Are solar panels a reliable source of energy, cost efficient?

i'm looking to install solar for helpwith my utilities. an 6.6kw system for 4400.00 which they say will do aprox 67% of my bill or a 9kw that will do aprox 78% for 5500.00. i live in ca. that includes the rebates. can they be bargaind with? it seams a little high. thanks n lj

Answer:
$4400 seems very low, unless subsidies involved. If it is a good system, and the calculations are accurate, it sounds great deal as long as you save more than about $60-70 a month. Your payout for the system will break even in less than 10 years, and you will help the environment.
Reliable as long as the sun shines. ~
I checked for prices recently and found a place that was advertising cells for just over $3.00 per Watt.
That would mean about 2.5KW for a little over $7,500. (without installation).
Depending on the wind factor, you may also want to check wind turbines (they work during the night too).
Or do you have flowing water close by?
When installing solar cells do not forget battery & inverter (device to convert the DC stored in batteries to usable AC) costs. I installed a solar system to run my water well & found the batteries to be the weak link. I am not sure how much of a tax break CA gives you, but here in TX they don't give us a break.
I shudder to think of the cost of providing enough solar power to run the entire house... especially when the temperature climbs above 100 degrees in the summer.
Also depends on your location. I know technology has come a long ways but a few yrs back they were all the rage here and then they were all gone a few yrs later as they were not effective/efficient due to being on the 45th parallel
I think you have lost a decimal place on the price. 44-55,000 would be more realistic. They are as reliable as the sunlight in your location. They will never be economic.
That is certainly a better deal than paying the full cost of such a system. At least better for you, not the tax payers.

6.6kw costs me about 50 cents per hour. So is it worth $4,400 for you to save 50 cents or less per hour on your electric bill? It might be, but you have to decide for yourself. Remember that it will produce 6.6kw only at noon on sunny days, a little less in the morning and afternoon, much less at sunrise or sunset or on cloudy days, and nothing at night.
Some very efficient designs for solar panels have been developed in the past 30 years, and the commercial rights to every one of the patents have been purchased by major oil companies. They will never be produced and marketed.
I guess I don't understand?

A normal home in the USA would only use about 20 kWh per day and the high end would be 60 kWh a day. Most areas in the USA gets 5 hours of Peak sun. So a 9 kWh system would put out 45 kWh per day easy. Dude you need to do some work on your home and change the light bulbs out and learn to turn things off when not in use.

I used 525 kWh last month and we have 4 TV sets and three computers, two window A/C units and a large central unit. We cook with electric and have a large double door fridge with an ice maker and an upright freezer. I normally run a heater in my dog house when it is cold outside. Oh yeah, there are 1850 watt hair dryers used every day here. My largest electric bill in the last year was 56 dollars. About 625 kWh for the largest month.

You will save more money by getting your usage in order. Plus once you do that the solar electric system you will require will be a lot smaller.

Now the real strange part..

You are going to pay $4,400 US Dollars for a 6.6 KW system? And you are thinking you are getting took for your money?

Please buy that system I will give you $4,500 for it and pay the freight from your home to the person I sell it to. I should make about 40,000 USD in profit.

You have to have your numbers wrong. I can not make myself believe that you can get that good of prices.

If I were to install that system here and it would pay for it's self in a couple of years easy at that price while over produceing by about twice what I need.

To run 100% of my electric requierments in my area I would need a 3.7 kWh system. I have about 1 kWh installed as a battery backup system and I use it as much as I can.
You cantry bargain with them, but i'm not sure you can.
No they are useless, a pipe dream, that does not work, much like the rest of Al Gores ideals

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