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Effects of Temporal Wind Patterns on the Value of Wind-Generated Electricity in California and the Northwest

Description: Wind power production is variable, but also has diurnal and seasonal patterns. These patterns differ between sites, potentially making electric power from some wind sites more valuable for meeting customer loads or selling in wholesale power markets. This paper investigates whether the timing of wind significantly affects the value of electricity from sites in California and the Northwestern United States. We use both measured and modeled wind data and estimate the time-varying value of wind power with both financial and load-based metrics. We find that the potential difference in wholesale market value between better-correlated and poorly correlated wind sites is modest, on the order of 5-10 percent. A load-based metric, power production during the top 10 percent of peak load hours, varies more strongly between sites, suggesting that the capacity value of different wind projects could vary by as much as 50 percent based on the timing of wind alone.
Date: May 1, 2008
Creator: Wiser, Ryan H; Wiser, Ryan H & Fripp, Matthias
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Using RPS Policies to Grow the Solar Market in the United States

Description: The market for photovoltaics in the United States remains small relative to the nation's solar resource potential. Nonetheless, annual grid-connected PV installations have grown from just 4 MW in 2000 to over 100 MW in 2006, fast enough to the catch the attention of the global solar industry. The state of California deserves much of the credit for this growth. The State's historical rebate programs resulted in roughly 75% of the nation's grid-connected PV additions from 2000 through 2006 being located in California, and the $3 billion California Solar Initiative will ensure that the State remains a mainstay of the US solar industry for years to come. But California is not the only market for solar in the US; other states have recently developed policies that may rival those of the western state in terms of future growth potential. In particular, 25 states, as well as Washington, D.C., have established renewables portfolio standards (RPS), sometimes called quota systems in Europe, requiring electricity suppliers in those states to source a minimum portion of their need from renewable electricity. (Because a national RPS is not yet in place, my focus here is on state policies). Under many of these state policies, solar is not expected to fare particularly well: PV installations simply cannot compete on cost or scale with large wind plants in the US, at least not yet. In response, an expanding list of states have established solar or distributed generation (DG) set-asides within their RPS policies, effectively requiring that some fraction of RPS-driven supply derive from solar energy. The popularity of set-asides for solar and/or DG has increased dramatically in recent years. Already, 11 states and D.C. have developed such RPS set-asides. These include states with outstanding solar resources, such as Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, as well as ...
Date: November 20, 2007
Creator: Wiser, Ryan H & Wiser, Ryan H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Designing PV Incentive Programs to Promote Performance: A Reviewof Current Practice

Description: Increasing levels of financial support for customer-sited photovoltaic (PV) systems, provided through publicly-funded incentive programs, has heightened concerns about the long-term performance of these systems. Given the barriers that customers face to ensuring that their PV systems perform well, and the responsibility that PV incentive programs bear to ensure that public funds are prudently spent, these programs should, and often do, play a critical role in ensuring that PV systems receiving incentives perform well. To provide a point of reference for assessing the current state of the art, and to inform program design efforts going forward, we examine the approaches to encouraging PV system performance used by 32 prominent PV incentive programs in the U.S. We identify eight general strategies or groups of related strategies that these programs have used to address performance issues, and highlight important differences in the implementation of these strategies among programs.
Date: June 1, 2007
Creator: Barbose, Galen; Wiser, Ryan & Bolinger, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Designing PV Incentive Programs to Promote Performance: A Reviewof Current Practice in the U.S.

Description: In the U.S., the increasing financial support for customer-sited photovoltaic (PV) systems provided through publicly-funded incentive programs has heightened concerns about the long-term performance of these systems. Given the barriers that customers face to ensuring that their PV systems perform well, and the responsibility that PV incentive programs bear to ensure that public funds are prudently spent, these programs should, and often do, play a critical role in addressing PV system performance. To provide a point of reference for assessing the current state of the art, and to inform program design efforts going forward, we examine the approaches to encouraging PV system performance used by 32 prominent PV incentive programs in the U.S. We identify eight general strategies or groups of related strategies that these programs have used to address factors that affect performance, and describe key implementation details. Based on this review, we then offer recommendations for how PV incentive programs can be effectively designed to mitigate potential performance issues.
Date: October 6, 2006
Creator: Barbose, Galen; Wiser, Ryan & Bolinger, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Implications of Wide-Area Geographic Diversity for Short- Term Variability of Solar Power

