US solar power costs fall 60% in just 18 months

20. September 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Ian Clover

The cost of solar power in the U.S. is now 60% cheaper than it was in early 2011, according to a joint report by the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research.

The cost of solar installations in the U.S. has fallen by a much as 60% since the first quarter of 2011, according to the SEIA.

The latest quarterly report from SEIA and GTM Research has revealed that solar panel costs in the second quarter of 2013 were down by 60% on the first quarter of 2011.

Overall, solar PV system prices have fallen by an average of 40% during that same period, and by as much as 50% when compared to 2010 prices, according to the report.

"Quarter-over-quarter, the national average price declined by 9.3% from $3.36/W to $3.05/W, while dropping 11.1% from $3.43/W one year ago," states the SEIA report. "From Q2 2012 to Q2 2013, residential system prices fell 11.5%… and non-residential system prices fell 14.7%. During the same period, installed costs decreased by 5.4%."

The report added: "States with SREC markets, such as New Jersey and Delaware, saw significant price declines since installers must continue to keep margins razor-thin given low SREC prices."

In tandem with the continuing price falls, the U.S. solar industry continues to expand at near-record rates. The second quarter of 2013 was the second-largest quarter in U.S. solar history (trailng Q4’12), with 832 MW of power installed.

As a result of this growth, the country is on course to surpass 10 GW by the end of the year, with enough solar power installed to power 1.5 million homes – the equivalent of the fifth- and sixth-largest cities in the country, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

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