Berkeley Lab Report Shows PV Prices And Cash Incentives Both Falling Sharply


The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has issued the latest edition of its series on photovoltaic pricing, ‘Tracking the Sun VI: An Historical Summary of the Installed Price of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2012.’

The Berkeley Lab says the report provides a comprehensive summary of installed price trends for PV systems installed in the U.S. from 1998 through 2012, along with preliminary price trends for systems installed in 2013.

Some of the key findings of the report include the following:

  • Installed prices continued their precipitous decline in 2012, falling year-over-year by $0.9/W (14%) for systems â�¤ 10 kW, $0.8/W (13%) for systems 10-100 kW, and $0.3/W (6%) for systems >100 kW. Among projects installed in 2012, median installed prices were $5.3/W for systems â�¤ 10 kW, $4.9/W for systems 10-100 kW, and $4.6/W for systems >100 kW.
  • Partial data for the first six months of 2013 indicate that installed prices have continued to fall, with the median installed price of projects funded through the California Solar Initiative declining by an additional $0.5/W to $0.8/W (10-15%) depending on system size, relative to systems installed throughout all of 2012.
  • The recent decline in installed system prices is largely attributable to falling module prices, which fell by $2.6/W from 2008 through 2012 (based on average annual selling prices), representing roughly 80% of the drop in total PV system prices for â�¤ 10 kW systems over the same period.
  • Over the longer-term, installed system prices have fallen also as a result of reductions in non-module costs (which may include such items as inverters, mounting hardware, labor, permitting and fees, customer acquisition, overhead, taxes and installer profit).
  • Cash incentives provided through state and utility PV rebates and performance-based incentives have fallen substantially over time, offsetting much of the installed price reductions from the perspective of customer-economics.

Based on project-level data from more than 200,000 residential, commercial and utility-scale PV systems, the report describes and analyzes installed price trends across various dimensions.

The full report, a presentation slide deck that summarizes the report and an Excel workbook that contains many of the results presented in the report, can all be downloaded for free here.

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