The US Department of Energy's (DOE)’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) have jointly released two reports examining solar photovoltaic pricing in the United States.
The first report, Photovoltaic (PV) Pricing Trends: Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projections, examines progress in PV price reductions to help DOE and other PV stakeholders manage the transition to a market-driven PV industry and to provide clarity surrounding the wide variety of potentially conflicting data available about PV system prices.
“There is often confusion when interpreting estimates of PV system prices,” NREL Solar Technology Financial Analyst David Feldman said. “This report helps to clarify this confusion by bringing together data from a number of different sources and clearly distinguishing among past, current and near-term projected estimates.”
The report indicates that while data sources, assumptions, and methods differ substantially between the bottom-up analysis and the reported price analysis, the results support the validity of both analyses and provide a consistent perspective on system pricing.
The second report, Benchmarking Non-Hardware Balance of System (Soft) Costs for U.S. Photovoltaic Systems Using a Data-Driven Analysis from PV Installer Survey Results, presents results from the first DOE-sponsored data collection and analysis of non-hardware balance-of-system costs — often referred to as “business process” or “soft” costs, such as labour or permitting.
Both reports were produced as part of an ongoing collaborative research effort between the two labs focused on solar technology soft cost and system-level cost analysis and modelling. This research is supported by funding from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Both reports are discussed in Felicity Carus's blog on PV-Tech.