In India a quarter of people live without electricity and due to the decreasing prices of solar generated power, communities are turning to this form of electricity generation as it’s working out cheaper than diesel generators.
The efficiency of solar panels is still low, but with the rapidly decreasing manufacturing costs – this might not matter so much. In sunny areas such as Spain, India, Latin America and Africa the cost of generating solar power is actually cheaper than diesel.
However, the problem lies in the initial cost of a solar installation. To generate a decent amount of electricity you will need a fair few panels, the cost of which will be more than a diesel generator. However, analysts do predict that the prices will continue to drop over the coming years, making it much more affordable.
Now let’s bring things home, to the UK. Are solar installations affordable right now?
The current price for a solar installation is around £2000 – £3000 per kW, with an average family needing around 2-3 kW to cover their usage. An average entire installation will cost around £10,000.
You can see a return through Feed in Tariffs, but after August 1st 2012 the price you can earn per kWh is falling from 21p to 16p. Quite a drop. However, as solar systems require next to no maintenance at all, all you really need to worry about is the initial outlay.
The initial outlay is a lot though, so it’s worth looking at websites such as the Energy Saving Trust for the latest information.
We’ll revisit this subject in the future and keep you updated on the pricing.