How To Calculate the Cost to Setup a Solar Panel Power System
With the cost of oil going through the roof and people wanting to use more renewable energy in general, a lot of people are turning to solar panels to generate at least part of their homes energy needs.
I'm a little more ambitious and wanted to completely remove my reliance on the local power company and figure out exactly how many panels I'd need and what the total cost would be to power my house on 100% solar power.
Find Out Your Monthly Power Usage
To do this you are going to need your monthly power bill and find out what your total kWh usage was for the month.
Calculate Your Daily Power Usage
Take this number and divide it by 30/31 depending on how many days there were in the month of the bill. This will get us your daily power usage (Daily kWh). My bill for my house is roughly 600 kWh which translates to 20 kWh's a day.
Find Out How Many Hours of Sunlight are Available
Next, you need to find out what kind of daily sunlight hours you get in your area. I've included a global map that will give you a rough idea how many hours of sun you will get in your area. Click Here to see the full size version.
Calculate Your Total Solar Panel Watt Requirements
Once you know how many sunlight hours you get a day, take
your daily kWh energy usage, and divide it by the hours of sunlight you get
where you live. I live in
Next multiply this number by 1.15 which brings my total to 6.56kw or 6566 watts.
Calculate the Total Cost of Your System
Our final step is to estimate the total cost of the system we are going to implement. The average cost of solar power when installing it yourself is $7 per watt; it is roughly $9 a watt when installed by somebody else. Since I'm a do it yourself kind of guy, I will be basing the cost of my system on it being installed by yours truly. The total cost for me to install a 6566 watt system is roughly $45965 or $59094 if I pay somebody to install it. If you want your system to be battery based you can add another 20 to 30% onto this total.
Find Out How to get Tax Rebates
You are probably wondering who in their right mind would fork over that kind of cash to avoid paying the power company. Well, since fuel prices have gone through the roof in the last few years, the government has been very generous with their tax incentives for people willing to help reduce their carbon footprint. So while these systems may seem expensive from the outside, they may be dramatically cheaper between the tax rebates you will receive combined with the money saved by not having to pay the rising costs of traditional power.
For Americans, you can checkout http://www.dsireusa.org
For Canadians, take a look at http://www.canren.gc.ca/