How Much Do Solar Home Systems Cost?
The cost of solar home systems ranges from ₱ 80 ~ ₱ 120 per watt (peak capacity) depending on options selected as of January 2018 in Metro Manila. That includes everything including materials and labor completely installed by professional licensed electricians.
How Much Solar Power Should You Install?
To determine how much solar power you need, divide your 12-month kWh average by the number of hours in a month which is 730. You will arrive at your hourly average use in Watts. Then multiply the result by 3. That is your recommended solar home system capacity.
For example, let’s assume a monthly average consumption of 300 kWh per month.
300 kWh per month / 730 hours per month = 410 Watts per hour average consumption.
410 Watts times 3 is equivalent to 1.2 kW. Your recommended solar home system should be about 1.2 kW. We need to round it up to the nearest capacity per panel available because panels come in 250~265 watt peak capacity per panel. A 1.2 kW peak solar home system will cost PHP 96,000 ~ PHP 144,000 as of January 2018. The range depends on the options you choose. There are pros and cons of each option so you should always discuss with your installer to decide what is more appropriate for your set up. I will discuss these in future posts.
A Situational Example At 330 kWh Monthly Average Usage
In our household, we consumed electricity at an average 330 kWh per month in 2017. In January 2018, we contracted a local company to install a 1.3kw peak solar home system at a cost of ₱ 153,000. This price includes both materials and labor cost of a fully functional solar home system. Installed by professional installers and licensed electricians.
That may seem expensive compared to what we pay Meralco on a monthly basis but if we will not do anything about it, our cumulative Meralco bill in a few years will be much more expensive. Not doing anything is expensive.
If We Invest in Solar Home System, How Long Until We Recover Our Investment?
Payback period is the amount of time it takes to recover our investment. Gaano katagal ang balik ng puhunan. The answer – it will take several years and there is no definitive number to specify because there are many variables that can influence the payback period.
The variables are:
- Your electricity requirement in your household,
- The cloud cover,
- The day of the year,
- The quality of your solar home system,
- How much we pay your distribution utility,
- How much credit the distribution utility pays us for the exported power (if any),
- The weather
The above-mentioned variables are all in the future, we cannot predict them.
However, given the above variability, the next best thing we can use as a basis is to project it using existing data as a predictor of future events.
Let’s review our investment again:
The cost of our installed solar home system is ₱ 153,600 on January 29, 2018. So how are we going to recoup that?
Consider if we don’t have solar, the bill we have to pay Meralco per year is around ₱ 36,000 (This is based on the average history of our usage). Based on this, since we have a solar home system now, the projected bill we have to pay Meralco is now less at ₱ 16,200 per year. The projected savings then is ₱ 19,800 per year.
Using that data, it means we will be able to recover our investment in 7 years and 9 months (₱ 153,600 / ₱ 19,800 ). And after this period, it will now be pure profit because the solar panels are rated to last for decades.
Solar Panel Lifespan In Relation To Savings
Note that good quality solar panels have a lifespan of at least 25 years. Our solar home system provider gives a 25-year warranty on their solar panels. This information is the final tipping point that led me to dive in and set up a solar home system.
Let’s look at our potential bill considering the lifespan of the panels. If we don’t have a solar home system, we’ll be paying Meralco ₱ 900,000 in the next 25 years. That does not even consider interest rates and inflation.
|₱ 180,000||₱ 81,000||₱ 99,000|
|₱ 360,000||₱ 162,000||
|25||₱ 900,000||₱ 405,000||
Which would you rather pay now? Would you rather pay 100% of your electric bills to a distribution utility provider? Price of electricity from the grid will also fluctuate on a monthly basis and we have no control over it. It will eventually go up because fossil fuel is not infinitely available.
Imported bunker fuel is subject to worldwide demand and at the whims of oil exporting countries. We are slaves to the oil exporting countries if we continue to use oil.
Coal is the biggest generators of electric power in the Philippines but this fuel is a major contributor to global warming and it is also a resource that will eventually become scarce. Coal will eventually be more expensive than solar.
Solar is Highly Recommended
A solar home system is definitely cheaper to own in the long term. The power from a solar home system is not subject to manipulation by a foreign entity, or your government or supply and demand, because the sun will always be there albeit with occasional cloud cover but it will always be there. It is a highly recommended investment.
Will You Get The Same Payback Period As The Example Given?
