New report shines light on installed costs and deployment barriers for residential solar PV with energy storage

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are making available the most detailed component and system-level cost breakdowns to date for residential photovoltaic (PV) solar systems equipped with energy storage-and quantifying previously unknown soft costs for the first time.

The report, titled "Installed Cost Benchmarks and Deployment Barriers for Residential Solar Photovoltaics with Energy Storage: Q1 2016," was written by researchers from NREL, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the Energy Department.

"There is rapidly growing interest in pairing distributed PV with storage, but there's a lack of publicly available cost data and analysis," said Kristen Ardani, lead author of the report and a solar technology markets and policy analyst at NREL. "By expanding NREL's well-established component- and system-level cost modeling methodology for solar PV technologies to PV-plus-storage systems, this report is the first in a series of benchmark reports that will document progress in cost reductions for the emerging PV-plus-storage market over time."

Declining in customer-side energy-storage products have opened the door for batteries to improve the value and flexibility of residential PV systems while falling costs in PV technologies have been driving the growing adoption of combined PV and storage solutions. However, gaps remain in developing an in-depth understanding of the costs of combined PV and battery systems and in effectively communicating their value proposition.

Through in-depth analysis of those costs and barriers to adoption, the report's authors provide technology manufacturers, installers, and other stakeholders with invaluable information to help guide their efforts to identify cost reduction opportunities. In addition, the analysis informs decision makers on market factors that are headwinds to further growth.

The analysis covers alternating current (AC)- and direct current (DC)-coupled systems for residential use, as well as retrofitting batteries to installed arrays, and the costs of enhancing the resiliency benefits of the combined system by switching to a battery with greater capacity. Both systems are designed to provide back-up power for critical loads in the event of a grid outage, and they enable a typical customer to optimize self-consumption of PV electricity-including peak-demand shaving and time-of-use shifting.

The authors separate installed system cost into 13 categories that range from direct hardware costs, such as the PV modules and batteries themselves, to soft costs that include items such as labor for installations, permitting and inspections, and net profits. The resulting cost for a DC-coupled system that integrates a 5.6-kilowatt (kW) PV array and a 3-kW/6-kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery is $27,703, which is roughly half hardware costs and half soft costs. An AC-coupled system, which can be more effective in applications that tend to use the energy from the PV array at the time of generation, costs $1,865 more if the battery is installed at the same time as the array. In settings where the battery is retrofitted to an existing AC-coupled system, the cost is increased by $3,218 to $32,786. The system design that provides for greater resiliency with a 5-kW/20-kWh battery costs $45,237 when DC-coupled and $47,171 when AC-coupled.

This granular cost breakdown offers deeper insights into the potential for cost reductions than simply looking at price trends or hardware costs alone. It also provides critical information on where stakeholders should focus cost-reduction efforts. This cost benchmarking will be updated periodically to allow the tracking over time of the progress in declining costs.

This in-depth cost analysis and accompanying stakeholder interviews also uncovered key barriers to adoption of combined PV-and-storage systems. These challenges vary across different contexts, but include inconsistent permitting processes, complexity in adequately valuing the benefits of energy storage, and flat utility rates. The authors discuss steps to consider in reducing these barriers and decreasing associated costs, such as the importance of educating permitting officials about storage technologies.

This research is supported by the DOE's SunShot Initiative, a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. SunShot aims to make solar energy a low cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners. For residential PV, the SunShot goal is to get to $0.09/kWh by 2020 and $0.05/kWh by 2030.

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Citation: New report shines light on installed costs and deployment barriers for residential solar PV with energy storage (2017, March 29) retrieved 17 October 2019 from
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Mar 29, 2017
Energy storage is always a high cost option for a domestic installation.

Unless you are paid more by the utility company to smart provide energy on demand or own an electric vehicle to free charge. Why would you want such an expensive installation option?

I just keep 6kWh in cheap lead acid batteries to keep freezer and boiler and lights running during power cuts.

