Solar Panel Prices in Flux After 5/2012

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some seeing eye
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Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Solar Panel Prices in Flux After 5/2012

Postby some seeing eye » Sat May 19, 2012 9:15 am

In the US we have been experiencing a solar photovoltiac miracle with rapidly falling prices. That does not mean that the costs of making them was falling as fast. It's contravenes trade agreements to export products under cost to gain market share. Which is what happened.

Panels from the large panel manufacturers in China will now have a 30% tariff, though some smaller manufacturers will have a much larger tariff. That is likely to mean finished panel prices will rise, stabilize, then maybe resume a steady, but much slower decline.

If you want the most inexpensive price, now might be a good time to find panels at end distributors who have not raised prices.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

BeachBum
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:23 pm

Re: Solar Panel Prices in Flux After 5/2012

Postby BeachBum » Mon May 21, 2012 2:57 pm

some seeing eye:

Check out the Financial Times article on solar tariffs, as well as other sources. The 31% tariff was put on the solar cells themselves, not on the finished modules. They expect the prices of solar panels to go up less than the 31%, since putting the cells into the modules and marketing/shipping/selling the modules are the predominant cost of the solar panels. Also, even with this, the world is awash in solar cells and solar panels, since manufacturers ramped up solar lines and the subsidies for installing solar power went down worldwide. So do the basic supply/demand analysis as to the price point.

Also, the solar that the Chinese sold below cost were the ~30V Pmax panels that go into home systems and 24V (two 12V battery systems). People on the playa generally use ~17V Pmax panels designed for 12V battery systems. The panels for 12V systems didn't get crushed down to ~$1.20/W like the prices for home systems.

You still should be able to go to Amazon and get a 50W 12V solar panel for about $130, 80W 12V panel for about $220, 100W 12V panel for about $300, and a 130W 12V panel for about $350.

An 80W 12V solar panel, cheap solar charge controller, 400W 12Vdc -> 120Vac inverter, and a 12V battery should be enough to run 5 or so strings of 5W LED Christmas lights and a small home sound system for a cost of about $300 plus whatever for the battery. Easy for a small camp to do. Bigger camps can do their own math on this, it's not hard.

User avatar
some seeing eye
Posts: 2040
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: Solar Panel Prices in Flux After 5/2012

Postby some seeing eye » Wed May 23, 2012 11:11 am

I agree! There are many suppliers in China of modules and panels with different voltage ratings. My advice still stands to potential buyers, prices will be in flux as end sellers in the US play the market dynamics. But appreciate your more detailed post, thanks!
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion


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