Clean Power How-Much-Does-Solar-Power-Cost

Published on February 1st, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Price Of Solar Much Lower Than Solar Savings

February 1st, 2014 by  

Originally published on Cost Of Solar.

As I noted on Monday, the cost of solar power is insanely lower than you probably think. But, in that post, I focused on the average cost of solar panels, not specific all-in costs of going solar in your specific location. So, you might be wondering, how much does solar power cost in total?

Naturally, the huge fall in the cost of solar panels has resulted in much lower all-in costs, but those costs vary tremendously across the US due to differences in solar power incentives, solar permitting requirements, other solar power regulations, and the maturity of the solar market in different places.

Really, there’s no substitute to simply getting a solar quote. Your situation will be unique. But some research has been conducted to determine average savings and payback times in various places. Actually, as this infographic below shows, research has been done for all 50 states. (Important Note: this research was based on data from 2011 — as I noted on Monday, solar power costs have dropped considerably since then. How much does solar power cost in your state today? You’d have to get a quote and check.)

As you can see in the infographic, according to this research, it cost about $10,000 on average for a homeowner to go solar in California in 2011, while at the same time it cost about $25,000 on average for a homeowner to go solar in Florida, the Sunshine State! Again, this is because California has much better solar policies. Nonetheless, even the average Floridian would save $30,000–$39,000 over the course of 20 years by going solar. In California, New York, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona, those savings would actually reach beyond $40,000 (on average), but in almost every state in the country, the savings would at least be over $10,000, and would more often than not be over $20,000. Who wouldn’t want to cash in on such savings?

Anyway, check out this full infographic for more:

How Much Does Solar Power Cost How Much Does Solar Power Cost? (Infographic)

So, how much does solar power cost? I think the more important question is, how much does solar power save you?!

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media: Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these companies and feels like they are good companies to invest in.

  • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

    this is crap, ” it cost about $10,000 on average for a homeowner to go solar in California in 2011, while at the same time it cost about $25,000 on average for a homeowner to go solar in Florida,” the cost is different because the government subsidizes the solar panel. Zac, you sound like a used car salesman, the more you spend, the more you save…..whaaaa
    What is the cost of producing 1Kwh of power from a solar cell? please answer this. If you take into account the massive amount of coal electricity required, mining/production of nasty chemicals that is required, and the third world environments that are wrecked to make solar cells, I think that the solar cell is orders of magnitude more costly than coal power

    • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

      Recycling is particularly important because of the materials used to make panels, said Dustin Mulvaney, an assistant professor of environmental studies at San José State University who serves as a scientific adviser to SVTC. “It would be difficult to find a PV module that does not use at least one rare or precious metal,” he said, “because they all have at least silver, tellurium, or indium.”

      The silicon used to make the vast majority of today’s photovoltaic cells is abundant, but a “silicon-based solar cell requires a lot of energy input in its manufacturing process,” said Northwestern’s You. The source of that energy, which is often coal, he added, determines how large the cell’s carbon footprint is.

      • Bob_Wallace

        The materials used in solar panels are mostly recyclable. (Some use a non-recyclable plastic backing sheet.)

        Solar and wind have the lowest lifetime carbon footprints of all our electricity sources.


        • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

          Look up how much electricity it takes to make a solar cell….way more that the cell will produce in its lifetime Bob….way more coal power.

          RE mining…
          Lanthanum (sometimes considered a transition metal)
          Actinium (sometimes considered a transition metal)


    • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

      Estimates of the exact amount of rare earth minerals in wind turbines vary, but in any case the numbers are staggering. According to the Bulletin of Atomic Sciences, a 2
      megawatt (MW) wind turbine contains about 800 pounds of neodymium and 130 pounds of dysprosium. An MIT study estimates that a 2 MW wind turbine contains about 752 pounds of rare earth minerals.

      To quantify this in terms of environmental damages, consider that mining one ton of rare earth minerals produces about one ton of radioactive waste, according to the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. In 2012, the U.S. added a record 13,131 MW of wind generating capacity. That means that between 4.9 million
      pounds (using MIT’s estimate) and 6.1 million pounds (using the Bulletin of Atomic Science’s estimate) of rare earths were used in wind turbines installed in 2012. It also means that between 4.9 million and 6.1 million pounds of radioactive waste were created to make these wind turbines.

      For perspective, America’s nuclear industry produces between 4.4 million and 5 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel each year. That means the U.S. wind industry created more radioactive waste last year than the entire U.S. nuclear industry produced in spent fuel.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Some wind turbines are built with REM magnets.

        All REM magnets are recyclable. They are not consumed during operation.

        • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

          still takes 200 times more dirt moving than gold mining, and the minerals found near RE magnet production material is WAAAAAAYYYYY more toxic. look them up on the periodic table.

          Lanthanum (sometimes considered a transition metal)
          Actinium (sometimes considered a transition metal)

          yummy, lets have some……Bob, you first?

    • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

      Since you wont post the cost Zac, Solar panels are $3.0 or more per Kwh, not including the huge amounts of electricity (coal) needed to make solar cells, and the environmental superfund sites created from processing material for solar cell production. Coal electricity is 0.06 to 0.12/Kwh.

      • Bob_Wallace

        “Solar panels are $3.0 or more per Kwh”

        I assume you mean installed solar costs $3 or more per watt.

        Installed utility solar is now below $1.40/W. Residential is averaging about $3.50/W.

        Your coal number does not include external costs.


        • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

          3$ more per watt for installation, with the government subsidies, without the government subsidies, probably more like 6$/watt. What are people going to do with the toxic solar cells when finished – not going to the dump, maybe rework them with another absurdly large amount of coal powered electricity (will be done in China next time).

          Coal is currently a better answer than solar/wind power, but you wont find any information on comparative costs because coal power is needed to make the solar cells.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The price, it varies. The global low price is now just under 3 cents per kWh (recent PPA in the Middle East). The price will be highest for residential rooftops. In some places it is already cheaper (without subsidies) to make electricity on your roof than to buy it from the grid, in other places – not yet.

      Now that coal used to make electricity….

      Coal is our most expensive way to generate electricity. We tend to overlook the massive expense of dealing with the health and environmental damage caused by burning coal. Taxpayers spend $140 billion to $242 billion each year treating health problems caused by coal. Add in that cost alone and the price of coal approaches $0.20/kWh.

      The coal-electricity used to make solar panels. Silicon solar panels pay back their ’embedded’ energy (energy used from mining the materials, manufacturing and installing the panel, through disposing of the panel after it is used up) in less than two years.

