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December 26, 2007



Apologies- I see that I did not edit my last post properly.
Of course I meant $171 million for 80 MW, working out to around $0.40kwh if amortised over 5 years at an average of 20% of peak watt power.


California has a Solar Rights Act which is supposed to make it illegal for a local government or HOA to prevent you from putting up solar panels based on aesthetics.


I would think a tenyear amortization would make more sense. Most panels are warranted for 25years. If I asume 10% interest and infinite lifetime 10 year amortization would be correct. Drop the interest rate to say 7%, but noninfinite lifetime and ten year is probably not far off. I suspect that Germany gets less than your .20 capacity factor, but a favorable location such as SW US or Spain or Italy and it is probably higher than .2. Still probably $.15 to $.20 a watt in these favorable locations.

Ronald Brak

The costs of installing solar panels on current houses are quite high. However, larger installations on commercial and industrial buildings with lots of flat roof space should be significantly cheaper. A large business here can often borrow money at around 8%. This means that if a solar power system needs replacing every 25 years, then in the sunniest two-thirds of Australia it will be profitable if installed costs are $2 a watt or less. And in some populated parts of Australia, a company could make money installing solar power if the installed cost was $2.70 a watt or less.

As government subsidies are available for solar power here, I expect point of use photovoltaics to become quite popular, both on existing buildings with convenient large roof area, and newly built private homes, as installation costs on these structures should not be too high.


Amortization of 25year panels.

If we assume we get power for exactly 25years, then the present value of a new system is equal to the power produced in Y years. For various interest rates:
10% 9.18years
9% 9.94years
8% 10.81years
7% 11.80years
6% 12.95years
If a savvy investor, such as Warren Buffet saw that he could build systems whose present value exceeds the cost, he would do it. If one is interested in funding a system for purely financial reasons a "payback" time of 10-13 years would seem to be the criteria of merit.

Carl Hage

I made a mistake in my calculations reported above-- I assumed 3.5KWh/m2/day solar radiation, but the acual measurements in N. California are about 4.9 for flat, or 5.5 for latitude tilt, or 180/200 KwH/year/m2. (Surprising the angle doesn't matter much.) As DaveMart and bigTom note, without incentives, a 10 year payback comes out very roughly $200/m2 or ~$2/W. The NanoSolar panels (alone) are about $100/m2 - a 10% panel is ~100peak-W/m2.

Suppose the PV films were printed on seamed metal roofing panels. They cost around $75/m2 including installation. The roof panels snap together-- imagine snap-together electrical connections are built into the seam as well. Check out this story/video of installing PV on metal roof panels. Credit $25/m2 for PV panels, and installed PV could be $100+75-25=$150/m2. For a new house/roof, credit $40 for an asphalt roof otherwise installed, and you get $110/m2.

Inverter costs need to come down as well-- grid-tie inverters are expensive-- as much as Nanosolar's panels ($1/W), but inverters built into mass produced battery backups are <$.10/W with the (small) battery.

Assuming future mass production/availability and the avoided cost of traditional roofs, a PV roof could create electricity at $.05/kWh (~$100/m2).

From Clee's comment, I looked up the CA Solar Incentives and realized they changed in 2007 and are changing again to a performance-based incentive derived from the energy produced, rather than installation cost. Seems like a good idea. It's getting complicated with the Renewable Energy Credits as well as kWh credits.


When will this appear on the PEV car roof?


This was actually a good read, thanks for writing it. :)

Yachtcharter Griechenland

Good post, but have you thought about Nanosolar Ships First Panels before?

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I'm still puzzled by your using YOUR figures rather than the figures that are publicly available about the Waldpolenz array, including its cost.

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I was just thinking about Nanosolar Ships First Panels and you've really helped out. Thanks!

Yacht Charter Greece

I was just thinking about Nanosolar Ships First Panels and you've really helped out. Thanks!

Yachtcharter Griechenland

I was just thinking about Nanosolar Ships First Panels and you've really helped out. Thanks!

Yacht Charter Greece

Wow, I never knew that Nanosolar Ships First Panels. That's pretty interesting...

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I was just thinking about Nanosolar Ships First Panels and you've really helped out. Thanks!


That's great, I never thought about Nanosolar Ships First Panels like that before.

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I appreciate you taking the time to make this post, incredibly fascinating!

It really is a refreshing change to see somebody else serious about renewable energy! I am surely a fan of renewable energy and love the feeling of knowing I am helping the environment, even if I am just one person! Let's hope a lot more people come around, soon! I use solar panels on the roof and since we reside in Arizona it’s worked out quite well for us and keeps our electric bill down as a great deal as possible -- can’t beat that!

Lana Madison

Great Post! This only shows, that slowly but gradually and surely,with the help of the latest technology and the diligent research, Solar Power will be one day, our source of electricity. This will definitely lead to a better world.

solar collectors

Solar thermal energy can be collected on a large scale and used to heat a transfer fluid. This fluid can then power a steam turbine that generates electricity. The more complex collectors are generally used in solar power plants where solar heat is used to generate electricity by heating water to produce steam which drives a turbine connected to an electrical generator. The simpler collectors are typically used for supplemental space heating in residential and commercial buildings. A collector is a device for converting the energy in solar radiation into a more usable or storable form


Solar energy is truly the energy of the future, but there is a gap between the advances already made and the products in the market.

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I want one, it'd look great on my house. Lol

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That's amazing that they shipped their first product! Good times!

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Are they still making these? If they're still as popular they must be selling a bunch!

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Sold out for 12 months? Incredible, this must be a good product.

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Are a lot of people using these panels now?

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Are these used a lot now?

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when will these be available to everybody?

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I would love solar panels, still expensive though, right?

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Lol, I was hoping this would be about Nanosolar ships- like the link name says!

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Am I able to buy one of these for personal use?

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Great that it's thin and cheap- in solar panel terms anyway.

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