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Solar PV Prices to Drop through 2016

October 22, 2014 By Karen Henry

NREL installed PV-energy-manage2The Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative seeks to reduce solar PV prices in the United States by 75 percent between 2010 and 2020. Based on a new report from the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the nation appears to be on track to meet that goal. Distributed solar PV system prices dropped by 12–19 percent nationwide in 2013, and prices are expected to drop another 3–12 percent in 2014, depending on system location and market segment.

The report, Photovoltaic (PV) Pricing Trends: Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projections (2014 Edition), provides a high-level overview of historical, recent and projected near-term PV system pricing trends in the United States. The report shows that the general downward trend in PV system price is expected to continue through 2016.

In addition, the report highlights other key findings:

  • Modeled utility-scale PV system prices fell below $2 a watt in 2013 and have continued to decline to roughly $1.80 a watt in 2014, which is 59 percent below what modeled pricing showed in 2010.
  • There is a difference of roughly $2 a watt between the median reported price of the lowest- and highest-priced states for residential and commercial systems (less than 10 kW in size); a similar price range also exists within individual states.
  • There is a wide-range in analysts’ PV pricing estimates; however, a number of analysts are now projecting long-term pricing to be in line with the targets set by the SunShot Initiative for 2020. At these pricing levels, PV is expected to reach widespread grid parity in the United States without federal or state subsidies.


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