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How much do solar panels cost. Pv cost per kwh

How much do solar panels cost. Pv cost per kwh

    ,600 – 26,500 6 to 12 kW system cost installed

    Average cost of solar panels

    The average cost to install solar panels is 10,600 to 26,500 (after 30% tax credit) for a 6kW to 12kW system to power an entire house. Solar panels cost 2.53 to 3.15 per watt installed for residential systems. Solar energy costs 0.08 to 0.10 per kWh to produce on average. The average solar panel payback period is 7 to 12 years. Solar energy saves 600 to 2,000 per year on electricity costs.

    Solar Panel Installation Cost

    National Average Cost
    Minimum Cost
    Maximum Cost
    Average Range 10,600 to 26,500
    • Most solar panels last up to 50 years, have a 25-year warranty, and start generating a return on investment after 8 years.
    • Solar panels generate electricity approximately 30% cheaper than utility electricity over their lifetime.
    • Solar panel savings are 10,000 to 30,000 over 20 years depending on your location and the cost of electricity.

    Use our solar calculators below to assess your total costs, or get free estimates from solar installers near you.

    Solar panel cost calculator

    The average residential solar installation is 3 kW to 10 kW, depending on your home’s size, location, and energy needs.

    The federal solar tax credit reduces your overall costs by 30%. Many states and solar manufacturers offer additional incentives and rebates to further reduce your costs.

    Solar Panel Cost Calculator

    System Size Before Tax Credit After 30% Tax Credit
    2 kW 5,060 – 6,300 3,542 – 4,410
    3 kW 7,590 – 9,540 5,313 – 6,615
    4 kW 10,120 – 12,600 7,084 – 8,820
    5 kW 12,650 – 15,750 8,855 – 11,025
    6 kW 15,180 – 18,900 10,626 – 13,230
    7 kW 17,710 – 22,050 12,397 – 15,435
    8 kW 20,240 – 25,200 14,168 – 17,640
    10 kW 25,300 – 31,500 17,710 – 22,050
    12 kW 30,360 – 37,800 21,252 – 26,460
    15 kW 37,950 – 47,250 26,565 – 33,075
    20 kW 50,600 – 63,000 35,420 – 44,100
    25 kW 63,250 – 78,750 44,275 – 55,125

    How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

    The average family uses 11,000 kWh per year and needs 26 to 33 solar panels to power the whole house. One solar thermal panel generates enough energy to power a hot water heater for a family of four.

    The total number of panels needed depends on your location, roof size, and energy needs. To calculate how many solar panels you need, look at your annual kWh (kilowatt-hours) usage on your utility bills and referenced the table and map below.

    Solar Panels Needed To Power A House

    System Size Panels Needed Average kWh Produced Annually
    2 kW 6 – 8 2,652
    3 kW 10 – 12 3,978
    5 kW 16 – 21 6,630
    6 kW 20 – 25 7,956
    10 kW 33 – 41 13,260
    12 kW 40 – 49 15,912
    15 kW 50 – 61 19,890
    18 kW 59 – 73 23,868

    Table based on 250 watt panels at average solar production ratios of 1.3 to 1.6.

    Your home’s location is a significant factor when estimating how many solar panels you need to power your house. Regions with less sunlight require larger systems to handle 100% of their energy needs.

    • Multiply the number in your shaded region by the estimated size of your system in kW.
    • Then, multiply the result by 0.78 to account for inefficiencies and energy conversion losses.

    For example, if you live in Texas with a score of 1700 and install an 8 kW system, your system will produce approximately 10,608 kWh annually:

    1700 × 8 kW × 0.78 = 10,608 kWh

    The table below shows the approximate system size needed in each region to produce 11,000 kWh for the average home.

    Solar System Size Needed To Produce 11,000 kWh Annually

    Region System Size (kW)
    1200 11.75 kW
    1300 10.85 kW
    1400 10.07 kW
    1500 9.40 kW
    1600 8.81 kW
    1700 8.30 kW
    1800 7.84 kW
    1900 7.42 kW
    2000 7.05 kW
    2100 6.71 kW

    Solar Panel Cost Per Watt

    Residential solar panels cost 2.53 to 3.15 per watt with installation, before any tax credits or incentives. Commercial solar costs 1.06 to 1.83 per watt. Solar systems have ratings based on the electricity produced annually in average conditions.

    Solar Energy Cost Per kWh

    Residential solar energy costs 0.08 to 0.10 per kWh on average, and commercial or utility-scale solar power costs 0.06 to 0.08 per kWh. include the federal solar tax credit and vary drastically based on the amount of sunlight and type of solar panels installed.

    Solar Panel Cost Per Watt kWh

    Unit Residential Commercial
    Per kWh 0.08 – 0.10 0.06 – 0.08
    Per Watt 2.53 – 3.15 1.06 – 1.83

    These figures represent the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), which is the average revenue per unit of electricity generated that would be required to recover the costs of the solar panels over their life expectancy.

    Cost of Solar Panels Per Square Foot

    The cost of solar panels to power your house are 4 to 10 per square foot with installation. However, most installers estimate solar costs by the amount of energy needed, or 2.53 to 3.15 per watt before any tax credits or incentives.

    Below are cost estimates based on home size. Overall costs depend on the solar panel type, the roof’s size and design, and your energy needs.

    Cost To Install Solar Panels On House

    Home Size (SF) Average Cost
    1,000 4,760 – 5,950
    1,500 7,140 – 8,925
    2,000 9,520 – 11,900
    2,500 11,900 – 14,875
    3,000 14,280 – 17,850

    Residential Cost of Solar Panels By State

    The average cost of solar varies significantly per state, depending on the local cost of electricity. Below are the average per watt and by system size across the United States after subtracting the 30% federal solar tax credit.

