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Title: Nationwide Analysis of U.S. Commercial Building Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Breakeven Conditions

The commercial sector offers strong potential for solar photovoltaics (PV) owing to abundant available roof space suitable for PV and the opportunity to offset the sector's substantial retail electricity purchases. This report evaluated the breakeven price of PV for 15 different building types and various financing options by calculating electricity savings based on detailed rate structures for most U.S. utility territories (representing approximately two thirds of U.S. commercial customers). We find that at current capital costs, an estimated 1/3 of U.S. commercial customers break even in the cash scenario and approximately 2/3 break even in the loan scenario. Variation in retail rates is a stronger driver of breakeven prices than is variation in building load or solar generation profiles. At the building level, variation in the average breakeven price is largely driven by the ability for a PV system to reduce demand charges.
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  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
Country of Publication:
United States
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY commercial solar; photovoltaic; breakeven; loan; commercial buildings; cost; economics; LCOE; rates; solar value