Not exactly because we all have different conditions. We will all have a different rate of payback period. Do take note that the figures gathered above are unique to the situation of the period covered and our household usage. It is based on our own experience of actual use and comparing historical usage in the same month this year and last year. It is very possible that your savings can be lower or can even be higher than my experience. Each will be unique but there will always be savings.
Our respective experiences in the future may vary depending on a lot of factors which includes our household usage of electricity, the amount of power the solar home system generates, and the combined cost of electricity from the grid.
I will continue to update this observation as data of actual use is gathered from the solar home system. However, it is with confidence that even with just a few months of observing actual power coming from the solar home system, we can confidently say that it is now practical to have a solar home system in the Philippines.
What capacity and cost of a solar home system is appropriate for you?
It depends on your household electricity needs.
If your monthly electricity bill is under ₱ 2,400, then 1.3kWp capacity is good enough. The price of a system with this size is from ₱ 128,000 ~ ₱ 213,000 (February 2018).
On the other hand, if your monthly electricity bill is around ₱ 10,000, then your solar home system should be at 8 kWp capacity. The cost of this size range from ₱ 658k ~ ₱ 763k (as of February 2018).
The following are the estimated prices of solar home systems depending on capacity:
|If your Monthly Bill is this in PHP…||You need a system of (kW):||No. of Panels||Cash Price Range Estimates
(From ~ To)
|less than 2,400||1.3||5||₱128,000.00||₱178,000.00|
|2,400 – 4,900||2||7||₱178,000.00||₱213,600.00|
|4,900 – 7,400||4||14||₱348,000.00||₱410,640.00|
|7,400 – 9,900||6||21||₱498,000.00||₱587,640.00|
|9,900 – 12,400||8||28||₱658,000.00||₱736,280.00|
|12,400 – 14,900||10||35||₱818,000.00||₱948,880.00|
|14,900 – 17,400||12||42||₱978,000.00||₱1,124,700.00|
These quotes consider Grade A, top quality panels, and materials with minimum 25 years warranty on the solar panels and at least 5 years warranty on the inverter.
Can you get cheaper materials? Sure you can but the sellers will not back it up with a solid warranty. It is best to invest in good quality materials due to the long return on investment period.
These prices are as of August 2018 are subject to change so if you plan to get one, make sure to request for the most recent quote from your dealer/installer.
If you want to talk to a dealer of a solar home system, feel free to send me a private message (see contact details at the bottom of this article) and I can give you the reliable companies that deal with this. I am not mentioning the company names in my public posts for it is not my intention to promote a specific company. I’ll give you the information but you be the final judge on what is appropriate for you.
Save Money By Facilitating the Net Metering Contract With Meralco
Facilitating a net metering contract with Meralco takes a long time because it involves a lot of steps, a lot of time, a lot of government agencies to talk to, and it will test your patience. My Net Metering contract took 6 months from the time the solar panels are installed up to the time Meralco told me that it is now finally approved.
I do not have the time to do it myself, so I opted to pay for the additional service. The dealer did the legwork for me. If you have no one to do this then it is better to pay extra for it so that your dealer will do it for you.
However, if you do have time to do this net metering task, then this will save you money. Your dealer can give you two quotes for you to compare.
What other costs can possibly occur?
Type of roof where solar panels will be installed.
The type of roof you have could mean additional cost. If your roof is made of concrete, there is an additional cost of installing solar panels on a concrete roof because the installers cannot just drill holes through your roof. If they do, your house can start to have leaks when it rains. Concrete roof requires a different type of mounting structure.
Metal roofs ling corrugated G.I. sheets or long span type will not normally need additional cost. My roof is a long span type so I did not incur additional expense.
Location of the panels
Another possible additional cost is if access to the roof is difficult that the crew has to build additional structures (like scaffoldings for example) to reach the roof. If the installation site is easily accessible using a ladder, this should not be a problem.
The distance of your house from the installer
If your house is far from the place of the installer then there will be an additional cost of transportation — both for the materials and the people who install it. It is much more economical to locate a dealer near your house. My installer told me they can install anywhere in Metro Manila without additional cost.
If you want to know more about how to use solar for your home, feel free to message me using the contact details below and I will take time to respond.
I would also like to invite you to join the FB Group “Sinag” for updates on how you can also benefit from solar.
We all live on one earth, our home. Let’s join hands in protecting it.