cost per kilowatt of power systems

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by wes, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. wes

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Ok so I have been working on a project and right now I am just trying to figure out costs of different systems like energy storage as well as power generation.
    I have found that battery's are supposedly about $500 per kilowatt-h or more depending where you get them. What I don't know is are they talking lithium battery's or like SLA battery's? Because I have found that you can get SLA battery's from Alibaba manufactures for about 1 per amp hour at 12 volts, so that would be about $84 per kilowatt-hour.

    The other thing is solar panels, I have found solar panels to be about $5 a watt. The thing that I don't get is why am I able to go to like eBay and buy 1 kilowatt worth of solar cells and then make it myself for about $0.30 cents a watt and yet supposedly for like large installations, they still have to pay like $2-3 a watt?
  2. DMahalko

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 5, 2008
    There are costs not factored into your comparison.

    What are you doing with your bare cells? You generally can't just stick them outside directly. Cells are fragile, the bare connections may corrode from moisture, a hailstorm could probably shatter them.

    So there are additional costs that go into making them into panels, protecting from moisture, blunt-force damage..
  3. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    Land, maintenance, debt servicing, admin overhead, and so forth.
  4. ashokcp

    Active Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    I had a similiar question sometime back on thermal power equipment.
    A small diesel generator was costing around $600 for 2kW, ie., about $300 per kW.
    A thermal power plant equipment was costing about $1 million per MW, working out to about $1000 per kW. The costs are approx. and have been converted to US$ from INR (current rates), and are only for the power plant equipment excluding land, and atleast at the level of 25MW and above.
    My question is at 12000 times bigger plant equipment is only costing more expensive by another 200% (per kW equipment cost). There seems to be no economies of LARGE scale! Am I missing out something?
  5. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    Cost plus pricing. The local power company here is guaranteed (by the government) a 10% profit over whatever their costs are. The incentive is to spend lots of money because it will all be reimbursed, plus 10%.
    ashokcp likes this.
  6. DMahalko

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 5, 2008
    When making these small vs large comparisons, are you including the cost of maintenance over the life of the system?

    Smaller systems are likely to require much more maintenance which will add to the costs of operation.

    With larger systems there can be "efficiencies of scale" where it costs lots of money to do the initial construction, but then the operational costs are much cheaper.

    Large systems may have an operational lifespan than is measured on a scale of decades to centuries. For example, most hydroelectric dam projects.