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  • solar pete
    started a topic How much do solar panels cost

    How much do solar panels cost

    Hi All,

    Just thought I would start off some stickies for this section with some basic info for the newbs.

    Ok, so generally when someone asks "how much do solar panels cost" what they are really asking is "how much for a solar pv grid tied system for my house". There are many components that go into a grid tied pv system for you house: like;

    1. Solar Panels, these generally come in mono crystalline or poly crystalline, the polys are generally slightly cheaper as they are slightly cheaper to produce and it doesn't matter what you choose they both make electricity.

    2. Racking, this is the framework that enables you to attach your solar panels to your roof ( you can also opt for a ground mount system if you have the room but they are generally much more expensive) there are many different types of racking and your potential installer will generally have a favorite or your roof type will determine what type of racking you need.

    3. Inverter, there are generally speaking 3 types of inverter, a) String Inverter the type of inverter that has been around for a long time now, is a single unit (you can use multiple inverters if required) usually mounted near your electricity meter. b) Micro-Inverters are a newer technology where each panel (some micro's do 2 panels) has its own micro-inverter mounted on the roof under the panel, this enables individual panel monitoring. c) Hybrid Inverters are used in grid-tied solar systems where batteries are also used, this means the inverter can determine whether to send the power generated from the panels to the load for the house or to charge the batteries or send excess power to the grid, this is a newer tech and is quite expensive.

    4. Plans and permits, all grid tied solar power systems need to be approved for connection to the POCO's (power companies) grid. This means they will require a plan of your system to be submitted to them for approval, generally the city will also require the plan or other paperwork to be completed in order to approve the solar installation. These should be done by qualified people and need to comply with all electrical rules and regulations.

    5. Sundry Electrical equipment, this covers things like electrical cabling (wire), circuit breakers, fasteners, labels and there could be other stuff depending on what your doing

    6. How difficult is your install, from SunEagle;
    "One other item to mention would be the complexity of the installation.

    It might cost more on a 2 story home then a 1 story. Also if the array is pointed in multiple directions East, South & West that could add costs to the installation.

    Finally if the system is a ground mounted then that usually includes concrete footings, fencing around the array as well as an underground trench for the wire from the array to the inverter. All that adds to the $/watt cost depending on the location and distance needed."

    OK now that we understand there is a lot more to a solar system than just solar panels lets move on. When we in the solar industry talk about costs we talk about the per watt installed cost. So when someone gives you a quote (hypothetically) and say its for a 5kW system (kW = kilowatt, 1 kW = 1000 watts) consisting of 20 x 250 watt panels or 5000 watts or 5kW and all other equipment required, inverter and racking, labor. permits, everything for a total of say $15,000. You can then work out your per watt installed cost by taking the total out of pocket cost and divide by the total watt size of your system, so $15,000 divided by 5000watts = $3 dollars a watt installed price.

    Ok now we understand the whole how much a watt business we can move on to, well how much does it cost already. In the USA at the moment it seems to range from $3 to $5 per watt installed. There are a few things to consider here, the first one is location, sometimes your location will effect the price of the system, for example in Arizona we have several members of this forum who can get solar installed for just under $3 per watt at the moment. The other thing to consider is brands of equipment, there are some brands that are a lot more expensive than others and a few manufacturers claiming all sorts of rubbish. You dont have to pay the most to get good equipment, there are a couple of manufactures that claim their product is worth a large premium over others and its seems to me that this is just plain not true.

    So I hope that has thrown some light onto the subject, as this is a fresh post and I am going to make it a sticky please feel free to comment, or correct any mistakes I may have made or suggest adding anything I left out, cheers all

  • LED-lamps supplier
    replied
    If anybody needs to buy solar panels from China, you can refer REDACTED this is a direct supplier, you can buy everything without middleman cost, very suitable for those who're looking for a lower budget for solar home or medium-sized solar project private.

    Mod Note: Sorry, this sort of direct sales link is not allowed. If it happens again, you will be banned. It is not spam, but it is commercial.
    Last edited by inetdog; 05-18-2019, 05:53 AM.