    Cost of Solar Panels By State

    State Per Watt 6 kW System 10 kW System
    Alabama 2.02 – 2.85 12,120 – 17,100 20,200 – 28,500
    Alaska 2.23 – 3.13 13,380 – 18,780 22,300 – 31,300
    Arizona 1.88 – 2.35 11,286 – 14,118 18,810 – 23,530
    Arkansas 2.42 – 2.74 14,520 – 16,440 24,200 – 27,400
    California 1.82 – 2.29 10,926 – 13,758 18,210 – 22,930
    Colorado 1.96 – 2.39 11,730 – 14,310 19,550 – 23,850
    Connecticut 1.99 – 2.49 11,994 – 14,994 19,990 – 24,990
    Washington D.C. 1.75 – 2.57 10,518 – 15,450 17,530 – 25,750
    Delaware 1.95 – 2.13 11,742 – 12,810 19,570 – 21,350
    Florida 1.48 – 2.09 8,880 – 12,552 14,800 – 20,920
    Georgia 1.91 – 2.14 11,448 – 12,852 19,080 – 21,420
    Idaho 2.03 – 2.22 12,162 – 13,314 20,270 – 22,190
    Illinois 2.01 – 2.52 12,078 – 15,162 20,130 – 25,270
    Indiana 2.07 – 2.49 12,444 – 14,940 20,740 – 24,900
    Iowa 2.20 – 2.38 13,200 – 14,268 22,000 – 23,780
    Kansas 1.49 – 2.06 8,940 – 12,360 14,900 – 20,600
    Kentucky 2.35 – 3.04 14,100 – 18,240 23,500 – 30,400
    Louisiana 1.77 – 2.33 10,644 – 13,980 17,740 – 23,300
    Maine 1.85 – 2.35 11,100 – 14,100 18,500 – 23,500
    Maryland 1.67 – 2.16 10,026 – 12,942 16,710 – 21,570
    Massachusetts 1.94 – 2.37 11,628 – 14,376 19,380 – 23,960
    Michigan 1.99 – 2.50 11,976 – 14,976 19,960 – 24,960
    Minnesota 2.01 – 2.37 12,000 – 14,244 20,000 – 23,740
    Mississippi 1.98 – 2.75 11,880 – 16,500 19,800 – 27,500
    Missouri 1.71 – 2.42 10,260 – 14,520 17,100 – 24,200
    Montana 1.86 – 2.34 11,148 – 14,064 18,580 – 23,440
    Nebraska 1.74 – 2.88 10,440 – 17,280 17,400 – 28,800
    Nevada 1.92 – 2.13 11,526 – 12,762 19,210 – 21,270
    New Hampshire 1.97 – 2.55 11,796 – 15,300 19,660 – 25,500
    New Jersey 1.76 – 2.35 10,530 – 14,118 17,550 – 23,530
    New Mexico 2.02 – 2.73 12,102 – 16,362 20,170 – 27,270
    New York 1.80 – 2.64 10,824 – 15,840 18,040 – 26,400
    North Carolina 1.73 – 2.27 10,380 – 13,632 17,300 – 22,720
    North Dakota 1.39 – 1.97 8,340 – 11,820 13,900 – 19,700
    Ohio 1.79 – 2.29 10,740 – 13,740 17,900 – 22,900
    Oklahoma 1.88 – 3.34 11,280 – 20,040 18,800 – 33,400
    Oregon 1.63 – 2.20 9,804 – 13,224 16,340 – 22,040
    Pennsylvania 1.80 – 2.60 10,782 – 15,630 17,970 – 26,050
    Rhode Island 2.08 – 2.44 12,492 – 14,652 20,820 – 24,420
    South Carolina 1.92 – 2.38 11,544 – 14,292 19,240 – 23,820
    South Dakota 1.88 – 2.93 11,280 – 17,580 18,800 – 29,300
    Tennessee 1.30 – 1.97 7,800 – 11,820 13,000 – 19,700
    Texas 1.75 – 2.15 10,494 – 12,906 17,490 – 21,510
    Utah 1.83 – 2.41 10,950 – 14,454 18,250 – 24,090
    Vermont 1.79 – 2.58 10,716 – 15,480 17,860 – 25,800
    Virginia 1.69 – 2.11 10,134 – 12,630 16,890 – 21,050
    Washington 1.71 – 2.19 10,278 – 13,110 17,130 – 21,850
    West Virginia 2.17 – 3.38 13,020 – 20,280 21,700 – 33,800
    Wisconson 2.11 – 2.42 12,666 – 14,490 21,110 – 24,150
    Wyoming 2.39 – 2.78 14,340 – 16,680 23,900 – 27,800

    Cost after subtracting the 30% federal tax credit.

    Average Solar Panel Installation Costs By Brand

    Below are total installation costs for 6kW and 10kW residential solar systems by brand after subtracting the 30% tax credit. Most solar manufacturers offer similar pricing. However, the price is typically reflective of panel quality.

    Solar Panel Installation Cost By Brand

    Manufacturer Per Watt 6 kW System 10 kW System
    Axitec 1.57 – 2.10 9,450 – 12,642 15,750 – 21,070
    Astronergy 1.85 – 2.35 11,130 – 14,154 18,550 – 23,590
    Canadian Solar Inc. 1.65 – 2.26 9,954 – 13,566 16,590 – 22,610
    CertainTeed Solar 2.06 – 2.48 12,390 – 14,910 20,650 – 24,850
    Hanwha Q CELLS 1.73 – 2.31 10,416 – 13,860 17,360 – 23,100
    Heliene 1.71 – 2.28 10,290 – 13,692 17,150 – 22,820
    Hyundai 1.87 – 2.14 11,256 – 12,894 18,760 – 21,490
    JA Solar 1.72 – 2.29 10,374 – 13,776 17,290 – 22,960
    JinkoSolar 1.98 – 2.58 11,928 – 15,498 19,880 – 25,830
    LG Solar 1.89 – 2.47 11,340 – 14,868 18,900 – 24,780
    LONGi Solar 1.69 – 2.07 10,164 – 12,474 16,940 – 20,790
    Mission Solar Energy 1.52 – 2.06 9,156 – 12,390 15,260 – 20,650
    Panasonic 1.89 – 2.45 11,340 – 14,700 18,900 – 24,500
    Peimar Group 1.86 – 2.24 11,172 – 13,440 18,620 – 22,400
    Phono Solar 2.10 – 2.49 12,642 – 14,952 21,070 – 24,920
    REC Group 1.92 – 2.32 11,550 – 13,944 19,250 – 23,240
    RGS Energy 2.31 – 3.47 13,860 – 20,874 23,100 – 34,790
    Renogy Solar 2.10 – 2.39 12,642 – 14,364 21,070 – 23,940
    S-Energy 1.77 – 2.35 10,668 – 14,112 17,780 – 23,520
    Seraphim Solar 1.85 – 2.24 11,130 – 13,482 18,550 – 22,470
    Silfab Solar 1.70 – 2.45 10,206 – 14,700 17,010 – 24,500
    SolarTech Universal 1.72 – 2.21 10,374 – 13,272 17,290 – 22,120
    SolarWorld 1.73 – 2.15 10,416 – 12,936 17,360 – 21,560
    Solaria 2.06 – 2.35 12,390 – 14,154 20,650 – 23,590
    SunPower Corporation 2.01 – 2.77 12,096 – 16,674 20,160 – 27,790
    Trina Solar 1.72 – 2.22 10,374 – 13,356 17,290 – 22,260
    Tesla 2.33 – 3.10 13,986 – 18,606 23,310 – 31,010
    Winaico 1.92 – 2.21 11,550 – 13,314 19,250 – 22,190
    Yingli Solar 1.70 – 2.21 10,206 – 13,272 17,010 – 22,120

