Berkeley Lab: U.S. PV contract prices fall to at or below $50/MWh in 2015

first_imgBerkeley Lab: U.S. PV contract prices fall to at or below $50/MWh in 2015The national lab’s latest report finds ongoing declines in PV system prices, with residential system prices falling to $4 per watt in 2015. August 24, 2016 Christian Roselund Legal Markets Markets & Policy Share Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) is one of the most respected research organizations in the United States for solar research. For years the lab has been the definitive source of information on solar PV costs through their reports, both at the utility-scale and distributed levels. Today LBNL released its ninth annual version of its Tracking the Sun report, which looks at pricing trends for distributed PV, as well as its Utility-Scale Solar 2015 report. Both of these reports look at 2015 pricing trends, and document ongoing progress at both scales.According to Tracking the Sun 9, average installed prices for distributed PV fell $0.20 per watt in 2015, 5% year-over-year for residential systems to around $4.00 per watt and by $0.30 per watt for “non-residential” systems, which includes the commercial and industrial market. Since Tracking the Sun looks at “non-residential” systems at two scales, the average price declines were slightly different, with the larger systems falling 9% to around $2.50 per watt and the smaller systems falling 7% to around $3.50 per watt. LBNL also notes preliminary data for the first six months of 2016 shows continuing price declines in most states and market segments.Even larger price declines are being seen in the utility-scale segment, where prices have fallen 12% to an average of just over $2 per watt. However, this average conceals a wide range of actual prices, with the cheapest 20% coming in at under $1.60 per watt and the most expensive 20% at over $2.60 per watt. LBNL also documents the collapse in solar contract pricing which has been widely reported in pv magazine and elsewhere. Due to both lower installed project costs and higher capacity factors, the reports estimate that levelized power purchase agreement (PPA) prices for utility-scale projects have fallen by $20-30 annually on average from 2006 through 2013.The result is that in 2015 most PPAs were priced at or below $50 per megawatt-hour, with a few at around $30/MWh. Researchers say this is enabling the geographic spread of solar PV. “Falling PPA prices have enabled the utility-scale market to expand beyond the traditional strongholds of California and the Southwest into up-and-coming regions like Texas, the Southeast, and even the Midwest,” stated Berkeley Lab’s Mark Bolinger. Along with this fall in price, capacity factors (CF) – the ratio of actual output to stated capacity – are rising for utility-scale solar. LBNL estimates a 21% CF for projects built in 2010, but a 27% CF for projects built in 2014. Part of this is the increased use of tracking systems. Only 12% of the systems built in 2010 utilized tracking, but this number had risen to 61% in 2014.This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: [email protected] content ITRPV: Large formats are here to stay Mark Hutchins 29 April 2021 pv-magazine.com The 2021 edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) was published today by German engineering association VDMA. 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In the Europea… Enabling aluminum in batteries Mark Hutchins 27 April 2021 pv-magazine.com Scientists in South Korea and the UK demonstrated a new cathode material for an aluminum-ion battery, which achieved impressive results in both speci… The Hydrogen Stream: 20 MW green hydrogen plant in Finland, two Australian projects move forward Sergio Matalucci 20 April 2021 pv-magazine.com Storegga, Shell and Harbour Energy want to set up a 20 MW blue hydrogen production facility in the U.K. Australia’s Origin Energy wants to build a hy… ITRPV: Large formats are here to stay Mark Hutchins 29 April 2021 pv-magazine.com The 2021 edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) was published today by German engineering association VDMA. The re… 123456iAbout these recommendationsShare Christian Roselund Christian Roselund served as US editor at pv magazine from 2014 to 2019. Prior to this he covered global solar policy, markets and technology for Solar Server, and has written about renewable energy for CleanTechnica, German Energy Transition, Truthout, The Guardian (UK), and IEEE Spectrum.More articles from Christian Roselund [email protected] Related content Submarine cable to connect 10.5 GW wind-solar complex in Morocco to the UK grid Emiliano Bellini 22 April 2021 pv-magazine.com UK-based Xlinks is planning to build 10.5 GW of wind and solar in Morocco and sell the power generated by the huge plant in the UK. Solar park built on rough wooden structures comes online in France Gwénaëlle Deboutte 26 April 2021 pv-magazine.com French company Céléwatt energized its 250 kW ground-mounted array, built with mounting structures made of raw oak wood.… The weekend read: PV feed in, certified pv magazine 1 May 2021 pv-magazine.com As more renewable energy capacity is built, commissioned, and connected, grid stability concerns are driving rapid regulatory changes. 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