Why Are Solar Panels So Expensive? Factors That Affect Cost

Perhaps the number one thing stopping so many people from converting to solar power is the expense. While it is still rather expensive, prices continue to drop, and will hopefully continue to do so. Homeowners who are able and willing to make the initial investment enjoy reduced electrical bills... particularly after the initial costs have been recouped! Many of us would love to be able to use this more environmentally-friendly and sustainable energy source - but why are solar panels so expensive?

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In order to determine how much solar panels will cost for your home, there are several things you have to look at. The first thing you have to look at is how much power your house consumes on average. Every home is going to consume a different amount of power. This affects the number of panels you will need for solar home heating (and solar water heating too, if you decide you want your entire home powered by solar energy).

The next thing to take into consideration is the location of your home. So many factors affect the efficiency of solar panels. These factors include the number of sunny days, rainfall, temperatures, how many hours of sun per day, how much shade you have in the area where your panels are to be installed, and even how windy it is (wind kicks up dirt and debris, which can dramatically decrease the panel's efficiency).

To determine how much power your home consumes on average, you have to take into account things like the refrigerator, lights, computer, TV, stereo equipment, motors in fans and washers, hot water heating, and the household's basic heating needs.

The expense comes into play because solar panels aren't 100% efficient - in fact, they're significantly less! (at the time of writing, the highest efficiency achieved is 42.8%, but the average efficiency is much less) This means you need more solar panels to power your home than you would if the efficiency were greater... plus, the more power you need, the more panels you need, which translates into higher costs.

If your solar panels are going to be located in an area where efficiency is further compromised by shade, wind, and other factors, then even more panels may be required to provide the energy you need. The cost can easily continue to add up. To make it a little more inexpensive, "handy" people might decide to build your own solar panel.

"Going solar" might seem unrealistic to many homeowners at this time because solar panels are so expensive. However, some people have managed to make lifestyle changes such as cutting down on their energy consumption, in line with the whole objective of being eco-friendly. More energy-efficient appliances, better diligence in unplugging unused appliances and turning off lights, are just some of the ways energy consumption can be reduced. Once the initial investment of the solar panels is recouped through energy savings, you can continue to draw energy from the system for free.