How much does solar REALLY cost? Does it have to be expensive in the real world?

How much does solar REALLY cost?  Does it have to be expensive in the real world?

Forget the salesman or the confusing websites, this video will show you what a solar panel system REALLY costs.

From the most basic starter kit to a whole home solution, this video goes over the real world costs for solar panel systems. This video only covers off grid systems so if you are considering a grid tied system you will need to consider other costs such as professional installation, grid tie inverter(s), and inspections/fees to your utility company.

15 Comments on “How much does solar REALLY cost? Does it have to be expensive in the real world?”

  1. I want to power a single wide mobile home with 220. How many panels would I need and how many batteries? Thank you for your time and trouble.

  2. What a difference a couple of years makes.
    Solar panel prices have come down even more and there is a real shift towards using lithium batteries, either 18650s from recycled laptop batteries, second life EV batteries and/or heavy duty LiFePO₄.
    Also the cost of MPPT charge controllers has come down with pressure from Chinese producers who are really gearing up on the mass solar market.
    However, the market has been plagued by fake MPPT controllers that are really PWM, so one really has to do one's homework before committing to a purchase, and reviews on youtube have been indispensable in helping to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
    One of my favorite hobby MPPT controllers is a cute Chinese MPT-7210A available for around $30. It's a boost converter, so not suitable for 12V, but is good for charging 48V ebikes from 12-24 volt panels at a couple of hundred watts.
    The future is approaching and would approach even quicker if the fossil fuel lobby would stop trying to resist so hard and go with the inevitable flow.

  3. I live off grid up in Canada and I can say that this is a really well done video. I endorse what LDS is saying.

    I have a 1.8KW system here and I want to point out a couple things to get the cost of a large system down.

    Buy panels by the pallet load. You will save some $ that way. Just split the cost with some neighbours.

    Make your battery bank 48V or 60V. You will save a lot of money on the cost of charge controllers that way. (for every 4 charge controllers you need for a 12V system, you will only need 1 for a 48V system! That will save you a couple grand.) It will also save you a bit on wires too and will reduce your conversion losses.

    You can save money on refurbished batteries and as long as you take good care of them they will last you. Also when you connect the batteries together, I recommend doubling up your connections. Instead of using one wire of the proper size, use 2. You will get better connections and will have longer battery life as a result. Batteries are the most perishable part of your system and they need to be taken care of. Make sure to top up your batteries with distilled water once a month too.

    Also you will have extra energy in summer so hook up your hot water tank as a diversion load. Then when your batteries are full you will get hot water instead of just blowing heat off at the charge controller. 

    Also if you are on the grid then stay on. Sell power back to the grid and save $ on batteries.

  4. Regular home systems (not off grid solution) takes about 15 years to recoup investment in the Sun belt states. If you don't plan to live in the house that long it is a money loser for you.

  5. Constantly getting cheaper and the panels are getting better.

    But be careful
    I checked with a local company about installing solar. They have a warehouse full of 10 year old panels and they are charging double per watt what current panels cost. (current panels are appx 4X the power per sq ft so they want to cover a roof that should only need 1/4 covered in panels and that means a lot more installation cost)

  6. Needs to be updated with current costs – panels for $1/watt. Also, lithium batteries are more cost-effective in the long-run.

  7. I build a water heating solar system from scratch and it cast me about $1000 now its nothing like your set up and its water not electric so it cant be compared to your system. but if you keep your eye out for deals its amazing what you can do. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I've always wanted to go off-grid, but my wife was against leaving the luxuries of living in town (small Alaskan town). I told her it wouldn't be any different except for when winter wind storms knock power out and we're the only lit house in the area. However, due to industry down turn (oil industry), finding a good job is becoming difficult and even though she is born raised Alaskan (including our young kids), we've decided to look in the lower 48 for new jobs while also planning to go off-grid once we relocate. We're tired of not having our own place and installing electricity, septic, etc. have become increasingly more expensive. We're also planning on downsizing our living situation.

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