This question is similar to asking, how fast does a blue car go? It depends. Factors such as roof type, roof pitch, number of solar panels, and available system components all impact the final cost of a system. Due to the fast moving nature of the solar industry the cost is constantly dropping. The most accurate way to determine solar PV system cost is to contact a few installation companies and receive a free quote.
Allowing homeowners and businesses to significantly reduce or even eliminate their electricity bill seems counter-intuitive for BL&P. However, the utility is supportive of renewable energy generation in Barbados and will allow 7MW (1MW context) of residential and commercial solar projects to be installed. As of April 2014 approximately 4MW have been used with 3MW remaining.
When the power goes out, grid-tied systems go out too. Inverters in grid-tied systems are required to disconnect from the grid for safety reasons. It is not safe to send electricity back onto the wires while BL&P line workers are working to fix the problem. Once grid power is restored the inverter reconnects.
What is the payback period for your car, TV, or fridge?
The question of payback period rarely, if ever, arises while making purchases. There is a want or desire for an item and it is purchased, the payback is immediate. When it comes to solar the same rules no longer seem to apply. When people shift from seeing solar as an unaffordable luxury towards wanting it as an essential for their home or business, this question will cease to be asked. Until then, this number depends on the financial incentives and the cost of the system both of which will be covered in a quote from an installation company.
Most of the parts on your solar system, such as solar panels, carry manufacturer’s warranties of 25 years; other parts, such as inverters, carry 10-year warranties. Solar panels have no moving parts and can last more than 30 years. Most solar systems may far outlast their warranties; many of the first solar systems installed more than 30 years ago are still operating.
One of the benefits of solar PV generation, when compared to other forms of generation, is that systems rarely require maintenance or cleaning largely because they have no moving parts. Fine dust that may accumulate on the panels is washed away when it rains.
As of January 2014, over 400 homeowners and businesses have installed solar PV systems on their roofs. Some of the businesses include Armstrong Agencies, Bico, Banks Breweries, and 12 businesses in the Williams Industries group of companies.
1MW of solar power can power about 550 Barbadian homes based on the average daily household usage of 8kWh/day.