Buying cheap PV solar panels

The European Union is deciding on legislation that could influence prices.

This potentially could put an end to cheap PV solar panels. Cheaper panels from China have seen cost reductions for homeowners. You may have noticed a solar installation bonanza around the United Kingdom.

This has occurred for two main reasons:

The first reason is PV export rates are better than keeping money in the bank. Incentives via feed-in tariffs bring a whole new dimension to photovoltaic panels. The changes in government support for having a PV solar installation are a real force for early adopters.

Secondly, is the lower cost of the actual panels. Most modern solar panels are manufactured in China at below-market costs. For those people who’ve already installed, the cost of their installation is thanks to China.

Currently, the Chinese pursuing resource acquisition of most of the world’s rare earth metal mines.

Rare-earth metals are essential for the manufacture of today’s PV solar panel technologies including battery storage devices and EV-charging capabilities.

This situation allows the Chinese to dominate and sell below cost to acquire western manufacturing plants.

Both US and European manufacturers have cried foul.

The US has imposed import tariffs on all Chinese solar panels. This leveling of the playing field has protected US firms and the same is being introduced in Europe!

‘Dumping’ as it is known, has given pioneer solar adopters an advantage.

There will be winners and losers was the pricing of such systems fluctuates over the coming years. My advice to anyone considering having a PV installation would be to do it sooner rather than later.

The winners will be those who took advantage of cheap solar panels in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Those that today benefit from thirty to forty years of cheap self-generated power.

With manufacturers and installers having opposing views, it’s best to analyse the issue from an outside perspective.

Manufacturers want to continue manufacturing and selling on a level playing field, whilst MCS-accredited installers and customers want a supply of cheap solar panels. Ultimately, as we see with traditional energy, becoming addicted and dependent on a single source, does create problems in itself!

Flooding the global markets to gain dominance in this increasingly important technology will allow them to hold a monopoly over the world’s future energy tech. Dumping the markets with below-cost solar panels may benefit us today, but could cost us dearly later!

This situation is unlikely to be resolved and the future of cheap PV solar panels may end.

What’s certain, is the high costs of traditional energy will continue to increase.

Rare-earth commodities will drive the price of photovoltaic panels for future consumers, but the expense of heating and powering the home will continue to drive customers to adopt solar panels anyway.

There’s never been a better time to install photovoltaic panels.

Stuart Lovatt 2013-05-29