Solar Panels at 26 cents per watt

Panels for sale within the US, warehoused in Miami. I'm not promoting any particular brand or business, therefore I'm not naming names.

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I have a quote from a vendor in China for solar cells (not panels) at 11.4 cents per watt.

Given that price as of 2019, and a decline of 20% in price each year...

The lowest cost cells in 2020 will cost around 9.1 cents

2021 7.2 cents

2022 5.8 cents

2023 4.6 cents

2024 3.7 cents

2025 2.9 cents

2026 2.3 cents

2027 1.9 cents

2028 1.5 cents

In one respect these numbers are meaningless because cell price isn't panel price or system price - perhaps it's equivalent to pricing a coal burning power plant based on the price of steel. However, each lowering of this price also push down on the ceiling other energy sources can charge. Maybe not by 20% per year, but whatever it is is enough to cause pain.

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I have come to the conclusion that the largest advantage of solar panels, mounted on the roof, is the air gap between the panel and the roof. 

To explain: "if" the panels are mounted so that the support rails run vertically, "then" air will naturally flow upwards across the actual roof surface, between the panels and the roofing material.  That air flow will keep that roof cool.  Also the panels themselves will be absorbing the sun beating down, and while the panels may get hot, the roof surface being set off from those panels and cooled by the moving airflow will stay cool, or at least cooler.  Thus, a properly designed and installed solar panel on the roof will dramatically lower (possibly eliminate) the bills for air conditioning. 

Now if you forego the farce of connecting into the grid and use the panel-developed power internally, then you avoid the issues of dealing with that power company and its interconnect problems.  

If you don't have the cash for all the panel cells needed to cover the whole roof, then install the mounting rails and put "blanks" up there, flat metal filler panels that will channel airflow and reflect all that heat off the roof and keep it out of your attic ☺️.  You can add solar-cells as you go along, later on :D.  

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  • Name:romano
  • Country or city where you reside-FIJI
  • Industry that you work in- solar
  • Company- MOH NHS SOLAR
  • Years of Experience-6YRS
  • Expertise- DESIGN AND INSTALLATION OF SOLAR HOME SYSTEM
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On 5/28/2019 at 12:44 PM, Jan van Eck said:

I have come to the conclusion that the largest advantage of solar panels, mounted on the roof, is the air gap between the panel and the roof. 

To explain: "if" the panels are mounted so that the support rails run vertically, "then" air will naturally flow upwards across the actual roof surface, between the panels and the roofing material.  That air flow will keep that roof cool.  Also the panels themselves will be absorbing the sun beating down, and while the panels may get hot, the roof surface being set off from those panels and cooled by the moving airflow will stay cool, or at least cooler.  Thus, a properly designed and installed solar panel on the roof will dramatically lower (possibly eliminate) the bills for air conditioning. 

Now if you forego the farce of connecting into the grid and use the panel-developed power internally, then you avoid the issues of dealing with that power company and its interconnect problems.  

If you don't have the cash for all the panel cells needed to cover the whole roof, then install the mounting rails and put "blanks" up there, flat metal filler panels that will channel airflow and reflect all that heat off the roof and keep it out of your attic ☺️.  You can add solar-cells as you go along, later on :D.  

It's true about the air flow effect and reducing temperatures in the house.  Until we installed solar (23 panels) we had the aircon running several weeks during the summer months, and for minimum 3 hours at a time.

Last summer we ran the aircon 3 or 4 times only, and then just to expel the hot air late in the day.

While solar prices are declining annually, the larger declines are in battery storage prices, expected to be in the 10-15% compound annual rate over the next 5 years.  

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9 minutes ago, Red said:

While solar prices are declining annually, the larger declines are in battery storage prices, expected to be in the 10-15% compound annual rate over the next 5 years. 

I suspect what will happen is that some clever researcher will dream up a totally new battery chemistry, which will dramatically lower battery costs.  You get these quantum disruptions in just about every technology.  Look for example at the dramatic impact that horizontal drilling has had on oil extraction. And how prices drop.  I anticipate that such disruptions will also occur in the handling and distillation of heavy oilsands in Alberta.  The solvent technique may well be one of them.  We shall see. And if so, then that unleashes hundreds of billions of barrels of new oil into the market. 