    include 30% tax credit and reflect installation costs from solar contractors. Total costs depend on the location, installers experience, inverter, and other equipment.

    How Much Does One Solar Panel Cost?

    One 150 to 300-watt solar panel costs 112 to 450 on average or between 0.75 to 1.50 per watt, depending on the panel type, size, and energy-efficiency rating. Solar companies that purchase in bulk typically spend 0.75 per watt, while homeowners spend 1 per watt.

    Most distributors only sell solar panels to local contractors at bulk wholesale prices. Hiring a solar installer will drastically reduce your equipment costs.

    The following table shows for the panels only. Additional installation costs include inverters, batteries, mounting hardware, wiring, and more.

    Solar Panels For Home Cost Per Panel

    System Size Average Cost
    14 Panel System (4.2 kW) 2,600 – 4,200
    16 Panel System (4.8 kW) 3,000 – 4,800
    18 Panel System (5.4 kW) 3,350 – 5,400
    20 Panel System (6.0 kW) 3,750 – 6,000
    24 Panel System (7.2 kW) 4,450 – 7,200
    28 Panel System (8.4 kW) 5,236 – 8,400
    32 Panel System (9.6 kW) 5,984 – 9,600
    36 Panel System (10.8 kW) 6,732 – 10,800

    Solar Panel Lease Cost

    A solar panel lease costs 50 and 250 per month, depending on your location and energy needs. Leasing solar panels is cost-effective and typically saves 50 to 100 per month on your electricity bills with little to no down payment.

    Solar leasing companies are responsible for the installation and maintenance fees for the duration of your contract. If you move, expect to pay additional fees to end your leasing agreement because transferring the lease to another buyer can be difficult.

    If you own a solar system outright that generates 100% of your power, the monthly cost is less than 10 per month for minor grid-tied connection fees. An off-grid system has no monthly costs other than general maintenance.

    Tesla Solar Roof Cost

    A Tesla solar roof costs 22 to 45 per square foot, which includes the solar roof tiles, a Powerwall, roof and site repairs, and complete system installation. A 9.45 kW solar system installed on a 1,800 square foot roof costs between 39,600 and 81,000.

    On average, solar shingles cost up to 8,000 more than installing a new roof with traditional PV solar panels. Glass-faced solar shingles mimic the appearance of a tiled roof and cover more surface area than mounted PV panels to catch more sunlight.

    Solar tiles have a lower efficiency rating than solar panels. They may not last as long as PV panels because their design doesn’t allow much room for ventilation, which can lead to overheating.

    Commercial Solar Panel Cost

    A 10 kW to 2 MW commercial solar panel system costs 1.83 per watt before any tax rebates or incentives. Larger fixed-tilt or one-axis tracking utility-scale systems greater than 2 MW cost 1.06 per watt on average.

    Commercial solar installation costs for small and mid-sized businesses range from 43,000 for a 25 kW system to 175,000 for a 100 kW system. Businesses recover about 45 percent of solar panel costs within the first year through tax credits and rebate programs.

    Commercial Solar Panel Cost

    System Size Average Cost Before Tax Credits
    25 kW 43,500 to 56,000
    50 kW 87,500 to 113,000
    100 kW 175,000 to 225,500
    250 kW 437,000 to 563,500

    Solar Savings Estimator

    The solar payback information below covers the average break-even period, which is when your power supply becomes free, and the projected savings over 20 years.

    Solar Panel Return On Investment (ROI)

    The average solar panel payback period is 7 to 12 years, depending on where you live and the cost of electricity. Upfront costs are 11,000 on average, with savings of 1,400 per year on foregone energy bills. You’ll break even after 8 years and start generating a return on your investment.

    How Much Do Solar Panels Save?

    Over 20 years, solar panel savings range from 10,000 to 30,000, depending on your location and the cost of electricity.

    Solar energy saves 600 to 2,000 per year by reducing your electricity bills and selling your solar renewable energy credits (SRECs).

    Solar Panel Savings Calculator

    Location Savings Over 20 Years Payback Period (Years)
    Albuquerque, NM 17,576 – 25,109 15.06
    Austin, TX 14,627 – 20,896 7.04
    Baltimore, MD 16,349 – 23,356 6.90
    Boston, MA 17,449 – 24,928 9.66
    Charlotte, NC 15,035 – 21,479 8.20
    Chicago, IL 14,591 – 20,844 11.85
    Denver, CO 15,035 – 21,479 13.30
    Honolulu, HI 34,104 – 48,720 6.55
    Houston, TX 14,627 – 20,896 7.57
    Indianapolis, IN 11,637 – 16,625 14.60
    Jersey City, NJ 18,349 – 26,214 9.95
    Las Vegas, NV 13,918 – 19,883 9.05
    Los Angeles, CA 25,414 – 36,306 11.99
    New York, NY 17,247 – 24,639 10.58
    Philadelphia, PA 13,689 – 19,556 9.35
    Phoenix, AZ 18,325 – 26,179 7.50
    Portland, OR 11,351 – 16,216 11.66
    San Francisco, CA 14,700 – 21,000 11.34
    Seattle, WA 6,863 – 12,805 11.26
    Washington, DC 21,840 – 31,200 6.78

    6kW system powering 70% to 100% of your energy needs.