      We really don’t know how long solar panels will last. We’re seeing lots of them reaching 30 years and still going strong. Our first installed array is now 40 years old and was doing great at age 35 (waiting to see the 40 year evaluation).

      So, less than two years to pay back all the fossil fuel energy that went into creating and installing the panel. Then 28+ years of avoided fossil fuel use. Every kWh coming from the panel is one less kWh from fossil fuels.

      A kWh of “payback” electricity from a solar panel is then followed by at least 14 kWh of clean electricity.

      “Nasty chemicals” are contained within the manufacturing process. China had a problem with chemicals being dumped sometime back but I think those days are over.

      You might want to do a little research on the massive amount of coal ash that we’ve piled up and how some of it is getting into our water supply.

      • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

        the cost of a solar cell is constant, the govt subsidies are different in each state. What is CA going to do with all the RE and solar cell waste in 10 yrs….oh wait, they are not mining it in the US, so let the chinese ruin their environment?

  • Beatrice

    I don’t see anywhere on any website that gives a clear, detailed cost breakdown. I only see websites pushing ads for solar installers, and it’s the hard sell because everyone wants to talk fast on the phone but not give any real details. I haven’t yet seen cost comparisons between panels and their manufacturers. I am so totally against farming out my roof real estate for 20 years to a company (and there are many) who install the panels yet reserve the power gleaned for themselves to sell AND only give a small discount to the homeowner. It’s like talking to an old fashioned used car salesman…there’s no regulation and no truth presented. I want to see facts, calculations, and graded amounts. Furthermore I saw only one website that showed an alternative to putting the panels on the roof.. My question is,…what do you do when the roof needs to be replaced? Or the installers damage the roof and cause a leak? ….a few complaints that I’ve seen. I have yet to see a website that is truthfully complete with the pros and cons. I’d like to see what the different panels cost and how the different manufacturers differ. how do I determine quality in the panels? How do I spot a lemon? I’d like to see more truth, ethics and science before I go forward. (But I will say, the facts that I am accruing, I’m designing my own system in my own way that suits my circumstance)

  • EducatedSanity

    What no one seems to understand is the “expected life” of a solar
    panel. They are only rated with an average of 20 years life expectancy, with a 70%
    or less projected energy output after 20 years. This means you would
    have to replace the solar panels after 20-25 years. This is why all the data is based on a “20 year” projected outcome.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The reason that no one “understands” that is simply because it is untrue.

      Silicon panels are lasting over 30 years. We don’t know how long they will last.

      Performance decline should range from 0.1% to 0.4% depending on the level of physical stress from snow/wind loading and UV exposure.

      The reason 20 years are used is because a 20 year payoff of capex and finex is pretty much the standard when comparing the cost of electricity from various technologies.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m coming back to this one because I’m suspecting that you aren’t attempting to troll, but are just short on facts. I’m going to copy over some of my notes.

      University of Oldenburg

      3.88% total loss over first 35 years. 0.1% per year loss.

      Almost 30 Years 90.4% after 25 Years

      Kyocera is also one of the few makers of solar modules on the market to possess such long-term studies of its products under real-life conditions. A similar test system is located just outside of Tokyo, Japan and has been in operation for almost 30 years. The most recent measurements, taken five years ago, revealed a degradation of just 9.6 percent. With such real-world data to stand on, Kyocera is confident in offering its customers a 25-year guarantee of 80 percent of nominal output.

      SunPower 40 Years Lifetime

      “SunPower expects its modules (panels) have a useful life of more than 40 years, defined as 99% of modules producing at least 70% of their power. This is made possible through fundamental design differences which provide robust protection against real-world stresses.”

      NREL 0.4% per Year or Less

      The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) performed a meta-analysis of studies that examined the long term degradation rates of various PV panels. They found that the 1% per year rule was somewhat pessimistic for panels made prior to the year 2000, and today’s panels, with better technology and improved manufacturing techniques, have even more stamina than their predecessors. For monocrystalline silicon, the most commonly used panel for commercial and residential PV, the degradation rate is less than 0.5% for panels made before 2000, and less than 0.4% for panels made after 2000. That means that a panel manufactured today should produce 92% of its original power after 20 years, quite a bit higher than the 80% estimated by the 1% rule.

      Crystalline silicon modules located in extreme climates showed high degradation rates. For very cold climates, panels subjected to heavy wind and snow loads suffered the most. On the other hand, panels in similar climates that were installed in a facade, eliminating the snow load, had very low rates of degradation. At the other extreme, panels in desert climates exhibited large decreases in production over time – close to 1% per year – mainly due to high levels of UV exposure. Panels in more moderate climates such as the northern United States had degradation rates as low as 0.2% per year. Those panels could retain 96% of their production capabilities after 20 years.

      Degradation rates are used in solar site assessments in order to estimate the energy production over the life of a system and to calculate the payback period and return on investment. Like everything in engineering, we always assume the worst and hope for the best, so overestimating the degradation rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, we want realistic estimates so we don’t scare away potential customers who think they’ll need to replace their modules after 25 years. Given the results of NREL’s analysis, it may be beneficial to adjust the rule of thumb so it accounts for the conditions under which the panels will operate.

      Satellite in Operation Since 1978. And that’s a high UV environment.

  • Chris Cook

    So whats the life span of a panel? Did you taken into count the cost of replacing them? I heard they have a life span of 25 years. so after they start paying for them self you now have to replace them

    • Bob_Wallace

      We don’t know how long silicon panels will last. There are many now over 30 years old and some approaching 40 years in age which are performing quite well.

      Panels could last 40, 50, 60 years or longer.

      The 25 year stuff seems to have come from warranty lengths. If you buy a car with a 3 year warranty do you expect it to quit working after 3 years?

  • Death_Of_OutRage

    So if I buy them in Louisiana I can save $7K from CA prices?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Can you drag your house to LA, get the panels installed, and drag it back to CA?

      That’s a really low price in LA. I wonder if it’s a mistake or if LA has enormous state subsidies. (Very hard to believe that LA would.)

      • Bob_Wallace

        Enormous state subsidies. Color me surprised.

        Program Type – Tax Credit

        Technologies – Photovoltaics, Solar Hot Water Heating, Solar Pool Heating, Solar Space Heating and Wind

        Amount – 50 percent of system costs for the first $25,000

        Louisiana offers a tax credit of up to $12,500 for residents that install a PV, solar thermal system or wind turbine system. Under the tax credit, covered costs include installation costs.

        Between the fed 30% and state 50% you’d have to be an idiot to not install solar.

