November 24, 2014
It’s been widely publicized that the cost of residential solar electric systems in the United States is falling faster than ever before. This downward pricing trend is projected to continue through 2016 and then stabilize, according to a September 2014 report compiled by researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory. However, residents and business owners who are unable to install solar on their property and are considering buying into a community solar facility won’t get the best deal if they wait too long.
Throughout the 15 years prior to 2012, residential photovoltaic (PV) systems declined an average of 6 to 8 percent, the report reveals. Then from 2012 to last year, prices for solar systems under 10 kilowatts (kW) fell by 12 percent or $0.65 per watt.
“There is still considerable uncertainty as to how low PV system prices will drop in the next five to 10 years,” David Feldman, the study’s lead author and NREL financial analyst told the Denver Business Journal.
For residential and small commercial PV systems, the average reported price (taken from a subset of state markets) for the first half of 2014 is $4.50 per watt — compared to the annual average of $4.74 per watt last year.
Feldman noted that the reductions in solar electric systems are “within reach” of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot Initiative goal to make the price of solar cost-competitive with other sources of energy by the end of the decade. If successful, the national collaborative effort will reduce the cost of solar PV systems 75 percent from 2010 to 2020.
Having achieved 60 percent of its goal, SunShot supports a variety of innovative efforts to accelerate the deployment of solar across the United States. One of those efforts is to make community solar broadly accessible, allowing individuals and businesses that can’t install solar on their property to harness the sun’s energy. Click for full article.