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What's the real PV system annualized costs?

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Posted by Nikita on August 1, 2003, 9:04 pm
I'm looking into home PV systems, and don't see any real world system
annualized cost analysis.  All I keep reading is the hype: "PV systems
should last 20 to 40 years with little, if any, maintenance."  Does
anyone know of any studies or web links that cut to the chase, and
reveal the real costs?

As I see it in my case, for arguments sake, a 3kVdc to 6kVdc system
for my home will: initially cost after incentives $500 to $500 cash
up front.  It will take 5 to 8 years to pay for itself, then save $00
to $K per year in electric purchases thereafter.  These benefits are
only realized if my system never experiences any failures needing $

Now if every other year I loose a PV module to say: hail, oxidizing
interconnects, bird impact- you get the idea, then at $00+ a pop I'd
never see a break even point.

So what's the real story- Should I really expect to save money? Or is
PV just a feel-good technology?

Posted by Steve Spence on August 2, 2003, 11:41 am
I wouldn't say there are NO incentives, just few that one can take advantage


Steve Spence




Posted by JNJ on August 2, 2003, 3:43 pm

Ok, let me reword that -- there are effectively none.  The only real program
in Ohio is one that can knock off as much half of your interest on a loan
(well, for 5 years at least) for an RE solution.  So all I have to do is
find a bank willing to lend me $5,000 or so for a PV system and the state
will help me out with a rate buy-down of not more than 5 years.  Gee, why

Of course, if I had friends at the governor's office I might have heard
about the state grant program that started 5/16 and closed 6/27.  Of course,
to qualify for this program I'd have to spend $5,000 as well -- it's a
"matching grant" with a boundary of $5,000-$5,000.  It ran for a big ole
41 days and was pointless for residential users although they were
included -- the target was really commercial users.

So nah -- Ohio ain't on the bandwagon yet.


Posted by Dlehmicke on August 2, 2003, 4:21 pm
My employer has installed about 6000 flat-plate modules on about 150 homes and
businesses over the last 3 years in California.   We have replaced two modules
in that time, one as a result of a dead bypass diode, and one as a result of a
customer disliking a blemish we failed to catch at installation.   We don't
have hail, but we do have birds -  and contacts don't oxidize when manufactured
by companies performing environmental chamber testing on their 20-year
warranted product, also tested to withstand 1" hail at I forget what speed.

So, let's don't say you lose a module every other year.  Or if we do say that,
let's also say your child marries an heir of Sam Walton.  Both events are
equally likely.

Posted by R. H. Allen on August 2, 2003, 6:18 pm
 On 02 Aug 2003 16:21:03 GMT, dlehmicke@aol.com (Dlehmicke) wrote:

That can depend a little bit on where you mount the panels -- I know a
system in an urban area consisting of about 3000 panels that has lost
roughly two panels a year to stray bullets. It's lost a few to vandals
as well. But I'm not aware of any panels that have been lost to
hailstones (and it has seen many), bird strikes, or manufacturing

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