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  • bcroe
    replied
    Originally posted by J.P.M.
    I'd probably do that anyway, but using inverter size by itself, while nice to have is, in itself,
    insufficient IMO as the sole size descriptor. Respectfully,
    Yes that is true. But that is what is being used for some pretty big stuff here. I see 2MW
    proposals for fixed panels set for our (considerable) 42 deg Lat, but unable to shake off
    winter snow. Another company proposed a 2MW E-W tracker sys able to throw off snow
    but with a very high DC-AC ratio due to a level tracking pivot shaft. These have considerably
    different costs, energy collection potential, (precious) farmland occupied, maintenance level,
    operational noise, and probably more I forgot. But the same inverter capacity is used for
    state/Fed rebate calculation, as well as credit against state mandated renewable energy
    construction. Something else never mentioned is the chosen site relative output degradation
    by clouds, a pretty big factor over this state.

    At some of these zoning meets, I do wonder if I should be doing more to demonstrate what
    is really possible/desirable? Here one rating system could make my sys look great, another
    terrible, none are really apples to apples. I will just say Wed managed 120 KWH from the 15KW
    inverters, some would call that 8 sun hours. Thurs was cloudy, generally acknowledge to give
    10% to 30% level performance, but it made 74 KWH anyway. Meets my goals. Bruce Roe


    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by bcroe View Post
    The industrial systems proposed recently here, used the peak AC power the inverters could
    deliver. Same as I do. Some also included a DC:AC ratio, showing how much more the panel
    DC rating total was over the AC. The E-W trackers were much more that 1:1, to compensate
    for panels mounted on a shaft parallel to the ground instead of parallel to the earths axis, here
    at 42 deg Lat. Bruce Roe
    I took the sense of JRqwetyui's question to be what do most folks use as a measuring stick for incremental system cost when discussing system prices. Since the usual, and I'd suggest more common discussion is about and relating to smaller residential systems, either on or off grid, I took that meaning and sense of the question to be either system $$/STC W size, or kWh/yr per STC W (or STC kW), with the former being the more common, but both having usefulness.

    If I have a quote for, say, 5,940 STC W of panels hooked to a, say, 5 kW inverter, and the quoted price from that vendor is for, say, $19,305, sitting on my roof and ready to go, how do I best describe my price per W from the vendor when making bid comparisons ? $19305/5,940 W, or $19,305/5,000 ?

    Suppose another vendor come in with a 5,940 W system hooked to a 6 kW inverter for, say, $19,700 ? What do I do to compare prices and value between quotes ?

    In such cases, I might get a better price comparisons by using a model such as PVWatts that will allow me to SWAG compare the initial cost of bids to the annual output using DC-AC ratios, etc,

    I'd probably do that anyway, but using inverter size by itself, while nice to have is, in itself, insufficient IMO as the sole size descriptor.

    Respectfully,

    Leave a comment:


  • bcroe
    replied
    The industrial systems proposed recently here, used the peak AC power the inverters could
    deliver. Same as I do. Some also included a DC:AC ratio, showing how much more the panel
    DC rating total was over the AC. The E-W trackers were much more that 1:1, to compensate
    for panels mounted on a shaft parallel to the ground instead of parallel to the earths axis, here
    at 42 deg Lat. Bruce Roe

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by JRqwertyui View Post
    Here's my dumb question for the year. When doing the price comparison computing the $ /per Watt and posting on this board, are people using the DC or AC rating of the system ? or the annual output ? One gets a very different number depending on which is used.... often vendors will give you only the DC rating...
    Both DC (total panel wattage for the entire system) and annual system output (or output per installed STC kW of panels for example) have uses, and both as well as other descriptors can provide useful information, but they are not the same.

    The most common way I've seen used is to discuss entire system price before any rebates, tax credits., in terms of $$ (or currency) per the entire STC (D.C.) W of panels. Other methods then sometimes/often are added for further explanation(s) and descriptions of system performance or characteristics.

    So, other ways, such as $$/kWh production per time period (per year for example), per installed STC kW of panels also have use. Sometimes the units get convoluted and a bit confusing.

    Most descriptions use or at least start with total $/installed price before rebates/tax credits per total STC W of panels and go from there.

    So, paying $15,000 bottom line to a vendor for a 5 STC kW turnkey system (after any/all of their come-on/B.S. rebates etc.< would have a price usually describes as $15,000/5,000 STC W = $3.00/ STC. W. Often, the STC letters are left out but implied or assumed known.

