Utility-scale US solar costs down 17% in Q3 2015, finds EnergyTrend

Analysis reveals 17% fall in installed cost of large-scale solar in the U.S. in the third quarter of last year compared to 2014; continued cost decrease will spur demand for 2016.

Data compiled by EnergyTrend has found that the cost of installed large-scale solar in the U.S. has fallen by 17% year-on-year for the third quarter (Q3) of 2015, with this price trend set to continue into to 2016 and prompting an uptick in PV demand.

EnergyTrend’s analysis found that the average installed cost of utility-scale PV in the U.S. fell to $1.38/W in Q3 last year, compared to $1.66/W in the same quarter the year prior.

The cost direction will continue to fall into 2016 as PV electricity inches closer to grid parity in more and more global markets. At the same time, market expansion for utility-scale solar will occur in many locations worldwide in 2016, with ‘emerging’ markets such as India, Chile and the Philippines poised all set to build on an encouraging 12 months in terms of large-scale deployment.

Patrick Lin, analyst at EnergyTrend, believes that the average installed cost of utility-scale solar systems will fall a further 15% globally between now and the end of 2017, with LCOE of PV in some regional markets set to fall to just $0.07/kWh or lower during this timeframe.

At such rates, PV electricity globally would be cost-competitive with coal-fired power plants, and in most places below that of natural gas power plants.

Continued price decreases in module costs will further drive this trend, while efficiency improvements in mainstream multi-Si products will deliver a progressive and sustained increase in efficiency, further bringing down PV’s LCOE, the analyst added.