Description: Worldwide interest in the deployment of photovoltaic generation (PV) is rapidly increasing. Operating experience with large PV plants, however, demonstrates that large, rapid changes in the output of PV plants are possible. Early studies of PV grid impacts suggested that short-term variability could be a potential limiting factor in deploying PV. Many of these early studies, however, lacked high-quality data from multiple sites to assess the costs and impacts of increasing PV penetration. As is well known for wind, accounting for the potential for geographic diversity can significantly reduce the magnitude of extreme changes in aggregated PV output, the resources required to accommodate that variability, and the potential costs of managing variability. We use measured 1-min solar insolation for 23 time-synchronized sites in the Southern Great Plains network of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program and wind speed data from 10 sites in the same network to characterize the variability of PV with different degrees of geographic diversity and to compare the variability of PV to the variability of similarly sited wind. The relative aggregate variability of PV plants sited in a dense 10 x 10 array with 20 km spacing is six times less than the variability of a single site for variability on time scales less than 15-min. We find in our analysis of wind and PV plants similarly sited in a 5 x 5 grid with 50 km spacing that the variability of PV is only slightly more than the variability of wind on time scales of 5-15 min. Over shorter and longer time scales the level of variability is nearly identical. Finally, we use a simple approximation method to estimate the cost of carrying additional reserves to manage sub-hourly variability. We conclude that the costs of managing the short-term variability of PV are dramatically reduced by geographic ...
Date: August 23, 2010
Creator: Mills, Andrew & Wiser, Ryan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Economic Value of PV and Net Metering to Residential Customers in California

Description: In this paper, we analyze the bill savings from PV for residential customers of the California's two largest electric utilities, under existing net metering tariffs as well as under several alternative compensation mechanisms. We find that economic value of PV to the customer is dependent on the structure of the underlying retail electricity rate and can vary quite significantly from one customer to another. In addition, we find that the value of the bill savings from PV generally declines with PV penetration level, as increased PV generation tends to offset lower-priced usage. Customers in our sample from both utilities are significantly better off with net metering than with a feed-in tariff where all PV generation is compensated at long-run avoided generation supply costs. Other compensation schemeswhich allow customers to displace their consumption with PV generation within each hour or each month, and are also based on the avoided costs, yield similar value to the customer as net metering.
Date: May 17, 2010
Creator: Darghouth, Naim; Barbose, Galen & Wiser, Ryan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Supporting Solar Power in Renewables Portfolio Standards: Experience from the United States

Description: Among the available options for encouraging the increased deployment of renewable electricity, renewables portfolio standards (RPS) have become increasingly popular. The RPS is a relatively new policy mechanism, however, and experience with its use is only beginning to emerge. One key concern that has been voiced is whether RPS policies will offer adequate support to a wide range of renewable energy technologies and applications or whether, alternatively, RPS programs will favor a small number of the currently least-cost forms of renewable energy. This report documents the design of and early experience with state-level RPS programs in the United States that have been specifically tailored to encourage a wider diversity of renewable energy technologies, and solar energy in particular. As shown here, state-level RPS programs specifically designed to support solar have already proven to be an important, albeit somewhat modest, driver for solar energy deployment, and those impacts are projected to continue to build in the coming years. State experience in supporting solar energy with RPS programs is mixed, however, and full compliance with existing requirements has not been achieved. The comparative experiences described herein highlight the opportunities and challenges of applying an RPS to specifically support solar energy, as well as the importance of policy design details to ensuring that program goals are achieved.
Date: October 1, 2010
Creator: Wiser, Ryan; Barbose, Galen & Holt, Edward
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Impact of Rate Design and Net Metering on the Bill Savings from Distributed PV for Residential Customers in California

