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  • [ October 10, 2013 ]
  • Study analyzes growing utility-scale solar market

Photo by Kait McKinney / Iowa Energy Center

A new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, exclusively analyzes the growing utility-scale segment of the U.S. solar market.

The report, “Utility-Scale Solar 2012: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States,“ not only looks at installed costs, but also operating costs, capacity factors, and power purchase agreement prices.

As the market becomes more favorable for utility-scale solar, many new projects are cropping up around the nation. This will provide a valuable set of data for market analyses, as researchers at LBNL plan to revisit this data annually.

“With the growth in the market in recent years, we are now able to systematically review actual market data to directly observe what large-scale solar projects cost to build and operate, how they are performing, and at what price they are selling electricity,” notes report co-author Samantha Weaver.

A key highlight from the report is the declining cost of installed project prices. It states that the cost of large-scale or utility-scale solar projects has fallen by one-third in the last five years, making big solar now competitive with wind energy in Southwestern states. Most of the decline has been concentrated in projects using crystalline silicon (“c-Si”) modules or panels.

To learn more about the findings and the report, consider the following sources:

Utility-Scale Solar 2012: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States

Cost of Getting Solar Competitive with Wind, Clean Technica

Electricity from Utility-Scale Solar Plummets, Study Reports, Solar Power World Online

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