Westinghouse Solar has released a new white paper claiming integrated home PV panels offer a cheaper option for consumers thanks to lower installation costs.
The January 11 report, titled “The Revolution in Solar Power Mounting Systems,” compared multiple types of residential PV systems that had integrated racking, wiring and grounding.
The report noted that as polysilicon prices have declined, the balance of system costs – installation, system components, etc. – have become a larger proportion of the overall cost of residential PV.
Balance of system costs are expected to reach 57 percent of total system costs by 2013, up from 40 percent in 2001. It is this shift in costs that led Westinghouse to develop it’s “all-in-one” rooftop solar kit, released last September.
“The total installed cost of a rooftop system is the most important economic factor for customers. Reducing system complexity and installation time is the best way to reduce those costs,” said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar.
The white paper argues that by reducing labor costs related to installation, integrated mounting systems not only have a lower installation time but can also be less expensive than traditional PV panels.
The study also noted that the various components can be very expensive, and that consumers may actually skip any savings from low cost panels by paying more for installation.
However, this report has to be taken with a grain of salt – after all, Westinghouse only looked at two integrated solar panel systems. Nevertheless, the white paper brings the issue of lowering balance of system costs to the forefront. It remains to be seen whether these types of all-in-one systems will gain popularity.
Read the full white paper here.