Cost of Solar Panels – Solar Energy is a fantastic choice for anyone wanting to save money and do the right thing by our fragile environment. If you are building and aren’t conected to grid power then solar panels or wind power are definately an option or if you are connected to grid power adding solar panels is still a viable option. The cost of an average 1 kilowatt solar panel system is around $10,000 not including batteries, most grid connected systems require the solar panels and an inverter. An average 2 kilowatt solar system is around $15,000, notice the price hasn’t doubled from the 1 kW system because you only need one inverter and economies of scale come into play for installation, etc.
Not only can you save money on your electric bills each month but you can also help to reduce environmental damage caused by using electricity created by burning fossil fuels or other equally harmful methods. The more people that choose solar power decreases the cost of solar panels for everyone and reduces our dependance on coal or gas power.
Swiss solar-cell scientist Michael Grätzel (pictured) has taken out the Millennium Technology Prize in 2010 for his work on developing ‘Grätzel cells’ that mimic plants to capture sunlight instead of the traditional silicon approach. This should dramtically reduce the future cost of solar panels, also Grätzel has said these solar cells could be used as windows for buildings!
Grätzel cells are called dye-sensitized solar cells and can be made into flexible sheets, although they aren’t as efficient yet as thin-film cells the substantially lower cost to produce outweighs this issue.
Solar Panel Prices per Watt
The ultimate aim is for the cost of solar panels to be equal to or less than coal power and other fossil fuel derived energy sources. ]]>Here is a table of solar panel prices I’ve put together by searching the internet in June 2010, I’ll come back to these periodically and update to reflect current pricing.MakerModelPanel wattagePriceCost / wattSupplierSharpSharp 8080 350.00 4.375 Wholesale Solar.comSharpSharp 175175 595.00 3.400 Wholesale Solar.comKyoceraKC 85T85 424.00 4.988 Wholesale Solar.comKyoceraKD185GX-LPU185 510.00 2.757 Wholesale Solar.comKaneka GEA / GSA 6060 79.60 1.327 www.atensolar.comUni-SolarPVL-124124 183.52 1.480 http://sunelec.com/DuPontDA100-A2100 120.00 1.200 http://sunelec.com/
The price of coal versus wind, solar, wave, geo-thermal power is as follows:
TechnologyCost (USD/MWh)Wind power60Advanced Nuclear67Geothermal67Wave Power611Solar116-312Gas313-346Biomass47-117Hydro power48-86Coal74-88Fuel Cell86-111
Source: 2007 CEC
Solar isn’t as cost effective as yet but the price is constantly improving and as part of the overall solution to green house gases it definately plays a part. One of the main advantages to solar panels on home roofs is that the power is generated where it is needed not hundreds of miles away. When power is generated by coal, gas or even wind power stations it has to be transported via ugly power lines and as much as 10% of the power is lost in transmission.
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