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Are the costs of PV systems going to come down significantly - soon?


Are the costs of PV systems going to come down significantly - soon?


It is difficult to predict what will happen to the costs of PV systems. The costs have come down but have plateaued. New methods of fabricating PV panels using new materials does hold the promise of further price reductions. If governments stop subsidizing PV installations, then the market will dry up, manufacturers will close and PV costs will actually rise.

Grid-tied PV (MicroFIT) systems are being quoted at $2,500 to $4,000 per installed Kilowatt (May 2016) depending upon the size of the system. This pricing has recently risen from lower levels in mid-2015. The effect of new tariffs on Chinese-made panels & components and the devaluing of the Canadian dollar vs the US dollar has driven prices up and lowered margins for solar companies. The long term trend is not clear for Ontario. With the end of the FIT program coming (end of 2017), and with both solar installers and equipment manufacturers leaving the business in Ontario, prices are likely to stagnate and eventually start rising again.

The cost of the PV panels is normally only about 1/3 of the cost of a system that is installed with batteries. The batteries are 1/3 of the cost and the installation, racking, wiring, controls etc. represent the other third. With PV panels wholesaling for $.80 - $1.00 (Cdn) per watt in large quantities, a fully installed system with batteries will cost between $5,000 and $8,000 per kilowatt depending upon the size and complexity of the system. 

It would be wise to consult with a solar-knowledgable accountant before making a committment to buy.