Description: Net metering has become a widespread policy in the U.S. for supporting distributed photovoltaics (PV) adoption. Though specific design details vary, net metering allows customers with PV to reduce their electric bills by offsetting their consumption with PV generation, independent of the timing of the generation relative to consumption - in effect, compensating the PV generation at retail electricity rates (Rose et al. 2009). While net metering has played an important role in jump-starting the residential PV market in the U.S., challenges to net metering policies have emerged in a number of states and contexts, and alternative compensation methods are under consideration. Moreover, one inherent feature of net metering is that the value of the utility bill savings it provides to customers with PV depends heavily on the structure of the underlying retail electricity rate, as well as on the characteristics of the customer and PV system. Consequently, the value of net metering - and the impact of moving to alternative compensation mechanisms - can vary substantially from one customer to the next. For these reasons, it is important for policymakers and others that seek to support the development of distributed PV to understand both how the bill savings varies under net metering, and how the bill savings under net metering compares to other possible compensation mechanisms. To advance this understanding, we analyze the bill savings from PV for residential customers of California's two largest electric utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). The analysis is based on hourly load data from a sample of 215 residential customers located in the service territories of the two utilities, matched with simulated hourly PV production for the same time period based on data from the nearest of 73 weather stations in the state.
Date: March 30, 2010
Creator: Darghouth, Naim; Barbose, Galen & Wiser, Ryan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Preliminary Evaluation of the Impact of the Section 1603 Treasury Grant Program on Renewable Energy Deployment in 2009

Description: Federal support for renewable energy deployment in the United States has traditionally been delivered primarily through tax benefits, including the production tax credit ('PTC') in Section 45 of the U.S. tax code, investment tax credits ('ITC') in Sections 25D and 48, and accelerated tax depreciation in Section 168. Many renewable power project developers are unable to use the majority of these tax benefits directly or immediately, however, and have therefore often relied on third-party 'tax equity' investors for the necessary investment capital in order to monetize the available tax benefits. As has been well-publicized, most of these tax equity investors were hit hard by the global financial crisis that unfolded in the last months of 2008 and, as a result, most either withdrew from the renewable power market at that time or reduced their available investment capital. This left a significant financing gap beginning in late 2008, and placed at some risk the continued near-term growth of renewable energy supply in the U.S. In recognition of these developments, the U.S. Congress passed two stimulus bills - The Energy Improvement and Extension Act ('the Extension Act') in October 2008 and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ('the Recovery Act') in February 2009 - parts of which were intended to address the growing shortage of finance for renewable power projects. Most notably, Section 1603 of the Recovery Act enables qualifying commercial renewable energy projects to choose between the Section 45 PTC, the Section 48 ITC, or a cash grant of equal value to the Section 48 ITC (i.e., 30% of the project's eligible basis in most cases). By giving developers the option to receive a 30% cash grant (administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury) in lieu of either the ITC or the PTC, Congress hoped to 'temporarily fill the gap ...
Date: March 31, 2010
Creator: Bolinger, Mark; Wiser, Ryan & Darghouth, Naim
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Wind Power: How Much, How Soon, and At What Cost?

Description: The global wind power market has been growing at a phenomenal pace, driven by favorable policies towards renewable energy and the improving economics of wind projects. On a going forward basis, utility-scale wind power offers the potential for significant reductions in the carbon footprint of the electricity sector. Specifically, the global wind resource is vast and, though accessing this potential is not costless or lacking in barriers, wind power can be developed at scale in the near to medium term at what promises to be an acceptable cost.
Date: January 1, 2010
Creator: Wiser, Ryan H & Hand, Maureen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Exploration of Resource and Transmission Expansion Decisions in the Western Renewable Energy Zone Initiative

