Why cheap solar panels?
Why would we write an article about cheap solar panels? Well, we are somewhat amazed by the price currently being demanded for solar panels. Given they are being manufacturer on mass and being installed in more and more businesses and homes it's somewhat odd that the market has not moved to lower prices yet..
Supply and Demand with quality
We could, of course, point the finger at good old supply and demand and state that clearly given the rising demand for the panels the per unit price must remain high to effectively 'ration out' what is being produced to the consumers - but this is sort of missing the point. Solar panels and the underlying technology is well understood and engineered technology; although it is constantly improving all the time, the panels available now have a rated life often in excess of 20 years. Now, that in part is why solar panels are expensive - the way they are used dictates a long life therefore the high cost...
But again, that is also an over simplification - in order for the product to remain 'competitive' within the market a certain amount of the profit should be going back into research and development. Again that needs to be added into the final cost...
So can there ever be a cheap solar panel?
Its not really a question of if, more a question of when. There is a lot of 'latent demand' not being met at the current price points. Its clearly just not economical for most people with grid connected
power to suddenly go green and buy Solar on its own. The cost return point needs to be brought down by governments providing grants or feed-in tariffs
to make the people actually consider using Solar. Even then if one really does the maths (i.e. cost benefit with depreciation and inflation) is still a very even decision in pure monetary concerns.
So, as a result, people only really buy into Solar for one of two reasons:
- They have no other option (no grid, wind power or water power available), or,
- They look at other factors (like carbon footprint) and add that into their thinking.
So, only the real way solar in the home will really take off is if:
- Governments make it a 'no brainer' to go solar by more generous solar power grants, 'solar rebates' or associated schemes, or,
- New ways of manufacture are found which drops the end to the consumer by roughly half of what it is now, or,
- For the same cost point we have solar panels that are double the efficiency they are now.
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