OMG! Solar PV Panels Around $0.50 USD/W

It’s been a while since I considered solar energy. Then it was becoming competitive. Now it surely is competitive with oil companies investing in it just to hedge their bets. Thanks to global markets, Chinese industry and some other factors, prices have plunged.

Think of it. Here, we often have cold windy winters but lots of sunshine. If I had a south-facing roof full of these things, I could easily get ~10KW of power during a few hours most days, enough to heat my house. When it’s -30-40C and 40km/h winds, that’s a valuable aid to the budget. Say, 40kwh daily at 10 cents per kwh, that’s $4/d. These things would easily pay for themselves in 10 years and last 25 years. I could even spring for some NiFe batteries or something else to store energy for the rest of the day. It’s all good. I could add some wind to this as well. I sense a project for next year, another reason to keep on living. Imagine if I lived in a tiny shack in the bush… I could easily be self-sufficient.

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About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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10 Responses to OMG! Solar PV Panels Around $0.50 USD/W

  1. Mats Hagglund says:

    Changing my old desktop to Linux laptop cut energy using with almost 100 Kwh per month. I have change floor heating system also and cut Kwh/month about 20%. New systems are indeed much better. Just like Robert i have old house and moving to geothermal heating system is too expensive. Likely half of people building new houses are anyway choosing that system. It’s cost effective especially if having lake near where to throw that pipeline.

  2. Mats Hagglund says:

    What really has surprised me is the latest Finnish study suggesting that Finland is almost as good place to use solar panels as Germany and even little bit better than Spain. The reason is that Spain (and North Africa) are actually too hot places for solar panels. So i guess Canada might have another very good place to use those panels.

    I have planned to get new roof near in future for my house. Good timing to try solar panels. They are indeed now much cheaper than 6-8 years ago.

  3. dougman says:

    Any solar power installation is a SERIOUS invest in time and money.

    The SolarCity group is a joke, as they do not allow any sort of modifications to their system. Not even a sizable disconnect upstream to isolate yourself from the grid.

    Without a disconnect, if the grid goes down, then your PV array has to stop working. The reasoning is so that you are not back-feeding the grid.

    Read IEEE 1547 and UL 1741.

  4. ram says:

    “Your electric charge is cheap: 7.672¢/kWh”

    Man, that is cheap juice. Charges in Australia are just under 30 cents a kWh. And we have plenty of sunlight. Of course, our present LNP government fights solar power tooth and nail.

  5. dougman wrote, “I hope for your sake, you replace all the shingles with a metal roof when you decide to populate your it with PV panels. “

    Shingles will last a lot longer in the shade of them. So, as long as we can find exact replacements… Our shingles are beautiful, a nice textured pinkish colour which is the theme for the whole outside of the house. Ideally, the shingles and PV panels would be on the same schedule so it would be someone else’s problem.

  6. dougman says:

    ..but you are willing to spend 25k just for electric?

    Well, I hope for your sake, you replace all the shingles with a metal roof when you decide to populate your it with PV panels. Repairing leaky roofs AFTER a PV installation is a huge pain.

  7. dougman wrote, “if you already have existing geothermal heating, then you should extend that to radiant floor heating instead using the sun to heat the water in addition to the ground.”

    That would be a great idea if I were building a new home but the building is 10 years old and has a finished basement. It’s very expensive to retrofit but trivial to install shingles/PV panels.

  8. dougman says:

    Well, if you already have existing geothermal heating, then you should extend that to radiant floor heating instead using the sun to heat the water in addition to the ground.

  9. dougman wrote, “Solar and wind are pipe dreams, VERY costly to implement and maintain. Not to mention they NEVER provide the base load that is required.
     
    Your electric charge is cheap: 7.672¢/kWh. You would need to spend at least $35K to power your home, and the payoff would take an a VERY long time.”

    Nonsense. My home is very efficient with some solar heat in the dining room area. The whole southern wall is triple-pane windows. The solar panels on the roof is just like having a glass roof. Sure, if I were building a new home, I’d build in passive solar heating but since we have geothermal heating and a bit of electrical power goes a long way, it’s not silly to use solar power for heat.

    It would cost nowhere near $35K to install panels on the roof. I would need a changeover switch at the furnace, an inverter, cable and the panels with mounts. Eventually every house here needs new shingles. Installing the whole roof with shingles can cost $10K so the installation of the panels would be less than that. 10KW of panels costs about $7K including exchange and shipping. So, I could do it for around $20K. $5K of batteries could fit in my huge garage or a small shack in the yard so I could get significant solar power going for $20K. I could sell my car to get that kind of cash. Heck, TLW may install sewerage for $40K next year. Her patio alone cost us that kind of money and she only uses it a few times a year… The panels are rated for 80% output over 25 years, about as long as asphalt shingles last so we’d make a profit for about 15 years. The property is worth about $500K so it’s a tiny expense with a great benefit, like 24×7 heating even in winter. I’d prefer wood heat but the property is not large enough to be self-sufficient that way. Oh, to live in the bush… 😉

  10. dougman says:

    Solar and wind are pipe dreams, VERY costly to implement and maintain. Not to mention they NEVER provide the base load that is required.

    Your electric charge is cheap: 7.672¢/kWh. You would need to spend at least $35K to power your home, and the payoff would take an a VERY long time.

    Why would you heat your home using PV, when you could use solar energy and radiant floor heating, which is better solution long-term.

    One other thing to think about with installing a PV system is UL1741 and IEEE1547, but the way around that is simply install a sizable disconnect that removes you from the grid.

    NIFE batteries are great, but you need plenty to cover you through the night and cloudy days.

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