Solar Panel Cost
Solar Panels (photovoltaic panels) use a series of interconnected solar cells (photovoltaic cells) that work together to absorb the radiant heat and light energy from the sun converting this renewable energy into useable electrical power for commercial and residential applications. Solar panels can be purchased from and installed by professional solar energy companies. With the invention of DIY solar panels individuals can now build their own solar powered panels for a fraction of the cost of purchasing traditional solar powered systems.
It will take several solar panels to run a home on solar power. A series of panels are then interconnected to form a solar powered system. The cost of a solar panel system will vary depending on what type of panel use and how many panels it will take to produce the amount of electricity your home requires.
Professional Solar Powered Systems
If you choose to buy pre-made (professional grade) solar panels you can plan on spending around $900 per panel, which comes to about $12 per watt. Buying a solar powered system that powers a medium sized home that is very energy efficient could cost you around $25,000 and for a large home you can expect to pay $50,000+.
DIY Solar Panels
If you choose to build your own solar panels you can save yourself a lot of money. You can build a solar panel for $200 or less. If you have average building skills you will find that building your own solar panel is really not that complicated. There are many websites online that give detailed step-by-step instructions on how to build your own solar panels such as greendiyenergy.com.
There are also federal and state incentive programs, tax rebates and tax credits available to help in reducing your cost even further. You can save as much as 50% on the cost with these programs. You need to check with your state government to see what incentives they offer.
Calculating the Cost
The first thing that you need to do is calculate the amount of electricity your home currently consumes each month. Look at your electric bill to find out how many kilowatt hours (KWH) you consume per month. Then you need to multiply the KWH by 1000 to get the monthly watt/hours of electricity. This gives you the amount of electricity you use per month on average. If you divide that figure by 30 you will get the average amount of electricity your home consumes each day. Then you will divide that amount by the number of hours of sunlight you receive in your geographical location. Be conservative in your estimation. Use the shortest day of the year where you live and use the hours of sunlight you get on that day. This will give you the amount of electricity you need to generate on a daily basis for each hour of daylight.