Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Solar Energy: What Does it Cost?

How much does solar energy cost? Our friends over at the Clear Mountain Solar Store are glad to help with the answer:

Although we cannot emphasize enough that it all depends on many factors: your lifestyle, your individual needs, your site (how much sun you receive, roof space, shading), whether you will be on-grid, off grid, on-grid w/battery backup, using a pole mounted tracking system, etc. However, there are some broad guidelines that we detail below to give you some idea of the gross “installed” cost.

Remember, your net cost will likely be 50-80% lower after deducting federal, state, and local incentives. For solar hot water we have only detailed equipment cost because installation expense can vary significantly, especially if the system is a retrofit on an existing home. And don’t forget, solar energy systems installed in Vermont are EXEMPT FROM RETAIL SALES TAX! As of October 2008, 77 cities and towns in
New Hampshire have adopted a property tax exemption for one or more
renewable energy sources.

Photovoltaic (Solar Electric)
$8-10/watt typical installed
cost - residential
$6-8/watt typical installed cost - commercial

Grid-tie with battery

$12-13/watt typical installed cost

$15/watt typical
installed cost

Solar Thermal (Domestic Hot Water & Space
Solar Hot Water for a family of 2 - $2,848
Solar Hot Water for a family of 4 - $4,649
Space Heating for 1,000 sq. ft. - $12,500
Space Heating for 2,000 sq. ft. - $16,500
Pool Heating - $1,200-$3,500

*Approximate costs not including installation, but before federal tax credits and state incentives. Installation expense typically adds $4,000-6,000 to the figures above.

Energy-conscious families can reduce their emissions by up to two-thirds by using renewable energy systems. (And if you are building a new home, you have a great opportunity to incorporate energy efficient systems and materials to reduce your carbon footprint.)