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Solar Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis

NREL conducts levelized cost of energy (LCOE) analysis for photovoltaic (PV) technologies to benchmark PV costs over time and help PV researchers understand the impacts of their work.

This analysis can include LCOE benchmarking and tracking progress against U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Targets, exploring pathways to reduced LCOE, and understanding LCOE drivers to guide research, development, and investment decisions.

Bar chart showing decreasing levelized cost of energy for various situations compared to a 2015 benchmark.
NREL's LCOE analysis helped inform this pathway to achieving the Department of Energy's 2020 SunShot cost target.

Levelized Cost of Energy Calculator

This simple levelized cost of energy calculator is intended to help PV researchers with limited knowledge of costs and markets quickly estimate how their ideas might influence LCOE. It also helps them examine different trade-offs between cost and performance.

This tool compliments other resources, such as the NREL System Advisor Model, that can be used for more detailed project-specific analyses.

Publications

Technology Advances Needed for Photovoltaics to Achieve Widespread Grid Price Parity, Progress in Photovoltaics (2016)

The Role of Advancements in Solar Photovoltaic Efficiency, Reliability, and Costs, NREL Technical Report (2016)

Find more solar manufacturing cost analysis publications.

Tutorials

Watch these video tutorials to learn how NREL analyzes PV projects with regards to LCOE, internal rate of return, and levelized cost of solar plus storage. They are part of NREL's Solar Techno-Economic Analysis Tutorials video series

Levelized Cost of Electricity and Internal Rate of Return Calculations for PV Projects

Levelized Cost of Solar Plus Storage