    Here’s a more granular look at solar savings on power bills per year by location.

    Solar Panel Savings On Electricity Bills

    Location Average Savings Per Year
    Albuquerque, NM 1,349
    Austin, TX 782
    Boston, MA 2,196
    Charlotte, NC 805
    Chicago, IL 1,059
    Jersey City, NJ 1,762
    Los Angeles, CA 2,477
    New York, NY 1,404
    Philadelphia, PA 1,006
    Portland, OR 864
    San Francisco, CA 1,822
    Seattle, WA 633
    Washington, DC 1,127

    Are Solar Panels Worth It?

    Solar panels generate electricity approximately 30% cheaper than utility electricity in most locations, making them worth it over their lifetime. The 30% federal solar tax credit and state incentives make solar energy more affordable.

    much, solar, panels, cost

    The average residential electricity rate from utility companies is 16.4 cents per kWh, depending on the location. An 8 kW solar system costs 15,000 and generates 11,000 kWh annually or 880 to 1,100 worth of energy. Over the lifetime of the solar panels, this equates to 8 to 10 cents per kWh, which makes solar panels worth it after the hefty upfront cost.

    Solar Panel Installation Cost Factors

    The cost to convert a house to solar power depends on your location, energy needs, type of solar panels, inverter and equipment options, permits, inspection, tax credits, and labor costs.

    Use the national averages in the following table to calculate a cost-benefit analysis for solar PV installation.

    Cost To Convert House To Solar Power

    Item Percent Average Cost
    Solar Panels, Inverter Parts 30% 3,188 – 3,969
    Balance of System 20% 2,125 – 2,646
    Labor 15% 1,594 – 1,985
    Permits and Inspection 15% 1,594 – 1,985
    Operational 20% 2,125 – 2,646

    Cost of Solar Panels Over Time

    The average cost of solar panels fell 65% from 7.34 per watt in 2010, to 2.53 per watt in 2019 and continues to drop. A standard 6 kW residential solar system has dropped from 44,000 down to 15,200 over the past decade (not including the federal solar tax credit).

    Cost of Solar Panels Over Time

    Year Cost Per Watt
    2010 7.34
    2011 6.44
    2012 4.55
    2013 3.97
    2014 3.49
    2015 3.23
    2016 3.02
    2017 2.84
    2018 2.70
    2019 2.53
    2020 2.34
    2021 2.22

    Estimates are based on the average rate of decline.

    Labor Costs To Install Solar Panels

    The average labor cost to install solar panels is 0.27 per watt, or around 15% of the total system cost. A standard 6 kW system with 20 to 25 panels costs about 1,600 for installation labor before applying the 30% federal solar tax credit.

    Labor costs increase if your home has multiple stories, skylights, dormers, or a problematic 45° roof pitch. Contractors may need to design a unique system to make sure the panels receive enough sunlight to be efficient.

    much, solar, panels, cost

    Pv cost per kwh

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    What Does Regular Electricity Cost?

    Residential 13.04#162
    Commercial 10.66#162
    Industrial 6.83#162
    Tranportation 9.73#162
    All Sectors 10.60#162

    The chart at the left shows the yearly average cost of electricity for 2019 by consumer group per the EIA (the US Energy Information Administration) updated in March 2020.

    For 2019 the average residential cost was up 1.2% from 2018. Residential in the US have risen by approximattely 3% per year over the past 10 years

    Commercial was up 2.1% from 2018, industrial was up 3.8%, and tranportation was up 2.1%.

    All sectors were up 3.6% from 2018.

    The major components of the U.S. average price of electricity in 2019 were:

    Electricity vary by location due to type of power plants, cost of fuels, fuel transportation costs and state pricing regulations. The states with the highest average retail price of electricity in 2018 (data released in December 2019) were:

    Those with the lowest average in 2018 were:

    2018 residential electricity were highest in Hawaii, 29.18¢ per kilo-watt hour (kWh), because most of their electricity is generated using crude oil. The lowest price was in the state of Louisiana with 7.71¢ per kWh.

    In 2018 per the latest available data, the US average residential household used 914 kWh per month and the average monthly electricity bill was 117.65 before taxes and fees. The average cost per kWh was 12.87. are higher for residential and commercial customers than industrial customers because it costs more to distribute the electricity and step the voltages down. Industrial customers use more and can take their electricity at higher voltages so it does not need to be stepped down. These factors make the price of power to industrial customers close to the wholesale price of electricity (the price from one utility to another). Top

    much, solar, panels, cost

    What Does Solar Electricity Cost?

    As shown in the chart at the left, photovoltaic (PV) solar cell have come down by a factor of 100 over the last 38 years; and down by a factor of 25 over the last 15 years. (The reason for the small increase between 2005 and 2008 was because of a polysilicon shortage.) The sharp drop in 2009 and 2010 was because of too much capacity, especially in China, which has caused to collapse. ( See the Overcapacity Issues section. ) The 2015 average solar cell price was 0.30 per watt and the average solar module price was 0.72 per watt.

    Since costs after installation are minimal for solar electricity, the relevant costs are the purchase price, installation costs, and the cost of land (capital costs). Cost components that make up a residential solar system are: system design, solar modules, and the balance of system (BOS) which consists of an inverter, bi-directional billing meter, connection devices, and installation labor.

    In the southwest, installed residential solar are competitive with residential electricity after incentives.

    Avg. US Installed Capital Costs. 2018 (NREL) Cost Per Watt (DC)
    Residential Rooftop 2.70
    Large Commercial 1.83
    Utility Scale. Fixed 1.06
    Utility Scale. Tracker 1.13

    According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Golden Colorado and Washington DC, the average residential household in the U.S. installs a 5 kWh system and it cost on average 2.70 per DC watt or 13,500 (5000 times 2.70) before incentives. Utilities on the other hand typically install systems in the 100 mega-watt or greater range. The average installed fixed utility system cost was 1.06 per watt and 1.13 per tracker watt. Top

    Why did PV Come Down So Rapidly?

