost, size of battery bank, charge controller & inverter costs) to key concepts (series or parallel module configurations, single, split, three phase grid-ties, anti-islanding protection etc) to Federal ITC, state incentives, utility net-metering and more. As an up-to-date service, we want to give you the opportunity to stay in touch with current developments in solar power as an alternative source of energy. We strive to equip you with viable options in pricing, selection and availability.
Solar PV System Pricing
There is much conflicting information on the internet concerning solar power systems. Most fail to provide a definitive guide to component type, selection and pricing all in a concise integrated format. When a typical 2kW index system and pricing example is presented, it should encompass the following issues: Is the pricing current? Is it before or after any applicable sales tax and incentives? Does it matter which order you apply the Federal and State incentives? Does it include battery
backup in the price quote? If so, will I need a charge controller or hybrid inverter? What's the difference between single, split and three phase protocols when connecting to the grid and which is better? Really, how efficient is a given system and how much actual power will it deliver, does it depend on my location? What's the difference between using a single central inline inverter verses multiple micro-inverters and which cost more and why? What about series, parallel and hybrid configuration of panels in an array, how will it affect power distribution? Will bypass Schottky diodes help? Are there alternative cost-effective options, like leasing, self-installation kits, DIY projects and how reliable are the DIY projects? The list of questions go on. These are examples of questions, many prospective buyers are seeking and they need to be addressed in a clear concise fashion. We endeavor to do just that. While no source is exhaustive, we will strive to equip you well, so you can be trusted to make an informed decision when you are ready to invest in profitable solar energy alternatives.
In the Installation Cost page, we address these issues by exposing you to the three main popular categories of solar power system. Exemplifying on the first two, as it applies to the majority of inquires, but coverage of off-grid is included. Pricing examples will be set, and a cost-distribution of component prices (as a percentage of final cost,) presented in a clear fashion as a giudeline only, with support charts for quick overview assessments.
Solar PV System Cost Comparison
A pie chart weighted-average cost distribution of a typical solar power system with no battery bank backup. These, grid-intertied units are the most popular and offer the best of both worlds, namely lower long-term utility billing with added security of grid power in the evenings and during stormy weather. Now with prices rapidly declining
and reduced further by Federal and state benefits plus local utility rebates (that purchase back your surplus electricity) there has never been a better time to go solar. How to optimize these benefits, estimate your home solar energy output and watch it convert daily into energy savings. Then watch your property increase in value over the life term of your solar modules. Estimate your return on investment,
are just some examples of topics covered in.......... Installation Cost
A professional install PV system may cost more, but it's quality work and
backed by many years of experience. Specialists can custom design your system plus a warranty that gives peace of mind.
Leasing,PPA have little to zero upfront costs, Solar kits are cost-effective, reliable and convenient to work with. Depending on your preference, there are a host of options available
bringing solar energy
within your reach so you can partake of the future that belongs to renewable energy.....Solar Resources
Homemade solar panels can have a professional look, feel sturdy and are
reliable, with the proper approach and guidance. With some experience, are readily reproducible
to populate your solar array for major energy savings.DIY professional looking and cost-effective
factory grade modules are now within your reach A set of quality tutorials and companion e-books, at bargain prices pave the way to electric utility savings and greater grid independence. Would you like to know more?
Solar Panel Installation Cost Alternatives
Why Not Solar?
With much debate raging for years over the cost-effectiveness of solar power over conventional resources, solar PV cost have finally plummeted down to earth. While conventional resources have grown harmful, not renewable with reserves running out and by supply and demand, mandates a long term rising cost trend despite local flucuations that appear to be a price decline............. Solar Cost Debate
So, ever wondered what is the difference between power and energy? That is the diffenece between a kilowatt and a kilowatt hour! What are the very components of a solar PV system? What do they do? What are the components of a solar panel? How do solar cells work? What effect does one shaded cell have on the entire solar panel or array of panels? What are bypass diodes and how can they help? What is maximum power point tracking or MPPT? How do you estimate your ROI from energy savings?Answers to these quiries and more.....Solar Panels.
So, You Have Questions
Moderate number of solar panels (twenty four, facing South ) grace the roof of this cottage style home (illustration above.) If household roof top square footage is an issue , then installing
higher density solar modules is crucial to ensure optimizing the power delivered per square foot. Primary concerns of residentail cusomers include structural intergrity and roof warranties. A professional solar PV (PhotoVoltaic) installation should allay these issues. Assessing the final cost of solar PV systems depends on a number of factors that include: Your budget (with possible sales tax, before tax incentive.) Your daily power consumption. What percentage of that dependency you would like to reclaim from your utility service? Would you like battery backup for "off-grid" evening power and during outages? The size and type of solar PV panel, monocrystalline verses polycrystalline. The type of inverter to use, string inverter or micro-inverters to convert your DC input to household AC power Who you elect to install your system.... and so on. The list goes on depending on your particular requirements and resources.
