Real Stories

The system we bought in 2009, will produce $12,800 worth of electricity over the 20 year warranty period at today's 10 cent per kilowatt hour Ameren prices (by the way, last year Ameren prices averages closer to 11 cents per kilowatt hour). But because of Renewable Portfolio Standards laws there is a growing market for selling the Renewable Energy Certificates that are generated along with the electricity. Illinois net metering law says the REC's stay with the generator, meaning we can sell the certificates for all the energy produced. An REC is measured in Megawatt hours, so our system generates 6 REC's per year. In 2009 the price for REC's bundled through the Illinois solar Energy Association was $65 per megawatt hour. Our system was only just operational in 2009 so we didn't sell any then. In 2010 the price went up to $135 per REC and we applied for the payment and are expecting our check in April. I also just completed the application for the 2011 REC's and will receive $200 each for them next year. 3 more years of payment for REC's at the price of $200 would take us to the break even point.

On the right, the same system installed in 2011 cost $11,614 dollars after rebate and tax credit. At today's 10 cent per kilowatt hour rate, it would pay for itself in just over 18 years, and before the end of the warranty period. At a rate of 11 Cents it would pay off in 16 and a half years, and two other crystal ball scenarios, if the price of electricity were 11 cents for 5 years and then raised to 12 cents for the remaining years (in your dreams!) the breakeven would be 15 and a half years. And if the price of electricity was 11 cents per kilowatt hour for the next 2 years and then went up to 13 cents for the remainder, payoff would be in 14.3 years. And that is without factoring in any sale of Renewable Energy Certificates.

PV Cost
Electricity from the sun