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PV prices implode November 18, 2009

Posted by Maury Markowitz in solar.

…and speaking of imploding, a recent talkback post here pointed me to an article on PV panel pricing. So I went over to eBay, and holy crap!

Last summer while I was waiting for the new feed-in tariff structure to come into play, which it finally did this September, I was pricing out the cheapest panels at $3.69 a watt for B-grade poly-si junkers. Now you can get UL-rated A-grade mono-si panels for $2.59! That’s not much above production costs. In fact, it’s not much above the cost of a coal-fired plant. Yikes!

If you’re in Ontario you need to seriously consider doing an install ASAP. Expect to pay about $1 a watt for the inverter and another $3.50 (say) for the panel for a total equipment cost of $4.50 a watt. There’s some red tape and a few form-filling exercises, and some wiring, electrical boxes etc. So if you do it yourself, a 1 kWp array is going to run you about $5 for the equipment alone.

Here in the Toronto area we get 1950 hours of “bright direct sunlight” a year, but you don’t get to use all of that, 1600 is closer to the number I’d use. So if you put up a 1 kWp array you’re looking at about 1600 kWh a year.

The new plan will pay you $0.80 a kWh, or about $1300 a year. That’s a three to four year payoff, folks. Do it quick though, a year from now you’re going to have to seriously up the Canadian content, and prices certainly won’t be the same.



1. Tom Andersen - November 19, 2009


You did not mention the actual value of the electricity on the open market which has been about $0.03 kwh for the past year. So this is a $0.77 / kwh subsidy!

A much cheaper system would be to paint some glass black and mount it on your roof. Then simply buy the power at retail rates of $0.12 and sell it for $0.80. But no one will do that now will they? It remains to be seen which system would be better for the environment. My thinking is that the glass would win out.

Maury Markowitz - November 19, 2009

Too true… but then we wouldn’t get all that taxpayer money to build new factories and create all these green jobs. And who wants to loose out on that (well, aside from the Telidons and ALRTs of the world…)

2. Tom Andersen - November 19, 2009

Solar panels will never fall in price the 10x they have to with $0.77 subsidies floating around. Remove the subsidies. There will be some crying, then reduced prices and possibly some real progress.

Maury Markowitz - November 20, 2009

Agreed. This is just a case of industrial welfare. Well, better this than Ford and GM I guess.

When you think about it, Ontario already has a perfectly good solution to the peak power problem: Peaksavers. If we need more baseload, all we need is a wire from James Bay.

This is really much ado about nothing, but that’s politics in a nutshell!

3. Tom Andersen - November 25, 2009

Electricity is now free (actually they pay you to take it away). Well on occasion – for instance today in Ontario, the wholesale spot price went negative for a couple of hours. It went to – 1.5 c/kwh.

As the government twiddles in political ways, expect more of this.


Maury Markowitz - November 26, 2009

Hmmm. And Atco has another 25 GWp they want to develop… no wonder they’re finding it hard to get capital.

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