Cut The Price Of Solar In Half By Cutting Red Tape
by Barry Cinnamon, Forbes Magazine (excerpt)
…Prices have plummeted so much over the past two years that the solar panels and associated supplies cost about $8,000 for a typical 4,000-watt residential system. A qualified solar specialist or electrician should be able to install these panels for about $2,000 given that it’s only about a day of work. The total installed price should be about $10,000, without any tax credits or incentives. That is about the price of a comparable system in Germany.
But the average price of a residential system in the U.S. is about $20,000. So where does the extra $10,000 go? I can assure you that it is not the result of greedy installers, paranoid utilities or greater German installation efficiency.
Studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and by the University of California, Berkeley both confirm that these higher prices are almost exclusively related to the paperwork it takes to “officially” install a standard rooftop system in the U.S. That’s right, government red tape -‐ local, state and federal.
The following chart compares U.S. solar costs to German costs (studies were updated to reflect current solar panel prices).
Even though solar panel costs are about the same, in almost every other category German costs are lower. In Germany, the residential solar industry has no red tape, there is a highly‐tuned supply chain to get equipment to customer job sites, installers get projects completed in a day, permitting is virtually automatic, costs to acquire a customer are very low and overhead is negligible….
read … Forbes Magazine