Solar Panel Prices Drop Again

Happy New Years!  On this day of celebration, I’m raising a glass to the decreasing cost of solar!

I just took a peek at my favorite Solar Panel Cost Comparison website and saw that prices have dropped again.

70 cents per watt

Previously, I posted some sample pricing of a DIY solar panel kit using panels priced at 80 cents/watt.  At that cost, a 1 kW system came out to $1.80/watt before any utility or government subsidies.

Using the new, lower PV prices and the same process I outlined here for quotes, I put together a sample kit* with a larger array of 4.6 kW to accommodate the minimum order on the 70 cent/watt panels:

4.6 kW kit

The 10 cent/watt decrease in panel costs resulted in total system pricing of $1.70/watt ($7800/4.6 kW) before any utility or government subsidies or SREC payments.

Cheers!

*Micro-Inverter and Mounting Hardware pricing quoted here and here.

Helpful Installation Videos

There are a lot of great videos available to help out with your solar panel installation.  We didn’t end up making any videos ourselves during our projects, but we watched videos like these when learning how to install the mounting hardware, panels and inverters.

This one contains a detailed hardware overview along with helpful term definitions for the mounting hardware we used:

Source: Iron Ridge Mounting Hardware Video

Here is a clear and concise installation video for the Enphase Micro-inverters that we Continue reading

Let’s Talk Permits

Building a good relationship with your city’s permit office and inspectors can be very helpful when planning and executing your PV solar panel system.  Visiting the city permit office early in the process allowed us a chance to ask questions and understand what the inspectors would be looking for.

In our case, the inspectors were most concerned with Continue reading

DIY Solar Kits

An interesting article appeared in the local newspaper this week, “Solar Power For The Do-It-Yourselfer”.  The article profiled a company, SolarPod, that sells a solar kit that includes 4 PV solar panels, mounting hardware and micro-inverters.  The kit will produce about 1kW of electricity for a price tag of $4000 and are designed for flat roofs.

Solar Power for the Do-It-Yourselfer

While a bit pricey at $4/watt not including installation, it’s a great Continue reading

How Much Electricity Does Our System Produce?

Our system is located in Minnesota, and while we can generate large amounts of energy all year long, the decreased hours of sunlight and snow cover impacts our production in winter months.  On the flip side, the summer months are our super star performers.  Our 7kW system generates well over 100% of our usage in the May-November months.  The utility company “buys back” the excess resulting in a profit of $20-$60/month.  Seriously, not only do we not pay for electricity during these months, but the utility company sends us a check each month!

yearlyutilitybillsbymonth

Note that the $20-$60 is in excess of the savings that we are NOT paying utility fees for the month.  We averaged $700/year or $60/month in electricity costs before the Continue reading

Solar Panel System Components

OK, so you know that your roof is situated for solar exposure and either your utility company offers a rebate or you plan to sell your SREC’s on the open market.  Great!  Now we can dig into the actual components of a rooftop PV system.

*Disclaimer:  You should know that I am not an engineer Continue reading