Description: Building transmission to reach renewable energy (RE) goals requires coordination among renewable developers, utilities and transmission owners, resource and transmission planners, state and federal regulators, and environmental organizations. The Western Renewable Energy Zone (WREZ) initiative brings together a diverse set of voices to develop data, tools, and a unique forum for coordinating transmission expansion in the Western Interconnection. In this report we use a new tool developed in the WREZ initiative to evaluate possible renewable resource selection and transmission expansion decisions. We evaluate these decisions under a number of alternative future scenarios centered on meeting 33% of the annual load in the Western Interconnection with new renewable resources located within WREZ-identified resource hubs. Of the renewable resources in WREZ resource hubs, and under the assumptions described in this report, our analysis finds that wind energy is the largest source of renewable energy procured to meet the 33% RE target across nearly all scenarios analyzed (38-65%). Solar energy is almost always the second largest source (14-41%). Solar exceeds wind by a small margin only when solar thermal energy is assumed to experience cost reductions relative to all other technologies. Biomass, geothermal, and hydropower are found to represent a smaller portion of the selected resources, largely due to the limited resource quantity of these resources identified within the WREZ-identified hubs (16-23% combined). We find several load zones where wind energy is the least cost resource under a wide range of sensitivity scenarios. Load zones in the Southwest, on the other hand, are found to switch between wind and solar, and therefore to vary transmission expansion decisions, depending on uncertainties and policies that affect the relative economics of each renewable option. Uncertainties and policies that impact bus-bar costs are the most important to evaluate carefully, but factors that impact transmission costs and the ...
Date: February 16, 2010
Creator: Mills, Andrew; Phadke, Amol & Wiser, Ryan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Assessing the Impacts of Reduced Noise Operations of Wind Turbines on Neighbor Annoyance: A Preliminary Analysis in Vinalhaven, Maine

Description: Neighbors living near the 3 turbine, 4.5 MW Vinalhaven, Maine wind power facility, which began operations in late 2009, have complained that the noise from the turbines is unwelcome and annoying. Fox Islands Wind, the owner of the facility, hypothesized that implementing a Noise Reduced Operation (NRO) for the turbines, which effectively limits the turbines maximum rpm and power output, would reduce the sound levels produced by the turbines, and therefore might also reduce the degree to which the neighbors report being annoyed by those sounds. To test this hypothesis in a preliminary fashion, a pilot study was conducted in early 2010, the results of which are the subject of this brief report. The study included asking near-by residents - those within roughly 3000 feet - to rate the sounds and the degree to which they were annoyed by them using logs which they filled out at multiple times during the day on as many days as were possible in the 35 day study period in February and March, 2010. Meanwhile, FIW adjusted the NRO settings of the turbines in a random fashion in the evenings during the same period, but in a pattern that the respondents were not made aware of. Ultimately, nine individuals turned in roughly 200 log entries (i.e., responses), each of which was time coded to allow testing if the response was correlated with the wind facility operating conditions at that time. The analysis of these data found small, non-statistically-significant differences in self-reported turbine loudness and annoyance ratings between the periods when the NRO was enacted and when it was not, after controlling for many of the relationships that could independently influence perceived loudness and annoyance (e.g., wind direction, time of day). Possible explanations for these small differences in self-reported turbine loudness and annoyance ratings include: ...
Date: June 23, 2010
Creator: Hoen, Ben; Wiser, Ryan & Eckholdt, Haftan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Centrales au gaz et Energies renouvelables: comparer des pommes avec des pommes

Description: The fundamental conclusion that we draw from this analysis is that one should not to base itself blindly on forecasts prices of natural gas when one compare contracts at price fixes with producers of renewable energy with contracts at variable prices with promoters power stations with gas. Indeed, forecasts of the prices of gas do not succeed not to enter the associated costs with the covering of the risk, that they are connected to the negative pressure against the cover, with the CAPM, with costs of transaction or with unspecified combination of three. Thus, insofar as price stability to length term is developed, better way of comparing the two choices would be to have recourse to the data on the prices in the long term natural gas, and not with forecasts of the prices. During three last years at least, the use of these prices in the long term would have besides license to correct a methodological error who, obviously, seem to have supported unduly, and of relatively important way, power stations with natural gas compared to their competitors of renewable energies.
Date: October 20, 2003
Creator: Bolinger, Mark; Wiser, Ryan & Golove, William
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Renewable Portfolio Standards in the United States - A Status Report with Data Through 2007

