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Solar Panels Cost Coming Down

Over time the general trend will be for the cost of panels to come down whilst the efficiency to increase. This process can be greatly speeded up by encouraging the take up of solar technologies.

In the UK the government has been running the feed in tariff since early 2010 to encourage the use of renewable technologies. In particular solar has faired well with the highest subsidies being paid for retro fitted solar systems. Of all the renewable options this is the most accessible way to generate green electricity for a majority of householders. The tariff does support other technologies such as wind and small scale hydro but they are less likely to be taken up by the typical householder.

The feed in tariff will over time increase the number of installations in the UK. This will in turn cause economies of scale to bring down the cost in turn making solar more cost effective and encouraging even greater take up of this technology.

At the moment solar panels cost too much for the average householder without the benefit of the generous green tariff system.

The UK is not the best place for solar power as its performance relies on sunlight. Being further from the equator the longer Summer days mean that we can produce more power than the equivalent day on the equator. However during the Winter months the days are considerably shorter and we tend to have less direct sunshine.

Anecdotal evidence shows that the performance of solar panels in the UK Winter are only about a quarter as productive as they are in the height of Summer. Remember solar PV depends on light rather than heat so it doesn't have to be a tropical or desert climate to work well just sunny.

If you were to sell the electricity that you produced you would get 3p per kWh, this is compared to if you bought that power to use in your home you would be paying at least 10p per kWh. A relatively modest solar PV installation would cost several thousand pounds which means a very long payback. Incidentally the most efficient usage of your panels would be to replace your need for buying power from your supplier rather than trying to sell it.

In 2011 the cost of solar photovoltaic panels is predicted to fall by about a fifth due to predicted growth of about 40 percent in solar technologies. There are companies such as HyperSolar who are developing solar concentrators that will triple the current efficiency of a solar cell. The idea is that manufacturers of panels can reduce the number of the expensive silicon cells in a panel by two thirds without any loss of performance. This should greatly bring down the cost of solar installations making the payback time for solar PV much quicker.

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