Tracking the Sun IV

Posted by Allan Chen on September 29, 2011
Tracking the Sun IV
Tracking The Sun original report cover.

The installed cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2010 and into the first half of 2011, according to the latest edition of an annual PV cost tracking report released by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
The average installed cost of residential and commercial PV systems completed in 2010 fell by roughly 17% from the year before, and by an additional 11% within the first six months of 2011. These recent installed cost reductions are attributable, in part, to dramatic reductions in the price of PV modules. Galen Barbose of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division and co-author of the report explains, “Wholesale PV module prices have fallen precipitously since about 2008, and those upstream cost reductions have made their way through to consumers.”
The report indicates that non-module costs – such as installation labor, marketing, overhead, inverters, and the balance of systems – also fell for residential and commercial PV systems in 2010.  “The drop in non-module costs is especially important,” notes report co-author Ryan Wiser, “as those are the costs that can be most readily influenced by solar policies aimed at accelerating deployment and removing market barriers, as opposed to research and development programs that are also aimed at reducing module costs.” According to the report, average non-module costs for residential and commercial systems declined by roughly 18 percent from 2009 to 2010.

The report “Tracking the Sun IV: An Historical Summary of the Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2010,” by Galen Barbose, Naïm Darghouth, and Ryan Wiser, may be downloaded here. You can also read the full LBNL news release here.

Allan Chen is the leader of the Communications Office in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.

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