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31 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

I suspect what will happen is that some clever researcher will dream up a totally new battery chemistry, which will dramatically lower battery costs.  You get these quantum disruptions in just about every technology.  Look for example at the dramatic impact that horizontal drilling has had on oil extraction. And how prices drop.  I anticipate that such disruptions will also occur in the handling and distillation of heavy oilsands in Alberta.  The solvent technique may well be one of them.  We shall see. And if so, then that unleashes hundreds of billions of barrels of new oil into the market. 

If MGX gets commercialised as they plan, it could be a game changer.  It simultaneously generates and regenerates, making off-grid home building very simple.  Adding an EV with bi-directional flow negates the need for extra battery backup.

The future is bright, albeit unclear.

 

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On 5/28/2019 at 2:31 AM, Meredith Poor said:

I have a quote from a vendor in China for solar cells (not panels) at 11.4 cents per watt.

Given that price as of 2019, and a decline of 20% in price each year...

The lowest cost cells in 2020 will cost around 9.1 cents

2021 7.2 cents

2022 5.8 cents

2023 4.6 cents

2024 3.7 cents

2025 2.9 cents

2026 2.3 cents

2027 1.9 cents

2028 1.5 cents

In one respect these numbers are meaningless because cell price isn't panel price or system price - perhaps it's equivalent to pricing a coal burning power plant based on the price of steel. However, each lowering of this price also push down on the ceiling other energy sources can charge. Maybe not by 20% per year, but whatever it is is enough to cause pain.

With the cost of grid tie inverters falling through the floor this is a game changer. 

For domestic installations even without export arrangements the simplest solution is to dump surplus electricity via an immersion into a water tank. You can also shift a certain amount of demand to day time - for example put freezers and Fridges on time switches. 

Im just about to complete on the purchase of a 5 Bed house with South, East and West roof faces and am looking at options to DIY install 1.2 KW on each roof face (will need two grid tie inverters) and even without feed tariffs the annual return will be 11-12%. Our next car will be an EV so that can be another 'dump' for surplus electricity. 

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On 5/28/2019 at 11:15 PM, Red said:

If MGX gets commercialised as they plan, it could be a game changer.  It simultaneously generates and regenerates, making off-grid home building very simple.  Adding an EV with bi-directional flow negates the need for extra battery backup.

The future is bright, albeit unclear.

 

Looks Promising, But after Looking at the Recent Stock history my guess is they are nowhere near Delivering.

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On 5/27/2019 at 9:44 PM, Jan van Eck said:

I have come to the conclusion that the largest advantage of solar panels, mounted on the roof, is the air gap between the panel and the roof. 

To explain: "if" the panels are mounted so that the support rails run vertically, "then" air will naturally flow upwards across the actual roof surface, between the panels and the roofing material.  That air flow will keep that roof cool. 

Meant to be funny no doubt, but my power consumption did go down and I thought this was part of the reason. No one I contacted in the industry had any info on it though. I had the impression the attic was a bit cooler, but still dam hot (Texas).

I suspect the temperature drop would only be a few degrees. And anyone thinking of going to solar on their roof, step 1, steps to insulate the house, step 2, roof in great shape because it's going to be a serious PIA to reshingle.

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1 hour ago, John Foote said:

Meant to be funny no doubt

No, I am perfectly serious.

The temp drop should be substantial, just as if you are at the beach and go from lying on a blanket on the sand to sitting under a beach umbrella.  You are cutting off direct heat load. 

The probable reason you experienced only a slight temp drop may be that the installation rack beams that were attached to the roof itself were run horizontal instead of vertical.  That disrupts natural air flow, trapping air underneath the panels.  While air is a good insulator, trapped hot air will convey and transmit heat by convection to the roof surface.  These installers don't seem to grasp that. 

Another way to seriously cool your roof, and likely eliminate the need for air conditioning in temperate climates, would be to place a soaker hose or a hose with a fog nozzle up there on the ridge line.  A thin dew of water would form on the roof and evaporate, taking away lots of heat in the process.  But you do need water, hard to find in a drought area.

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(edited)

12 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

No, I am perfectly serious.

