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.

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

What If My Utility Company Doesn’t Offer A Rebate?

As discussed in previous posts here and here, the cost of installing solar panels can be greatly reduced by utility company rebates.  But, what if your utility company doesn’t have an incentive program?  Or your roof doesn’t qualify due to the direction your roof faces?  Fortunately, without the utility’s involvement you retain ownership of the SRECs and can sell them on the Continue reading

Sizing Your Solar Panel System

The amount homeowners are eligible to receive from our utility company is based on the size of their PV system.  For example, as mentioned previously, our home’s PV system has a total of 7 kW.  At the time of installation, the utility rebate was $2.25/watt*.  This resulted in a $15,750 rebate (2.25 x 7000).

After rebates and incentives, our total Continue reading

Solar Panel Cost Comparison

Solar panel prices have dropped dramatically since we purchased ours in 2010.  While we paid $2.28/watt for our panels, they are now available for as little as $0.78/watt!*  What this means, is that you could purchase an entire solar panel installation kit** for about $6000 BEFORE any power company incentives and tax rebates!  That’s about what we paid out of pocket AFTER our power company incentives and tax rebates.  Crazy.  I love technology, it gets cheaper and better so quickly, it just amazes me.

Here’s a link to my favorite Continue reading

Eliminate Your Electric Bill

The DIY Rooftop Solar family has had our own little 7kW power plant chugging along on the roof for almost three years.  We are not only a NET-ZERO electricity home but we are also making money on our solar panels each year.  How that works is that the utility company (Xcel Energy) pays us for the power that our solar Continue reading