Your Questions About Solar Panel Cost

Maria asks…

How much does a solar panel cost for 1house of average energy consumption?

If i want to buy a mini-windmill for just my house, how much would it cost?

ssadmin answers:

I was quoted a price of $36,000-$50,000 to provide all the power I use minus my air conditioner with PV panels.

Since my yearly electrical bill does not exceed $1000 it will not pay back in any reasonable amount of time.

Windmills are cheaper but take more work and approval/clearance from government and home owners assocications.

Things to consider about wind power:
1- it needs to be on a high tower (at least 30 feet above your roof but even higher is better). Trees, houses, hills etc. All steal wind movement and to be effective the windmill should be far away from them.
2- This tall tower should not be able to fall on your house or across your property line if it ever fails.
3- You must service this machine. Equipment with parts moving at high speeds and exposed to the environment will fail. Are you ready to climb the tower and fix it (or at least pay someone to do it for you)?

My suggestion to you is to spend you money on sealing up your house to increase its air-tightness. This will be the most cost effective use of the average person's dollars to reduce energy consumption.

Next on the list is to add insulation to your attic. The machines to blow in additional insulation are easy to use and can be rented at most home improvement stores.

A final suggestion is to stop drinking bottled water. It's fine coming from the tap and you won't be throwing away a large amount of money or plastic.

Daniel asks…

How much does a race car that uses solar panel cost?

Still researching for a car that fully uses solar power energy, suggestions would be nice to.

ssadmin answers:

Solar powered cars compete in the ultimate Panasonic World Solar Challenge and may cost “…from $50,000 AUD ($44,944) to $2.5 million AUD ($2.25 million)1 There are two types of electric car racing. In competition with ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles and against other electric vehicles in solar powered races.

Solar panels in the lab are not much more than 42% efficient. Solar panels you can buy are typically no more than 8 to about 20% efficient. When the sun hits such a panel on an angle it is even less efficient. Because vehicles are always moving and changing direction, as is the sun in the sky alignment of solar panels on vehicles is problematic or impossible. In addition the sun can go behind the clouds or bad weather may blow in. Some batteries are always needed but they may be prohibited by racing rules.

Race cars use a lot of power. Electric cars excel at drag racing due to full torque at 0 RPM characteristics of an electric motor. Drag racing vehicles use a lot of power for a short time.2 Solar panels alone are not sufficient to acquire the needed power from the sun for the duration of a drag race (and be competitive with ICE vehicles.) Battery storage is also needed. As a gimmick you could also add a solar panel.

Other vehicles even if they use solar power will have some storage capacity in batteries. Here are some examples:
concepts and references to 3 solar racers: http://www.dasolar.com/solar-energy/solar-powered-cars
Solar van: http://web.archive.org/web/20040520192252/http://www.solarvan.co.uk/
Electric car with solar trailer: http://revengeoftheelectriccar.com/solartaxi-visits-aerovironment/
Using stationary solar panels to power an electric vehicle: http://www.solarelectricalvehicles.com/
misc facts: http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/science-technology/solar-diy-car-kit/

Betty asks…

How much will a solar panel system cost to run a whole house?

I am wondering about the average cost to put solar panels on the average size home. (I know it takes a 3 to 4kw system, I think)
Would this power the home all the time?
Will there be power left over to sell back to the power company?
Just trying to get a clear understanding of solar panels from people that run their homes with solar?

ssadmin answers:

I have a 3.74 kw dc system. The full cost to have the system installed was $26K. I got a $10K rebate from my utility and a fed tax credit (it has been increased to 30% of the total cost so it would be $7800). Not all utilities will allow your meter to run backwards, mine does. It was estimated my system would pay for it's self in 6.2 years. My city just passed a 20% rate increase, so I should break even much sooner. My system is tied to the grid so I sell them my excess and buy what I need when the sun isn't up. I don't have a storage system. I create about 90% of my summer usage and about 75% of my winter usage. My bills went from about $200 down to about $20 for the summer. In the spring my bills are closer to $10.

I highly recommend getting a quote from a local installer, because local rebates and incentives can have a big impact on the over all costs. Where you live, the angle of the panels, any shade issues etc. Can all have an impact on production. Any quality company should be able to tell you how much it will cost, a fair estimate of production and an estimate of how long before you break even. It helps if you can give the installer a usage history, I was able to get 2 years history from my utility.

It always helps to begin with conservation.

Steven asks…

How much would a wind turbine or a solar panel cost for a 2 level home?

also what would the pro vs cons be?
by levels i mean floors. and this is all for a standard urban house. im not looking for something ginormous that will break any municipal codes.

ssadmin answers:

First off you need to find out if wind turbines or solar panels are even allowed in your location.

Wind turbines generally need to be located at least 15 ft. Higher than any trees or rooftops in the general area (higher than that is even better). The tower must also be located so that if it falls over it can not hit your own home or cross a neighbors property line. You also need to be located where there is sufficient wind available to justify the installation of the equipment.

Solar panels on the roof must be allowed by your home owners association and local building codes plus if you place them on your roof it must be designed to withstand the additional weight.

After all of this if you are still in the game you need to find a local system installer to provide you estimates. Most home will find a solar hot water system to have the quickest pay-back time frame. They will cost you roughly $2000 to $6000.

Have a look at this web site to find estimates of cost and pay-back time frames for your zip code.

Http://www.chooserenewables.com/

Charles asks…

How much would a solar panel cost on average in the south?

the panel itself
installation
how much per watt?

ssadmin answers:

Southern California costs:
$590 to $800 for a single 220w panel
$50-100 labor to install it.
Then you must have a DC>AC inverter/controller.
$45,000 for a 7000 watt system installed, with controller, hookups to street power and house, permits.
That is about $6.50 per watt, before any Federal or state tax credits or local power company rebates, or credit for excess power generation going back into the grid.

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