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Domestic Solar Panel Resources, Guides and Plans

Top Rated Solar Panels on Amazon

~ Updated September 24, 2013

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About Me


My name is Neville Pettersson and I have created the this site to help regular home owner’s like me make their own

energy at home. For more info about me check out the about page here. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and Pinterest.

Cost Of Solar Panels


The best place to view and compare the
cost of solar panels from a range of various manufacturers and suppliers in a non-biased way is to go to Amazon and browse solar panels. Most other sites will tend to favor certain suppliers who give them better commissions. If you go to Amazon you can sort by user rating and see actual solar panel reviews which is an invaluable tool.


It's important to factor in all of the additional parts into your overall solar panel cost calculations. These components will include MC cables, grounding wire, a solar inverter, a charge controller and also whatever materials you use to mount your panels.

Cost For Homes


The cost of solar panels has dropped by over 50% in the last 5 years and continues to plummet due favorable supply and demand economics for U.S. consumers. The big solar manufacturers have moved operations to China and are increasing production, in addition more and more new companies are entering the market, thereby increasing the supply of
domestic solar panels. This increase in production is being fed by a strong demand from consumers for cheap solar panels.


What is happening now with solar roof panels is much like what has happened to computers over the last ten years. Ten years ago computers were a luxury item only few people had, now everyone has one and prices are extremely cheap. Anyone without internet access these days doesn't even exist and that's the way solar panels will be soon too!

Cost Of Solar Panels Per Watt


In a recent market survey First Solar reported a drastic drop in the cost of production of it's standard
monocrystalline solar panels at $0.75 per watt. These types of efficiencies are precisely what is driving the prices down for the end consumer. As the demand for domestic solar power grows, economies of scale decrease production costs even more in a very favorable cycle for consumers.


You'll get a lot of the 'old school' solar companies still trying to charge anywhere upwards from $5 per watt. Be sure NOT to go down this road. You should look to pay no more than $3 per watt at the very most.


Continued below....




Cost Of Solar Panels

Calculation


To find out the actual cost of solar panels you'd need for your home you need to understand a few key concepts and do a few calculations.


The first thing you need to know is how much electricity you need your panels to produce. You can find this information on your power bill, it will be stated in kWh (kilowatt hours, 1000 watts over a defined time of one hour). The average U.S. electricity usage is around 10,000 kWh per year or 30kWh per day, so yours should be in the same ball park.


The next vital piece of information you'll need is your insolation rating. Your insolation rating is basically how much solar energy you'll receive from the sun in your particular area given as kWh per meter squared per day. Luckily for you, this information is freely available at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website. The scale is from 0 - 14 (14 being the most energy).


All solar panels have wattages stated at an insolation rating of one. So if your insolation rating is 4 and you have an array with an output of 500 watts (0.5 kWh) your system would give you 2kWh per day.


The final step is to account for inefficiencies in the inverter and wiring. Inverters are around 95% efficient and wiring also no more than 95%, so a worse case scenario would be 90% efficiency.


Here's a working example of how to find the cost of solar panels if you live in Florida.


Average kWh per household = 30.


Divided by the average annual insolation rating for Florida of 3-4 (we'll use 3 to be safe).


This gives us a requirement of 10kWh per day, so we'll need a system with an output of 10kW.


At cost per watt of $1 - $3 this gives a total cost of between $10,000 to $30,000.