Solar Power Prices Continue Descent

Solar panel technician installing solar panels on roof

Two new “state of the market” reports released Wednesday by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that solar energy system pricing, such as solar photovoltaic (PV), is at an all-time low.

In 2015, prices of installed residential PV systems declined by about 5%, and the report suggests prices have continued to drop in most states this year.

Tracking the Sun IX focuses on installed pricing trends in the distributed PV market for both residential and non-residential sectors. Utility-Scale Solar 2015 is focused on solar projects and trends within the utility-scale market.

While the price of PV modules has been fairly stable since 2012, Tracking the Sun IX attributes price declines to lower solar-related hardware costs and “soft costs,” including marketing expenses, system design, installation labor, permitting and inspections.

Both reports also highlight the tremendous variability in PV system pricing. For residential systems installed in 2015, 20% sold for less than $3.30 per watt, while another 20% sold for more than $5 per watt.

“This variability reflects a host of factors: differences in system design and component selection, market and regulatory conditions, and installer characteristics, to name a few,” said Berkeley Lab’s Naïm Darghouth.

Berkeley Lab will host two webinars to go over the details of each report:

To learn about NAHB’s green and sustainable building initiatives, contact Eric Tilden, PE, program manager for sustainability & green building advocacy, at 800-368-5242 x8375.



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