U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System Cost Benchmark: Q1 2017

Research output: NRELPresentation


NREL has been modeling U.S. photovoltaic (PV) system costs since 2009. This year, our report benchmarks costs of U.S. solar PV for residential, commercial, and utility-scale systems built in the first quarter of 2017 (Q1 2017). Costs are represented from the perspective of the developer/installer, thus all hardware costs represent the price at which components are purchased by the developer/installer, not accounting for preexisting supply agreements or other contracts. Importantly, the benchmark this year (2017) also represents the sales price paid to the installer; therefore, it includes profit in the cost of the hardware, along with the profit the installer/developer receives, as a separate cost category. However, it does not include any additional net profit, such as a developer fee or price gross-up, which are common in the marketplace. We adopt this approach owing to the wide variation in developer profits in all three sectors, where project pricing is highly dependent on region and project specifics such as local retail electricity rate structures, local rebate and incentive structures, competitive environment, and overall project or deal structures.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages66
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

This publication is associated with Technical Report NREL/TP-6A20-68925.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-68580


  • bottom up cost model
  • capital cost
  • LCOE
  • photovoltaics
  • solar PV cost


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