Description: Renewables portfolio standards (RPS) have proliferated at the state level in the United States since the late 1990s. In combination with Federal tax incentives, state RPS requirements have emerged as one of the most important drivers of renewable energy capacity additions. The focus of most RPS activity in the U.S. has been within the states. Nonetheless, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have, at different times, each passed versions of a Federal RPS; a Federal RPS, however, has not yet been signed into law. The design of an RPS can and does vary, but at its heart an RPS simply requires retail electricity suppliers (also called load-serving entities, or LSEs) to procure a certain minimum quantity of eligible renewable energy. An RPS establishes numeric targets for renewable energy supply, applies those targets to retail electricity suppliers, and seeks to encourage competition among renewable developers to meet the targets in a least-cost fashion. RPS purchase obligations generally increase over time, and retail suppliers typically must demonstrate compliance on an annual basis. Mandatory RPS policies are backed by various types of compliance enforcement mechanisms, and many--but not all--such policies include the trading of renewable energy certificates (RECs). Renewables portfolio standards are a relatively recent addition to the renewable energy policy landscape, and these policies continue to evolve. Keeping up with the design, early experience, and projected impacts of these programs is a challenge. This report seeks to fill this need by providing basic, factual information on RPS policies in the United States. It focuses on state-level initiatives, though a later section briefly discusses Federal developments as well. The report does not cover municipal-level renewable energy goals, unless required by state law. Similarly, this report focuses on mandatory state RPS requirements, though it also touches on non-binding renewable energy goals, especially when ...
Date: April 9, 2008
Creator: Wiser, Ryan; Wiser, Ryan; Barbose, Galen; Bird, Lori; Churchill, Susannah; Deyette, Jeff et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Do Photovoltaic Energy Systems Effect Residential Selling Prices? Results from a California Statewide Investigation.

Description: An increasing number of homes in the U.S. have sold with photovoltaic (PV) energy systems installed at the time of sale, yet relatively little research exists that provides estimates of the marginal impacts of those PV systems on home sale prices. This research analyzes a large dataset of California homes that sold from 2000 through mid-2009 with PV installed. We find strong evidence that homes with PV systems sold for a premium over comparable homes without PV systems during this time frame. Estimates for this premium expressed in dollars per watt of installed PV range, from roughly $4 to $6.4/watt across the full dataset, to approximately $2.3/watt for new homes, to more than $6/watt for existing homes. A number of ideas for further research are suggested.
Date: April 12, 2011
Creator: Hoen, Ben; Cappers, Pete; Wiser, Ryan & Thayer, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Importance of High Temporal Resolution in Modeling Renewable Energy Penetration Scenarios

Description: Traditionally, modeling investment and dispatch problems in electricity economics has been limited by computation power. Due to this limitation, simplifications are applied. One common practice, for example, is to reduce the temporal resolution of the dispatch by clustering similar load levels. The increase of intermittent electricity from renewable energy sources (RES-E) changes the validity of this assumption. RES-E already cover a certain amount of the total demand. This leaves an increasingly volatile residual demand to be matched by the conventional power market. This paper quantifies differences in investment decisions by applying three different time-resolution residual load patterns in an investment and dispatch power system model. The model optimizes investment decisions in five year steps between today and 2030 with residual load levels for 8760, 288 and 16 time slices per year. The market under consideration is the four zone ERCOT market in Texas. The results show that investment decisions significantly differ across the three scenarios. In particular, investments into base-load technologies are substantially reduced in the high resolution scenario (8760 residual load levels) relative to the scenarios with lower temporal resolution. Additionally, the amount of RES-E curtailment and the market value of RES-E exhibit noteworthy differences.
Date: October 8, 2010
Creator: Nicolosi, Marco; Mills, Andrew D & Wiser, Ryan H
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Preliminary Evaluation of the Section 1603 Treasury Grant Program for Renewable Power Projects in the United States

