Comment of the Day: Solar Energy Marketing Secrets — Revealed

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SOLAR ENERGY MARKETING SECRETS — REVEALED “As soon as these things can be leased at a price that’s less than the cost of electricity they produce, it’ll be a home run. No one seems to offer long term leases that would last the lifetime of the hardware. I’m not sure how many years of amortization it would take so that the payment was smaller than the savings, or even if they last long enough to ever pay themselves off, but if such a model could be devised it would be great. Then you’d have tons of buyers, which would drive costs down, getting more buyers, etc.” [Cody, commenting on Pods Appear on Downtown Building, Grab Solar Panels with Wrench and Garden Hose]

11 Comment

  • Last I’ve seen, that’s the biggest limiting problem with solar panels… They don’t last enough to recoup their cost. Depending on brand and type they can last 7-10 years after which they drastically drop in efficiency. Given our relatively cheap electricity in Texas (while natural gas prices are low) it would take 10+ years to recover the costs of installation and maintenance of solar panels.

  • Cody, give it a few months and you’ll start seeing more residential lease solar stuff.

  • Commonsense, do you have any first-hand experience with solar panels? Where did yo get that lifespan of 7 to 10 years from? Mine have a 25 year warranty. I’ve also read that one of those Jimmy Carter White House solar panels was recently tested, and even those old 1970’s technology silicon cells were putting out the same power they were rated for when they were new.

  • Sorry, I meant “White House era”. The link does not refer to a panel from the White House itself.

  • I have a few ‘all bills paid’ apartment buildings where I’d **LOVE** to toss these suckers on the roof.
    So if your guess at a timeline is accurate, I’ll be a happy guy…

  • I looked back in 2007 at putting solar panels on a 10k sq. ft. house for a client. I researched all available info at the time from vendors and reviews. At the time considering cost of installation and price of energy it would take 10 years to start seeing energy savings. The vendors of course would not volunteer this information but all engineering reviews of available panels on the market showed a significant drop in power outputs starting after 7 years.

    I know the technology is improving every day but it’s not quite here yet.

  • I saw this awhile back and thought it an interesting business model to provide solar:

  • I think the break even point is closer to 7-8 years and your average solar panel is expected to last at least ~ 15 years. If the price of natural gas goes up (causing electricity rates to go up), the break even point will shorten. Of course, without govermnent subsidies it wouldn’t make economic sense at all in the first place…
    With the current “on hold” status of nuclear projects in the United States, a lot of companies/groups are investing in Solar. I suspect we will start seeing panels much more frequently.

  • The reason solar panels are not cost competitive is because fossil fuels and nuclear get to externalize a significant portion of their costs. Who pays for the massive military presence in the Middle East to secure the oil supply? Who pays for the environmental damage caused by fossil fuels? And there isn’t a single nuclear plant in the US that doesn’t owe its existence to government subsidies? As long as markets inefficiently reflect the true cost of energy, solar will not have a chance in the “free market”.

  • Most name-brand solar panels have warranties similar to mine: 90% power after 10 years, 80% power after 25 years. That’s the minimum power to expect.
    Installers I took bids from made an effort to project when the payback time would be, and yes you have to be patient. Ten to 12 years is typical. If you don’t think you’ll stay put for that long, I know of at least one solar installer in Houston that will lease you a system. If you are on the fence about going solar, I would encourage you to do your own research. Google is your friend.

  • Whoa.
    Sure, solar cells/panels don’t create huge power.
    But LED lamps, such as recessed-can inserts, which are ready to go and use a tenth the KW of incandescents, make solar technology both useful and attractive.
    Don’t throw the hip, new baby out with the old-mentality bathwater.