When will solar power systems be cost effective enough to ‘pay for itself’ within a few years?

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Karajan, Armenia

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Question by Mitch Rawlings: When will solar power systems be cost effective enough to ‘pay for itself’ within a few years?
Solar power systems are inherently expensive, and even living in a hot sunny climate, It will take over 20 years for the cost of the system to have paid itself off in terms of reduced power bills…
Technology is always evolving, getting more efficient, cheaper, smaller, more powerful … what are the next steps for home use solar power generation? and when will a system be cheap enough to buy that it will have been ‘paid off within a few years’ (not 20)

I heard that using photosynthesis processes from plants can be combined into an electricity generating paint, more efficient than silicon cells now, whens this coming out? what other technologies are there?

Feel free to answer in the comment section below

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6 Responses to When will solar power systems be cost effective enough to ‘pay for itself’ within a few years?

  1. Something that has been developed quite recently is this…

    Instead of using the regular Gallium Arsnide in solar panels then some German scientists added some nitrogen…. Now the Galluim Arsnide will absorb normal visible light… But adding the nitrogen allows it to absorb infra-red light as well… This means that the solar panels become much more efficient and so they can work at night, however despite this, gallium arsnide nitrate is not easy to make… And so these new solar panels will cost more but save more energy….

    I did read this somewhere and would give you the address…. But I can’t remember where I read…. Sorry…

    April 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm

  2. My system has paid for itself after 6 years. I have a system that sells electricity back to the power company and pulls from the grid when the sun is not out. It’s only taken 6 yrs to pay mine off. Now, initially, It costs a pretty penny, but it’s worth watching the meter roll backwards.

    April 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm

  3. solar heating systems, like all water based energy systems are not very efficient. but the cost is reasonable.
    solar to electrical the price is due to the energy conversion, just recently the 35 – 40% mark was broken. that means that 35 -40% of the solar energy is converted in electricity. but also means that 60 -65% is not converted and is unusable. labs around the world are working on solutions to increase the usable percentage. the big problem is that to get higher percentages more and more man made chemicals are needed. there by increasing the cost. that is not including the money that is needed to regain from the research and development stages. but once a system can be massed produced and if a majority will buy it then the price will drop. supply and demand.

    Charlie A.
    April 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm

  4. We installed a 3 kW system 4 years ago. At the time, it cost about $ 20,000 (US), but after incentives, came down to $ 12,000. It generates about 6500 kWh per year, so if electricity is 10 cents per kWh, that’s 20 years to pay off (ok, 18.5). For someone in the top tier of electrical usage, the payoff could be in 1/4 that time. We self-installed, so labor was not a cost, but the cost included all taxes, shipping, and permits.

    Now to the present. I took a look on the internet, and the equivalent system is now about $ 9000 (vendors such as Sunelec.com). Even if there were no rebates or incentives at all, that would be 14 years to pay off. But wait. There is a federal tax credit in the USA of 30%, making the payback time more like 10 years. Given the more realistic cost of 15 cents per kWh today, that’s 6.5 years to pay back. Or for a top-tier electric user, less than 3 years.

    The financial case is already clear for sunny locations like ours in California. I think what stops people from installing systems is the same thing that stops them from adding insulation to their homes or changing out to energy-efficient lighting and appliances – short-term thinking.

    April 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm

  5. Yes, usually it takes around 20 years to pay itself off, but there are methods of building and installing solar panels on your own which may be up to 5 to 10 times cheaper, which cuts the years down to 2-4. You should also take into account that solar panels slowly degrade so eventually you will probably have to replace them and pay again…

    One of the other ways of getting free energy can also be found through compost and animal manure.

    Fabian G
    April 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm

  6. Ok, if you want to be cost effective, create your own solar panels and windmills, How? easy, visit :
    http://www.GreenProductSolutionpr.com you can reduce your energy bills up-to 80% take advante of this new technology.


    April 12, 2014 at 6:41 pm

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