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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems > Solar Prices expected to go lower to $.70/watt
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Thread: Solar Prices expected to go lower to $.70/watt Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-02-2012 11:32 AM
cktalons Okay, so if a girl needs some solar panels for her boat, where's a good place to get a great deal?
01-20-2012 06:16 PM
nickmerc I am in the solar materials business (at least for now). I make silicon wafers for PV panels. Solyndra and Evergreen each had their own way of doing things that did not work our. They are bad examples of how the rest of the solar materials industry works today. We all know what happend with Solyndra so no need to beat that dead horse. Evergreen had a novel idea for manufacturing the wafers that worked well when poly prices were high but was too expensive for the lower prices of today.

The huge over supply everyone is talking about is from government regulation playing with the market. All of the European subsidies have gone away since the EU is having serious financial trouble (as is most of the world). Add to that the US subsides for solar that never materialized (the industry kept expecting the US to join the party) and you have significantly less customers and potential customers now than a year ago. It is so bad even the Chinese are beginning to stop production.

Now that we have all of this material available for making panels the panel prices are dropping and installations are on the rise. Prices will continue to drop until supply and demand get balanced.

I will say that without government subsidies solar is not a cost effective means of producing electricity at this time. Especially in developed countries with the infrastructure to deliver centrally produced power. It will have it's time, but it is still a very immature technology. And yes, the processes to make wafers into cells uses some really nasty chemicals in high volumes.

Keep in mind that for the average US home it costs roughly $30,000 USD for a solar installation. How many electric bills will that much money cover. It is more cost effective to make your home more efficient. That installation price will come down for a while and hopefully remain lower after the industry sorts itself out.

I love being in the solar industry and I hope that my company survives the shakeout. Be patient and you will see panel prices drop further as companies try to get some revenue for their stock.
01-19-2012 02:42 PM
Bene505
Quote:
Originally Posted by kd3pc View Post
...Before you buy - look up evergreen solar, winslow green, solyndra and see how those buinesses did...
Wait, I thought Solyndra was a front for a lobbying firm.

You mean they actually sold something?

Regards,
Brad
01-19-2012 02:40 PM
killarney_sailor I don't know what all of the contributors are, but in Brisbane, Oz, where out boat is parked many of the houses have between 15 and 30 solar panels on the roof. It is a very good area for solar with intense radiation, and electricity in the country is pricey since they don't have big hydro installs or nukes. I wonder if there are government rebates when you buy the panels or what? I think a fair comparison would be Queensland and Florida and you rarely see so many solar installations in Florida.
01-19-2012 02:02 PM
h20man
Quote:
Originally Posted by kd3pc View Post
that flies in the face of what has really happened in the past couple of years...sounds more like an ad for a broker to sell PV panel stock.

Before you buy - look up evergreen solar, winslow green, solyndra and see how those buinesses did...NOT.

The only thing that will drive the prices lower is more availability and acceptance by the public. No amount of government meddling will help.

This industry may simply not survive, as the manufacturing process is perceived to be one of the more toxic around, by the greenies, and they ride herd on everything nowadays, turning even a good idea in to a hot political potato....

They are not interested in solutions, just advancing their notion of the way the world should be...that is why you see virtually no PV panel manufacturing in the USA, some assembly perhaps...but leave the dirty work to the rest of the world.
I actually understand it another way. This is not the time to invest in a new panel company, as other companies have market share, and the product is now a commodity. Solar prices have substantially dropped in the last year.

Solyndra had a different design that was to make it easier to install. The product made sense if one factored in the savings on installation. But, by the time they reached production, their cost was MORE expensive per watt, and the installation savings of the solyndra product could not make them cheeper overall.

So, now in the future, we should expect the prices to drop further. This report is claiming that drop shall be as fast as we have seen in the last year. Good news for buyers that can wait...
01-19-2012 08:48 AM
-OvO- I heard an interesting story about small local "solar co-ops" forming. From the story, the ROI didn't sound great to me, but I think that's because they were only allowed to sell power to the local utility at wholesale prices. If they were able to sell power to nearby residents at retail prices, the ROI would be much much better. At current prices, it seems to me that it should be cost-effective for office buildings (especially in those sprawling suburban office parks with all that rooftop space) to install PV panels for their own use. I'm not sure what the hold-up is.
01-19-2012 08:39 AM
kd3pc that flies in the face of what has really happened in the past couple of years...sounds more like an ad for a broker to sell PV panel stock.

Before you buy - look up evergreen solar, winslow green, solyndra and see how those buinesses did...NOT.

The only thing that will drive the prices lower is more availability and acceptance by the public. No amount of government meddling will help.

This industry may simply not survive, as the manufacturing process is perceived to be one of the more toxic around, by the greenies, and they ride herd on everything nowadays, turning even a good idea in to a hot political potato....

They are not interested in solutions, just advancing their notion of the way the world should be...that is why you see virtually no PV panel manufacturing in the USA, some assembly perhaps...but leave the dirty work to the rest of the world.
01-19-2012 07:15 AM
Bene505 Thanks for the good news.

Not sure I buy the argument in the long term, since economies of scale will be lost due to lower demand. So while they say price will drop, it may only increase dramatically as manufacturers drop out.

Regards,
Brad
01-19-2012 12:45 AM
h20man
Solar Prices expected to go lower to $.70/watt

A report by GTM Research claims the price drop we have seen shall only accelerate... ( lower prices for us...)

Interesting. A snippet is posted below:


The global polysilicon industry will undergo a major shakeout over the next two years, as the feedstock's epic 2011 price declines will continue through 2013. With new entrants bringing capacity online and incumbent suppliers fulfilling expansion plans fomented in the PV demand boom of yesterday, global polysilicon capacity is forecasted to double by 2013 over 2010 levels. In today's market of waning PV demand, this over-supply has already begun to open significant gaps in production scale and therefore cost structure between industry leaders and an increasingly marginalized group of new entrants.


they are selling the report, but the summary shows only good news for boaters contemplating a solar system in the future..

others that have the full report have some great quotes:
"A key consequence of continued low polysilicon prices at or below US$30/kg is expected to see module manufacturers saving approximately US$0.20 per watt, which could bring module prices below US$0.70 per watt, according to GTM Research."

 
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