US Residential and Commercial Installed Solar PV Prices Still Dropping

According to the latest edition of Lawrence Berkley National Lab’s (LBNL’s) “Tracking the Sun” report, the median installed price for a solar PV system in the first part of 2018 was $2.2/W for a large non-residential system (up to 5 MW in capacity), representing a 5 percent decline over the previous period.

The report reveals installed prices and other trends among distributed photovoltaic (PV) systems in the U.S., based on an underlying dataset of more than 1.3 million PV systems (with transaction prices for 770,000 systems). This latest edition focuses primarily on trends through year-end 2017, with preliminary data for the first half of 2018.

Residential prices declined 6 percent with a median price for an installed system of $3.7/W. Small non-residential systems declined 11 percent to $3.1/W. Data for the first half of 2018 show an additional drop of $0.1/W for residential and small non-residential systems, and no change for large non-residential systems.

These trends are consistent with the pace of price declines since 2014, said LBNL, and mark a slowing from the years immediately preceding (2009-2013) when prices fell by roughly $1/W per year.

The report also found that installed prices vary widely across individual projects and across states. The lowest price for an installed PV system is in Nevada with a median price of $2.6/W and the highest price was in Rhode Island at $4.5/W.

You can download the full report at this link. 

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at

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