Friday, January 1, 2010

Calculating the Cost of San Diago PV Generated Electricity

Solar costs, San Diago PV (2009)

Costs for 3.85 Kilowatt Solar PV Power System, in San Diego, California, USA. Expected payback in ~= 10 years.
DescriptionQuantityPrice, eachPrice
185 Watt Sharp Solar panels, NTS5E1U21850$ 17,850.-
Sharp Sunvista Inverter, 3.5 Kilowatt1850$ 17,850.-
Solarmount Rail Sets73,500$ 3,500.-
Sharp Sunvista Inverter, 3.5 Kilowatt7157$ 1,099.-
Top Mount Clips120$ 140.-
Terminal Block 175 Amp, 3 pole136$ 36.-
J Box, 10X8X4146$ 46.-
2 pole safety Disconnect, 30 Amp266$ 66.-
30A RK5 fuse15$ 10.-
Safety disconnect, 30 Amp, 600 V2165$ 165.-
Delta Lightning Arrestor, 440-650 V440$ 80.-
Sharp PV Output cable, 50 ft.2128$ 112.-
Total of Goods:$ $ 23,104.-
Tax:$ 1,675.-
Shipping:$ 151.-
Materials Total:$ 24,930.-
Labor:$ 5,700.-
Total Before Rebate:$ 30,630.-
Minus, California State Solar Rebate:$ 12,119.-
Total $ Paid at installation$ 18,511.-
Minus, California $3,000 Tax Deduction$ 3,000.-
Final Cost, after Rebate & Deductions$ 15,511.-

Data on Solar PV performance comes from, Potential for Renewable Energy in the San Diego Region, Chapter 2, Solar Photovoltaic Electricity. The San Diago solar PV capacity factor was calculated by dividing average MWhs output by average capacity in 2005 and dividing the result by 24. Average output equaled 2 hours per day at full capacity, and thus the capacity factor was .083. The average capacity factor of an American Reactor is .92. Thus American reactors produce the equivalent of 7700 hours of electricity a year at full capacity. In contrast San Diago PVs produced an average of 730 hours of electricity a year measured by full capacity or 9.4 percent of the nuclear output. The PV cost data does not include the cost of interest. Let us assume that interest will double the system cost. Assuming that in 2005 nuclear power would cost $4.00 per W of capacity, and that with interest the PV system costs $15.90 per watt. Calculating the investment costs for each PV capacity factor watt, we arrive at the astonishing cost of $169 per watt of actual output for SolarPV.

Typically Solar PV schemes claim that after 10 years solar PV will return 100% of investment costs. these calculations never include the cost federal and state government subsidies, or of interest on the subsidies. Thus a realistic cost estimate for the purchase price of the 3,850 Watt generating system would be $61260. At 730 hours of full capacity output per year, the 10 year output would about 30000 kWhs of electricity. In order to break even over the 10 year period of time, electricity would have to sell for about $0.50 per kWh, or about 4 times as much as the current outrageous cost of California electricity.


Frank Kandrnal said...

In order to break even over the 120 year period of time, electricity would have to sell for about $0.50 per watt, or about 4 times as much as the current outrageous cost of California electricity.

I think you wanted to say $0.50 per kWh

Another good example how solar PV beats (sarcastic) nuclear generated electricity.
It shows that PV proponents are mathematically illiterate or ignore the numbers stacked against their solar PV utopia.
It also clearly shows how someone else must pay the subsidies for modern day idiocy.

crf said...

The total cost of thee sunvista inverter is a typo.

The North Coast said...

$.50 per KwH means that half the population of CA will be unable to afford electricity, and most of the other half will suffer a steep loss of amenity.

It means a catastrophic contraction in manufacturing and business activity, as well- a permanent deep depression, or, really, a return to 19th century lifestyles for most people.

Here in the Chicago, IL area, I pay about $.10 a KwH. When I manage to keep my use under 150KwH a month, which is most of the time, my bill, including connection charges and taxes, is about $22. $.50 a KwH would mean a $110 bill for very frugal use for one person with no family.

DW said...

Should be about $2,249.00 as seen here:

Rod Adams said...

Here is the part that really frosts me - who the heck is paying the $15,119 kicked in by the state government? Many of the taxpayers who will be forced to contribute to someone who owns a roof on which to mount a $30,630 system - one that will NEVER produce reliable electricity - could never afford to participate in the endeavor.

I hereby "unfriend" all renewable energy advocates, especially those who think that they deserve taxpayer support!

DW said...

This is has always been the case for Grid Integrated PV. When I learned about this as the 'alternative' in 2000 during our huge energy crisis here (which was a crisis of 'costs' not access) I started moving away from my decades long anti-nuclear position.

GIPV is fine for the middle and upper middle classes (what's left of them) but not for regular folks. Essentially, as Rod implies, it's working class people and renters that are subsidizing the urban sprawled large homes built up on speculative bubbles of sub-prime mortgages that pay for this. I'm totally against subsidized GIPV.

Actual PV cell prices have dropped a lot. I think the bottom line price Charles quotes is way too high. I think it's about half that. It was $30000 total price back in 2000 for an unsubsidized install of a 2.5 KW system. Even so it IS subsidized. By me.

Charles Barton said...

David, I simply reported 2009 data from a pro-PV source. According so Solar Buzz the average price of American solar PV dropped a little over 11% since January 2009.


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