US solar power costs fall 60% in just 18 months


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.