Deconstructing Solar Photovoltaic Pricing: The Role of Market Structure, Technology and Policy
Installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have expanded rapidly over the past decade. Along with this growth has been a substantial decline in PV system prices. Yet, there remains considerable heterogeneity in PV system pricing. For example, among residential and small commercial systems installed in the United States in 2013, roughly 20% were sold for less than $3.90/W, while a similar percentage were priced above $5.60/W.
In the report, a team of researchers from Yale University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Texas-Austin, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory empirically examined heterogeneity in PV prices in the United States. The research explored different plausible sources of price variation, including characteristics of PV systems and household demographics, as well as measures of installer competition, installer experience, demand for PV, and public policy. A rich dataset of nearly 100,000 PV systems over the 2010-2012 timeframe was analyzed, focusing on systems under 10 kW and excluding many third-party owned systems.