Solar Builder

MAR-APR 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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12 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 watt and the cost of an average sized solar system of 6-kW by $900 to $19,380 before the solar tax credit or $13,566 after the tax credit. Obviously this is some back-of-the-nap- kin calculating, but a useful exercise to show how minimal that bump in price could be for a residential system after factoring in: • The impact of more widely available financing mechanisms that provide more financial flexibility and payment terms (much more on this on page 24). • The further reduction of solar company margins and installation labor costs. "With the solar tax credit in place nation- ally and net metering laws in place in around 30 states, many Americans simply do not know how good an investment installing solar panels on their home is," Sendy contin- ues. "As we come towards the end of the 30 percent solar tax credit in December 2019, I predict consumers will rush to get solar installed while this incentive and net meter- ing are available. This will mean that solar companies will be able to spread the recovery of their fixed costs over more jobs. That means the fixed costs per job and per watt will fall." Conclusion (educated guess) Overall, Sendy and Solar Estimate's best guess is that the average falls in retail solar costs seen in recent years will be replaced by stable solar prices in 2018. His rationale: • The immediate impact of a 30 percent tariff will be reduced because of the large volumes of stock already shipped into the United States prior to the announcement of this tariff. In some cases, there is enough stock to meet almost six months of demand. • There undoubtedly will be rises in the wholesale price of modules, but these will be less than 30 percent as Chinese com- panies continue to lower costs. • What increases there are in cell prices and module prices at the wholesale level will be offset by increasing volumes for resi- dential installers (ahead of the reduction in the solar tax credit at the end of 2019) that will lower the amount of fixed costs per job and per watt sold. • This lowering of fixed costs per job, solar company margins per job and installation costs through the greater use of internal electricians and roof laborers will at least compensate for the increase in wholesale module prices, meaning that despite the new tariffs, the retail cost of installed resi- dential solar power systems will remain flat in 2018 at $3.08 per watt. This equates to $18,480 for an average-sized 6 kW system before the 30 percent solar tax credit, and $12,396 after the tax credit is claimed. This will be the first year that solar panel installation costs haven't fallen in the last decade, and it is a remarkable feat by the industry to be in a spot where it can adapt and possibly absorb such a big hit. NEWS IN THE With product distribution throughout the United States and Canada, 2017 proved to be a year of great success for Mission Solar Energy. Building on that success in 2018 and maintaining momentum is the overall goal and objective for the company. In fact, Mission Solar Energy is ramping up production to meet product demands for 2018. Since the launch of its new product line targeting commercial and residential projects in the first quarter of 2017, the high- power solar modules have become coveted by distributors and installers across the country. The Texas-based manufacturing plant is currently hiring additional employees to take the production line operations to a 24/7 schedule. In doing so, the increased headcount will enable Mission Solar Energy to maximize its production out- put and operate at its full annual capacity. More on Mission modules Mission Solar Energy solar modules receive multiple qual- ity checks throughout the production process and are subject to stringent quality and reliability testing. Each product exceeds industry requirements and is backed by an indepen- dent 25-year linear warranty. Mission Solar Energy modules exceed International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) by three times and have been verified by third-party testing that they beat competitors in long-term reliability and have the highest PTC ratings of any American solar module provider. Mission Solar Energy modules are listed on California Energy Commission's listing of modules. As a result, their modules are more likely to be eligible for solar rebate programs across the United States. Mission Solar ramping up U.S. module production

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