Solar installation price declines in U.S, industry boosts economy

Greentech Lead America: Average installed price of residential and commercial PV systems in the U.S has decreased by between $0.30 per watt and $0.90 per watt, in 2012, a drop of six to 14 percent on the previous year, says the report from Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Installed prices for projects funded through the California Solar Initiative fell an additional 10 to 15% in the first half of 2013.

Historically, installed PV prices have declined an average of 5 to 7% per year from nearly $12/W in 1998, with particularly sharp reductions occurring since 2009.

The falling price of solar is mainly attributed to the policies including the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and net energy metering that have allowed the industry to continually lower the costs while increasing deployment.

Solar has also provided good paying jobs to nearly 120,000 Americans at more than 5,600 companies, many of them small businesses spread all across the country, said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

“Today, there is now more than 8,500 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity in the United States – enough to power more than 1.3 million American homes,” Resch added. “And the more affordable solar becomes, the more American families and businesses can take advantage of this clean, inexhaustible energy source to meet their electricity and hot water needs.”

Module price has fallen by $2.6/W from 2008 through 2012. Over the longer-term, installed system prices have also fallen due to reductions in non-module costs, including inverters, mounting hardware, permitting and fees, and other costs.

Over the longer-term, installed system prices have also declined due to reductions in non-module costs, including inverters, mounting hardware, permitting and fees, and other costs.

PV installations totaled 723 megawatts (MW) in Q1 2013, which accounted for over 48% of all new electric capacity installed in the U.S. last quarter. Overall, these installations represented the best first quarter of any given year for the solar industry.

Solar job growth has far outpaced the general economy with 13.2% annual growth over 2011 according to the National Solar Jobs Census from the Solar Foundation. The industry has also gained overwhelming bipartisan support with 92 percent Americans agreeing it’s important to use and develop more solar.

editor@greentechlead.com