The price of solar power is continuing its downward trend, while the efficiency of solar panels continues to improve. That means that electrical contractors can now get their hands on ultra-efficient ‘mono crystalline’ solar panels that cost just 45¢/W; that’s a 37.5% drop when compared to previous prices, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Unfortunately, mono solar panels are still slightly more expensive than their less efficient poly crystalline counterparts. It’s estimated in some markets that they’re 6% more expensive, although the trade-off is that mono crystalline is 10% more efficient. That means that the price of the electricity produced can often be cheaper.
Renewable energy is already on course to become the cheapest form of energy in 2018, according to engineering consultancy Arup. That includes energy created from both wind and solar farms. The historically low prices should continue to fall, however. In fact, in the US the Department of Energy is aiming for a price of $0.05 per kWh.
There are many factors contributing to the reduction in the price of solar energy. China is a key proponent of solar energy, and its ‘Top Runner Program’ has led to manufacturers investing heavily in mono crystalline solar panels thanks to financial incentives. The programme has also been penalising poly crystalline manufacturers.
As more companies invest in mono crystalline solar panels, it should drive prices down even further. It requires the industry to change tact, however. Poly crystalline is still popular in the industry, with it said to have represented 70% of solar panel production, and many of the solar panels specified in projects still use the technology. With prices being driven down even further, it’s expected that mono crystalline could reach the 50/50 mark in 2018.