Cost of Solar Power Systems and Components
How much do solar power, solar panels, power inverters, and installation cost? Can I design the system and/or install the system myself? How much in rebates can I expect?
Cost of the solar panel is the major deterrent to realizing the benefits of solar power and has been for decades. Recent improvements over the past two years (2010 & 2011) in technology and product supply have dramatically decreased costs to the point of affordability.
There are five (5) main components or categories of solar power systems:
- Solar panels (37% of total cost)
- Inverter (10%)
- Racking system (6%)
- Other (disconnects, combiner box, wiring, etc.) (5%)
- Services (Labor, design, engineering, permit, inspection) (42%)
In addition to the cost categories, there are two incentive options to include:
- Local Rebates
- Federal Tax Credit
A typical solar system’s cost would look like this (see my proposal here):
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES by 2016 will be emerging in the area of solar efficiency, solar cell and panel cost and total system cost. It seems obvious that solar efficiency will increase and that the cost will decrease. What is less certain are the significant changes in total system cost which include installation, wiring and inverters. For example, General Electric (NYSE: GE), per Rui Zhou a member of the GE Global Research team, is funding a research project that is focusing on the development of new solar panel integrated micro-inverter technology. There are significant advantages to this type of system since existing micro-inverters are expensive, varying efficiency and some functional redundancy. These, in addition to installation cost savings, make the integrate micro-inverter solar module VERY attractive, see press release here.
Other cost factors that must be considered?
- Resale value of the home will increase as a result of the significant solar system investment.
- How old is my current roof and should it be replaced before I install the solar panels which are planned to last 25 to 40 years?
- Can my current power panel handle the extra load from solar?
- Should I buy batteries and do they make sense?