The temp drop should be substantial, just as if you are at the beach and go from lying on a blanket on the sand to sitting under a beach umbrella.  You are cutting off direct heat load. 

The not serious part was that shading the roof was a bigger money maker than say, 3kw of power outputs.

I don't recall the orientation of the rack mounts, but with the average Texas thunderstorm, the heck with air flow, you don't want to run mini-dams for the water and accelerate how long to you need to re-shingle. As it was in parts of the roof I ran diverters for the water, coordinated all the way into a mini-collection area/breakfast nook, with a french drain. And if the lucky homeowner didn't periodically clean drain you had a new pond near one door.  In just minutes it would be feet deep.

I literally cracked my jaw, compound fractures and dislocated right wrist, falling off the roof cleaning out the system and being to casual about it. Falling is easy, but the landing is a bitch.

Edited by John Foote
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(edited)

Guys, you are pretty smart here and I'm considering a system on my home in California. can you help me source equipment, and point me in the direction of which equipment to go with, or push me in any direction? I'm very new to this. 

I don't trust any of the solar sales websites or salesman. I truly think its snake oil on the ROI side. But if I can find a great deal on equipment and learn to diy or get a side job install it might, MIGHT be worth it

Edited by J.mo

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2 hours ago, J.mo said:

Guys, you are pretty smart here and I'm considering a system on my home in California. can you help me source equipment, and point me in the direction of which equipment to go with, or push me in any direction? I'm very new to this. 

I don't trust any of the solar sales websites or salesman. I truly think its snake oil on the ROI side. But if I can find a great deal on equipment and learn to diy or get a side job install it might, MIGHT be worth it

  1. CA has tons of sun
  2. Equipment mostly comes from China and if they can lie and cheat you they will 100% of the time
  3. Unless it is name branded from the USA/EU who DEMAND quality assurance you can 100% guarantee you are being stolen from and lied to.  Especially true of solar panels, batteries, charge controllers for reliability ratings grade of panels, etc.  An inverter is an inverter is an inverter.  Pretty danged hard to lie; BUT, and this is where all inverters die: NOT ENOUGH cooling.  So, if you go down the CHEAP ass route, you better figure out a way to add more cooling tied to a thermostat. 
  4. ROI.... is determined by WHERE you live(summer/winter) and IF you track the sun or not with your panels.  No tracking automatically reduces solar collected by half if just attached to your roof.  ROI from industry are all from tracking, assuming likewise you can dump onto grid stealing others cheaper power and underwriting your power and then add in tax incentives(another form of stealing from your neighbors)
  5. ROI: Must clean your panels/have no partial shade on your panels or must go with more expensive MPPT panels which helps and hurts you at the same time for power collection.
  6. You can DIY the panel installation.  Not the Inverter installation generally speaking unless you have electrical experience and learning here can be VERY expensive and most power utilities will not even talk to you unless you hire it out as most cities require permits etc(certainly for CA).  In this regard I cannot blame them as it could kill one of their linemen if your tie in is not setup correctly.  If you are 100% off grid?  Then yes, you can do 100% of everything and save several thousand bucks. 
  7. I have made my own panels before. Just as a ... why not. Unless you are making a LOT Of them, you will not save any money at all unless you get a SCREAMING deal on the solar cells( I did and sort of made out, but not really)  Still working at same rate as when new for me at least(4 years old now)
  8. The quoted costs of solar cells in this thread are a massive joke.  You cannot get Grade C for even triple that cost. 
  9. PS: Careful on Ebay(thiefbay).... get this: you get what you pay for.... Who knew?
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4 minutes ago, Wastral said:
  1. The quoted costs of solar cells in this thread are a massive joke.  You cannot get Grade C for even triple that cost. 

Certainly true if you are an American trying to buy cells or panels from China. My interest in tracking cell prices in China is simply to make note of when average selling prices change - particularly if they do so precipitously. 

