Well, I guess you might want to know what is the real cost of solar panels for home.
If you browse over the Internet, it may take quite some time or maybe you will find nothing to find what is the real cost of solar panel. And most of the time, writers or bloggers will make an estimated value like the average cost of solar panels installation, which would be around 40,000 to 60,000 USD per installation.
Well, without knowing if it’s true or not, I believe it will only make the name of this green energy look horrible in terms of its price.
Gladly, today I just collected 4 case studies of the exact cost to install a solar panel.
These case studies came from a real person, like us, that loves green energy. Not just to save the world. I bet that is not the only reason, but more to save money up front.
Before we go further, I just want to acknowledge some of the information that we are about to find out:
The installation was done by a trusted solar panel installer. So, you may know the company from which they were hired.
Most of the installers completed the work in about 2 days.
Some of the material presented by them was a blog post writing, which will take quite some time for you to read. Even better, there is also a video presentation. Which I will start with first, right after this. So you can better understand how solar is installed and how it works.
For the blog post presented by owner, I tried to make a summary of it. Some of important points that I will cover on their brief project, of course, in terms of the cost, I will breakdown those costs to what purpose, and so on, as this is what we want to know for sure.
The idea of this post is to show how wrong it is to say that the average cost of solar panels for a home may reach $50,000, without saying how we can decrease that cost.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Our first case study, talks about how John P installed a solar system on his house. John P also has made a 20 minutes video to show how his system has been done.
But before we watch,
Let me summarize a few of the important points that John P mentioned in his video below:
Actually, it reminds me that solar panel systems can last a long time. And yes, most of us will proudly “announce” telling anyone it’s guaranteed to last as long as 25 years.
But, does this include all the equipment? Of course not, because we still need to change the inverter probably at the halfway point of the system’s lifespan. But this does not mean big problem at all because within 10 years from now. New equipment will perform better as improvements are made and developed, meaning that it will help improve our system over time also.
The 2nd thing for me that I think is why in the hell did I not think about it before is, if our solar arrays can be used for 25 years, well that’s nice, but how about what it’s standing on? In most cases, it is on our roof.
Can the roof actually make this work?
Don’t believe anything he says in the video. I believe if we can install this system ourselves or with better program plan instead of just purchasing the system like what John P did, we will get a better investment in the future. I don’t think John P wanted to go green. Instead, he just wanted to show how this system works, which is good, in order to let us know the pros and cons of asking some company to install it for us.
So, as seen above, this system costs 30,000 USD for a 10kW system and 60 percent of that cost is just for hardware.
After a 30% tax rebate and some payments completed, the net cost is 11,500 USD.
And John P stated it takes 10 years to get payback from this system.
This system is installed by Axiom Solar, according to John P on his blog. But I’m not sure if he spells that correctly because when I searched Axiom on Google, it provided me with a solar parts dealer.
But, I did found something close to this name, which is Axium Solar, and yes, their website looks like they are a solar installer.
I’m still not sure about it and I don’t really care to ask him. So, I’ll just let it be… 🙂
Let’s move on to our next case study.
Bob Kovacs makes our second case study.
After watching his videos and website, I can say Bob Kovacs and his wife, are a true family that loves green energy. And his video presentation below proves a lot.
Bob did two videos talking about his solar system. The 1st below was during the installation that has been done. Not very interesting to watch I think, its look like Bob just whispering himself that suddenly on tape for us to see. 🙂
In addition, for the second video, Bob presented the cost included in his project.
Let’s watch the installation video below. You may want to speed it up a little bit because it is not as fancy as John P’s video. However, this video does help us to understand how the installation has been made. Plus, it just takes 9 minutes of our time. Two days took to complete, by the way.
As mentioned earlier, the next video is going to be the presentation of the costs of this system.
So, after around 20 minutes, what we understand and get are:
The net cost is still around the cost of John P.’s system. About 11,500 USD for a 10kW system, right?
But for Bob, the 18.2 kW system got up to 18,765 USD. So, in terms of ratios, it’s kinda same.
After watching this video, I wondered about the Virginia rebate grants, and it looks like they still have them available.
