Price of installed solar systems drops 14% in US

The installed price of solar photovoltaic systems in the US fell between 6 and 14% last year and through the first half of 2013.

The report suggests that PV system price reductions in 2013 are on course to match or exceed those of recent years.

That is the view of a new report by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Tracking the Sun, which analyses annual photovoltaic (PV) costs.

Installed prices for PV systems in 2012 fell by a range of roughly US$0.30 per watt to $0.90 from the previous year, depending on the size of the system.

“This marks the third year in a row of significant price reductions for PV systems in the US,” said Galen Barbose of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division, one of the report’s co-authors.

Within the first six months of 2013, PV system prices in California fell by an additional 10%-15%, and the report suggests that PV system price reductions in 2013 are on course to match or exceed those seen in recent years.

The report indicates that the median installed price of PV systems completed in 2012 was $5.30 per Watt for residential and small commercial systems smaller than 10 kilowatts (kW) in size and was $4.60 per Watt for commercial systems of 100 kW or more in size.

The sixth edition of Tracking the Sun is based on data from more than 200,000 residential, commercial, and utility-scale PV systems installed between 1998 and 2012 across 29 states, representing roughly 72% of all grid-connected PV capacity installed in the US.

The study is intended to provide policy makers and industry observers with a reliable and detailed set of historical benchmarks for tracking and understanding past trends in the installed price of PV.

Download a copy of the report.