Construction Costs for Solar Generation Continues to Decrease

by | Sep 3, 2019

(Source: Energy Information Association.)


The average US construction costs for solar generation continues to decrease, according to research from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

According to 2017 data from the EIA for newly constructed utility-scale electric generators in the United States, annual capacity-weighted average construction costs for solar photovoltaic systems continued to decrease. At the same time, costs for onshore wind turbines and natural gas generators increased slightly. These three generation technologies accounted for more than 97% of total capacity added to the grid in the United States in 2017.

The report notes that since 2013, average costs for solar photovoltaic generators have fallen by 37%, wind by 13%, and natural gas by 4.7%. Total investment in US electric generating capacity in 2017 decreased by 27% from the previous year. The main reason for the decrease in cost of solar photovoltaics was the falling costs of crystalline silicon axis-based tracking panels, which accounted for more than half of the solar photovoltaic capacity added in 2017. The lowest average construction cost for this component was $2,135per kW in 2017.

While the cost of solar generation construction continues to decrease, investment in corporate solar continues to increase. According to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the top 10 corporate solar users include Apple, Amazon, Target and Walmart.

The SEIA’s Solar Means Business 2018 report includes data from onsite and offsite installations, tracking more than 7,000 MW of installed solar capacity across 35,000 projects. These are up from the previous report, for 2017, which tracked 2,500 MW and 7,000 projects.


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