    As can be seen from the graph at the left, over 20 plus years solar module have experienced a dramatic price reduction. From 2007 to 2014, a seven year span, worldwide average module dropped about 78% from 3.25 per watt to about 72 per watt, a phenomenal drop.

    The main reason crystalline silicon module dropped so much was because the price of the raw material polysilicon, which makes up a very significant part of the total cost, dropped so tremendously. Back in 2007 there was a world wide polysilicon shortage and increased to about 400/kg. Polysilicon suppliers made a lot of money and added tons of capacity so that there was a huge polysilicon capacity oversupply by 2010. Over a three year period from 2008 to 2011, polysilicon dropped from 400 per kilogram to 25/kg. a 94% drop.

    In addition to the polysilicon issue, the decline is also being driven by a) the increasing efficiency of solar cells (ratio of electrical energy produced to sunshine energy) b) dramatic manufacturing technology improvements, c) economies of scale and d) intense competition which leads to module oversupply.

    The recent solar growth rate of 23% per year allowed manufacturing efficiencies that are unheard of in other industries. In addition, there are too many competitors jousting for major contracts, which is driving down precipitously. Top

    When Will PV Solar Reach Grid Parity?

    There is no one cost number that defines utility grid parity. There are different levels of parity depending on what the generation system is. Solar has already penetrated the most expensive generator. the peaking plant, also known as a peaker. Peakers are rather small plants, ranging from 50 MW to 500 MW in size, normally about 100 MW. Peakers are mainly used in the summertime during peak electrical use for air conditioning late in the afternoon. They are normally single-cycle natural gas generators, meaning no boiling water; burning natural gas directly fuels the turbine. Peakers have to be able to come up to speed on 10 to 15 minutes notice. They are very inefficient and expensive to run, but are great sources of electricity when utilities are on the verge of rolling blackouts. At that point, operating expenses are down the list of priorities.

    Shown at the left is a photo of APS’s Sundance peaker plant near Coolidge, AZ. The site consists of ten generators, and all ten can be on the grid within 10 minutes generating 450 MW of power. Each generator consists of a converted GE Boeing 747 jet engine powered with natural gas which can be turned on with a click of a mouse and will generate 45 MW of power.

    The next level of power plant available are the load following plants. These are intermediate size plants that are normally turned off at night but follow the increasing electrical load as the day progresses. These are generally combined-cycle plants (natural gas with a steam turbine) that are expensive but easy to turn on and off. Many older load following plants are vulnerable to the most recent versions of solar power especially with stored battery power included.

    Finally you have the huge base load plants that are operated continuously day and night except for maintenance down time. These are nuclear and coal type plants that are very efficient but can take many hours or even days, in the case of nuclear, to come up to speed and to shut down. They are the backbone of the electrical industry and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

    So how big is the Peaker electricity market? The total US electricity market in 2017 was 4,015 million kilo-watt hours (m-kWh) according to the February 2018 EIA Report (which includes the whole year for 2017). The peaker portion is generally accepted to be 5% of the total market. So 5% of the total is 201 m-kWh. The total amount of PV generated electricity in the US in 2017 was 73.8 m-kWh (1.8% of the US total), also from the February EIA Report. This is only 37% of the peaker market. So, there is plenty of peaker market yet available for solar in the US in addition to some of the load following plant market.

    In October 2017 California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed a state bill mandating that utilities meet their peak energy and reliability needs with alternatives to fossil-fuel generating plants while also providing the electricity at the lowest cost to consumers. Unless there are unusual circumstances, there most likely will be no more gas peakers approved anywhere else in the US for meeting summer peak demand. Top

    PV Solar Parity Has Begun

    Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE). PV Solar Cheaper than Coal and Nuclear

    The following table shows the Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE) for various sources of electricity. LCOE is the most popular method of comparing the cost of different complex energy technologies. It is the total life cycle cost of electricity for a given technology divided by the total life cycle electricity produced, expressed as dollars per million watt hours ( per MWh). The table below, derived from LCOE costs developed by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) in February, 2019, estimates the average LCOE (with no subsidies) over a 30 year period for different energy sources that are brought online in the year 2023. The year 2023 is used for comparison as that is a realistic time frame for a new plant to come on-line. (LCOE calculations are explained in much more detail in the Utility Section below.)

    Offshore WindCoal with 30% CCSCoal with 90% CCSBiomassAdvanced NuclearNat Gas Comb. Cycle with CCSPV SOLAR Land Based WindAdv. Nat. Gas Combined CycleGeothermalHydro-electric

    Notes: CCS stands for Carbon Control and Storage (Sequestration) in a remote underground location.

    New conventional coal plants without CCS and new Peaker Natural Gas plants are not allowed in the year 2022.

    PV solar is much cheaper than coal with CCS (about two-thirds) and it is unlikely that any new coal fired plants will be built in the US. The Petra Nova facility, a coal-fired power plant located near Houston, Texas, is one of only two operating power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the world. It is the only CCS facility in the United States. So CCS of any kind is not currently a major competitor to solar. Solar costs have been coming down dramatically. They are expected to slow down somewhat, but will continue to decline from the levels used in the LCOE calculations above.

    Nuclear has many sideline issues besides cost and therefore very few new nuclear facilities are expected. Geothermal, hydro-electric, and biomass are not mainstream electrical production facilities, a few here and there. Therefore, as far as new electrical facilities are concerned, natural gas without CSS, land based wind and solar will be the main new contributors. Wind is limited as an average daily rate of 20 miles per hour (mph) is needed to be economically feasible. Not many areas average 20 mph winds every day. However, the sun shines almost everywhere, making solar an almost universal candidate. Therefore, natural gas and solar will be the main sources of new energy production. Top

    A Simple Chart Delivers The Message

    A November 2017 report from Lazard shows how the costs of producing electricity from various sources are changing. Energy from utility-scale solar plants that feed into the grid has seen the biggest price drop. an 86% decrease since 2009. The cost of producing one megawatt-hour of electricity, a standard way to measure electricity production, is now around 50 for solar power, according to Lazard’s math. The cost of producing one megawatt-hour of electricity from coal, by comparison, is 102 — more than double the cost of solar.