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(edited)

41 minutes ago, Wastral said:
  1. CA has tons of sun
  2. Equipment mostly comes from China and if they can lie and cheat you they will 100% of the time
  3. Unless it is name branded from the USA/EU who DEMAND quality assurance you can 100% guarantee you are being stolen from and lied to.  Especially true of solar panels, batteries, charge controllers for reliability ratings grade of panels, etc.  An inverter is an inverter is an inverter.  Pretty danged hard to lie; BUT, and this is where all inverters die: NOT ENOUGH cooling.  So, if you go down the CHEAP ass route, you better figure out a way to add more cooling tied to a thermostat. 
  4. ROI.... is determined by WHERE you live(summer/winter) and IF you track the sun or not with your panels.  No tracking automatically reduces solar collected by half if just attached to your roof.  ROI from industry are all from tracking, assuming likewise you can dump onto grid stealing others cheaper power and underwriting your power and then add in tax incentives(another form of stealing from your neighbors)
  5. ROI: Must clean your panels/have no partial shade on your panels or must go with more expensive MPPT panels which helps and hurts you at the same time for power collection.
  6. You can DIY the panel installation.  Not the Inverter installation generally speaking unless you have electrical experience and learning here can be VERY expensive and most power utilities will not even talk to you unless you hire it out as most cities require permits etc(certainly for CA).  In this regard I cannot blame them as it could kill one of their linemen if your tie in is not setup correctly.  If you are 100% off grid?  Then yes, you can do 100% of everything and save several thousand bucks. 
  7. I have made my own panels before. Just as a ... why not. Unless you are making a LOT Of them, you will not save any money at all unless you get a SCREAMING deal on the solar cells( I did and sort of made out, but not really)  Still working at same rate as when new for me at least(4 years old now)
  8. The quoted costs of solar cells in this thread are a massive joke.  You cannot get Grade C for even triple that cost. 
  9. PS: Careful on Ebay(thiefbay).... get this: you get what you pay for.... Who 

I am in California.

I've been contemplating it as I have a bit of money in the slush fund laying dormant providing me no return. 
So I might as well throw it to solar. What kind of return can I realistically expect from solar on my home when factoring in opportunity cost of the money tied up and not present elsewhere, wear and tear prorated towards maintenance and repair over the life of panels and inverters etc. 10, 15, 20%? If so, I'll happily do it and live in an icebox with a smile.  If not I think I'll just save the hassle. 

Like I said, I think they sell you the feel good hocus pocus. But if you guys can point me in the way of the cheapest wholesale place to purchase equipment and it pans out, I may bite. But I'm very green to this and just starting to nibble on information. 

Edited by J.mo
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  1. Admit you do not know(Excellent)
  2. Get off ass
  3. Walk to your neighbors with solar on their roof
  4. Knock on door
  5. Introduce yourself 
  6. Ask questions
  7. Stay off your ass and ask someone else with actual solar on roof in your same region and conditions.

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On 6/18/2019 at 9:56 PM, Wastral said:
  1. Admit you do not know(Excellent)
  2. Get off ass
  3. Walk to your neighbors with solar on their roof
  4. Knock on door
  5. Introduce yourself 
  6. Ask questions
  7. Stay off your ass and ask someone else with actual solar on roof in your same region and conditions.

 

All Of my neighbors that have it, paid insane amounts and will never see a return before they either- 

1. Die

2. System is due for replacement 

3. Repeat. 

I do not want to ask those who do not make proper decisions financially. many here are astute, as well as helpful. you seem to be neither. 

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On 6/19/2019 at 2:16 AM, J.mo said:

All Of my neighbors that have it, paid insane amounts and will never see a return before they either- 

1. Die

2. System is due for replacement 

3. Repeat. 

I do not want to ask those who do not make proper decisions financially. many here are astute, as well as helpful. you seem to be neither. 

I just gave you the biggest hint ever regarding anyone who is actually willing to do something.... copying from what exists instead of reinventing the wheel.  So what you actually just said, is that you want someone ELSE to do the work, but you not pay for it....  I despise people like you.  Claim you want to do something, but unwilling to do the easiest simplest first steps/legwork unless someone babysits you... for FREE of course!   There are thousands of youtube videos.  Some of them do babysitting I am sure. 

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On 6/19/2019 at 2:16 AM, J.mo said:

All Of my neighbors that have it, paid insane amounts and will never see a return before they either- 

1. Die

2. System is due for replacement 

3. Repeat. 

I do not want to ask those who do not make proper decisions financially. many here are astute, as well as helpful. you seem to be neither. 