Description: This article evaluates the first year of the Section 1603 Treasury cash grant program, which enables renewable power projects in the U.S. to elect cash grants in lieu of the federal tax credits that are otherwise available. To date, the program has been heavily subscribed, particularly by wind power projects, which had received 86% of the nearly $2.6 billion in grants that had been disbursed as of March 1, 2010. As of that date, 6.2 GW of the 10 GW of new wind capacity installed in the U.S. in 2009 had applied for grants in lieu of production tax credits. Roughly 2.4 GW of this wind capacity may not have otherwise been built in 2009 absent the grant program; this 2.4 GW may have supported approximately 51,600 short-term full-time-equivalent (FTE) gross job-years in the U.S. during the construction phase of these wind projects, and 3,860 longterm FTE gross jobs during the operational phase. The program’s popularity stems from the significant economic value that it provides to renewable power projects, relative to the otherwise available tax credits. Although grants reward investment rather than efficient performance, this evaluation finds no evidence at this time of either widespread “gold-plating” or performance problems.
Date: May 5, 2010
Creator: Bolinger, Mark; Wiser, Ryan & Darghouth, Naim
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

An Analysis of the Effects of Photovoltaic Energy Systems on Residential Selling Prices in California.

Description: An increasing number of homes with existing photovoltaic (PV) energy systems have sold in the U.S., yet relatively little research exists that estimates the marginal impacts of those PV systems on the sales price. A clearer understanding of these effects might influence the decisions of homeowners, home buyers and PV home builders. This research analyzes a large dataset of California homes that sold from 2000 through mid-2009 with PV installed. Across a large number of hedonic and repeat sales model specifications and robustness tests, the analysis finds strong evidence that homes with PV systems sold for a premium over comparable homes without. The effects range, on average, from approximately $3.9 to $6.4 per installed watt (DC), with most models coalescing near $5.5/watt, which corresponds to a premium of approximately $17,000 for a 3,100 watt system. The research also shows that, as PV systems age, the premium enjoyed at the time of home sale decreases. Additionally, existing homes with PV systems are found to have commanded a larger sales price premium than new homes with similarly sized PV systems. Reasons for this discrepancy are suggested, yet further research is warranted in this area as well as a number of other areas that are highlighted.
Date: April 12, 2011
Creator: Cappers, Peter; Wiser, Ryan; Thayer, Mark & Hoen, Ben
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

An Analysis of the Effects of Residential Photovoltaic Energy Systems on Home Sales Prices in California

Description: An increasing number of homes in the U.S. have sold with photovoltaic (PV) energy systems installed at the time of sale, yet relatively little research exists that estimates the marginal impacts of those PV systems on home sale prices. A clearer understanding of these possible impacts might influence the decisions of homeowners considering the installation of a PV system, homebuyers considering the purchase of a home with PV already installed, and new home builders considering including PV as an optional or standard product on their homes. This research analyzes a large dataset of California homes that sold from 2000 through mid-2009 with PV installed. It finds strong evidence that homes with PV systems sold for a premium over comparable homes without PV systems during this time frame. Estimates for this premium expressed in dollars per watt of installed PV range, on average, from roughly $4 to $5.5/watt across a large number of hedonic and repeat sales model specifications and robustness tests. When expressed as a ratio of the sales price premium of PV to estimated annual energy cost savings associated with PV, an average ratio of 14:1 to 19:1 can be calculated; these results are consistent with those of the more-extensive existing literature on the impact of energy efficiency on sales prices. When the data are split among new and existing homes, however, PV system premiums are markedly affected. New homes with PV show premiums of $2.3-2.6/watt, while existing homes with PV show premiums of more than $6/watt. Reasons for this discrepancy are suggested, yet further research is warranted. A number of other areas where future research would be useful are also highlighted.
Date: April 19, 2011
Creator: Hoen, Ben; Cappers, Peter; Wiser, Ryan & Thayer, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Understanding Trends in Wind Turbine Prices Over the Past Decade

Description: Taking a bottom-up approach, this report examines seven primary drivers of wind turbine prices in the United States, with the goal of estimating the degree to which each contributed to the doubling in turbine prices from 2002 through 2008, as well as the subsequent decline in prices through 2010 (our analysis does not extend into 2011 because several of these drivers are best gauged on a full-year basis due to seasonality issues). The first four of these drivers can be considered, at least to some degree, endogenous influences – i.e., those that are largely within the control of the wind industry – and include changes in: 1) Labor costs, which have historically risen during times of tight turbine supply; 2) Warranty provisions, which reflect technology performance and reliability, and are most often capitalized in turbine prices; 3) Turbine manufacturer profitability, which can impact turbine prices independently of costs; and 4) Turbine design, which for the purpose of this analysis is principally manifested through increased turbine size. The other three drivers analyzed in this study can be considered exogenous influences, in that they can impact wind turbine costs but fall mostly outside of the direct control of the wind industry. These exogenous drivers include changes in: 5) Raw materials prices, which affect the cost of inputs to the manufacturing process; 6) Energy prices, which impact the cost of manufacturing and transporting turbines; and 7) Foreign exchange rates, which can impact the dollar amount paid for turbines and components imported into the United States.
Date: October 26, 2011
Creator: Bolinger, Mark & Wiser, Ryan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tracking the Sun III; The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998-2009

