The rooftop solar system, which comes with a small, low-cost solar array and can generate electricity for your home, has become a popular way to generate electricity, especially in places like New York City.
And while many people have been making the leap to solar for homes, they’re finding that the cost is prohibitive.
A new study, published in the journal Nature Energy, found that an affordable, affordable solar roof is not only technically feasible but it is also a cost-effective solution.
The researchers measured the solar system cost and its performance on two different solar arrays.
The first array, which included an inverter, had a price tag of about $25 per square meter of solar panels, or about $5,000.
The second array, a 3,000-square-meter array, had an installed cost of about the same, about $4,000, or less than half of the price of an inverting system.
This second array cost less than two-thirds the cost of an existing inverting array.
The researchers used a model to estimate how much energy would be saved by a new solar system that used less solar panel space and that also used more efficient technologies, such as inverters.
The solar panels on the second array did not generate electricity as fast as the other arrays, but they did produce a substantial amount of electricity at lower energy costs.
The solar panels generated about 3.4 megawatt-hours of electricity per square-meter, about twice as much as an existing rooftop system.
They also generated about 0.2 megawatthours of CO2e per square foot of solar area, or roughly a third of what a conventional rooftop system would generate.
In other words, the solar panels used less energy than the solar panel array on the first array but generated more electricity than the existing rooftop systems.
“This finding is very significant, and it demonstrates that even with the lowest-cost and most efficient technologies on offer, rooftop solar is still viable,” said senior author Matthew Stoll, an associate professor of engineering at MIT.
Stoll said that his team’s study is the first to demonstrate that a roof that includes solar panels can produce electricity at an affordable price.
“The energy savings are significant, as well as the reduced environmental impacts associated with this technology,” he said.
Stolls and his colleagues were able to compare a new, inexpensive solar roof with existing rooftop solar systems that are much more expensive.
The study looked at the average cost of electricity for a solar array with a 4,000 square-metre solar array, compared to a 4-kilowatt-hour (kW) system that was installed in a single-story house in a small residential area in the Bronx.
The cost of the new roof was about half of what an existing system would have cost to install, and about half the cost for an existing solar panel system.
The new system cost about twice the cost and required less space in the roof than the previous system.
The authors calculated that this roof cost about the exact same as an equivalent, non-solar roof system.
Their study also showed that the new solar roof cost $25 more per year than the old solar system.
In the Bronx, an existing roof was a little over half the size of a typical rooftop solar array.
Stoll said the cost per square yard was less than one-third of the cost in New York.
The cost per watt was the same in the study.
In addition to Stoll and his team, the study was supported by the National Science Foundation.
Other authors on the study include Michael Rutter, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Michael Gaffney, a mechanical engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Jefre Benitez, an engineering professor and senior researcher at MIT’s Energy Institute.