        Of course, it’s a tax credit. And lots of people who don’t pay a lot of state tax wouldn’t be helped.

        “To be eligible, the credit must be claimed in the year the system was put in into service.”

        Sounds good. Designed to funnel money to the people who already have lots of money. Working people get screwed.

        “2 percent on the first $12,500 of taxable income. 4 percent on taxable income between $12,501 and $50,000. 6 percent on taxable income of $50,001 and above. For married persons filing joint returns, the rates remain the same but the income brackets are doubled.”

        To get the max $12,500 tax credit you’d have owe $12,500 in state tax that year.

        Married couple:
        First $25,000 of taxable income would be taxed $500

        Next $75,000 of taxable income would be taxed $3,000

        A couple making $100,000 taxable would owe only $3,500.

  • Ernest Fultz

    Don’t know were some of you folks are getting your facts. But LED is not all ways the cheapest route if you figure up the watts individual bulbs versus the amount of actual light emitted. Also on your solar panel math even though alot of panels last ten years before they take a drop in producing energy. Even though they may have a life of twenty five years. Inverters,charge regulators and deep cell 12v 200ah batterys do not. A 6000-12000 watt inverter may last you 2 maybe 3 years for a cost of 500 and thats a big maybe. plus. a deep cell battery maybe 3 to 5 years at cost of 365 each and stuff is made cheap these days. charge regulators come with panels if your smart but over course of 25 years you will be having to replace them. They tell you the panels are affordable but for what the other stuff costs to power your house they should be far more cheaper. Wind Turbines are made cheap also. If one were smart they go rip a old water pump out of a car to run a generator for a wind turbine and to pump water or something for the cost of a cheap wind turbine these days

    • Bob_Wallace

      Again, just not accurate. You really might want to do more reading and learning.

  • Mark Stanton

    I can’t wait for the Tesla home battery.

  • Karl Davis

    I put LED lights in all over my house and took a few other basic steps to save electricity, like setting automatic turn-off on computers. My electrical bill dropped from $220 in the middle of summer to $100, about $25 fixed fees and $75 based on use. Next, I looked at Solar City, and found that there wasn’t anything to be gained. Even if they cut my use to zero I wouldn’t be ahead. Take all the conservation opportunities first then look at solar.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Efficiency is certainly the place to start.

  • corndogs

    So after the tax payer picks up most of the bill, the homeowner pays another 10,000. This is considered to be good deal based on perfect world scenarios. It does not take into account degradation of the solar panels. As solar panels weather they can not pick up as much light and become less efficient. Best case is 0.5% loss per year, but the real world numbers show much more. Even up to 5% per year. In which case you are at %50 in ten years and %0 at twenty years, in your 25 year commitment. That means you flushed all that money down the drain.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Well, we are now joined by someone who wishes to bring us a wheelbarrow load of misinformation.

      The NREL reports that panels manufactured post 2000 are expected to lose between 0.1% and 0.4% per year with the highest losses in areas with high wind/snow loading and/or high UV levels.

      Our oldest solar array is now about 40 years old. At age 35 it had lost 3.88% total, just over 0.1% per year.

      Now, the real question is whether you made that FUD up all by yourself or if some scurrilous person gave it to you.

      (BTW, 30% is not “most”. Most would be considered > 50%.)

      • corndogs

        The paper states, “This compilation of degradation rates is a survey of literature results and not a scientific sampling. Modules with high degradation rates are unlikely to be left in the field and reported on
        as many times as modules with low degradation rates.”

        My numbers are real world numbers based on observation. Not pie in the sky wishes, written by solar companies, after they cherry picked the panels they wanted to reference.

        The percent picked up by the tax payer depends on the state you are in. 30% is on the low end.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Show us the source of your numbers.

  • Texas Marty

    Ignorant, Ignorant study! Who teaches these people their economics??? They use dollar figures to set up a solar panel system in current dollar figures. Then they compare CURRENT dollar costs to savings generated OVER 20 YEARS!!! That’s shockingly STUPID!!! Why don’t they show either a) the current dollar value of those savings accumulated over 20 years or b) the cost of purchasing solar panels INCLUDING THE COST TO FINANCE the purchase price over 20 years???
    Finally, ever notice how this article glosses over the government subsidies?? Earth to author: “government” subsidies are NOT FREE!!! The TAXPAYERS foot the bill for these subsidies!! Dumb, Dumb, DUMB article!!!!

    • Bob_Wallace

      You know what is really dumb?

      Abusing the caps lock key. You’ll wear the thing out while making people think less of your rhetoric skills.

  • Detfan1

    Charts are from 2011!!

    • Bob_Wallace

      Well, yes. That’s pointed out in the article.

      Current versions would be nice….

      • Detfan1

        At least it piqued my interest. Six years it was going to cost $400,000 to go off of the grid. I called a local contractor, and I will see how much less it is now when he comes out.

        • Bob_Wallace

          $400k! What were you planning on doing, running an off the grid steel foundry?

          I went off the grid more than 10 years ago for $10k. Panels, racks, inverter, backup diesel generator, battery chargers, cables, meter, everything.

          • Detfan1

            Well, I don’t know about that, but 4,700 sq ft home, and the cost of storing the energy, so I could truly not have an electric bill were the main cost drivers. To
            just reduce the utility bill was much cheaper, but still cost prohibitive.. I’m glad you found a cheap solution a decade ago. I didn’t really investigate or put a lot of time into it after seeing the costs involved several years ago. Plus, I don’t know, it might have been longer than 6 years ago–years are adding up on me!!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Have you done a little work on your own to see how large an array and how many batteries you might need?

          • Detfan1

            No, I’v got a solar contactor coming over after we get back from a Labor day weekend trip. Hopefully, I will be much more educated after that visit.

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    • ncvhsbvknkdfj

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      • Dr. Mcmoron

        Tone it down, party ppl! u need to control ur child, mannnN!!!!!!!! <3

  • Richard Coleman

    The infographics didn’t seem to include 1) The thumb rule that one gets about 80% of the cost of an improvement back on house sales, and so it could take about 5 years. Many homeowners may suspect they’ll not stay in a home for 20 years. 2) Also, don’t these panels cut house cooling bills in summer by absorbing or buffering heat , preventing attic heating, which is a big deal? Loved the graphics, trying to help.

    • The only research I’ve seen on the topic found that solar power systems boosted the resale prices of homes more than they even cost. In other words, people buying homes with solar overvalued the solar system value… probably because they, like the majority, think solar costs more than it does.

