Who Charges What?
Here is a chart of the Cost per Watt for the largest installation companies in the SCE service area (you can click on the chart to see it full size):
First, let us give credit where it is due. The low end outlier is HelioPower, Inc., at $6.56/Watt, and they did it with an efficiency factor of 87% – second best of anyone on that chart. Nice.
But who is that way off in left field? Coming in at a staggering $13.32/Watt – a full $1.40 higher than their nearest competitor and more that twice what HelioPower is charging – is Galkos Construction, Inc., also known as GCI Energy, out of Huntington Beach. For that money, they must surely be offering only the most efficient and sophisticated technology, right? Not so much. To the contrary, the average installation efficiency for Galkos is only 84.9% – the second worst on the chart and well below the average of 86.11%. In fact, 99% of the time Galkos appears to use Sharp panels – not exactly an exotic solar panel brand – and in particular the Sharp ND-224UC1 panel (66.5%). A quick Google search reveals that the Sharp ND-224UC1 can be purchased, at retail, for $2.65/Watt or less. Given that Galkos handled 400 projects in this data set, it is hard to believe that their price for all of their equipment, particularly the Sharp panels, would not be not heavily discounted.