Solar Module Installation & Battery Option
Two factors that greatly influence the performance and the cost of your solar system are the way the solar modules are mounted and the storage of the produced electricity.
Roof racking is often the most cost effective method of installing solar panels. It is especially beneficial if space is limited. The drawbacks to this is that you are often limited to the angle and the position of the roof.
Typical installation labour costs are a base fee of $1500 for the first 4 panels plus $130 per additional solar panel.
Fixed Ground Mounts
Fixed ground mount racking of solar panels come with many different options and styles.
One of the benefits of ground mounting panels is that cleaning in the winter is easier than compared to roof mounted panels. It is also much easier to orientate the array South for maximum production. Options for seasonal adjustability are available as well to maximize production.
The drawback to this style of installation are the requirements for a sturdy foundation/ footing to withstand the wind, and more space is necessary compared to the roof mounted option.
For a typical 5000Watt installation recon between $3500 and $9000 depending on the style and the footing chosen
Single or Dual Axis Tracking
Tracker installations are by far the most costly installation method, however they yield the highest production levels of all the options. When consistent and maximized power production are required, trackers are the way to go.
With trackers it is crucial to have the correct setup. If this is overlooked, they can become a nightmare. That said, part of BHR's commercial solar operations provide service for large tracker fields/parks and are able to maintain and operate them reliably. They need some TLC but the output they provide is well worth it.
Typical starting size is around 4000kW and the starting price is around $19000 up to $ 29000 per tracker
For special orders we can get trackers as small as 2500Watt for around $10000. Below that there is really no benefit of having a tracker.
Flooded Lead Acid Batteries
Flooded Lead Acid batteries are a cost-effective option for storing electricity however, they do require maintenance. This can be mitigated by selecting the right type of battery and available options. For example, choosing gauges that allow you to see the state of the battery at all times and in turn removing the guess work. There are automatic fill options available as well but these reduce the cost-effectiveness to a degree. Another detail to consider is that they need to be kept in a ventilated room so the hydrogen can be safely vented to the outside for optimal lifespan and efficiency.
Per 10kWh installed you are looking at around $3800/10kWh
GEL Lead Acid Batteries
Gel Lead Acid Batteries are maintenance free. This comes at an increased price and a reduced service/cycle life when compared with Flooded Lead Acid Batteries.
The positive side of this is that they have better deep discharge characteristics and they don't off-gas hydrogen as compared to Flooded Lead Acid batteries.
You can read more about them here
Per 10kWh installed you are looking at around $5900/10kWh
AGM Lead Acid Batteries
AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) Batteries are also maintenance free as with the Gel Batteries. They do not however have the same low discharge levels as Gel has. When considering normal operations of your solar system this can be neglected.
Per 10kWh installed you are looking at around $4800/10kWh
Lithium based batteries are the most expensive of all the battery storage systems.
They are maintenance free and have the longest service life when compared to Lead Acid. Their discharge rate is higher and in most cases they can provide more power for high drain applications without damaging the batteries. All of this comes at a significantly higher cost.
Per 10kWh installed the price is around the $15,000 to $ 20,000 / 10kWh. **The prices vary by wide margins depending on the manufacturer**