MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Oversupply and low demand have made solar panels cheaper for U.S. homeowners.
Prices for rooftop solar systems, including installation, have fallen by 8 percent to 10 percent since October and are expected to drop an additional 15 percent to 20 percent in 2009.
In addition, what homeowners pay will be even lower than the price tag when the federal tax credit is taken into account, USA Today reports. Consumers are eligible for a 30 percent tax credit with no cap.
"The era of extremely expensive (solar) modules is over," says analyst Nathaniel Bullard of research firm New Energy Finance.
Wholesale prices have fallen about 15 percent since October, says Barry Cinnamon, chief executive officer of Akeena Solar, one of the nation's largest installers.
SunPower, one of the largest solar panel makers, expects its retail prices for installed systems to drop by as much as 20 percent this year.
In California a typical 4 kilowatt, $32,000 solar energy system cost a homeowner about $23,000 last year after state and federal incentives. This year, if the price predictions come true, the price for the same system would be between $10,000 and $12,000.