What Does It Cost To Install A Solar Energy System On A Typical American House?
We often get asked how much it would cost to set up adequate photovoltaic (PV) photovoltaic panels on a home or company building to generate one’s own electrical energy. There are website to assist with this, and Solar Power Authority even has a totally free solar calculator and quote tool, however they can be complicated unless you’re a technologist – so I’ve developed some basic standards (below) that will assist put cost in viewpoint.
In the USA, a guideline of thumb is that the average house consumes electricity at the rate of 1 kW per hour (kWh). There have to do with 730 hours in monthly, and the average price of a kWh of electrical energy is $0.10. So an average month-to-month expense would be around $73 for 730 kWh of electricity.
Obviously, this can vary considerably if you have non-standard items such as a hot-tub, or some electrical appliances running continually. Extended computer use, plasma screen TVs and video video games consoles can also make an impact. Your usage will increase substantially in months when you run a cooling system, as well. Lastly, the expense of electrical energy varies commonly throughout the USA, from as low as $0.07/ kWh in West Virginia to as much as $0.24/ kWh in Hawaii. You’ll need to change my standards appropriately, because they use to an average home with typical consumption and average electrical power costs.
A conservative worth to utilize as a photovoltaic panel’s producing capacity is 10 watts/sq. ft. This represents a panel conversion performance of about 12%, which is common. This implies that for each kW you create, you need about 100 sq. ft. of solar panels. If the sun shone 24 hours a day, you might put up 100 sq. ft. of panels and have adequate energy to power the typical house.
However, as we all understand, the sun is available just throughout daytime hours, and the amount readily available per day is extremely based on the extent of cloud cover. Also, the length of each day depends on the season. Thankfully, there are resources on the web to assist you find out the number of hours daily (usually) you can depend on the sun to shine, based upon where you live.
The averages throughout the USA differ from around 3 hours each day in places like Seattle, Chicago, and Pittsburgh, to 5 or 6 hours daily in states like Colorado and California, to a high of 7 hours each day in Arizona. What that implies is that the size of the panel array needed can vary, anywhere from 400 sq. ft. to 800 sq. ft. (i.e., 4 kW to 8 kW), depending on where you live. You’ll need more panels if you reside in a location that gets less sunshine per day, and less if you reside in a place that gets more.
If your energy company enables you to have net metering – that is, they supply you with a special meter that will spin backwards when you create more electricity than you use – your yearly bill can average out at no. Because of shorter days in the winter, you’ll likely be a net purchaser of electrical power because season and a net manufacturer in the summertime. A grid-tied system like this is various than off-grid systems utilized in remote areas with no electrical service; those need batteries, which can substantially increase overall system costs.
At the time of this writing, the installed cost of photovoltaic panels was in between $7-$ 9 per watt: A 5 kW system would cost around $25,000-$ 35,000. Lots of utility companies use rewards, and some subsidize as much as 50% of system costs. Even at half the expense, however, a system that produces an average $75 of electrical energy each month could take a long time to pay for itself.
For instance: A system that costs $18,000 has a repayment duration of about 20 years. The cost of a solar panel today is around $3 per watt, and the extra cost of setup brings expenses as much as $5- $6 per watt. Keep in mind: Installation costs for PV systems consist of both labor and the electronic devices required to connect the solar array into your existing electrical system.
Requirement Solar System Components
This raises a crucial point: it takes more than a solar panel to get a PV system operating, though. In reality, there are usually 4 components in every PV system:
Photovoltaic panel – catches sun’s energy and transforms it to electrical power
Controller – secures batteries by regulating the flow of electrical power
Batteries – shop electrical power for later usage
The whole system is what drives the expense of solar up and equipment like batteries require to be replaced with time.
Fortunately is that the costs for solar panels are expected to continue to drop, as thin movie panels from business like First Solar, Nanosolar, and AVA Solar become available to the property market. Today, however, First Solar is just selling to industrial consumers. Nanosolar and AVA Solar have yet to ramp up their production centers. It will be intriguing to see where this goes in the next year or 2, since these companies are talking about very aggressive price targets – in the order of $1-2 per watt – and volumes that are numerous times today’s total output.
Presuming that installation and auxiliary devices costs can be reduced to around $1 per watt, then a 5 kW system might cost as little as $10,000, and the repayment period would be 10 years, even without subsidies. This makes PV solar installations much more appealing. Naturally, all this assumes that electrical rates remain constant.
However, they are likely to rise as fuel and other infrastructure costs increase, so repayment durations may be even shorter in the future. In the meantime, expect to see more PV photovoltaic panels installed on roofs, specifically in areas with favorable solar conditions or with higher-than-average electrical power rates.
Desire to get an idea for just how much you can save? Here’s a calculator you can utilize to find out!
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