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Installed Cost Benchmarks and Deployment Barriers for Residential Solar with Energy Storage

Researchers from NREL published a report that provides detailed component and system-level cost breakdowns for residential photovoltaic (PV)-plus-storage systems to date and quantifies previously unknown soft costs for the first time.

Declining costs in customer-side energy-storage products have opened the door for batteries to improve the value and flexibility of residential PV systems, while concurrent falling costs in PV technologies have been driving the growing adoption of combined PV and storage solutions. However, gaps remain in developing an in-depth understanding of the costs of combined PV and battery systems and in effectively communicating their value proposition.

Through in-depth analysis of those costs and barriers to adoption, the report provides technology manufacturers, installers, and other stakeholders with invaluable information to help guide their efforts to identify cost reduction opportunities. In addition, decision makers are informed about regulatory, policy, and market characteristics that are headwinds to further growth.

The analysis covers alternating current (AC)- and direct current (DC)-coupled systems for residential use, as well as retrofitting batteries to installed arrays, and the costs of enhancing the resiliency benefits of the combined system by switching to a battery with greater capacity. Both systems are designed to provide back-up power for critical loads in the event of a grid outage, and they enable a typical customer to optimize self-consumption of PV electricity—including peak-demand shaving and time-of-use shifting.

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This research is supported by the Energy Department's Solar Energy Technologies Office.