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Project: T174700 #0543

This report provides a literature review and analysis into potential changes in the cost of solar PV between a 2017 base year and the year 2030. The key question that this study answers is whether falling PV system costs are likely to make load and/or grid defection from existing utilities economically attractive. This analysis is conducted via an excel workbook that includes a wide range of assumptions on the cost and performance of a typical PV system deployed in four (4) North American locations with varying levels of solar irradiation. The focus of this study is on six (6) different capital cost categories, with a more limited emphasis on the impact of financing and operation and maintenance costs. A literature review was conducted for each cost category to highlight key innovations that are likely to be impactful prior to 2030, and predictions on a $/Watt (DC) basis are then made to create a projected Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE). The size and cost of adding batteries to the PV system is then calculated to determine the viability of full grid defection (i.e. utility disconnection). In all cases this study aimed to make highly aggressive, but plausible, predictions in order to provide a planning tool for the lowest-cost scenario. In general, this study concludes that while deep cost reductions are very likely to continue for PV systems at multiple scales, even this level of cost reduction will not be sufficient to make grid defection a viable option for most consumers. Furthermore, adding fixed charges to bills for net-metered PV systems, even ones much higher than those in use today, is very unlikely to make grid defection attractive economically.


Grid defection, Solar, Photovoltaics, PV, Load defection, Levelized cost of energy, LCOE, PV cell efficiency, Economics, PV economics, Sun-tracking, Batteries, Off-grid, Rooftop, Distributed energy resources, DERs, Utility-scale, Soft costs, Balance of system, BOS, Grid access fee, Single-axis tracking, Capital cost, Operation and maintenance costs, Capacity factor, Solar insolence