Sorry, I’m not going to give provide more details about how to apply and all that stuff, but, you can refer to this page for more info about rebates. http://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-rebates-and-incentives/virginia/
Our third case study was made by Kevin Tofel.
I believe you might have read this post before because it went viral and was spread all over the place.
For those who did not, you can read it here:
Nevertheless, here is my quick summary:
At first, Kevin wanted to start installing this system because he wanted to escape from large tax bills. So he decides to invest the funds into a tax incentive as a backup.
The upfront total cost is $51,865 for a 9.43kW system. Yeah, I know, it’s much higher compared with the other two guys before mentioned.
With 30 federal tax credits, it only reduces the cost around $15,560. And just as Virginia had a rebate offer, in Pennsylvania, Kevin received a rebate in the amount of $7,100.
So, the final net cost is $29,205.
The price is quite a big chunk of money, probably because Kevin did not use a normal Inverter that most installers use, or string, or central inverter, because Kevin use the micro-inverter.
You can read more here, http://energyinformative.org/are-solar-micro-inverters-better-than-central-inverters/
By using the micro inverter, your system will most likely become more productive. Plus, because of the micro inverter, it will not be exposed to high power and heat loads as a central inverter. And they also tend to last significantly longer. Micro-inverters typically come with a warranty of 20-25 years; 10-15 years longer than central inverters. Courtesy of energyinformative.org
Our Last Contender is Allison Huke from ocgreenmama.com
And yes, she has decided to go green in everything that she can.
Some of the green posts on her blog include:
The use of plastic bags – read this. Allison shows in a detailed article some facts about plastic bags.
As Allison wrote in this blog:
I think we should use plastics more wisely and more sparingly. You can reduce your use of disposable plastic. You can also choose safer plastics, particularly for those items that are likely to come into contact with your mouth – the most common way the chemicals in plastic enter our bodies.
And of course, the last one that attracted us a lot, is her solar system.
This case is unique from the rest of the case studies mentioned above.
Well, most of us will somehow think (including me) that we are a bit off from our objective. Going green, but without even turning on or using the power, already cost us $20,000 and up to $30,000.
But not Allison, she chosed the pre-paid program out of another 2-way plan. She completely purchased the system and PPA solar, click here to find out more. So the payback time will come around the next month of using the system.
As a pre-paid plan, Allison had to pay $22,000 upfront, and her calculations assumed that she would save $90,000 in energy costs, over a 20 year period.
To understand Allison’s progress, she wrote it up in a 7 part blog post series.
I did summarize a bit its content, but you still need to read it on your own in order to have a better understanding about how this system works.
Part One, Making the Decision
After she moved, she received an electric bill of over $400 in one single month. She decided that she needed to do something about it. She tried to lower the bill by applying a basic conservation approach, like switching to LEDs, and control bad habits like turning off appliances that are not in use. But still, she needed around $300 for expenses per month. This is why, she ended up going solar.
Part Two, Financing
Most of us are so pessimistic about solar, due to the high up-front costs. But, of course, that’s because of the purchasing strategy that they are using. Or perhaps that’s the only option they had. But as mentioned, Allison chose a pre-paid plan. Thus, in this post, she goes into even more detail about the process.
Part Three, Auditing & Evaluation
After she decided to choose Solar City in the first post, Part One, in this third part of her journey, Solar City representatives started getting down to business. They started evaluating the effectiveness of solar for her home.
Part Four, Rebates and Approvals
As what you might know, most of the installers will process all the hard work, like processing the rebates and approval they need. From what I read, it looks like Allison needed to get the signature from her neighbors. That’s it.
Part Five, Installation, Inspection and Flipping the Switch
With all that being said, Solar City started the installation that took two days to complete. But, it couldn’t be turned on until it received final approval from SCE.
Part Six, A Month to Month Comparison
I think it is around August, 2013. The electric bill for Allison is down to only $14.19. Read here to learn how it happens.
Part Seven – First-Year Savings
After one complete year of using a solar panel, I know you are so eager to know how much money she managed to save.
Well, after she made some calculations, if she had not gone solar she would have had to pay $6823.15 in 2013. However, after making the right decision, she (and her husband) only paid $2203.37.
That’s it for now. I hope this post will inspire many of us that still don’t believe that solar will help in saving money and building a better future for earth. Bye