    The rapidly declining cost of solar is a sign that the world is most likely on the verge of a dramatic change in how our buildings and vehicles are powered. This price drop is likely to spur a shift towards renewable power like solar and wind, and away from fossil fuels like oil and coal. Top

    How Much Solar Power Is Reasonable?

    When we say that PV will be at parity with natural gas and coal, that does not mean there will not be any coal or natural gas generators thereafter. Because the sun shines only during daylight hours, and wind is most prevalent at night, both are variable. We can not be totally dependent on renewables in the foreseeable future. Currently, wind provides 4% and solar about 2% of US electricity. An electrical generation target of 20% solar and wind by 2040 seems reasonable. (For reference, 20% of US electricity is the equivalent of the energy used in all the cars and light trucks in the US.) The solar and wind figures could be larger if there were some dramatic cost improvements in grid electricity storage, notably large battery systems. However at the moment, large battery storage at the grid level still looks a way off.

    In addition, more than 20% of solar and wind would require major investments in transmission lines. Not only are transmission lines expensive, but they are hard to permit because of the NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) factor. Transmission lines also require three to four years to build, versus solar or wind plants which can be easily built in two years. If by 2040, 20% of our electricity comes from solar and wind, almost everyone will be happy with the situation. Top

    Long Run Solar Cost

    Most cost analyses are run over a 20 or 30 year period. Ken Zweibel of George Washington University said. That is not the correct way to evaluate long life assets like PV systems, nuclear plants, or other large long lasting utilities. PV systems can last maybe up to a 100 years! There is only a small degradation of performance. about a half of one percent per year. So a PV system after 50 years will still produce electricity at 75% of its original performance. 50 years is perhaps a better time frame over which to evaluate the cost of this type of asset. The graph on the left for100 years is very interesting.

    Once installed, PV systems need very little maintenance so that the total lifetime cost is mostly just the initial price of the equipment and land. This is conceptually how we think of an investment in bridges or roads. The chart at the left uses a weighted average (weighted by annual output performance) for the cost for the current year plus all previous years for each data point. Once the initial cost of the system is paid for (assumed to be 20 years) the cost of running a PV system is almost zero, whereas for coal and other fossil fuels there is the cost of fuel each and every year. In addition, costs for fossil fuels may creep up due to raw material costs, shipping costs, and possibly carbon dioxide taxes.

    At an installed price of 1.25 per watt per the above analysis, the cost of PV solar is always cheaper than coal. Per the NREL, the cost of utility solar was 1.06 per watt in 2018 (from the table near the top of this page). So in 2018, utility solar was cheaper than coal and advanced nuclear. Therefore, no new coal or nuclear plants are expected to be initiated. However, some current coal and nuclear plants will likely be upgraded. Top

    Solar Learning Curves

    Swanson’s law is the observation that the price of solar photovoltaic modules drop about 20 percent for every doubling of cumulative shipped volume. It is named after Dick Swanson, the founder of SunPower Corporation, a solar panel manufacturer. (Swanson’s law has been compared to Moore’s law, which predicts the computing power of micro-processors.)

    Crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell have fallen from 76.67 per watt in 1977 to about 0.60 per watt in 2014. Plotting the module price (in /Watt) versus time shows a drop of about 10% per year.

    Swanson’s Law appears to have originated with an article in The Economist published in late 2012. However, Dick Swanson said in a Greentech article in 2017, I didn’t invent it. Over the years, my name has become linked with the experience curve in solar. This is a complete misnomer. Greentech has graciously offered me a pulpit to set this right.

    Cadmium Telluride Vs. Crystalline Silicone

    As shown in the learning curve chart below, cadmium telluride thin film panels are inherently cheaper to make than crystalline silicone panels. These classical learning curves plot module cost on the Y axis vs. cumulative quantity produced on the X axis. Both axes are logarithmic scales. The chart shows that the two technologies are on distinctly different curves, not dependent on time but on volume. Although crystalline silicone is inherently more expensive, its production volume is much, much larger than cadmium telluride. Just looking at the curves, one would expect crystalline silicone to equal cadmium telluride in the near future.

    However, the extreme polysilicon price decline is most likely in the past and future price reductions will probably be more modest. Note that the last two points for crystalline silicone are equal (no reduction). Most analysts believe First Solar, the leader in cadmium telluride, will continue to drive costs down. First Solar no longer shares their cost goals with the public and most crystalline silicon manufacturers have followd suit. However, First Solar did announce that they beat their cost goal during 2017 (speculated to be 40 per watt). In the long run, the race between cadmium telluride and crystalline silicon will continue to be a critical cost reduction race as crystalline silicone’s volume is roughly 14 to 1 over cadmium telluride. Top

    Residential Cost Example. Typical Southwest House

    A roof top solar system has no moving parts, so it has a long expected lifetime exceeding 25 years (used in this example). However inverters (which convert the panel DC current into AC) have an expected lifetime of 10 to 15 years. In our example we add the cost of a replacement inverter to the system after 12 years. We assume no other maintenance costs as the panels are usually warranted for 25 years with a degradation clause. So let us calculate a south facing roof top residential cost example in the southwest United States in Q2 2018:

    • Residential house. Phoenix metropolitan area
    • Electricity provider. AZ Public Service Corp. (APS)
    • Average system size. 5 kW (5,000 watts)
    • Roof space required. 500 square feet, no shading
    • Phoenix cost per installed watt in Q2 2018 ~ 3.00
    • System fully loaded cost at 3.00/watt. 15,000 before incentives
    • Federal tax incentive 30% of total cost. (4,500)
    • AZ State tax credit. (1,000)
    • Sum of incentives. (5,500)
    • Initial net cost to consumer. 9,500
    • Add replacement inverter in 12 years. 1,410 (2,565 in 2018 less ~5% per year decrease)
    • 25 year total system cost. 10,910
    • Estimated monthly savings. 84/month average over 25 years (see note below for monthly savings calculation)
    • Break even. 130 months (10.8 years)
    • Net savings over 25 years. 14,280 (170 x 84, excluding inflation)
    • Net savings over 25 years. 17,850 (14,280 x 1.25, assuming 2%/yr. inflation)

    Note: The above calculations are approximate and for illustration purposes only. Actual costs will depend on the exact location of the home, the angle to the sun (north-south vs. east-west), the amount of shade if any, the type and angle of roof, electrical connections, additional options, etc. For an accurate estimate, please contact a local solar installation contractor and your tax accountant.

