Solar Prices Still
by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Solar prices continue to drop, according to the findings of a joint report by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) system prices decreased by 12 to 19 percent nationwide in 2013. Prices in 2014 are expected to drop by another 3 to 12 percent -- and this trend is expected to continue through 2016.
PV system prices of residential and commercial systems dropped by 6 to 7 percent per year from 1998 to 2013 -- and by 12 to 15 percent from 2012 to 2013. Market analysts expect system prices to continue to drop. The Department of Energy SunShot Initiative aims to reduce PV system prices by 75 percent from 2010 to 2020.
Other findings in the report include:
For the first half of the year, 53 percent of all new electric capacity installed has come from solar. Through the first half of the year, a new solar project has been installed every 3.2 minutes.
All three PV market segments grew significantly year over year. Over 6,500 megawatts of PV is predicted to come online in 2014, representative of a 36 percent growth over last year's record installation levels.
There are over half a million solar installations now online in the U.S. The U.S. solar market topped the gigawatt mark for the third consecutive quarter to settle at 1,133 megawatts. That represents a 21 percent growth over the second quarter of last year and brings cumulative installed solar capacity to 15,900 MW, enough to power more than 3.2 million average American homes.
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