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Solar panels fall in price

Posted by Chris Rudge on 11 November 2009 at 10:30 am

There is both good news and bad news in the solar PV (photovoltaic) installation world. Over the last few months, the cost of solar electricity modules has fallen by anything up to 10%. This is due to an early year slump in demand throughout Europe in caused by the credit crisis.

There had also been over production of modules globally, which led to the wholesale market starting to get competitive. This in turn allowed most PV installers in the UK to reduce their costs  by at least 5%. Any quotation you may have had from an installer earlier this year should be reduced in cost now due to this global price drop.

There is bad news too. There is a mini famine of PV system components which will last until the end of the year (2009). German politicians have announced a significant reduction in the rate of their feed-in tariff from the start of 2010, and that has led to a boom as businesses and homeowners jostle to have systems installed before the cut off point.

Components are being diverted to Germany to support them, leaving other European countries dry of parts and support. If you want to order a system this year, be aware of delays until January. Some installers I have spoken to have had to stop installing until January. Even UK-based manufacturers Sharp, which is run by German management, is sending the vast majority of its output to Germany until the end of the year.

The up side of all this is the promise of further falls in price and resumption of supply in January, which should be in time for us to catch the last of the Low Carbon Grant money before April's feed-in tariff. Fingers crossed!

About the Author: Chris Rudge is a qualified electrician who specialises in renewable energy. 

About the author: Chris Rudge is a qualified electrician who specialises in renewable energy.

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