    Monthly Savings Calculation: A south facing roof top solar system with no shading, and with a normal yearly dessert sunlight radiance of 2,400 per square meter would produce 1,840 kWh of electricity per year per nameplate kW capacity (assuming 23.3% losses for DC to AC conversion and other system losses). With a 5 kW system installed, the first year production would be 9,200 kWh (5 x 1,840). Assuming an average system degradation of 0.5% per year times 25 years yields a net 8,050 kWh yearly average electricity savings (9,200 x.875). Assuming an average 2018 residential electricity price in AZ of 125 per kWh (excluding taxes and fees) yields a yearly savings of 1,006.25 (8,050 x 125 not counting future inflation). The monthly savings would then be 83.85 (1,006.25 divided by 12). This was rounded to 84.00 even. Top

    Utility Cost Of Electricity

    The cost calculations for a utility installation are quite complex. In principle they are simple:

    Where: LCOE is the Levelized Cost Of Electricity. The LCOE approach allows different technologies to be compared, not only solar approaches, but fossil fuels and nuclear as well. The Total Life Cycle Cost is the present value of all the components of cost over the useful life of the installation minus the depreciation tax benefit and residual value. The Total Lifetime Energy Production is all the useful energy produced by the installation over its total life. (See the Solar Parity section above for actual LCOEs for the various energy sources.)

    Initial capital investment

    • The cost of all the equipment involved in the project
    • Land related costs which depend on the number of panels, site preparation and security protection.
    • Grid connection costs such as inverters, transformers, and transmission to the nearest grid
    • Interest at 6%. All capital costs are assumed to be financed by obtaining a loan (for LCOE purposes only).

    (Note: The above costs are very sensitive to panel efficiency. Panels that are 12% efficient versus those that are 18% will need 50% more panels, 50% more inverters, 50% more land, etc.)

    Residual Value

    Total Lifetime Solar Energy Production

    The value of the electricity produced over the total life cycle of the system is calculated by estimating the initial annual production, called Peak Capacity, and then discounting it for future years based on previously observed annual degradation rates for the particular technology of the site. A typical degradation rate is 0.5% per year, although some rates are as high as 1.0% and as low as 0.25%. The first-year energy production of the system is expressed in kilowatt hours generated per kilowatt of peak capacity.

    Factors Affecting Peak Capacity:

    • How the system is mounted and oriented (i.e. flat, fixed tilt, tracking, etc.)
    • The spacing between PV panels as expressed in terms of system ground coverage ratio (GCR)
    • The energy harvest of the PV panels (i.e. performance sensitivity to high temperatures, sensitivity to low diffuse light, etc.)
    • System losses from soiling, transformers, inverters and wiring inefficiencies
    • System availability largely driven by inverter downtime

    The LCOE is highly sensitive to small changes in input variables and underpinning assumptions. For this reason, it is important to carefully assess and validate the assumptions used for different technologies when comparing LCOEs.

    Pv cost per kwh

    As continuously rise and the planet edges closer to the brink of calamity, many people are wondering what the cheapest energy for the home is. The share of renewables in global energy generation reached nearly 28% in 2020 and is projected to approach 49% by 2050, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Fortunately, the cost of renewable energy has been steadily declining, making it more accessible and more feasible as a long-term alternative to fossil fuels. So is solar energy worth it? And what is the cheapest form of energy in the United States? Check out this visualization by Solar Power Guide to learn more and discover just how ideal renewable energy is becoming:

    Click the below image to view full-size.

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    What Is the Cost of Renewable Energy?

    Here is a breakdown of the cost of renewable energy according to our research, ranked by least to most expensive:

    • Solar, standalone — 32.78 per MWh
    • Geothermal — 36.40 per MWh
    • Wind, onshore — 36.93 per MWh
    • Combined cycle — 37.11 per MWh
    • Solar, hybrid — 47.67 per MWh
    • Hydroelectric — 55.26 per MWh
    • Biomass — 89.21 per MWh
    • Battery storage — 119.84 per MWh
    • Wind, offshore — 120.52 per MWh

    Compare these costs to ultra-supercritical coal, which costs 72.78 per megawatt-hour, more than double the cost of solar energy. And ultra-supercritical coal is a type of coal plant that is more efficient than traditional coal plants: Energy coming from older plants is even more expensive. The base cost of solar energy is only 23.52 per megawatt-hour, which is almost half the base cost of coal, 43.80 per megawatt-hour.

    Is Solar the Cheapest Form of Energy?

    The cheapest renewable energy is indeed solar energy. The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020 stated, “With sharp cost reductions over the past decade, solar PV is consistently cheaper than new coal- or gas-fired power plants in most countries, and solar projects now offer some of the lowest-cost electricity ever seen.” This stayed consistent for the International Energy Agency’s 2021 report, which explained, “In most markets, solar PV or wind now represents the cheapest available source of new electricity generation.” So is renewable energy cheaper in the long run? Absolutely! Beyond the cost benefits of renewable energy, it is also far more environmentally friendly. Renewable energy invests in people and in the planet.

    Is Solar Cheaper Than Coal and Other Fossil Fuels?

    Yes! Solar power has recently become the cheapest energy source in history, as mentioned above. And of the wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources in use in 2020, 62% were cheaper than the cheapest new fossil fuel. The director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Francesco La Camera, stated, “Today, renewables are the cheapest source of power.”

    Why Is Solar the Cheapest Form of Energy?

    Solar is the cheapest form of energy due to the lower cost of building panels to harvest energy from the sun. Additionally, scientists and engineers are actively researching technology that will create high input for smaller panels, lower costs of fabrication for panels, longer life spans, and improved recycling and reuse methods. It seems that solar energy has a bright future, both for individual households and larger-scale projects.

    Reduce High Energy Costs With Solar Power — Texas Edition

    In this post, I’ll cover how electricity from a new Texas residential solar system is already cheaper than grid electricity costs. I previously wrote an article about which solar system to use, where I compared Tesla versus SunPower for the better system, and I’ll also follow that up with the decision I made and why I made it.

