Cost of PV – Photo Voltaics

The Lawrence Berkley National Lab just released (9/2011) a study titled “An Historical Summary of the Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2010” (a very clever, concise and subtle title I thought).

Though lengthy it included many interesting bits that I found interesting and worthy of further summary:

  •  Predictably, the costs are headed down with costs before direct financial incentives down from $11/W in 1998 to $6.2/W in
    2010. This represents an annual cost reduction of about $0.40/W per year.
  • From 2009 to 2010 the average installed cost went down 17% ($1.3/SF)
  • Costs are still declining in 2011.
  • Colorado accounted for 3% of the national PV capacity additions in 2010.
  • The costs vary widely by state due to permitting requirements, labor rates, tax exemptions, etc. Among the less than or equal to 10kW systems completed in 2010, the average costs ran from $6.3/W in New Hampshire to $8.4/W in Utah.
  • After incentives in 2010, the net installed cost (after incentives) of commercial PV averaged right at $3/W.  While for residential it averaged $3.6/W

The decreasing costs make PV an increasingly interesting option as a source for on-site renewable energy and for owner’s looking to pursue net zero.

Read the whole study at:


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