They're cheaper than most folks think. I have about $2500 invested in it, NOT counting the batteries.
Panels today are about $5 a watt; get the biggest you can, they're cheaper. Controller is another 300-500. Only other things you need is some wire, and a breaker. (and of course the batteries)
For $3k I think you could have 500 watts, with controller. Another k would buy you a boatload of batteries. Hooking them up is pretty simple (read the directions). Here's the site, you can price your own: http://www.windsun.com
(4) Kyocera 130 watt panels $2390
50 amp Blue Sky Controller $431
Trimetric 2020 Monitor (opt) $140
500 amp shunt for above $27
50 amp Marine Breaker(est) $25
Wire (est) $100
total $3113 (ok I lied)
Labor? You can do it yourself in a weekend. Pay someone else, WHY??
Batteries? Lessee 10 golf cart batteries for about $75 each (est)
Maintenance? Wash the salt off with a hose from time to time, and check electrical connections. Aside from hurricane, hail, or lightning damage, no "wear and tear" to worry about.
Solar panels these days have a 20-25 year warranty, too. I have a small panel I bought second hand in 1980 or thereabouts... it's still good.
No fuel, no oil & filter changes, no moving parts, no CO, and NO NOISE!
Only downside is you can't run an AC off them. Well you can, but the panels and batteries required would NOT be cheap.
HOWEVER: Most of us could install the 10 batteries, a 50 amp or so shore-power charger, and forget the solar panels. Save about $3000.
She's a tired old barge but she's paid for! http://s71.photobucket.com/alb...p;current=ef324993.pbw
08:10:00 AM by