      • Hank1946

        I think it might also be they see the value and don’t want the headache of doing or having the work done. My experience is people mostly want a move in ready home! So if you already have Solar maybe windows tinted and all led lights installed. Then show them the low if not non existent electric bill they see the extra value added and don’t need to be convinced?

  • SolarHayzues

    You can generate 1kwh per $100 (only when the sun shines)
    The average consumption per household is 11,700 (average of 4 people 2925kwh per person)
    There are 320.5 million people in the us
    Then the YEarly consumption of us populace must be 937,462,500,000 kwh

    Estimated cost:
    if 1kwh=100$
    Then 937,462,500,000*100=93,746,250,000,000

    To supply the US populace with enough energy to satisfy needs the cost would be roughly 93Trillion dollars, unsubsidized

    Us yearly expenditures amount to about 3.9 trillion.
    Supplying the us with enough solar power for total consumption is not yet remotely feasible. I have seen estimates that we use half as much power in the US, even if that is the case we would still be at roughly 46trillion.

    *My equations also leave out the fact you can only generate power roughly 8 hours a day on average, and it takes about 10 hours to draw a single kwh from a $100 100 watt panel. It is possible we would need many more panels to generate enough electricity on a day to day basis. Something to note. Unfortunately, it does not seem feasible to go solar unless you are already rich. Not at this point in time anyhow. Ahh the rich get richer and reap the benefits of even more savings in the long term yet again. Using the numbers represented in this article with an average of 20k to go solar per household it would cost $6,410,000,000,000 (thats trillion) for our population of 320.5million(assuming everybody owns a house which obviously isn’t the case) in the US to switch to solar, I do not believe these numbers to be a true estimation of the actual cost of solar, working from $100 per kwh with an average consumption per person of 2925 kwh per year. I am probably wrong, but i find the numbers in this article suspect.

    • solarhayzuesagain

      This math has a large error, that is total consumption for a year, this amount of panels would generate a years worth of power in 1 day
      So the total must be divide by 365, 256,839,041,095 is a closer estimate. So really we could potentially power all the power need for the people with roughly $256 billion, that should cover every persons day to day energy needs. Amazing how an oversight like that can change number so drastically :p, i still need to factor in the average sun length of 8 hours tho, but i am tired maybe tomorrow!

  • Lyle Solla-Yates

    I love this article. Any chance for a payback list by country? I’m betting there are a lot of places that are no brainers.

    • Hmm, that would be awesome, but super hard to compile 😀

  • Smh Heb

    Still too expensive for most. Payback is way too long. It seems the solar companies have taken out most of any real savings as their profit. What happens if you have to move? I bet re-installation is not free assuming the company exists in the state you are moving to.

  • Vostrain

    Measuring this in absolute savings is a bit misleading. To understand true savings, you need to factor in opportunity cost of that upfront loss of capital. For example, that roughly $21,000 investment in Nevada would be expected to approximate $61,740 after the 14-year payback period. The ~$40,000 in additional revenue is larger than the assumed 20-year savings. If we factor that initial invesment out to 20 years to align the forecast horizons, we are talking about $76,953 of lost revenues. Obviously you need to then account for the annual savings being invested into the market, but regardless I think it’s important to note the true cost if you are going to perform this analysis.

    • L P

      One thing that is not really factored in here is how the power companies must respond to the reduced payments of all the residential solar. The cost of maintaining the grid does not go down over time for them. Power generation is not the biggest power company expense, its the cost of transmission infrastructure and maintenance. The question here is whether to compensate for the shortfalls, will power companies have to respond by raising rates dramatically enough to offset their losses. My two cents is yes, but I am hoping that I am off-grid by that time 🙂

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  • Scott Boren

    What about life of solar panels and batteries? How long will they last? Then need to be replaced at same or higher cost?

    • Bob_Wallace

      We don/t know how log solar panels will last. The oldest array for which we have data is now about 40 years old. At age 35 the panels were removed and individually tested. On average they lost 0.1% output per year, a bit less than 3.5% over the 35 years.

      Those panels are in Germany where UV levels are low. In a higher UV area such as the high desert loss could be higher, but less than 05% per year.
      We know of no “solar cliff” at which losses accelerate, so a 100 year old panel might produce 50% to 90% as much power as when new.

      Batteries are a different story. Depending on the batteries selected the lifetime could run 10 to 20 years. Costs for batteries will almost certainly drop over time. And it’s reasonable to expect longer lived batteries down the road. A lot of research is being done on better batteries.

    • EducatedSanity

      Batteries are usually rated on a 1000 life cycle. Meaning they are only good for about 1000 cycles of 70% drain usage. 1000 / 365 = 2.7 years. Also the static storage life is rated to 5-7 years without use.

      Current battery storage is not cost effective means of storing power. It is only used for “off grid” systems, because there is no other choice.

      • Bob_Wallace

        More FUD.

        You need to spend more time learning and less pontificating.

        Batteries used for grid storage can have 5,000 cycle life. And batteries are starting to replace gas peakers for grid smoothing.

        • EducatedSanity

          Any arrogant child can make an insulting remark. Try backing up your claims!

          You must be referring to Lithium Iron (LiFePO 4) batteries. Which come at a significant higher cost. Even the most reasonable cost effective Lithium Iron batteries cost 4-7 times as much as conventional batteries, and only have a rated cycle life of about 3000 cycles. Also, only the most expensive ones can achieve greater then 3000 cycles. To achieve a 5000 or higher life cycle they are only reduced to 50% capacity, it’s called depth of discharge(DOD).

          It is more cost effective for power companies to use battery powered gird tied back up inverters, then it is to maintain a power plant at 120% or higher. All power plants run at 120% or higher to manage sudden peek surges in demand. This comes at a significant overhead cost in fuel to maintain the output high enough to handle the sudden changes in demand. It can take as much as 10-15 minutes for a power plant to ramp up the generators to handle the sudden peeks and surges in demand. Wasted capacity also means wasted fuel. This is why they utilize battery back up surge inverters!

  • Dennis

    Most of the PV solar posts on the web are full of speculation by people afraid to really look into a typical PV install today and base their rhetoric on PV technology and prices from 10 years ago.

    In our case we decided to take the PV plunge in September 2013. We have 34.5kW of PV capacity using (120) 295W STC rated panels and are able to net meter up to 25kW max in Nebraska. Nebraska is looking to increase the net metered limit to 100kW but that is another story.

