solar PV costs

In 2003 we first installed Phase 1 as a sensible solution. Using simple State of California rebates designed to encourage solar power, we purchased $30,630 worth of' solar for an outlay of $18,511 (see below for budget & costs). The State of California rebated $12,119 off the top that went directly to the installer, so we were billed for $18,511. California further allowed purchasers a $3,000 tax deduction, so Total cost of the 3.85 kW system installed was $15,511.

Two key considerations would make this system attractive in use. After important State subsidies at purchase, we expected to quickly adopt Time of Use (TOU) metering (which would be applied in time to all customers by the local utility, but in our case made sense sooner). TOU provides us with higher credit for power generated — especially in summer afternoons when citywide the power consumption and demand on the utility is greatest. We 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.

An additional Phase 2 was soon needed to meet demand, although as donated surplus PV it's not possible to price for exact cost. Together these systems at 6.65 kW are powering both our *Building, and *Electric Cars. Time to payback however is accelerated, by accounting for the ability to forego gasoline, a cost that's now happily avoided.

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 have no affilition with Sharp nor does it sell Sharp's Power Products.

WilderShares, 2240 Encinitas Blvd., Ste D-30, Encinitas, CA 92024. 760-634-1358 info@WilderShares.com.

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