Utilities have taken on the practice of applying standby and fixed cost charges specific to solar PV for customers choosing to go solar as a means to recover costs resulting from net energy metering (NEM).
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While PV modules and other hardware costs have dropped significantly over recent years, non-hardware soft costs have also fallen, but not nearly as sharply.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released a report that breaks down the ‘soft costs’ associated with the installation of residential and commercial photovoltaic systems in greater detail than ever before, with detailed looks at customer acquisition and system design costs, as well as permitting, inspection and interconnection costs.
A new study from the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Georgia Tech Research Institute finds that U.S PV installation labor costs can be decreased from $0.49/watt to $0.29/watt by utilizing installation best practices. Researchers studied installation practices at 26 sites in the U.S. and Germany to determine current practices and future opportunities.