    Both our 2800SF shop and house are powered by the same AC service and a typical monthly electric bill for us is $200-$300. The shop has (6) 400W metal halide lights and we try to keep these off as much as possible and use LED lighting in the office and open areas as ambient lighting. When actually working on the shop floor I turn on at least 1/2 of the metal halide lights. Both the house and shop have air conditioning and auxiliary electric heat to minimize our use of propane (shop) and natural gas (house). In February propane surged to $4-5/gallon so we shut off the propane furnace in the shop and relied entirely on PV electric to heat the building. The office was nice and toasty to work in and the rest of the shop was kept above freezing to keep plumbing from damage.

    I work for myself and last year we were about to make our 3rd quarter estimated federal tax payment of $20k but I decided to do the math and look at PV.

    We spent about $1/watt for the entire PV system including PV panels, mounting, some paid labor to install panels, grid-tie inverters, wiring, conduit, a new 200A 42 position AC panelbox, a master AC disconnect switch as required by our power company, even paint to identify the DC mains entering the building all the way to the inverters and label maker to properly label everything and not to forget permitting and inspection. Yes, I installed this myself because it was a large investment and it definitely helped to lower system costs. 2013 was the last year for accelerated depreciation on capital equipment so we took advantage of the 50% bonus depreciation and then applied the first years’ standard 20% depreciation schedule of the remaining 50% (or 10% of total) to depreciate in the first year. We also used the 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy. After depreciation in 5-6 years we will end up paying $13k or about 1/3 of the total system cost. So, should we cut a check for $20k for federal income tax with no capital expenditures or do we spend $13k in the end and acquire a PV system.

    A 2010 PV case study in OR state showed where Yunkers Mfg investing $600k for a 107.2kW PV system and after generous state and federal tax credits they ended up paying $4500 for the entire system. Their first year electric savings was $6432 so the system they installed paid for itself in less than 1 year. Our PV system paid for itself before it was turned on. Remember, cut a check for $20k and get nothing or pay $13k and have a PV system. We saved $7k by installing PV solar even before it was turned on. Yes, we are getting ahead of ourselves a bit because capital depreciation of 32%, 19.2%, 11.52%, 11.52% and 5.76% for years 2-6 still need to occur before the full tax benefit takes place but we depreciate business equipment as part of doing business so this is nothing new to us.

    The OR state PV case study can be read here:

    We went overboard using electric heat to subsidize January and February’s gas bills in 2014 so those electric bills were about $225 each. In March 2014 we had our first negative electric bill. And every month afterward. In May we consumed about 2MWh but we sold back a net 2.8MWh @ the 3.5cents/kWh wholesale rate. We don’t get paid much for any excess energy pushed back to the grid however what we produce up to our usage is compensated to us at retail rates. If we produced as much as we consume then our bill is $0 (plus a $12 minimum monthly billing charge). We are compensated at retail rates (currently 8.5cents/kWh plus taxes) up to our off-summer usage and ~$0.10/kWh during the summer. Overall we should bank enough “negative electric bills” that in December we should get a check from our power company for $500 to cover our PV shortage in Jan and Feb. We have a net zero electric bill for the year and our investment was less than zero for the system. Our propane and natural gas bills were stopped in the case of propane and cut in half for nat gas.

    Now the bad news. June 4 we were hit by a monster storm and had 2.7″ hail. Just short of baseball size this storm took out 112 of our 120 panels. The glass is tempered but thoroughly shattered the panels affected into 1/8″ nuggets of glass. Some had holes clear through. Our house and many others in the area have holes clear through the roof (2 layers of overlapping asphalt shingles and 1 layer of plywood). A storm like this affected our area 40 years ago punching holes through metal building steel roofs so this was a rather extraordinary event. Not 1″ diameter with a terminal velocity of 50MPH as most panels are rated. Our RV had 48 holes and cracks in the roof to allow the 4-5 inches of rain that followed to pour in.

    We are getting estimates to remove and replace the PV array. Current pricing is $0.65-$0.80/W for ~300W panels and a total installed cost of $2.50-$4/W is typical of a turn key installer. Our system does not need the inverters or any wiring replaced, just the panels so the installed cost should be lower per W than listed above. Removing shattered panels will not be trivial as glass slivers will embed in cloth gloves and can blow across the panels into your face on a windy day. We YET AGAIN inquired the morning of the storm to verify if the array was covered by our insurance company and they said yes. We were willing to pay for a separate policy for the PV array alone but our insurance company said it was not necessary as long as the panels were integrated into the roof structure of the shop. The estimates are not in yet but $70k-$100k is not out of the question. We’ll see if we are dropped from our insurance company due to a bizarre natural event.

    For those that say PV is unlikely damaged by hail I have personal pics to show otherwise. Page 34 of the following link appears to show PV panels damaged and punched through by hail. Unfortunately the owner looks like they did not turn off the PV’s loads and an arcing electrical fire caused damage to the damaged panels and roof of the house. The NPFA brochure on PV safety is:

    Do I know how fast the hail hit? No but with enough terminal velocity to go through the roof of our house. For those who say it will take 20 years to pay off PV…well it can if you simply pay a contractor to install and do not take advantage of tax credits (before the 2016 deadline). Talk to an accountant to see if it will work for you. Speculation and critical thought is just that until you put the numbers to the paper. We were struck down but would not hesitate to rebuild.

  • sandbox100

    I just got two quota for solar in AZ. Looks to me like the solar installers are using the tax credits and rebates as a tool to hook you. Looks like the tax credit and rebate is rolled in to the cost then telling you how little it cost when you take them off.

  • adam

    If a technology can’t support itself without “incentives” and lax taxes than it is not viable. We are getting there but a 14 year ROI is pretty poor. I thought the life of these is only 20 years so you get 6 years out of it really at a little over $6000 return on your asset. If solar was at the real cost it wouldn’t give you a return. This would be a poor business model and is not economically responsible

    • Bob_Wallace

      The use of subsidies to support a new technology while it matures is generally a good investment in our future. The fact that we continue to subsidize very mature industries such as fossil fuels and nuclear energy is troublesome.

      We don’t know the lifespan of solar panels. We do know that the ones we put into service 40 years ago are still working fine. Our oldest tested array is at the University of Oldenburg. Over their first 35 years they showed a 3.88% total loss, 0.1% per year.

      A 14 year ROI is a 5% return on investment. That’s not “pretty poor”. It’s better than bonds.

  • Diane

    Eighty percent of United States C02 emissions come from coal burning electric plants. Wow! I’m extremely concerned and need to check into options where I can make a difference other that just recycling or using less electricity. That United Nations report was startling.

  • disqus_l4zSoQqrpI

    where can I go for a real market comparison of the panels not a general listing of post installation prices?

