Solar panels capture the light of the sun and convert it to electricity. Their cost depends on several factors especially size, technology and manufacturer. Fortunately, the price per watt of panels have dropped steepily over the last couple of decades and as at June 2018 had a median retail cost of ₦ 233/W in Lagos, Nigeria so a 250W panel should cost an average of ₦ 58,250.
Effect of panel technology
The price also depends on the panel technology of which there are two main options: monocrystalline (recognizable by their dark, uniform color) and polycrystalline (panels often have multiple shades of blue). Because monocrystalline panels occupy less space, they often cost 8% more per watt. Good panels easily last 25 years so they are a really cheap source of energy compared to generators. In 25 years of operation, the ₦ 233 spent on a watt of solar would generate over 45 kWh of energy. To generate the same amount of energy from generators will cost ₦ 1,400 – ₦ 4,900 (6 – 21 times more!) This follows from our analysis of the true cost of running a generator published previously.
Panel prices also vary by manufacturer. However, the price of many panels in Nigeria do not match up with reasonable costs of production. This raises the possibility that many panels are either of significantly lower quality or are smaller than their nameplate suggests. This is why at 02 Alternative Power Solutions we recommend and use panels from top international manufacturers with a reputation to protect.