U.S. lab says 2008 pivotal year for solar costs

October 21, 2009

The holy grail for solar power is to match the cost of power from coal-fired power plants or other traditional fuel.

That goal is still on the horizon. But researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab say the industry is getting closer as the cost of going solar in the United States saw a pivotal year in 2008.

In a new report, the researchers found that the cost of going solar fell by more than 30 percent from 1998 to 2008. The installation costs — before taking into account any incentives —  dropped from $10.80 per watt to $7.50 per watt during that period.

Costs like labor, marketing and overhead drove much of that decline. But the fall in panel prices, which tumbled from 2007 to 2008, helped push the total cost down in recent years.

Photo: Thousands of solar panels are shown that generate electricity used at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. Photo credit: REUTERS


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Still needs to be $1.00 a watt to brake even.
you wrote “dropped from $10.80 per watt to $7.50 per watt”
that’s at 12 volts. 5kw @ 12 volt system “i.e. going in to the inverter” is 250 watt @ 220 volt “going out”
thus a 5 years pay back is 50 years. & the panels last about 20 years & less with a tracker ot concentrator.
not green buy the way there made…..

Posted by dennis dickinson | Report as abusive

Here’s a simple way to think about installing solar panels. The fact is that installing solar panels for your home or business can cut your electric bill to $0 today. For example, if you spend $200 per month for electricity, then you will spend $81,979 over 25 years, including a low annual price inflation rate of 2.5%. No matter how you calculate it, you will save money with a $5,000 to $25,000 solar panel system. Remember, you can pay the utility for 25 years, with annual price increases, or you can pay a lot less with solar power.

To do something about this today, visit FreeCleanSolar.com to search a nationwide network of 500 local solar installers. You can also find information about state solar rebates, federal tax credits, solar financing and leasing, system costs and the benefits of going solar. The bottom line is that many home and business owners can afford solar power today.

Posted by FreeCleanSolar | Report as abusive

you are so wrong. move the decimal piont! you can not brake ohms law.

or nellis sending $100m to save 1m a year thats a loss of $80m over the life of the panels.
or take the dumbies in florida, just in todays news. it just dosen’t add up.
there NOT green buy the way there made
http://www.siliconsultant.com/SICompGr.h tm
buy that web site your part of the ponzi scheme….

Posted by dennis dickinson | Report as abusive

@dennis dickinson You have confused current (amps) with power (watts). 5 kw into an inverter produces 4 – 4.5 kw out. There is some loss (as heat, whch can be used) but it is small.

To put it another way, 5kw = 416 amps @ 12v or 20 amps @ 250 v.

Posted by Romilly Cocking | Report as abusive

twist it how ever you want it’s still 20th of the power going in the grid.
you can’t run a 60 watt 120 volt light bulb with a 60 watt 12 volt pv it will take 10 of them.

on my 5kw 120 volt inverter at full output needs 50kw 12volt going in.
here this will help ya…
still NOT green
still only last 20 years

Posted by dennis dickinson | Report as abusive