In the Installation Cost forum, we address these issues and give some examples to help you get a handle on installation cost. The good news is, prices are dropping on factory solar panels, averaging $300 for 200W units or $1.5/W. Now with China flooding the market with good quality "cheap" PV solar panels as low as $225 are available (when purchased in bulk, typically
around ten min.) for 180W units or $1.25/W. This translates into lower retail prices for you, the consumer. According to a recent solar market survey, there are currently over 320 solar PV modules under $2/W available online (globally) with the lowest
price from a retailer in Germany for $1.06/W. If you are feel up to installing your solar PV system yourself (with proper guidance,) there are tremendous deals and savings to be had from solar kits. These range from 2.4kW grid-tied @ $2.39/W to off-grid 5.2kW with batteries @ 79cents/W. Details in the Solar Resources forum.
Give Me An Estimate
In the illustrations above, an elegant medium size household adorned by forty-eight solar panels. Technically, this would qualify as a large residential solar PV system. Solar systems are sold as complete installs by their power ratings.In other words, as dollars per watt or gross cost divided by system's listed peak power output. This figure, nationally averages to $7 per watt (a weighted average over residential,commercial and industrial) for a complete installation. If we target only the residential district, that rate can vary from $7 to $11 per watt and depends on the state you are in. For example, a 5kW system in Washington State can run $7.5 per watt (also with lower insolation or peak sunshine @ 3 hours per day, cost per kWh is higher) verses $5 per watt for the same system in Arizona (@ 5.5 hours per day and a much lower energy cost) That's a major price difference of ($37500 - $25000)/$25000 = 50%! Industrial districts have rates as low as $3 to $4 per watt and commercial districts weigh in on average at $5.20 per watt.This inverse relation between unit cost and supply, is also known as economies of scale. So if you buy in "bulk," unit cost drops, but is complicated by another disparity, the amount of peak sunshine per day at your location. All things being equal, cost per kilowatt-hour depends on local insolation levels. Specifically, in a "sunny" state a 1.15kW PV system (of 4 panels) runs as low as $5.95 per watt, while a larger 6.69kW system (of 30 panels) costs only $5 per watt (both apply to residential installs before any applicable sales tax and incentives.) But a "cloudy" state should expect higher rates subjected to the same economies of scale. It appears, the only resolve indifferent to all this, lie in self installation kits and are now more affordable than ever. Running as low as $2.39/W for a grid-tied complete 2.4kW solar PV system at PV Depot while sale lasts.
As an exercise to estimate the cost to install the forty-eight solar panels above, we will have to make certain assumptions. It's not possible to ascertain from inspection, the solar power rating per panel. However, it's a safe bet to say from the large number of panels, and above average size of house, that the system is at least 5kW. Assuming a grid-tied system (no battery backup) and 5 hours of peak insolation (sunny) and the panels are between 100W to 200W, say 150W, then we have a 150W *48 = 7.2kW system.In all fairness, if 6.69kW@30 panels is rated at $5/W, then 48 panels @ 7.2kW should come down slightly, say $4.95/W. So, for the final amount we have, $4.95/W * 7200W, yields $35,640 before sales tax and incentives. For a further exercise to estimate net cost after incentives, refer to the Solar Panels page on "Estimating Incentives." Even if you assume solar insolation (effective amount of sunlight a panel receives) as low as 3.5 hours per day, at 7.2kW, you have 7.2kW * 3.5 hours/day = 25.2 kWh per day. Considering the average global household uses 15kWh per day, that 's over one and a half times the average usage! Reverting to our earlier assumption of 5 hours of peak sunshine per day, we have 7.2kW * 5.5 hours per day = 39.6kWh per day or over two and a half times the average daily usage. Furthermore, if we assume a conservative average daily electricity cost of $.08/kWh, bonus savings from net-metering (utility credits owed to you) or SREC (state pays you for each kWh produced with limits, typically @ $.15/kWh but not demonstrated below) come to: (39.6kWh -15kWh)*$.08/kWh= $1.97 per day or $59 per month or $708.5 per year (depending on state/utility program, part of this annual amount may be refunded as cash through net-metering.) That's in excess of nighttime grid power usage covered in the daily (24 hrs) 15kWh.These estimates do not include battery backup (assuming a grid-tied system,) but covers solar panels and balance-of-system (BOS) costs, that include inverters, labor, structural, electrical parts and permits.
