Solar energy reports highlight dominant trends in the USDecember 8, 2012
National laboratories release reports concerning the US solar energy market
The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory has teamed with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in releasing two reports concerning solar energy pricing throughout the country. Solar energy has been gaining ground in the U.S. for some time, backed by government incentives and strong investments from the private sector. The support surrounding solar energy, especially that coming from the federal government, has helped significantly reduce the price of this form of renewable power, according to both reports from the laboratories.
Report details dropping costs of solar energy technologies
The first report — Photovoltaic (PV) Pricing Trends: Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projection — offers an analysis of how the price of solar energy technologies have been affected by the efforts of the Department of Energy and other interested parties. The report is meant to help provide the federal agency and those investing in solar energy understand t he various market trends that are affecting the burgeoning industry. The report helps provide some clarity amidst the constant stream of reports concerning the photovoltaic market, many of which introduce conflicting information concerning the state and support of solar energy.
Soft costs could present opportunities for more government support
The second report — Benchmarking Non-Hardware Balance of System (Soft) Costs for U.S. Photovoltaic Systems Using a Data-Driven Analysis from PV Installer Survey Results — provides the results of a Department of Energy-sponsored survey concerning the balance-of-system costs of solar energy systems. These costs are often called “business process” or “soft” costs. The report shows that soft costs made up approximately 50% of a typical solar energy system’s price, with the majority of these costs being seen in the residential sector. The report suggests that the prevalence of soft costs could help the federal government develop more aggressive cost-reduction strategies that help further the adoption of solar energy.
Solar energy sector may be poised for significant growth
Solar energy may soon receive significantly more attention from the U.S. government, especially if officials can see the potential benefits of supporting this form of power. If solar energy can become a cost-effective pursuit for the government, there may be many more incentives on the way that could help make solar energy systems much more attractive for consumers and businesses.