How much does solar energy cost

Energy purchased from electric companies is getting more and more expensive. In California the prices increase an average 6% per year. In 2008 energy prices increased by 30% in the UK. In central Europe, disruption to gas supplies from Russia left hundreds of thousands people without heating and electricity during the harsh winter months. What price can you put on that?

Solar energy is getting cheaper and cheaper. 20 years ago solar energy was 7 times as expensive as it is today. As our awareness of global warming increases the need to find renewable energy sources increase. Solar energy is an ideal choice for most home owners looking for a cheap renewable energy source. Wind power isn’t convenient for residential areas as the wind flow is disrupted by buildings and the wind turbines don’t run efficiently as they do in open areas. As long as you have and area such as a yard or roof space where you can site the solar panels are a viable alternative to cabled in power.

Before we can give you the answer to the question how much does solar energy cost you need to decide the type of system you want.

Hot water solar energy system:

This type of system usually consists of a collector, which is often mounted on the roof, and a fluid system to enable the heat to be taken to the point where it is used, a hot water boiler for example. Sometimes electric pumps are used to move the fluid from the collector to the boiler.

The systems can be used for a variety of purposes like heating water for homes, businesses, underfloor heating, and swimming pools.

In some climates, solar heating can generate up to 85% of domestic hot water needs.

Solar electric system:

Similar to the solar hot water system, solar panels are mounted on the roof or in the yard. The solar panels consist of a collection of solar cells or photovoltaic (PV) cells. Their construction is completely different to solar panels for hot water. Solar cells are made up of thin layers of silicon, and when sunlight strikes a cell's light absorbing material, chemical reactions release electrons, generating an electric current. The solar panels are connected to the electrical system of the property. Excess power can be sold back to the electric company via a scheme called Net-metering or stored in battery packs for use later.

Just how much does solar energy cost?

It varies. Depending on the size of your household, the amount of electricity you use, the particular solar energy system you choose, how much sunshine you receive in your area and available government funding to name only a few.

For a standard house in the USA:

• A solar hot water system will cost between US $2,000 and $4,000.

• A photovoltaic system will cost between US $8,000 and $10,000 for a 1kW system. (or $8 - $10 /Watt)

An average American family, living in a 3-bedroom home will require a 1.5 - 3kW system, which will cost between US $13,000 and US $27,000, before rebates. A rebate could be as much as $7,000.

Top tip:

The best way to finance your solar energy cost is to include it in your mortgage.