Solar panels cost substantially less to install now in comparison to only two or three years ago. In 2009 the price of a solar panel in the wholesale market was $4 per Watt ($760 per a standard 190W panel) and are now around $0.80 per Watt / $152 per panel.
Solar what is the expected of solar panel prices in the times to come?
Currently prices are continuing to fall, as over the last 12 months silicon-based solar panels decreased in price by 20% due to a worldwide glut of panels in 2012. China has been subsiding solar manufacturers which has lead to an over supply in the market, this in turn has reduced the price of solar panels as manufacturers scramble to get rid of their excess supply.
Fortunately for New Zealanders benefits are going to consumers and the installation companies, while hurting the solar panel producers profit margins, depressing stock prices and leading some companies into bankruptcy.
There is debate over whether the price will continue to drop. Many manufacturers have reduced their output in the mean time to recover from the global glut, but due to China's solar growth we may see competition pick up again.
China is set to become the biggest buyer of solar power components after doubling its last year target. The Chinese Government is expecting to install 10 gigawatts of new solar projects this year. Whether this demand will push the prices back up so panel manufactures make a decent profit, or the competition keeps the price low is yet to be seen. Not to mention technology is constantly improving which aims to decrease the cost.
It will be interesting to see if the solar panel market matures or past trends continue in 2013.