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Solar Market Research and Analysis Publications

NREL researchers and analysts publish a variety of documents related to solar market research and analysis, including journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, white papers, and presentations.

Featured Publications

Best Practices Guide for Photovoltaic System Operations and Maintenance: This best-practices report on photovoltaic (PV) operations and maintenance (O&M) released by NREL and the PV O&M Working Group provides valuable insights on improving the performance of PV systems, extending their lifespan, and saving costs. The report is an expanded edition of an interim report published in 2015.

Cost-Reduction Roadmap for Residential Solar Photovoltaics (PV), 2017–2030: This report presents a roadmap for achieving the SETO 2030 residential PV cost target of $0.05 /kWh by identifying and quantifying cost reduction opportunities.

Distribution Grid Integration Unit Cost Database: This database contains unit cost information for different components that may be used to integrated distributed solar PV onto distribution systems. The database is focused on hardware and software costs, and the data was collected from a variety of utilities, PV developers, technology vendors, and published research reports.

The Effects of Market Concentration on Residential Solar PV Prices: Competition, Installer Scale, and Soft Costs: This study explores the relationships between competition, installer scale, PV soft costs, and final, installed prices. It finds that residential solar photovoltaic prices are minimized through an optimal balance of competition and installer scale.

The Evolving Market Structure of the U.S. Residential Solar PV Installation Industry, 2000-2016: This study shows that over 8,000 companies have installed at least one residential solar (PV) system and that the residential PV installation industry has become more concentrated over time.

Identifying Potential Markets for Behind-the-Meter Battery Energy Storage: A Survey of U.S. Demand Charges: Commercial electricity customers who are subject to high demand charges may be able to reduce overall costs using battery energy storage to manage demand, according to this report by NREL.

Installed Cost Benchmarks and Deployment Barriers for Residential Solar with Energy Storage: This report provides detailed component and system-level cost breakdowns for residential PV-plus-storage systems to date and quantifies previously unknown soft costs for the first time.

Reducing Energy Burden with Solar: Colorado’s Strategy and Roadmap for States: This report analyzes Colorado’s strategy to support low-income PV adoption and generates lessons for other states considering similar programs.

Rooftop Solar Technical Potential for Low-to-Moderate Income Households in the United States: Relying on LiDAR scans, Census data, and complex statistical analysis, this report provides a novel assessment of the solar generation potential in low-to-moderate income (LMI) households in the United States, demonstrating that LMI rooftop solar could contribute up to 42 percent of all rooftop technical potential in the residential sector.

Solar Buyer's Markets: Potential PV Price Savings of Online Quote Platforms: A series of NREL reports detail how solar PV customers can obtain lower prices by obtaining quotes through online platforms.

Solar Economies of Scope through the Intersection of Four Industries: PV Installation, Electrical, Construction, and Roofing: This study shows that most solar installers are licensed to provide related services such as electrical contracting, construction, and roofing, and that installers with multiple technical backgrounds offer lower prices.

Solar Plus: A Holistic Approach to Distributed Solar PV: This report analyzes “solar plus,” an emerging approach to distributed solar PV deployment that uses energy storage and controllable devices to optimize customer economics.

Unlocking Solar for Low- and Moderate-Income Residents: A Matrix of Promising Financing Options: This report examines the effectiveness of 13 financing options to support PV deployment for low- and moderate-income residents across different housing types and community solar projects.

U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System Cost Benchmark: Q1 2017: This report benchmarks PV costs, showing that the installed cost of solar power fell to record lows in the first quarter of 2017 because of the continuing decline in PV module and inverter prices, higher module efficiency, and lower labor costs.

More Publications

Find additional solar market analysis publications by searching the NREL publication database.