  • Jason Szumlanski

    I’ve seen this infographic before, and it’s both outdated and misleading. It doesn’t cost 2.5x as much in Florida to “go solar” as it does in California. Nonsense. We install PV systems every day for prices LESS than the California market. The infographic is NOT a scientific apples-to-apples comparison. Compare the $/watt installed price in Florida, and you will see that we are well below the national average, mostly due to a depressed market and lack of big national competitors who typically have higher costs of doing business. While incentives are not as strong here in Florida, the graphic would suggest that California residents are getting 60% of their systems paid for by incentives not available in Florida. It’s just not the case.

    If you want straight talk on the Florida solar market, read my blog at

  • Neil

    This chart seems a bit arbitrary without actual solar system size … I’ve gotten a few estimates in nc and it runs in the $25-$30,000 range for a 3.4-4kw system… Of course pre-rebates- after, here basically $12-15k… But the break even is around 15-18 years… Just not worth it unless utilities actually go up 10-15% a yr.. Which seems hard to believe. I guess time will tell on the rate increases. I would love to go solar but the numbers just aren’t working for me & what I’ve been able to find yet :-/

    Also I’d have to get a new roof before install & get hoa approval which doesn’t help my situation. There aren’t any systems in our 400+ house neighborhood…so I can only imagine how that process would go with some of these crazy homeowners.

    Anyone know how much home insurance increases with a system?

    • JimBouton

      I have a Power Purchase Agreement with Solar City and I have not thought to contact my insurance company about the panels. Never thought about it, especially since I do not own them. I do know that any damage from a hail storm would be on Solar City and not me. They would replace them. If anything, the panels will protect about 20% of my shingles.

      I hope Solar City (or one of the other companies that offer PPAs) is able to get into North Carolina. I think you will see much better pricing.

  • Matt

    I don’t think you want to get in to either drop demand or make energy production greener. We must have both. And LED are only one of many things needed. I still can’t believe the number of people/places that do not caulk their windows. Was in a little dinner last week (it is still real cold here) and you could feel wind coming in around the windows. There are many leaking homes and biz around the world. People bitch about paying money for heat/AC but don’t want to “close the door”.

  • Matt

    Is this new math? I’m having trouble getting you charts to match:
    Cost Savings/month break even
    (Ohio) $15,916 $73 — 218m or 18.2 years
    (NY) $9,856 $130 — 75.8m or 6.3 year
    Chart say payback Ohio(9), NY(8)
    So something isn’t right here.

  • jeppen

    Average cost to go solar? I guess all cost estimates target the same PV capacity, but which? 3 KW? It would also be interesting to know unsubsidized costs in each state.

  • Kyle Field

    This data feels much more relevant to the average consumer of solar. California gets a tough sell as the difference between north and south vary considerably in terms of solar output which for me (in so cal) means my payout is sooner than this average (yay!). Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    • yeah,w e’ve actually shared it before, but it’s so good i thought it was worth sharing again 😀

  • solar4fuel

    Best way to get solar costs in USA down is to simplify and standardize installation rules to match those in Germany and Australia. Australian residential PV currently costs about US$1.30/W with installation and connection approvals taking longer than 5 days being unusual. How does the land of the free have so much red tape?

    • Yeah, this is a big hurdle, as well as customer acquisition costs, financing costs, overhead costs, and sales tax.

      • Chris Aloise

        How about a proposal to eliminate sales tax on personal, home PV arrays under 10 kw? In Germany you were reimbursed the 19% VAT.

    • Albert Joseph Tremblay

      What is causing a majority of damage to the earth: people giving unfounded opinions as though they were facts.
      People are grossly mislead when it comes to facts about solar, and wind.

      “The German Renewable Energy Act directly
      caused utility losses of EUR 540 million
      in August 2013 alone.”

      • Bob_Wallace


        Companies that own coal plants are losing money and that’s a bad thing?

        The dropping wholesale price of electricity and the lower prices industries are paying for electricity is a bad thing?

        I guess if you depend on coal for your paycheck it would be….

    • EducatedSanity

      Because in the US we pay $0.10 per kilowatt of energy. While German citizens pay up to $0.30 per kilowatt. It makes cents (pun intended) to go solar when the cost of the system is 1/3 of the effective production and usage over it’s 20 year life cycle.
      Also after 20 years the power output of a solar panel diminishes rapidly. Very few solar panels are capable of lasting more then 25-30 years.

      • Bob_Wallace

        FUDed out….

        • EducatedSanity

          Here is the real facts!
          Country US cents/kWh Date
          Germany 32.04 Feb 1, 2015

          The US pays an average of $0.10 per kilowatt, Germany and most other countries pay nearly 3 times as much.
          With a significantly higher cost per kilowatt it makes it cost effective to use solar panels. The return in cost savings is refundable within 5-7 years as opposed to the 17-20 years for an installation in the US.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sort of right, but sort of wrong.

            10 cents is an average. Except that the US average retail electricity is not 10 cents but 12.93 cents/kWh as of August, 2015. The most recent data release by the EIA.


            Now making up that average are 50 states plus Washington, DC. The range of state cost runs from 9.36/kWh to 29.87/kWh. And that tells us that there are places in the US where payback is much faster than the 17 to 20 years you claim.

            In addition, there are within states a wide range of electricity prices. Some people who are heavier users may be paying very high tier or TOU rates.

            Keep bringing the misinformation and you’ll have a very short career here.

          • EducatedSanity

            Anyone can cherry pick data to make a point, even if it is still wrong! By your own data cited, all the continental US prices are well under $0.20. This substantiates my claim and proves you wrong again.

            Pacific NoncontiguousGraph






          • Bob_Wallace

            You are right, anyone can cherry pick data, as you just have.

            I stated that the range for US retail electricity ran from 9.36/kWh to 29.87/kWh. You want to make some point or the other by limiting to the continental US.

            ” all the continental US prices are well under $0.20 per kWh.”

            Take another look at the data. Multiple continental states are close to 20 cents, Alaska is over 20 cents.

            ” Aside from a few states in the far north east, which already have very poor solar irradiance levels, all other states are below a $0.13 per kWh average.”

            This is another instance of cherry picking. You pluck out the more expensive states and guesstimate an average of the less expensive states.

            The honorable thing to do, IMHO, would be to acknowledge that your claim of 10c/kWh was off by 30% and to recognize that there are some states where payback times are very much shorter than your 17-20 years.

            Someone in CA who is paying over 18 c/kWh, actually more due to higher than average consumption, and installing for $3/watt or less which is reduced further by federal and state subsidies is going to enjoy a much faster payback.

