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How Much Do Local Regulations Matter? Exploring the Impact of Permitting and Local Regulatory Processes on PV Prices in the United States

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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. This research report, authored by experts from Yale University, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin and the US Department of Energy, focuses on the impacts of city-level permitting and other regulatory processes on residential PV prices in the US. 

Key Findings:

  • The most onerous local permitting procedures can raise the cost of a system by as much as $0.18/W
  • When including regulatory procedures with permitting procedures, price differences grew to $0.64-0.93/W between the most-onerous and most-favorable jurisdictions
    • For a typical 5-kW residential PV installation, this is approximately a $2,500 (8%) between jurisdictions with scores in the middle 90 percent of the range.
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