The price for solar panels is continually dropping, as many people are making the switch to alterative power

the big question still stands: Can we afford to make the switch or does green technology still have some ways to go before its profitable to the consumer?
In 2008, I lived in Jacksonville, Florida in a house on water front with a pool and a dock. Including the non-air-conditioned garage the house takes up 2525 sq. ft. Therefore the roof is large enough to host panels and there is room in the yard behind that house. Florida is known as the sunshine state, with 5.49 hours of sunlight on average a day solar power would be a smart switch to make to help save money during the hot months when AC is running constantly.i In 2008, the price for residential power was at 11.65 cents per kWh.ii

This graph shows the Kw usage per month in the year 2008 and the approximate calculated price per month:

Month

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan

Kwh usage 2433 2015 2019 2350 2183 3143 3576 3464 3437 2688 1800 1876 1830 Price* 283.44 234.74 235.21 273.77 254.31 366.15 416.60 403.55 400.41 313.15 209.70 218.55 213.19

For a large home, the estimated number of solar panels needed to go fully off grid would be 24 265watt panels. This falls under an estimated price of about:

$17,819
This price does not include the racks that would be needed to hang the panels: $77.00 x 24 for each panel +the price of the panels

$19,667
Plus the Generator Start Module at $263.20:

$19,930.20
Plus the battery end up being a total of:

$33,506.20iii

This would produce around 848 KWh as a monthly output. Therefor since this doesn’t fully pull us off the grid, I would then have to buy 59 more 265-watt panels which is an extra

$19,411 Making the grand total for the entire system to go off grid

$52,917.20
However to reduce the price of the panels, alterative measures can be made like switching to lower wattage light bulbs and appliances that run off of less electricity. The overall price to convert my home in Jacksonville would take 14.66 years for the price that you buy the panels for to break even with the electric bill. By then the neighborhood would be in crumbles and probably rebuilt. There are ways of making the switch more adorable by switching your appliances over to more ecofriendly and lesser impact, unfortunately in this case the switch was not made and for now it would be better to wait for the technology to advance before fully coming off grid.

i

http://www.wholesalesolar.com/Information-SolarFolder/SunHoursUSMap.html http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/state/ iii http://www.wholesalesolar.com/solarpowersystems/large-home-1-off-grid-solar-power-system.html
ii