Solar Buyers Take Note: Your Price May Vary

As we’ve reported, it’s a buyer’s market in photovoltaics as European countries pull back many of their incentive programs, helping drive already falling prices even lower. But there’s still a lot of variation in panel pricing among producers, which is where PanelPrice.com seems to comes in.

The retail price comparison site was launched in February and remains in beta, but using early data has compiled a report that shows panel prices among popular providers can vary by as much as one-third.  “While we put everything together, we found some quite interesting facts,” said Jens Bonerz, CEO of HMG, the company behind PanelPrice.com. “One of them was that there are large price gaps between the highest and the lowest price for a given solar panel.”

solar panels, photovoltaics, PanelPrice.com

image via Shutterstock

PanelPrice.com cited Solarworld, Suntech Power, and Trina Solar as delivering the best prices, but interestingly, half of its consumers perferred panels by Kyocera Solar, Sharp and BP Solar. Answering the inevitable, “What’s up with that?” question, the site said the low-price providers “were outperformed by the larger product ranges of their competition.”

One fascinating aspect of PanelPrice.com: Although the site is focused on the U.S. online retail solar power market, it’s based in Cologne, Germany. Not surprising, perhaps, given the recent report that the country’s solar photovoltaic industry boasts more workers than the U.S. steel industry.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.