Summary: Solar panels for a small home needs to get down to a $4,500 to $7,000 price point for it to make economic sense for home owners — a 7 to 10 year break even. It may get to that price point eventually due to demand, decrease in prices of solar panels, improvements in technology (like solar roof shingles), group/community price breaks, and continued tax breaks and rebates.
Details: For 2 to 3kWh systems, current price point is estimated to be about $20,000 for installation. With State rebates and Federal Income Tax credits totaling $5,000 to 6,000 you're looking at $14,000 – $15,000 for the system. You're getting about 300 to 450 kWh a month. If you are currently using 400 kWh a month, that's about $50 a month or $600 a year. This means your break even point is about 25 years. This doesn't include the home value appreciation due to your solar panel investment.
We average 325kWh a month, about $35/month. Other info:
- How Residential Solar Panel Works
- Maintenance includes washing the panels periodically, seems like that's all
- Estimate included 10 year warranty on full system, 25 years on panels themselves
- Estimate from Borrego Solar, for a residence in Oakland, CA – low energy use
- Installations should take about two days
- Home Depot is coordinating installations through BP Solar
- Temescal, Rockridge, and Berkeley residents (45 people) teamed up with Solar City for a group discount
- PG&E apparently increases the cost of electricity/energy 5.5% a year (not sure if that's true)
- PG&E gave Far Niente Winery a nearly $2MM cash rebate for their solar installation
- But, PG&E has also given out cash rebates to California schools like Peralta Elementary