Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Price Of US Distributed Solar Fell 10-20% In 2014, Trend Continuing In 2015

The price of installed distributed solar PV systems in the US has fallen dramatically in 2014, and the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory expects that trend to continue into 2015.

Figures at the heart of Berkeley Labs’ latest edition of Tracking the Sun show that the installed price of distributed solar PV in the US for residential and small non-residential systems completed in 2014 was $0.40 per-watt lower than in 2013 (percentage declines of 9% and 10% respectively), and prices for large non-residential systems were $0.70 per-watt lower (a 21% decline on 2013 levels).

“This marked the fifth consecutive year of significant price reductions for distributed PV systems in the U.S.,” notes Galen Barbose of Berkeley Lab’s Electricity Markets and Policy Group, and the lead author of the report.


This trend is also expected to continue, if figures from the first half of 2015 are anything to go by, with installed prices within a number of large US state markets falling by an additional $0.20 to $0.50 per-watt.

The steady decline in distributed solar has not been attributed to the cost of the systems themselves, with Berkeley Labs instead attributing the decline in “soft” cost reductions — ie, things such as marketing and customer acquisition, system design, installation labor, and permitting and inspections. The authors of the report conclude that “soft cost reductions are partly due to steady increases in system size and module efficiency, though likely also reflect a broad and sustained emphasis within the industry and among policy-makers on addressing soft costs.”

Interestingly, despite this continuing decline in price, the authors of the report still conclude that the “installed prices in the United States are higher than in most other major national PV markets.” Specifically, the installed prices for residential and non-residential systems less than 500 kW in size are substantially lower in other key solar markets, including Germany, China, and Australia — a disparity that the authors believe can be “primarily attributable to differences in soft costs.”

There is also a high level of price variability in PV system pricing across the US market. For example, among residential systems sold in the US in 2014, 20% sold for less than $3.50 per-watt, while another 20% sold for more than $5.30 per-watt — and there is a similar variability in pricing amongst non-residential systems as well.

“This variability reflects a host of factors: differences in system design and component selection, market and regulatory conditions, and installer characteristics, to name a few,” explained Berkeley Lab’s Naïm Darghouth, another of the report’s authors.

The report, Tracking the Sun VIII: The Installed Price of Residential and Non-Residential Photovoltaic Systems in the United States, is the eighth edition in Berkeley Lab’s Tracking the Sun report series.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Autonomous Drones for Better Farming

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

On March 29, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released Advancing Offshore Wind Energy in the United States, U.S. Department of Energy Strategic...

Clean Power

New Berkeley Lab study finds a dramatic increase in estimated project output coupled with a decrease in surrounding sound levels for future turbines as...


Fact of the Week #1282, March 20, 2023: The Number of Light-Duty All-Electric Vehicle Models Nearly Doubled from Model Year 2021 to 2022 The...

Clean Power

Berkeley Lab study shows how deep cost reductions in clean technology and India’s renewable and lithium edge can enable a pathway for cost-effective energy...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.