Aesthetics with Functionality
Contemporary solar tiles adorn up to 25 percent of the roof of this majestic Spanish pavillion. They are strategically placed, next to standard clay tiles, to optimize on solar return providing up to 500 watts per 100 square feet. Unlike a traditional rack and mount on an existing roof, (that usually voids the original roof warranty) implementing a combined roofing and solar tile installation requires a single warranty and a more cost-effective installation cost. Dow Chemical, with a $17.8 million Federal tax incentive, pioneered their product back in October of 2009 that can be nailed to roofs like regular tiles. They require no specialized solar roof installers, cost on average 35 percent less than other solar-embedded building materials and 10
As conventional wisdom would have it, you hire a professional installer, backed by a reputable company name with many years of experience.You are comfortable with the fact that it's done correctly, professionally and they stand behind their warranty. However, there is a price that comes along with all this
professionalism, the final price tag! While solar panel full installation costs are coming down, it's still not quite within the reach of most whom would like see it grace their roofs. Solar Resources explores available options,ranging from SPPAs & leasing solar power to implementing solar kits, or DIY (Do It Yourself) projects that have been tried and tested to work (start with the essentials, then expand as your budget allows) to finally,
making informed decisions to optimize on a
professionally installed system (the safer option.)
DIY projects, under proper guidance and strict adherence to instructions, can produce reliable and very professional looking results, (usually after the first attempt) at a fraction of the cost of a professional full installation. However, it's not for everyone with a desire to venture "solo" on such a technical and rewarding investment. Depending on your preference, aptitude and budget, you will be introduced to different resources available that best suits your needs.
DIY Modules w/Experience
A very professional looking homemade solar panel by wranglepuss. He used full 6"x6" poly-crystalline cells@ 0.55V and 7.5A or 4.125Wp. Constructed with dual 40"x40" tampered glass(to sandwich cells) and all aluminum frame. Keeps his 8 cell battery bank "floated" with 12x150Wp homemade panel array. Final panel cost, about $1 per watt. Nicely done wranglepuss.
Much debate transpired over the years about solar energy verses conventional resources like, coal /gas, fossil fuel and even nuclear energy. While solar energy was still in its infancy, traditional venues prevailed. But now, the competitive cost of manufacturing solar panels from multiple streams, have lowered their prices significantly. From super Chinese manufacturers (flooding the markets with "cheap" solar PVs) to solar installation kits and DIY/homemade panels, solar is here to stay. Inverters are more effiicient (up to 98%) offering greater flexibility with micro-inverters to the multiple MPPT single inline units. Costs are rapidly declining even before considering benefits from Federal and state
incentives to local utility rebates. While the traditional venues might still have a current lead, the gap is rapidly shrinking with bold initiatives from the Rocky Mountain Institute to the Dept.of Energy's lofty $1/W goal for 2017.
Solar installation systems are delivered to and assembled on site for clean pollution free opeartion, and is included in the final cost with no additional refueling costs. However, proponents in favor of traditional energy venues, usually implement baseline cost and fail to integrate collateral cost that may include safety regulation, health liability, litigation issues, transportation, conversion, storage and operational costs. Now with a rising trend in the cost of crude oil to chronic health issues that are associated with mining coal ("black-lung" disease; burdening that
industry with a staggering price tag,) these non-renewable, traditional energy options
are becoming less appealing and more burdensome.
Answers to Questions
In this forum, we attempt to enlightened our prospective solar PV system owners, with insight into a glossary of terms, definitions and examples in grid-intertied urban solar "stuff!" And yes, they also apply to off-grid rural areas as well. We expound on both the common solar concepts and some not so common, but nonetheless of interest to you.
We trust it will be a very rewarding and educational experience. From simple applied mathematical concepts to basic electricity, electronics, physics and other natural sciences as they relate to solar energy. So, come and join us as we work through practical examples, that you can apply to estimate your next rewarding investment in solar energy. Let the adventure begin.
percent less than the combined costs of
solar PV roof rack-mount installs and conventional roofing materials. To date, Dow Chemical once again demonstrated their innovation and commitment to excellence with their POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle which was awarded Gold for Best New Product by the renowned 2012 Edison Award.Their product (backed by a 20 year warranty)earned seven certifications to qualify as both a roofing and integrated solar product. Congratulations are once again in order to Dow Chemical Co.