The total life-cycle cost of stand-alone photovoltaic (SAPV) power systems is mathematically formulated. A new optimal sizing algorithm for the solar array and battery capacity is developed. The optimum value of a balancing parameter, M, for the optimal sizing of SAPV system components is derived. The proposed optimal sizing algorithm is used in an illustrative example, where a more economical life-cycle cost has bene obtained. The question of cost versus reliability is briefly discussed.