In a move to make solar power more accessible, BP and Old Country Roofing (OCR) have partnered together to bring "solar roofing solutions" to homebuilders and homeowners in Northern California. BP and OCR plan to install solar panels that are actually built into the roof...not attached separately or bolted on top of an already existing roof. This definately makes sense from a design perspective...creating a seamless integration between panel and roof. And according to Paul Garvison (director of business development for BP), including a solar panel in the cost of construction will result in lower installation costs to the consumer.
For an idea on installation costs, Sun Power Corporation assembled a general cost analysis...outlining what it would cost to install a solar panel system...a 4000-watt system at a base cost of $9 per AC watt. Based on their numbers, it would cost $24,000 in California and $16,600 in New Jersey (this is the net cost after state-specific rebates and incentives...and the federal tax credit). If you were to finance the cost of installing a $24,000 solar panel over 15 years, it would cost you roughly about $200/month (15 years @ 6%).
Although the BP-OCR move directly impacts homeowners/homebuilders in Northern California, if you live elsewhere, don't feel left out. BP is bullish on solar power and plans to bring it to everyone! In mid-November, BP announced it was investing $70 million to expand its Fredrick, Maryland based solar panel maufacturing plant, a move that will "...keep us in command of a growing industry by meeting future demand and providing innovative products to the market."