2018 U.S. Utility-Scale Photovoltaics-Plus-Energy Storage System Costs Benchmark

Ran Fu, Robert Margolis, Timothy Remo

Research output: NRELPresentation


Market growth for utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems has been rapid for several years. Today, with the cost reductions of energy storage technologies, the combining PV and energy storage has become feasible and beneficial, especially for the areas that have only PV standalone systems and need to shift the peak load to meet electricity demand in the evening. Overall, utility-scale PV plus energy storage systems can provide dispatchable energy and reliable capacity. This study details cost factors, including labor costs, material costs, overhead, and permitting costs using a system-level bottom-up cost modeling approach. We use this model to benchmark PV-plus-storage installation system cost and identify the cost difference for AC- and DC-coupled systems and duration variation. Finally, we assess the cost reduction opportunities of colocating PV systems with energy storage systems in order to indicate the possible economic impacts of the PV-plus-storage configuration and help future research and development (R&D) effects in the context of U.S. energy storage policymaking.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-72401


  • balance of system
  • battery energy storage
  • BOS
  • bottom-up cost model
  • photovoltaic system cost modeling
  • PV
  • Solar DAT
  • solar energy


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