Solar Power Cost

solar panel costSolar Power Cost is just one of the reasons why solar power is catching on slowly. It’s a convenient, quiet and clean power source but it’s not the cheapest option available. When factoring the solar power cost you need to take into account the cost of the panels, the cost of converting the power into usable AC power, and the cost of storing the power or returning it to the grid.

Returning the power to the grid can help you get paid back for your investment in solar power, especially if you live in an area where energy rates are high. That (along with high solar availability) is why solar is thriving in markets like California.

Cost of Converting Solar Power

Solar power is typically generated in panels that generate power in 12v or 24v DC arrays. We use 12v DC power in our vehicles but it’s not very useful in our homes. Some panels convert the power to 120V AC right in the panel while some people choose to store the power in batteries and then convert the power later. If your panels deliver 120V power then the cost is calculated in the panel cost. If they don’t the inverter you use will need to be taken into account in the cost of the solar power you’re using.

Cost of Storing Solar Power

The cost of storing solar power is extremely high. Overall the cost doubles when you choose to store the power rather than having a fluid system where the power just returns to the grid. So people choosing to “live off the gird” are paying a high cost to do so. The main cost of storing power is of course in batteries. The cost of memory storage has decreased rapidly in the last decade as memory capacities have skyrocketed. A 64MB memory card in 2006 was $37 where in 2012 you can buy a 32GB card for the same price. That’s 32,768MB’s or 512X the space. Solar and electric enthusiasts are optimistic that as people become more interested in electric and Solar power that we’ll see the same trend for batteries and the solar arrays as well.

Lastly, Solar power cost will depend on how¬† much power you’re using. Obviously once you make the initial investment you can use your system up to it’s limits all at the same cost. But choosing how large of a system you will invest in will be the largest factor in the cost of your solar power.

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