Solar Installed System Cost Analysis
NREL analyzes the total costs associated with installing photovoltaic (PV) systems for residential rooftop, commercial rooftop, and utility-scale ground-mount systems. This work has grown to include cost models for solar-plus-storage systems.
NREL's PV cost benchmarking work uses a bottom-up approach. First, analysts create a set of steps required for system installation. Next, they calculate the hardware, equipment, direct labor, and indirect labor costs associated with each step for a given location and system design. Finally, they add in costs associated with permitting, inspection, interconnection, and other overhead.
These bottom-up models capture the impacts of economies of scale, efficiency, location, system design, and company structure on total costs. NREL uses these insights to develop roadmaps for future cost reductions and to provide context for cost variability observed in the market.
Documenting a Decade of PV Cost Declines, NREL Webinar (2021)
U.S Solar Photovoltaic System Cost Benchmark: Q1 2018, NREL Technical Report (2018)
2018 U.S. Utility-Scale Photovoltaics-Plus-Energy Storage System Cost Benchmark, NREL Technical Report (2018)
Watch this video tutorial to learn how NREL analysts use a bottom-up methodology to model all system and project development costs for different PV systems. It's Part 3 of NREL's Solar Techno-Economic Analysis Tutorials video series.