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More Cost Effective Solar Panels?

There is some potentially good news for people considering buying solar panels.The IHS Solar Polysilicon Price Index shows that the worldwide price of silicon has fallen in October. The price is one of the cheapest to be seen in 2012.

Are solar panel prices going to continue to fall?
(image credit: hsivonen)

The significance of this is that silicon is a major ingredient used in the manufacture of solar photovoltaic panels. Furthermore it was reported in BusinessWeek that there has been a reduction in the average price of solar panels since 2007 of a staggering 75%.

It is the opinion of IHS that the price of silicon is likely to level out or increase slightly between December 2012 and January 2013. However, due to excessive stocks of PV materials throughout the world it is probable that the price of purchasing silicon that is of a solar grade will stay quite low in the foreseeable future.

According to Solar Novus Today, in the month of October, the cost of purchasing 9N silicon, that is one of the purest silicons utilised when manufacturing solar panels, dropped by 9%. The lowest grade of silicon that is permissible in solar panel is 6N to 8N and that reduced by 7%.

Around the beginning of 2013, solar polysilicon spot market prices are likely to show a small rise but these prices are still likely to be significantly below that of contract market prices. This would result in suppliers of solar polysilicon continuing to reduce contract prices in an attempt to move back towards matching spot market prices.

So, with a decline in the price of silicon, manufacturers are going to find it cheaper to manufacture solar panels. The potential benefit to homeowners and businesses considering having solar panel systems installed is that any cost savings could be passed on to them. This would reduce the period it would take for the purchaser of a solar panel system to reach break-even point.

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