How much do Solar Panels Cost and what Steps are being taken to make them more Affordable?
- Author Peter Smith
- Published May 9, 2012
- Word count 416
According to a study conducted on Energy & Environmental Science, by the end of this decade, solar panel manufacturers in the US would be able to make systems that are more than 50% less costly than what is available today. This would make Solar Panels Cost to compete with the cost of electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.
From $1 to ¢52 Per Watt
Another study from an MIT professor states that if the latest solar panel technologies are employed, they would bring down the current Solar Panels Cost to around ¢52 Per Watt. This is almost 50% of what you would be paying currently if you install solar panel systems in your home.
With this price, if it is assumed that a similar trend is experienced in other equipment like inverters and in installation, solar power is going to cost ¢6 Per kWh in those locations in the US that receive good amount of electricity. This is lesser than what the current average price for electricity is in the country.
According to the Department of Energy, the areas in the US that receive abundant sunlight have Solar Panels Cost at around ¢15 Per kWh. This cost is much higher in areas that mostly experience cloudy conditions or in the case of installing smaller PV systems.
The most effective way to minimize the Solar Panels Cost Per Watt is to increase the efficiency of solar cells. In such a case, the benefits would be:
• As solar cell-technology becomes more efficient more power would be generated from the same sized panels and equipment.
• When efficiency would increase, it would also reduce the cost of installation because lesser number of solar panels would be required.
Further Steps Required
However, improvement in solar-cell efficiency is not the single factor that would help in achieving a cost of ¢52 Per Watt. It would also be required to do the following:
• Build new solar cell technology using thinner silicon wafers
• Make wafers through processes that waste lesser amount of silicon
• Increase the speed of manufacturing
Embracing Less Wasteful Technologies
Another method to reduce Solar Panels Cost is to embrace new technologies that reduce the wasteful processes currently involved in making solar cells. The surprising point is that currently around 50% of the silicon required for making wafers gets wasted.
Lowest Solar Panels Cost
The following data would give you insight into the lowest Solar Panels Cost currently offered.
• Multi-crystalline Silicon Panel $1.06/Watt
• Mono-crystalline Silicon Panel $1.10/Watt
• Thin-Film Panel $0.84/Watt
All these are retail prices, offered by manufacturers from Germany.
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