Description: Grid parity--or break-even cost--for photovoltaic (PV) technology is defined as the point where the cost of PV-generated electricity equals the cost of electricity purchased from the grid. Break-even cost is expressed in $/W of an installed system. Achieving break-even cost is a function of many variables. Consequently, break-even costs vary by location and time for a country, such as the United States, with a diverse set of resources, electricity prices, and other variables. In this report, we analyze PV break-even costs for U.S. residential customers. We evaluate some key drivers of grid parity both regionally and over time. We also examine the impact of moving from flat to time-of-use (TOU) rates, and we evaluate individual components of the break-even cost, including effect of rate structure and various incentives. Finally, we examine how PV markets might evolve on a regional basis considering the sensitivity of the break-even cost to four major drivers: technical performance, financing parameters, electricity prices and rates, and policies. We find that local incentives rather than ?technical? parameters are in general the key drivers of the break-even cost of PV. Additionally, this analysis provides insight about the potential viability of PV markets.
Date: December 1, 2009
Creator: Denholm, P.; Margolis, R. M.; Ong, S. & Roberts, B.
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