New reports from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory find that the price of solar continues to decline across all categories but perhaps most surprisingly in the residential sector, the price declines are starting to come from soft cost drops rather than just the costs of PV modules themselves. The news was praised by both the Solar Energy Industries Association and Vote Solar.
The latest edition of Tracking the Sun, found that installed prices for residential and commercial solar panel system installations installed in 2013 fell by roughly 70 cents per watt or 12 to 15 percent from 2012. The report also found that during the first half of 2014, prices for solar installations in many of the largest state markets also continued to fall. The cost for utility-scale installations have fallen by more than 70 percent since 2008, to just $50 per megawatt hour in 2013.
“This report highlights yet another reason why solar energy has become such a remarkable American success story,” asserts SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch. “There are now more than half a million American homes, businesses and schools with installed solar, and this is good news for freedom of energy choice as well as for our environment.”
An interesting thing that the report noted was that PV prices in the residential and commercial market remained relatively stable. “In recent years, reductions in the installed price of PV systems have been driven largely by the falling price of PV modules, but that dynamic appears to be shifting,” LBL said. “The report points to the increasing importance of reductions in soft costs—which include such things as marketing and customer acquisition, system design, installation labor, and the various costs associated with permitting and inspections.”
“In just a few years, American ingenuity and smart policy have made solar a true success story. These price declines mean that solar power is now an affordable option for families, schools, businesses and utilities alike,” says Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar. “The result is that solar and its many grid, economic and environmental benefits are shining in communities across the country.”
Overall the difference in the costs of residential systems studied was still wide. The reports find that 20 percent of all residential systems installed in 2013 were priced at or below $3.90 per watt, while an equal proportion was above $5.60 per watt.Tweet