The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory this week released a comprehensive study on the cost of going solar in the United States. No surprise that the cost of installing a photovoltaic solar system has fallen 30 percent over the past decade, but there are some interesting developments. For instance, California may be the biggest solar state but it’s not the cheapest. As I write in The New York Times on Friday:
The cost of going solar fell last year, resuming a decade-long decline after several years of flat prices, according to a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The report found that the installed cost of residential and commercial photovoltaic systems in the United States dropped 30 percent overall between 1998 and 2008. But prices had become relatively stagnant between 2005 and 2007, as demand spiked and solar module makers ramped up production.
The global economic meltdown, however, along with a resulting oversupply of modules, led the cost of installing a solar system last year to fall from $7.80 in a watt to $7.50 a watt — though the actual cost to homeowners actually increased slightly as state incentives for installing solar arrays fell faster than module prices.
In states like California, the per-watt rebate declines as more solar systems are installed.
Among other findings: the researchers, who reviewed data from the installations of 52,356 solar systems, discovered that it is 10 percent less expensive to install a solar array on a new home than to retrofit an existing home.
And although California is by far the largest solar market in the United States with 81 percent of all installed photovoltaic systems, it isn’t the cheapest place to install small-scale solar.
That distinction goes to Arizona, where the installed cost of solar systems smaller than 10 kilowatts was $7.30 per watt compared to $8.20 per watt in California.
You can read the rest of the story here.