solar PV costs

We believe in clean energy as a sensible solution, available now. Using simple State of California rebates that are designed to encourage solar power, in 2003 we purchased $30,630 worth of' solar power for an outlay expense of $18,511 (see below for budget of costs). The State of California had initially provided a rebate of $12,119 off the top, which went directly to the supplier/installer, so that we were billed for $18,511. The State of California further allows purchasers to take a $3,000 tax deduction, so the Final Total cost of the system installed was $15,511.

It’s difficult to give a precise figure for electricity costs displaced, in part because the local utility uses a four-tiered pricing system, but we estimate that the solar power is now eliminating utility charges of roughly $1,200/year. In summer when days are longer there's more power being made daily, and less is made daily in winter with shorter days and clouds — so this is an annualized average. That's $1,200/year in electricity costs that we no longer pay — an estimated approximate 13 years to payback ($1,200/yr x 13 years=$15,600).

Next we expect to adopt Time of Use (TOU) metering, which is anyway being applied to all customers of the local utility. TOU provides us with higher credit for power generated — especially in summer afternoons when citywide power consumption and demand on the utility is greatest. We’ll thus ‘sell’ surplus power to the grid at a dear price, precisely during the time of day/year when the sun is highest and we’re at best generating capacity. This further shortens our expected return on investment and by several years, although our payback models will all be ongoing ‘ground-truthed’ with data from PV output and our utility bills.

In sum, we estimate that after 10 years we will receive mainly 'free electricity', and we note that our solar costs are fixed regardless of changing local utility rates — which generally only go up. (Potentially, we even could move ‘from the energy red into the energy black’ of totally free electricity following payback, if our power consumption continues to decrease with efficiency improvements and we get our demand down to meet annual solar production). Regardless, the solar panels carry a manufacturer’s warranty of 25 years and we expect they will have longer life given the robust performance of all panels in use. We thus expect to see 25+ years of mainly 'free electricity' following the first 10 years to system payback. We believe that this is a sensible return on investment.

Costs for 3.85 Kilowatt Solar PV Power System, in San Diego, California, USA. Expected payback in ~= 10 years.
Description Quantity Price, each Price
185 Watt Sharp Solar panels, NTS5E1U 21 850 $ 17,850.-
Sharp Sunvista Inverter, 3.5 Kilowatt 1 850 $ 17,850.-
Solarmount Rail Sets 7 3,500 $ 3,500.-
Sharp Sunvista Inverter, 3.5 Kilowatt 7 157 $ 1,099.-
Top Mount Clips 1 20 $ 140.-
Terminal Block 175 Amp, 3 pole 1 36 $ 36.-
J Box, 10X8X4 1 46 $ 46.-
2 pole safety Disconnect, 30 Amp 2 66 $ 66.-
30A RK5 fuse 1 5 $ 10.-
Safety disconnect, 30 Amp, 600 V 2 165 $ 165.-
Delta Lightning Arrestor, 440-650 V 4 40 $ 80.-
Sharp PV Output cable, 50 ft. 21 28 $ 112.-
 Total of Goods: $ $ 23,104.-
Tax: $ 1,675.-
Shipping: $ 151.-
 Materials Total: $ 24,930.-
Labor: $ 5,700.-
 Total Before Rebate: $ 30,630.-
Minus, California State Solar Rebate: $ 12,119.-
 Total $ Paid at installation $ 18,511.-
Minus, California $3,000 Tax Deduction $ 3,000.-
 Final Cost, after Rebate & Deductions $ 15,511.-

NOTE: This is for information purposes only. Wildershares LLC have no affilition with Sharp nor does it sell Sharp's Power Products.