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Installed solar cost fell sharply in 2010.


BERKELEY, Calif. -- Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have released a study that shows the average installed costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the U.S. remained largely unchanged from 2008 to 2009, before beginning a steep decline in 2010.

The study examined 78,000 grid-connected PV systems installed between 1998 and 2009 in 16 states. It found that average installed costs, in 2009 dollars, declined by 30% from $10.80/W in 1998 to $7.50/W in 2009, equivalent to an average annual reduction of $0.30/W, or 3.2% per year in real dollars. Focusing on two of the largest solar markets, California and New Jersey, costs in the first six to 10 months of 2010 already dropped an additional 14% and 16%, respectively, relative to 2009.

For commercial PV systems, the average combined after-tax value of federal and state investment tax credits (ITCs), plus direct cash incentives provided by state and local incentive programs, was $3.90/W in 2009, down slightly from its peak in 2006 but still a near-record-high. Total after-tax incentives for residential systems rose by more than a third to $3.90/W in 2009 due to the elimination of the $2,000 cap on the Federal ITC for residential systems that had previously been in place.

The report "Tracking the Sun III: The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the U.S. from 1998-2009," by Galen Barbose, Nairn Darghouth, and Ryan Wiser, may be downloaded from ea/emp/re-pubs.html.

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Title Annotation:INDUSTRY NEWS
Publication:ASHRAE Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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