    If that system then produces 9,000 kWh/yr., the price of the annual generation will be $15,000/(9,000 kWh/yr.) = $1.67yr/kWh.

    The absolute value of the numbers are different because they are describing different things using different units.

    The definition police won't whack your peepee for using more than one definition, provided it's clear from the context what you are talking about. Others can always ask for more information.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    visit this site, If you have problems connecting solar panels. It describes not only the connection methods, but also the best solar panels.

    In the future, keep the links you post, on topic, and relevant to the thread.

    OK, I'm de-linking the original URL and partially copying it below.
    gadgets-reviews.com/review/185-5-best-portable-solar-chargers.html Moderator
    Last edited by Mike90250; 03-08-2019, 09:44 AM.

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  • SunEagle
    replied
    Originally posted by JRqwertyui View Post
    Here's my dumb question for the year. When doing the price comparison computing the $ /per Watt and posting on this board, are people using the DC or AC rating of the system ? or the annual output ? One gets a very different number depending on which is used.... often vendors will give you only the DC rating...
    The best way to compare a system $/watt is using the installed price divided by the DC wattage. You can then determine the final cost per watt after you subtract any rebates or Fed tax incentives.

    Knowing what your system is supposed to provide in a yearly AC kWh is also a good marker but that number can vary based on the weather and dirt conditions so don't let a vendor convince you that their calculated yearly kWh value is 100% accurate.

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  • bcroe
    replied
    In my opinion that matter isn't entirely settled. But I see it as the peak AC power the system can deliver under
    best conditions, whatever the limiting factors may be. This doesn't say anything about energy over time. The
    simple case is PV panels with a peak rating equal to the AC inverter under a cloudless sky. Reality may be
    much different. Most venders, of many products, are not inclined to give out more than the minimum technical
    details, which they would then need to explain and justify. Bruce Roe

    Leave a comment:


  • JRqwertyui
    replied
    Here's my dumb question for the year. When doing the price comparison computing the $ /per Watt and posting on this board, are people using the DC or AC rating of the system ? or the annual output ? One gets a very different number depending on which is used.... often vendors will give you only the DC rating...

    Leave a comment:


  • herrydas
    replied
    Solar panel cost is depends that on how much electric power you need. According to your need you can install solar panels. For solar inverters and charge controllers prices must visit .......... Here you can get best option as well price list

    MOD NOTE. Please do not advertise your solar equipment on this Forum without getting permission from the Admin.
    Last edited by SunEagle; 03-29-2017, 09:04 AM. Reason: remove website reference

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    In my opinion if you want to get a rough estimate of a solar panel cost it might be depend upon your location or the avg. electrical consumption in your area. If you want to know the accurate cost then have a look to your power bills and find the avg. kWh per month of your house uses.

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  • nate379
    replied
    All said and done was a bit under 7k my ending cost including pizza and beer for friends to help put the up. The .gov gave me 30% back, so about 3k.

    I forget what the actual max output is of the panels. There are 16 and I think 225 or 235 watt. M215 Enphase inverters.

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  • foo1bar
    replied
    Originally posted by nate379 View Post
    7k after tax credit.
    So $2.65/W? Or more?
    I think $2/W is probably an average DIY install now.
    Less is possible with sales and/or no "extra" things that need to happen.
    Often there are little things that do show up - like needing to have more racking because of shape/positioning on the roof. Or needing to run wire a longish distance. Or needing to replace a subpanel. Or needing to pay someone for some stucco work. Or need to deal with tile roof. Or ...

    There was one poster that claimed he was under $1/W - but his actual cost was $2.20/W and had a bunch of incentives that got him down to under $1.

    My own was also over $2/W - but I had to install new electrical panels, and had to do extra feet, and stucco repair that I hired out, and other stuff I hired out.
    But I can see getting under $2/W if you find the right sale (ie. $.50/W modules) and have an easy roof and easy electrical situation.

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  • nate379
    replied
    Originally posted by foo1bar View Post

    So you spent $1.85/W before rebates etc. for a DIY system?

    Even now that's a pretty good price.

    It's possible to get a little cheaper - especially if you find a good sale on modules.
    But $.75/W for the module itself is pretty good. And $1/W for all the racking, inverters, conduit, wire, etc etc. is pretty good.
    7k after tax credit.

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