First Solar, the company that’s producing a whole bunch of PV for the Masdar Array, dropped another bomb to the world this week – “hey world, First Solar is making solar panels for under a dollar per watt installed!” Obviously that’s not exactly they said, but let’s hope they shouted it from the rooftops.
The rooftops probably had solar panels installed on them.
The issue really isn’t the cost per watt installed in the case of having PVs (photovoltaics) as power sources – the problem is the installation cost. Solar panel installation is expensive! If companies like First Solar want to achieve true parity with other power sources, the price still needs to come down about 25-28% of what it is now. For a house about the size of the one I live in now (about 2000 square feet – we’re renting!) a 1000W solar installation would cost between $7400 and $11,000. So, we’re looking at what – $8 or $9 bucks a watt? You do get a few bucks from the government in rebates, and you save in the long run. However, my wife and I probably need a 2-3kW system to remove all need for grid power in our house.
You know what would be awesome? It would be awesome to go to Lowes or Home Depot (or wherever) and buy a DIY solar power kit that is good for a few thousand watts. I’d have a bunch of work to do this weekend if you could.