The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2012 and through the first half of 2013, according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost tracking report produced by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
Installed prices for PV systems in 2012 fell by a range of roughly $0.30 per Watt (W) to $0.90/W, or 6 to 14 percent, from the prior year, depending on the size of the system. Other findings of the report included:
- There is a wide variability in PV system pricing. This is because of the installed price differences that exist across states and across various types of PV applications and system configurations.
- Recent installed price reductions for PV systems are primarily attributable to steep reductions in the price of PV modules. From 2008 to 2012, annual average module prices on the global market fell by $2.60/W, representing about 80 percent of the total decline in PV system prices over that period.
- Soft costs—which include such things as marketing and customer acquisition, system design, installation labor, and the various costs associated with permitting and inspections—are the most promising target for further PV system price reductions.
- U.S. prices are generally higher. The differences are particularly stark in comparison to Germany, Italy and Australia, where the price of small residential PV systems installed in 2012 was roughly 40 percent lower than in the United States.
The full report is available from the Berkeley Lab.