    On Tuesday, March 8, 2022, our residential solar system from SunPower was installed. Following that, on March 29, our bi-directional meter was installed by our utility, allowing us to track electricity consumed from the grid, track electricity generation from our new solar system, and track how much we sent back to the grid. I’ll have more to say on our SunPower panels in a subsequent post.

    Texas rooftop solar is cheaper than grid electricity today

    Grid cost in per kWh versus estimated solar system cost in per kWh over the last year for our house. You can see how solar is far cheaper in the summer. Chart by Vijay Govindan, CleanTechnica.

    Here’s my estimate of the solar panel costs if we had them together since last March. I have capped the production from the panels at 50 kWh per day, since that’s the max I have seen them produce over the last month. The red bars represent the total electric cost divided by total consumption. You’ll note there has been a rising trend in grid electricity costs since November. The cost in March 2022 was 15 cents per kWh, a rise of 22.81% year over year. For the solar panels, our cost is fixed at 108.63 per month, which is the financing cost of the panels. The solar panel blue line cost curve is inverted, leading to higher costs in winter and lower costs in summer. This is because natural gas is our big cost for heating, less sun is available in the winter for the solar panels, and more electricity is used in summer for cooling. During the summer, our solar cost drops to 7 to 8 cents a kWh, a big savings.

    For the last year, our overall average grid electricity cost was 13 cents a kWh. 15,359 kWh were consumed for a cost of 1,936.17. I estimate our panels can produce 13,260 kWh over the coming year, with a total fixed cost of 1,303.56. This gives us an estimated average cost of 10 cents a kWh. Yes, we’ll have to cover the excess electricity in the summer time, and I estimate that will cost us 264.60. Already, in our first month of owning solar panels, you can see we will be below the grid electricity cost. That’s a big deal!

    I estimate we’ll save 368.01 over our first year by using solar panels, for an estimated first year return of 28.23% on investment. That’s terrific. I will be posting followup articles on how much was produced by our panels, how much our consumption went down, and how much we saved. We are simply substituting the leaky, unreliable, non-winterized Texas electric grid with locally produced electricity for a cheaper, fixed cost. No one expects the grid to stay the same, and if the last few months are prologue, the increases will be coming at a fast pace.

    Attacking high natural gas with solar

    Over the last year, we have consumed 1,016 CCF of natural gas. The cost was 1,145, about 1/3 of our total energy cost. This gives us a cost of 1.13 per unit. While electricity increases were bad, natural gas increases were even worse. The latest month is 40.22% higher than last March. The majority of natural gas usage is running our natural gas space heaters in the attic.

    My next plan is increasing the number of panels we have, generating more electricity in the winter months, lowering the thermostat by a few degrees, and running room heaters where we commonly stay. If it was prudent, I would switch our tankless water heaters to electric heat pump water heaters, as mentioned by Joe Wachunas in his great comparison piece. That is phase 3. Since grid electricity is cheaper than natural gas, and homegrown solar electricity is cheaper than grid electricity, the only real upfront cost is the one-time expense for good room heaters.

    The rising cost of natural gas over the last year without a solar system. Chart by Vijay Govindan, CleanTechnica.

    much, solar, panels, cost

    In Texas, it is the winter months, when natural gas usage spikes. A solar system can help in winter too. Chart by Vijay Govindan, CleanTechnica.

    Natural gas cost is not coming down, not with the Russian invasion of Ukraine taking place. Chart by Vijay Govindan, CleanTechnica.

    What happens to any extra electricity that is produced and not consumed?

    Our local utility does have net metering. First, anything produced by the panels is consumed by our house. The biggest consistent use of electricity is charging our Tesla Model 3. This consumes 60 kWh every week. If there is more production than consumption by the house (and car), the extra is sent back to the grid. The utility credits us with the residential retail rate for every kWh sent back to the grid, not the wholesale rate, which is generous. Third, if we need to use more electricity than available, we use the grid. Anything produced by the solar system is netted out against what is consumed over each month. If anything extra is produced, as seems likely in April, it goes to the grid, for free. That’s not great, and it’s one reason in Texas it’s hard to match 100% of your electric needs using only solar in a way that makes sense.

    Until I find a better way to consume all the electricity each month (no Bitcoin mining!), I’m okay with that. At scale, it means less reason to call the natural gas and coal generators for generation, leaving them fewer opportunities to make money during the day, lowering their revenue potential. The extra daytime supply lowers the cost of electricity, which is a win for everyone except the fossil fuel industry. Just think, if another 1000 houses switched to residential solar in each town, the extra production would make it harder for fossil fuels to take share. That leaves them early morning, late evenings, and night as the only places to make money. Wind, batteries, hydropower, and pumped storage can work at night. Floating solar can augment hydropower during the day. There’s no reason with the technology we have to keep fossil fuel power plants as costly standby generators. Their time is gone.

    Better home design leads to better solar utilization

    Texans where I live prefer their modern homes to have punctuated rooflines, turrets, and complex shapes. The higher the complexity, the better chance to sell. Such roofs are bad for increasing residential solar production. Solar system utilization could be increased by slanting roofs at the right angle, minimizing peaks and valleys in the roof, moving chimneys to the edge, having the roofs face south in the Northern Hemisphere, and extending roofs at the same angle from one side of the house to the other. Houses could take advantage of first principles design with solar and 100% electricity, including bi-directional meters, higher amperage circuit breakers, and electric vehicle charging. Much can be done to improve solar energy generation with current technology. It’s a failure of imagination, knowledge, and design by home builders to maximize living space, reduce energy cost, capture more solar energy, and increase comfort.

    Readers, what do you prefer? Suffering the slings and arrows of capricious, unreliable fate using grid electricity, or generating clean electricity on your roof with a fixed cost every month? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев!


    Here’s all the data I collected, plus more charts!

    Electricity consumption by month. Chart by Vijay Govindan, CleanTechnica.

    Estimated solar system generation if we had owned our panels over the last year. Chart by Vijay Govindan, CleanTechnica.

    We’ll have the summer time consumption peak, when the AC is running most of the day. Chart by Vijay Govindan, CleanTechnica.

    The excellent cost of flat, fixed solar system energy costs. Chart by Vijay Govindan, CleanTechnica.

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