But its good they are looking at the costs as EV's will become common; and the grid will overload without assistance from stored renewables.

Mar 29, 2017
Storage solutions are just now being thrown onto the market. As battery technology progresses I'm pretty sure we'll see ever cheaper systems. Maybe power companies will incentivize owning storage solutions if - in turn - the power company is able to use part of the capacity to buffer the system. That might be cheaper for them than building large buffer installations themselves.

The soft benefit is, of course, that in the event of a natural disaster that cuts off powerlines (blizzard, earthquake, storm, sabotage) you'll be self sufficient enough until power lines are restored. I could see a lot of people in colder regions - where such power outages have happened in the past - would welcome that prospect.

Mar 29, 2017
"Declining costs in customer-side energy-storage products have opened the door for batteries to improve the value and flexibility of residential PV systems"
Intermittent renewables are ever cheaper, good for economy, it creates a lot of jobs, slave jobs.
"The Hidden Risks of Batteries: Child Labor, Modern Slavery, and Weakened Land and Water Rights"

Mar 29, 2017

"As Westinghouse declares bankruptcy, what happens to the nuke plants it's building?"

Okay, Willie, is the Southern Company going to default on that $8,300,000,000 guaranteed loan from the government?

Why should we trust this insane and deadly nuclear industry again?

Mar 29, 2017
Who is deadlier?
Fukushima and Three Mile Island: zero deaths from radiation exposure.
Meanwhile, intermittent renewable industry is enslaving foreign children to drop their costs down.

Mar 29, 2017
You dodged the question, Willie, . . . like you did about the hundreds of billions of dollars and four decades of scientists and engineers and managers who will be tied up trying to "clean up" the radioactive hell of Fukushima Daiichi Units One, Two and Three.

My residential solar carries no such concerns.

Nor costs.

Mar 30, 2017
EyeNStein, glad that you mentioned EVs, which were omitted from the report, which is a major flaw, especially when the subject is residential storage.

The prime candidates for residential solar are single family homes, many of which have driveways, with an increasing potential to be occupied by an EV or two as their prices come down. These EVs will have 10's of kWh of storage, e.g., the GM Bolt has 60 kWh of battery capacity. As the EV battery technology improves, the useful life of batteries will far exceed the life of the rest of the EV.

At the moment, an assumed life cycle of 1000, averaging 45 kWh each, would translate into 180,000 miles (15 years @ 12,000 mi./yr) traveled, assuming 4 miles/kWh. The battery's calendar life may become an issue which would be an incentive for EV owners to find alternative uses for the battery's capabilities, i.e., use it before you lose it.

Mar 30, 2017
The marriage of PV and EV is so good, it seems to be natural. When we generate, the grid needs it, and when we charge, the grid has too much capacity and needs to keep its baseload plants busy.

In California, a bill is in process which will add more gas tax and a $100/year EV tax to pay for roads.

Mar 31, 2017
Who is deadlier?

Go take a picture of the "Chernobyl Elephants foot" for me. Just get close enough to it to take a picture. Then come back and tell me how safe you are.

Mar 31, 2017
Instead, how about a single picture of the intensely-radioactive messes at Fukushima? They cannot harden robots sufficiently against radiation to survive the trip.

Back to solar, the biggest obstacle now is awareness. We did it because we thought it was the best thing to do as eco-freaks, but it turned out to be not only practical but economically beneficial.

It showed us how the grid-connected panels can provide expensive power for the utility during the day, while using efficient baseload plants at night for charging electric vehicles.

That gets much of the peak load deferred with clean power, and keeps baseload plants running as they were designed.

Everybody wins but the industries dependent on the ICE. We have to prepare for that.

Mar 31, 2017
Go take a picture of the "Chernobyl Elephants foot" for me. Just get close enough to it to take a picture. Then come back and tell me how safe you are.
Then try to put your head inside of a microwave oven to be exposed to microwave radiation, you will die in few seconds, microwave radiation is fatal.
"Artur Korneyev, Deputy Director of Shelter Object, viewing the "elephants foot" lava flow at Chernobyl, 1996. (Photo: US Department of Energy)" Mr. Korneyev is still alive.
Nuclear energy is safer than your microwave oven.

