Clean Power

Published on August 13th, 2015 | by Derek Markham

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Pick My Solar Picks On California Solar Initiative Data

August 13th, 2015 by  

pickmysolar-q2-2015The online solar marketplace Pick My Solar has released its own report on the California solar market after finding “large discrepancies” with the data from the California Solar Initiative (CSI).

According to Pick My Solar, the average cost-per-watt data from CSI is off by 39%, at least partly due to what it calls “exhausted utility solar rebates” that have kept the CSI data out of date.

“The statistics the CSI is looking at are limited for the most part to where utility rebates still remain. Many third-party owned systems that are reported to CSI are based off of bloated prices for tax purposes. If homeowners are truly purchasing solar systems at the CSI reported $5.37 per watt [July 15, 2015 update], we’re not doing our job of promoting solar transparency.” – Max Aram, CEO of Pick My Solar

Pick My Solar’s first data report on the California solar market, which covers the second quarter of 2015, was built using data from bids placed on the company’s bidding platform, as well as from bids analyzed through Pick My Solar’s free “quote advising service.” The report found that the average cost of residential solar in the state of California has dropped to $3.60 per watt (down 2.9% from Q1), as opposed to the $5.32 per watt stated on CSI’s statistics page, and an additional drop of 2.5% in cost per watt for residential solar is predicted for Q3.

A few of the other highlights from Pick My Solar’s report:

  • Q4 will probably see a slight increase (3.5%) in cost per watt for residential solar over Q3
  • Bids for solar systems that include PV modules with “higher brand awareness” have a 6.4% higher closing rate, despite the higher cost
  • In Q2, solar installers who bid systems with micro-inverters or optimizers were more than four times as likely to close the deals as those who bid systems with string inverters
  • The average size of a residential solar array increased to about 6.5 kW during the first two quarters of 2015, compared to an average system size of 6.25 kW in 2014


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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!



  • Marion Meads

    That’s the problem with Solar PV industry in the US. If they know that you are going to have tax credits or state subsidies, they jack up the prices accordingly. They want to pocket your rebates, in effect fleecing out the government, and solar PV is not widely adopted because prices remain high.

    • phineasjw

      You’ve also exactly described why the average college tuition is $100K+. There’s a massive disconnect between good intentions and reality, across the board.

      The solar industry is ripe for an Elon Musk-style massive disruption that addresses installation time, installation technology, and costs.

      • Marion Meads

        SolarCity is overrun by accountants, so they have the highest quote for Residential Solar Installation across the entire USA. Record breaking freakingly highest price!

    • wattleberry

      One way to combat these aberrations of capitalism is to highlight them in your letters. Competition is supposed to control them but the natural drift to monopoly prevents it, abetted by corrupt politicians who are failing to thwart the process. The Germans seem to be the exception so the obvious course is to learn from their system, remembering that, whatever the U.S. shortcomings, the cost to the consumer is a fraction of Europe’s.

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