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Cost Of PV

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:46 am
by bencarl
I get many newsletters from various sources and always read anything to do with alternative technology. For some time I have read that some PV Manufacturers have broken the $1.00 Per Watt Barrier manufacturing PV Panels. Question is... If they can make a solar panel for $1.00 Per Watt, Why Are We Paying Such High Prices? :roll:

Re: Cost Of PV

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:58 am
by MichaelB
Hi bencarl,

Good question.

I think the key here is *manufacturing prices*. The $1 a watt quote is usually USD and while currency exchange has improved recently, there's still some catchup involved. It wasn't that long ago when the Aussie dollar was at ~70c USD.

Then when you add the markups of all the various middlemen and retailers, costs of importing, taxes, tariffs etc. it really adds up.

Re: Cost Of PV

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:29 pm
by murray
There are no doubt too many middle men, but I still think we are being overcharged.
I ordered my system 2 months before the 8,000.00 gov sub ran out and got a 1 kw system for the gov sub plus 760.00

Only a few months before the same company was selling the same system for the Gov sub plus 3,990.00
The last week before the Gov sub ran out they were selling the same system for 0 extra.

There was obviously at least 3990.00 fat in the deals.

One large company here in Brisbane were advertising on TV the same deal = 1 kw plus the amazing price of 12,000.00 extra over the 8 thousand Gov sub which they would finance for you on no interest and no payments until the year 2015 or something like that.

Now they are on TV again with another wonder deal.
I want to upgrade to a 2 kw system but the prices I get for the upgrade vary by thousands from company to company.
Last weekend I went to a "Going Green" expo in Brissie and every man and his dog was selling solar. Must be a pretty lucrative business I reckon.

Re: Cost Of PV

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:52 pm
by MichaelB
Hi Murray,

We're certainly in business to make a profit; but back in the last days of the SHCP rebate, competition was so fierce, the margins were very, very thin - so much so, that some providers when hitting problems ended up going to the wall; particularly when they started really feeling the currency exchange issues.

Some providers also offered entry level systems as what's called a "loss leader".. with the goal of upselling you to a larger system immediately... or when you go to upgrade later on (as you're experiencing now).

Some of those deals happening were a little shady too - we wound up publishing a solar power consumer guide as a result to try to raise awareness. The publishing of the guide wasn't totally altruistic of course, but we were getting phone calls from people who had been burned by some of these deals. This was starting to tarnish the reputation of the industry; so we hoped the guide may make for a more level playing field and help people to avoid some of the pitfalls

The thing with the rebates now too is that they vary depending on where you live, unlike the previous rebate. Australia is divided up into various zones based on how much renewable energy can be generated by a solar panel in a given area - we have more info on that here.

It sounds as though you're happy with your system though, which is great - you certainly got your start in solar at a very good price :).

Re: Cost Of PV

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:15 pm
by franks
Gees ill be happy to purchase PVs at $3 per Watt aussie dollars, if you say in the USA PV cost $1, we in OZ our importers and distrubitures must be ripping us off.
$1 per Watt sounds very cheap, the best price i seen for a 80w monocrystiline PV $450 retail in OZ

Re: Cost Of PV

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:49 pm
by stewartjm
If you do some research there are a number of cheap suppliers. One company recently would ship 200watt panels x 10 minimum delivered to aussie ports for $1.24 US per watt. At the current rate, that is not bad.


Re: Cost Of PV

PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:37 am
by MichaelB
Welcome to the forums stewartjm!

People need to be very, very careful when availing themselves to these sorts of deals. Manufacturers are springing up everywhere offering panels below the pricing of tried and tested brands and the quality can sometimes be quite questionable. Regardless of the length of warranty, if the company is no longer around to honour it, it's worthless. Output claims can also be a little bit suspect if they haven't been verified by a (respected) third party.

People also need to be aware that if they want to claim RECs and rebates, the panel must be listed by the overseeing authorities as approved.

It's not all quite as straightforward as it seems at times, so to anyone considering doing this, caveat emptor.