          • EducatedSanity

            Listen, you pompous fool. I don’t need you telling me my data and facts are wrong. I currently manage 3 arrays. I installed solar on all 3 of my residences about 10 years ago in south Florida. With a running average of $0.09806 per kWh for delivered service, and the required insurance liability for owning the 3 arrays, and the compounding degradation of the panels, I will be lucky to see a vested return on my investment in 30 years of serviceable life.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Thanks for editing out the “pompous fool”. We don’t tolerate name calling on this site.

            Now, as far as your data. It’s wrong. Florida is a single state and has a lower cost of electricity than many. Additionally, the price of solar was extremely higher 10 years ago. (I’ve been off the grid for over 25 years and put in my present system about 12 years ago.)

            Your payback time is irrelevant when it comes to someone looking to install today.

          • lucas

            HI – I just moved from Florida. I had a friend that was trying to get into solar there, but between FPL’s cheap electric price (godsend compared to the NE) and a lack of state incentives, it didn’t seem to work very well.

            However, I couldn’t get my mind around the 30 year payback period, just didn’t seem right. Then I saw that you bought your panels 10 years ago; The cost per watt has dropped significantly in that time period.

            If you have it installed on 3 houses, all in florida, I’m assuming two of those are potentially rental properties? Can you not depreciate solar on an investment property, rather than having to capitalize the cost as you would on a residential property? And on the flip side, owned PV on homes (not leased) has been shown to raise the asking price in various markets. This is an intangible benefit that only materializes should you sell, but that is another benefit.

            Yes, some places in the states, Solar makes less sense (Florida with its nukes, Texas and its wind, Oregon and its hydro), but other states either have energy shortfalls or incentives to push people towards renewables, and in those states it makes a lot of sense. But you can’t lay out your experience with solar panels bought 10 years ago as being at all equivalent to panels bought today in terms of performance alone, not to mention the other benefits that can be achieved (tax credit, depreciation, etc).

          • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

            Germany gets its power from nuke, and solar cells require huge amounts of electricity to make, not to mention caustic material waste that is……..bad for the environment. Still no free energy out there folks

          • Bob_Wallace

            There is no free energy.

            Onshore wind and PV solar are our least expensive ways to bring new electricity to the grid.

            They also have the lowest lifetime carbon footprints.

          • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

            lowest lifetime carbon footprint if you do not include the electric cost to make the cell Bob, please look it up, this is a known fact.

            Again, Rare Earth mining has the following in its tailings.

            Lanthanum (sometimes considered a transition metal)
            Actinium (sometimes considered a transition metal)

            again, yummy, but not in my country, we will let the chinese ruin their environment first? Sounds very conservative of you Bob?

  • Steeple

    As much as I am an advocate of solar, we would do better as a country to really push the adoption of LED lighting. Two year payback vs ten + is a huge difference. And then hopefully the payback time on solar continues to come down in the meantime. Since lighting constitutes approx 45% of electrical demand in the US, we can knock a big hole in the demand side right now.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m all for pushing both.

      LEDs probably need less of a “push” since they make such excellent financial sense. As soon as we have 100 watt bulb replacements for under $10 it will be all over for incandescents.

      Solar, we need to keep pushing in order to build the installation industry some more and get costs down to European levels.

      Actually, we’ve run out of time. We need to be pushing everything. Hard. The question is no longer if we will hurt ourselves. It’s now how badly will we hurt ourselves.

      • “We need to be pushing everything. Hard. The question is no longer if we will hurt ourselves. It’s now how badly will we hurt ourselves.” -Word.

        • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

          stop encouraging environmental disasters…………

          • Bob_Wallace

            Stop posting crap.

          • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

            Why is none of the mining for Solar cells or RE magnets done in the US?
            Environmental laws make that type of mining not profitable, where as
            mining in China has ZERO regulations.

            you know i am right, what kind of minerals are required for processing solar cells Bob?

      • Doug Cutler

        Just bought a couple of 60 watt LEDs last week for 5 bucks each with a coupon at my local Home Depot. Pretty cool. Nice warm light version, too. Would’ve bought more except we’re already pretty well maxed out with florescents.

      • FukkenSaved

        It’s already all over for incandescents, the only people that have been buying them for the last 15 or so years are Conservatives that hate change

        • Hamilton

          I am a ‘Conservative’, but I updated to CFL throughout my house to save money, but the tree huggers don’t want to mention what they do to get the mercury from the CFL’s out of the landfill before it gets into the water table, and incandescent bulbs last a lot longer than the CFL’s I bought, so I was disappointed there. I want to go to LED’s for everything not just Christmas tree lights, just waiting for the price to drop. And you cannot use CFL’s or LED’s under frost blankets to warm your cold sensitive fruit trees and shrubs to prevent frost kills. Besides that my night vision is very good from eating my homegrown organic vegetables, so I rarely need the light during the daytime anyway. Maybe I am just a cheap bastard in a dark and hot house.

          • Bob_Wallace

            1) Recycle your CFLs. There’s no reason to send them to the landfill.

            2) Even if the mercury from a CFL was tossed out on the ground after the bulb was used up the Earth would be ahead in terms of mercury in the water table. Using a CFL rather than an incandescent on most grid would mean that far less coal was burned for electricity.

            “Over the 7500-hour average range of one CFL, then, a plant will emit 13.16 mg of mercury to sustain a 75-watt incandescent bulb but only 3.51 mg of mercury to sustain a 20-watt CFL (the lightning equivalent of a 75-watt traditional bulb). Even if the mercury contained in a CFL was directly released into the atmosphere, an incandescent would still contribute 4.65 more milligrams of mercury into the environment over its lifetime.”

            (Tree Huggers have been recommending recycling.)

            4) You can be a cheap bastard in a lit house. LEDs have become affordable. About the price of a cup of coffee and a donut at the grocery store.

            3) If you use light bulbs to heat trees you’re wasting money. Use something that gives off heat and doesn’t waste electricity producing light.

        • Normnutman

          You are a moron to bring politics into this situation, especially when Conservatives push less regulation and industry growth rather than Liberals who push government regulation and stifles innovation.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Regulation is what stands between you and unethical people poisoning you when you fill your prescription at the pharmacy or eat a can of pork and beans. Or unethical people stealing your life savings and retirement funds.

            Inadequate regulation/enforcement allowed lots of kids to be lead poisoning recently. Allowed ‘too big to fail’ banks to wreck our economy. And allowed workers pension plans to be wiped out.

            If you are a responsible, moral business person regulations protect your business from the unethical competitors who are willing to do anything for a buck. A level playing field.