I admire your candour in the above response. xD

I live in the UK so am not familiar with California's set up but here doing a DIY system is quite easy. You can buy a G83 inverter (legally needed to grid connect) off the shelf and install all your panels. Technically to stay within the rules of competency an electrician should do the connection and sign off the installation. To be honest only relevant if you plan to sell the house in the short to medium term.

I can buy one of these 3KW  inverters for £426

https://www.navitron.org.uk/solax-3kw-sinlge-phase-inverter-2xmppt

And pick up 3KW of solar panels off Ebay for about £1300

To make best use of the solar invest in some time switches to switch load to day times. You can do this with dishwashers, washing machines, freezers & battery charging.

You can also do the roof mounting on the cheap by using stainless steel builders band slid under the tiles and connected to the rafters.

So for about 2K you have a 3KW system which produces about 3000kwh a year. If you use all the electricity in the UK that's an annual return of approx. £450 which is a tidy annual return on an outlay of 2K.

In your climate air source heat pumps to heat hot water are a good option as they can be set on a time switch. LIkweise if you have reverse cycle air con.

Here you can buy diverters that analyse any surplus electricity going to export and dumps this instead into an immersion heater in a hot water cylinder. Not as economic as using the electricity directly but better than a free export to the Elec Co.

https://solarimmersion.co.uk/

These have two outlets so you could use one as an outlet to an EV charger. Our longer term plan is to pick up a cheap Nissan Leaf as a local runabout and use as a store for surplus electricity.

 

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(edited)

17 hours ago, Wastral said:

I just gave you the biggest hint ever regarding anyone who is actually willing to do something.... copying from what exists instead of reinventing the wheel.  So what you actually just said, is that you want someone ELSE to do the work, but you not pay for it....  I despise people like you.  Claim you want to do something, but unwilling to do the easiest simplest first steps/legwork unless someone babysits you... for FREE of course!   There are thousands of youtube videos.  Some of them do babysitting I am sure. 

I asked for a little direction of where the best deals are on equipment. If you want to be pompous, I made enough money last week to call solar city and have them install whatever garbage they want to sell me. However, theres a reason I have that ability. It is because i use all of the tools available to me to gather knowledge, and save time. that is what forums are for, maybe you're new. So dont get too excited about your "free legwork"

 

Edited by J.mo

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39 minutes ago, J.mo said:

I asked for a little direction of where the best deals are on equipment. If you want to be pompous, I made enough money last week to call solar city and have them install whatever garbage they want to sell me. However, theres a reason I have that ability. It is because i use all of the tools available to me to gather knowledge, and save time. that is what forums are for, maybe you're new. So dont get too excited about your "free legwork"

 

Maybe you are new to this world: There are no deals on equipment.  You get what you pay for.  "use all of the tools available to me to gather knowledge".... AKA use other people without paying them for their knowledge(why you hire people).  Yes. 

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2 hours ago, Wastral said:

Maybe you are new to this world: There are no deals on equipment.  You get what you pay for.  "use all of the tools available to me to gather knowledge".... AKA use other people without paying them for their knowledge(why you hire people).  Yes. 

You sure are bitter ain't ya

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4 minutes ago, J.mo said:

You sure are bitter ain't ya

Give you a rule in life:

  1. Never help someone unwilling to take the first step(action). 
  2. Talk, asking for "help"(doing all the work) is NOT action. 
  3. IF they show they are willing to take that second step
  4. THEN you help them with EVERYTHING you have. 

You have no skin in the game. 

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On 6/19/2019 at 11:20 PM, J.mo said:

 

It looks like NickW gave you a good response.

My suggestion is to talk to your neighbors with solar - ask if they have the design/layout from the installer (a y reputable solar installer should provide this).

From that you can see what type of panels they used and what type of inverters/grid connection equipment. Could be a decent lead.

You'll also get a good idea of how they scale the panel nameplate to inverter in your area. (Depends on latitude, cloud cover, altitude, angle of roof, direction of solar panels, price of panels, price of electricity and even regional humidity)

You can typically just copy their design and get a 90% solution for half the cost.

Should be a good start! Come back if you have questions!

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