Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How Much Money Do You Save Installing Your Own PV System?

When we did our PV system two years ago, I did not really have a good way to evaluate how much money I saved by doing the install myself, let alone how this might vary over the country.  I knew how much it cost me, but, I did not really have a good number on how much an equivalent professionally installed system would cost.

Our 2.1 KW micro-inverter DIY PV array.
The Nov/Dec issue of Solar Today answered that question by providing a state by state installed cost per watt survey.  The current US wide average turns out to be $6.80 per peak watt.  

So, armed with this new data on what professional installs typically cost, I decided to update what our PV array would cost at today's prices and compare that to the $6.80 average professional install.  The results surprised me a bit.

Using the latest prices, a setup similar to what we put in two years ago would be about $3.30 per watt.  So, the savings for for DIY install is a bit over 50%.  For the 2300 watt system I looked at, this is a bit over $8000.  Not exactly chicken feed.

Being a fan of solar thermal I'll just mention that that the cost per peak watt for our $1K Solar Water Heating system is less than 50 cents a peak watt  -- Holy Cow! :)

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