The cost of solar energy is coming down continuously, and this is great news for us DIY enthusiasts, as it means that we can add immense value to our homes, for "relatively little" cost!
There is a definite trend world-wide to convert to renewable, cleaner energy sources, and the forever downward spiral of solar energy cost is really making this a high priority on every DIY Home Improver's "To-Do-List".....
As residential solar power setups are an expensive initial financial outlay, it is important that you know what you are getting yourself into and what the requirements are before you rush ahead and install your solar energy system.
Once you have decided to go "all-the-way" solar-wise, it is imperative that you do extensive research, budget, plan and do more research.....
so here I will explain to you what factors you should consider when you cost and budget for your selected solar energy system.
I will not try to give you the actual cost of solar energy system (read this page for a good indication of actual costs), but rather guide you in what to look out for, and how to compare different systems by looking at all the costs involved..... as each of us live in a different country with different rules and different incentive schemes (if at all).....
So when you compare different suppliers and different systems, take care to compare apples with apples!
The following will have an impact on the cost of your system:
Now that you know that currently drives the cost of solar energy, let's see what the future holds for the cost of solar energy.....
Well, that is a very good question.....
There is a relentless drive by the industry leaders to increase the efficiency of solar panels. In other words, how well the photovoltaic (PV) cells convert the sunlight into electric power.
At the moment the average efficiency of a solar panel is around 15% or 16%, with here and there someone claiming to have reached an efficiency of 20%.
You can therefor see that a small improvement in the efficiency can significantly increase the output power of the panel.
And this is what will drive the cost of solar energy down in the future.
SunPower has a panel currently that has one of the highest conversion rates, at over 20.5%, with their new X series already on 21.5%; these are however projected to increase to 23% by the year 2015.
SunPower's Efficiency roadmap shows an overall efficiency improvement of 6 % (from 17% to 23%) over the eight year period till 2015. With that efficiency, you can get 60% more energy from the same space! And that is significant.....
In my humble opinion, the efficiency of the solar panel you select, is the most important factor any DIY enthusiast must consider in order to get the most "bang for your buck".
And as this increases in the years to come, the cost of solar energy will get still more and more affordable, and eventually, every home across the globe (where there is a reasonable amount of sunlight obviously) will make use of renewable, solar energy.
What I did here was to
empower you with some background knowledge
on what to look out for when you cost your solar energy system.