Description: Installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have been growing at a rapid pace in recent years. In 2009, approximately 7,500 megawatts (MW) of PV were installed globally, up from approximately 6,000 MW in 2008, consisting primarily of grid-connected applications. With 335 MW of grid-connected PV capacity added in 2009, the United States was the world's fourth largest PV market in 2009, behind Germany, Italy, and Japan. The market for PV in the United States is driven by national, state, and local government incentives, including up-front cash rebates, production-based incentives, requirements that electricity suppliers purchase a certain amount of solar energy, and federal and state tax benefits. These programs are, in part, motivated by the popular appeal of solar energy, and by the positive attributes of PV - modest environmental impacts, avoidance of fuel price risks, coincidence with peak electrical demand, and the possible deployment of PV at the point of use. Given the relatively high cost of PV, however, a key goal of these policies is to encourage cost reductions over time. Therefore, as policy incentives have become more significant and as PV deployment has accelerated, so too has the desire to track the installed cost of PV systems over time, by system characteristics, by system location, and by component. Despite the significant year-on-year growth, however, the share of global and U.S. electricity supply met with PV remains small, and annual PV additions are currently modest in the context of the overall electric system. To address this need, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory initiated a report series focused on describing trends in the installed cost of grid-connected PV systems in the United States. The present report, the third in the series, describes installed cost trends from 1998 through 2009, and provides preliminary cost data for systems installed in 2010. The analysis ...
Date: December 13, 2010
Creator: Barbose, Galen; Darghouth, Naim & Wiser, Ryan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tracking the Sun IV: An Historical Summary of the Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2010

Description: The present report describes installed cost trends for grid-connected PV projects installed from 1998 through 2010 (with some limited and preliminary results presented for projects installed in the first six months of 2011). The analysis is based on project-level cost data from approximately 116,500 residential, non-residential, and utility-sector PV systems in the United States. The inclusion of utility-sector PV is a new element in this year’s report. The combined capacity of all systems in the data sample totals 1,685 MW, equal to 79% of all grid-connected PV capacity installed in the United States through 2010 and representing one of the most comprehensive sources of installed PV cost data for the U.S. Based on this dataset, the report describes historical installed cost trends over time, and by location, market segment, technology type, and component. The report also briefly compares recent PV installed costs in the United States to those in Germany and Japan, and describes trends in customer incentives for PV installations and net installed costs after receipt of such incentives. The analysis presented here focuses on descriptive trends in the underlying data, serving primarily to summarize the data in tabular and graphical form.
Date: September 7, 2011
Creator: Darghouth, Naim & Wiser, Ryan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

WREF 2012: THE PAST AND FUTURE COST OF WIND ENERGY

Description: The future of wind power will depend on the ability of the industry to continue to achieve cost reductions. To better understand the potential for cost reductions, this report provides a review of historical costs, evaluates near-term market trends, and summarizes the range of projected costs. It also notes potential sources of future cost reductions. Our findings indicate that steady cost reductions were interrupted between 2004 and 2010, but falling turbine prices and improved turbine performance are expected to drive a historically low LCOE for current installations. In addition, the majority of studies indicate continued cost reductions on the order of 20%-30% through 2030. Moreover, useful cost projections are likely to benefit from stronger consideration of the interactions between capital cost and performance as well as trends in the quality of the wind resource where projects are located, transmission, grid integration, and other cost variables.
Date: March 26, 2012
Creator: NREL,; Wiser, Ryan; Lantz, Eric & Hand, Maureen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department