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

Q:

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

A:

It is difficult to predict what will happen to the costs of PV systems. The costs have been coming down recently due to the recession. New methods of fabricating PV panels using new materials does hold the promise of price reductions. If the world's economy recovers quickly, the cost of PV panels will likely stabilize. Currently there is a large production overcapacity and this has forced prices down. The looming "real" oil shortage will likely continue to drive up interest in PV. If governments stop subsidizing PV installations, then the market will dry up, manufacturers will close and PV costs will skyrocket - close to where they were 6 years ago.

Grid-tied PV (MicroFIT) systems are being quoted at $3,000 to $6,000 per installed Kilowatt (October 2013) depending upon the size of the system. This pricing may come down in the short term as there is a surplus of Ontario-made product at this time. In the longer term PV panels made outside Ontario will likely be cheaper - but there will be far fewer companies around to install them, so PV systems may be more expensive.

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 $.70 - $1.50 (Cdn) per watt in large quantities, a fully installed system with batteries will cost between $6,000 and $12,000 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.