            The task is to create the right regulations. Not too much and not too little. The best solution for our country would be for Conservatives to question whether the regulations we have are reasonable and for Liberals to investigate whether there are places we need better regulations. Two sides working together could give us the bowl of porridge that is “just right”.

        • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

          Utility-scale (185 MW) was $1.80/W, a reduction of 5% from Q4 2012. where coal electric costs anywhere from .06 to .15/KWh.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’re mixing watts (MW, W) and watt hours (kWh).

            Utility scale solar is selling (Power Purchase Agreements) for $0.04/kWh to $0.05/kWh. That includes about a $0.01/kWh subsidy. Call the price of unsubsidized solar 5 to 6 cents.

            Solar has no external costs. It doesn’t pollute the air or water.

            Your coal numbers don’t include the external cost of coal.

            Utility scale solar was $2.47/W, Q4 2012. It was $1.33/W, Q4 2014. That’s a 41% drop.

    • Where did you get your 45% figure from? I can’t confirm it. According to this article, it’s less than 20%. And most of that is already high efficient lighting (offices, roads, factories, shops). Large part of residential lighting is also cfl’s already.

      With a solar roof an average homeowner can reduce his energy consumption by 50 or 80 or even 100 %, with LED lights maybe 10%.

      You are presenting a false dichotomy here. It’s not either/or, it’s and/and. What you see in real life is that most people do both.

      • Steeple

        IHS figures.

        Disciplined investors allocate capital to their best prospects. Since the goal is to conserve resources and perhaps reduce emissions, we should be indifferent to whether we replace existing generation with renewables or reduce demand through energy efficiency. Reducing demand does come with the benefit of reducing the load on distribution systems. It all comes down to how do we maximize the return on a given amount of investment.

        In the real world, we will do everything. But it seems that a small govt investment in education people to the benefits of LEDs (don’t think the avg person on the street is clued in here) could go a long way.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m seeing residential use of electricity for lighting in the 11% to 13% range.

          Do you have some commercial/industrial numbers?

          • Steeple

            Nothing documented. Just remembering some figures discussed at an IHS Conference from a few years back. But my memory may be foggy and perhaps it’s not as large as I remember.

          • Ross

            Don’t feed poor data into the disciplined investment decision process.

    • Very complementary. Should push both. I feed almost every LED story I find to our writers. 😀

    • JamesWimberley

      Where do you get 40% from? the EIA says it’s 12% of all electricity use, 17% of combined residential and commercial consumption. Source:

    • monkseal

      But, is simple payback really the best metric for energy? Alternatively, what about the embodied carbon in solar panels and the environmental costs of mining all those precious and not so precious metals?

      • Bob_Wallace

        No, we need to consider far more than simple payback. We typically and almost totally ignore external costs.

        We treat coal as a low cost electricity provider but if one includes what we pay out for health and environmental damage caused by coal pollution then we find coal to be our most expensive source of electricity.

        As for embodied carbon, the better metric is lifetime carbon footprint. The total carbon released during their entire life, including carbon in fuel.

        Of the most used technologies solar, nuclear and wind have such extremely small footprints compared to fossil fuels that the difference between them is not important.

        • Ernest Fultz

          Oh really. lets see first nuclear testing spots is still radio active to this day. a cobalt rods produces energy for 50 years and takes almost 3000 to discharge all its radiation. Wind for the price of wind turbines a 100 dollar old type water pump turned into a wind turbine would be more smarter than the new turbines with every thing from chemicals to plastics in there make up. As for solar T.E G should have already phased it out. Our current power sources are out dated bye 50 years. If most smart people would get past the lies school taught them that energy can only be converted they would build a small wind tunnel put a fan at one end 3 turbines in the middle and a vertical turbine at the end and get over all this solar and wind crap. The could produce 2kw a hr for the cost of 4 turbine few deep cell batterys charge regulator and a cheap fan indoors or out doors. but what they have been taught is the fan and resistants would eat up 2kw of power

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry, Ernest. I’m not find your post accurate.

          • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

            Bob, do some research, solar panels produce power half the day at 3.00 or more per Kwh, Rare Earth mining requires 200 times more dirt moving than gold mining, your green power is killing the environment.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Silicon solar panels do not use REMs.

            I have no idea what “3.00 or more per Kwh” means.

          • Ed Posrey

            Learn to spell. ….

    • Rick

      The two are not mutually exclusive. I perform lighting audits in a city with more light bulbs then any other city in the world. I also sell solar. I recommend LED retrofits to all my commercial/residential clients. As an example 12-20% of an electric bill is lighting so if a solar customer can’t get to 95%+ of their power usage converting to LED lighting can get them the rest of the way. Power conditioning is another area that needs addressing in order to reduce electricity lost in voltage spikes with industrial compressors and large scale HVAC units. Were getting smarter and more efficient.

      • Bob_Wallace

        This article might interest you – using battery storage as a way to avoid demand spikes/prices.

        • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

          what has to be mined to make the battery? What about the heat generated from charging the battery, step up and down transformers, transmission, and phase inverters? All cost energy on top of the 3.00/Kwh

          • Bob_Wallace

            Again, foolishly incorrect kWh number. Devoid of any contact with reality.

          • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

            Why is none of the mining for Solar cells or RE magnets done in the US? Environmental laws make that type of mining not profitable, where as mining in China has ZERO regulations. Bob, maybe you are ok with poor people risking their lives to bring power to the wealthy, as long as it is not your environment that is ruined. Mighty big of you Bob, only an environmentalist when it makes you more wealthy…..typical.

    • AC

      Well LED lighting is great, but you still end up paying your utility company for electricity anyway. Even if the payback for solar is much longer, but once we are done paying it off, we no longer have to worry about paying our utility company. I rather make the investment will there are Tax Credits available then wait as my utility bill keeps rising in record percentages.

    • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

      Solar and wind power create more pollution than coal. Mining of RE causes superfund sites all over the third world.

      • Bob_Wallace

        That is simply an absurd claim.

        Absolutely, utterly absurd.

        • disqus_cWBw65dIjT

          it creates more pollution in another country, and u are ok with them killing their part of the planet. it takes 200 times more dirt moving to get RE than to mine for gold, profitable in the US – NO, profitable where there are no environmental regulations – YES. Bob, you are a true environmentalist.

          Show me some numbers that show that mining for solar cell material is profitable in the us? Also, it takes LARGE amounts of coal electricity to make a solar cell that has a 10 yr half life.

          You being an environmental pirate is Not absurd.

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