The path to US$0.015/kWh solar power, and lower

a reprint from pv magazine

While we’ve seen prices for solar power installations globally fall well below one U.S. dollar per watt, it was only relatively recently (later in 2016, early 2017) that those prices were seen in the United States. And with the effects of tariffs on imported solar panels under Section 201, there are some projects that might have been under that number that won’t come to be – yet.
GTM Research did the math as part of a presentation by Research Manager Scott Moskowitz at GTM’s Solar Summit, Trends in Solar Technology and System Prices, which projects that utility scale fixed-tilt systems could reach 70 U.S. cents per watt by 2022.

It should be noted that the Section 201 tariff is scheduled to end in early 2022, and that to qualify for the 22% Solar Investment Tax Credit (the last year before it goes to 10% indefinitely) you must break ground in 2021 and complete the project before the end of 2023.
GTM Research projects savings from a range of areas. The largest savings come from the solar panels – expected to fall from from 37¢ per watt (W) today to 24¢/W by 2022, a 35% drop. Much of this price decrease could come from efficiency increases alone. pv magazine staff projects that by 2022, the average utility scale panel efficiency could be 20% – a 17-25% increase over the average 16-17% efficiencies used today.

GTM Research does caution that it will be harder to wring costs out of other parts of the system. For instance they showed inverter pricing slow from the historical 10-20% a year price declines to 5-10% price declines starting in 2019.
However they do sneak in a very optimistic slide – a bifacial solar module, single-axis tracker system whose performance gains versus regular modules mounted on single-axis trackers was 13%. ... continue reading