Mar 31, 2017
"Nuclear energy is safer than your microwave oven."

I do not live in my microwave oven.

And the Neutrons from the festering continued fission and decay products are good for you at Fukushima?

The intense environment even kills radiation-hardened robots!

Mar 31, 2017
Antinuclear fearmongers are more responsible for deaths than radiation itself which has killed no one at Fukushima power plant.
But thanks to fearmongers and faux-greens, Japan and Germany are burning more and more coal and other fossil fuels to compensate intermittencies of wind/solar bird-choppers/landscape-destroyers that are far deadlier per unit of energy produced than carbon-free nuclear power.

Mar 31, 2017
"Nuclear energy is safer than your microwave oven."

I do not live in my microwave oven
1- you also do not live withint the reaction chamber of a nuclear power plant

2- emotional OT fear-mongering post

3- i have demonstrated to you more than a few times that it's safer to be next to a working nuclear reactor than flying in a commercial jet, yet you don't advocate for removing commercial air travel due to radiation exposure

because you're hypocritical and inept


because you can't actually discuss this topic with any hard facts, provide any source material that isn't biased, share science or anything related to logic, i will simply abide by your own request...

Mar 31, 2017
Hi Stumpy. :)

Consider: people use planes like they use cars. If there was a safer alternative way to conduct their affairs without flying or living at high altitudes they would choose to not do that; wouldn't you? Your example is not comparable because people with long-distance business/social affairs travel by air when more economical/quicker/convenient.

Similarly, choices are now being made re fossil/nuclear mining/plants. Safer alternatives ARE available, so why would you choose such expensive, dangerous and otherwise longterm problematic fossil/nuclear when newer, cheaper, safer solar-wind-battery and other options can be put into the mix NOW?

PS: Lose the antagonistic personal tone/address; it only serves to demonstrate your non-objectivity from the get-go, and so makes it easy for objective readers to see who has lost the 'argument' between you and your 'target' even before it begins. Do better, mate; for your own sake as well as wider science/humanity discourse. :)

Mar 31, 2017
It's an emotional fixation for that poor guy. I fulfill some need of his to inflict abuse.

He's getting back at someone else, . . long ago, who he cannot reach.

I am his therapy.

Mar 31, 2017
Safer alternatives ARE available...
cheaper, safer solar-wind-battery...
Tell it to Greenpeace, they still use marine diesel instead of windmill generators and solar panels to propel their ship and motorboats across the oceans, Eco-hypocrites.

Apr 01, 2017
Consider: people use planes like they use cars. If there was a safer alternative way to conduct their affairs without flying or living at high altitudes they would choose to not do that; wouldn't you? Your example is not comparable
@idiot earthling club pseudoscience preacher
1- you didn't read that correctly:
it wasn't an example of what people *want* or *choose*, it was an example of ineptitude on the part of liar-kam who was making hypocritical emotional appeals without scientific content

2- if you can't be bothered to actually read what is written ... why do you bother to reply?
PS: Lose the antagonistic personal tone/address
lit is not antagonistic - it is a factual label, just like your label is factually accurate based upon your past demonstrations of pseudoscience, idiocy, and refusal to actually provide empirical evidence for your claims


Apr 01, 2017
"@idiot earthling club pseudoscience preacher"

Could you either outgrow your need for abusing others or just go away?

Apr 13, 2017
Well, California is not the only area going for the 21st Century grid:


"Maryland passes 30% energy storage tax credit for residential, C&I installations"

Renewables are getting so inexpensive we can pay for storage, too, and still come out better than using fossil or nukes for power.

Apr 13, 2017
Renewables are getting so inexpensive...
"Renewables", always a smell of scam in the air.
Not even Greenpeace trusts in these placebos to generate electricity for their vessels.

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