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Title: 2015 South Carolina PV Soft Cost and Workforce Development Part 2: Six Month Confirmation of Anticipated Job Growth

Abstract

In 2015, a program was initiated to carefully track and monitor the growth of the solar industry in SC. Prior to then, little information was available on the costs associated with distributed photovoltaic (PV) installations in the Southeastern US. For this report, data were collected from businesses on the number of hires they had at the end of 2014 and compared with data for 2015 and June 2016. It was found that the percentage of installers within the state who serve the residential sector increased to 82% from 67%. During the same time period, the average size of initiated installations for residential, commercial, and utility scale installations all trended upwards. Where residential installations were typically 5 kW-DC in 2014, they were typically 10 kW-DC by late 2015 and in mid-2016. For commercial installations, the average size grew from 84 kW-DC in 2014 to between 136-236 kW-DC in 2015 and then 188-248 kWDC in mid-2016. An exception was seen in utility scale installations where a 2.3 MW-DC system was common in 2014, the size grew to be 5-15 MW-DC in late 2015. The average size dropped 3.1-4.4 MWDC in mid-June 2016, though individual averages up to 20 MW-DC were reported.

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1342716
Report Number(s):
SRNL-STI-2017-00039
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS; solar; soft cost; residential; commercial; utility; PV

Citation Formats

Fox, Elise B., and Edwards, Thomas B. 2015 South Carolina PV Soft Cost and Workforce Development Part 2: Six Month Confirmation of Anticipated Job Growth. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1342716.
Fox, Elise B., & Edwards, Thomas B. 2015 South Carolina PV Soft Cost and Workforce Development Part 2: Six Month Confirmation of Anticipated Job Growth. United States. doi:10.2172/1342716.
Fox, Elise B., and Edwards, Thomas B. Tue . "2015 South Carolina PV Soft Cost and Workforce Development Part 2: Six Month Confirmation of Anticipated Job Growth". United States. doi:10.2172/1342716. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1342716.
@article{osti_1342716,
title = {2015 South Carolina PV Soft Cost and Workforce Development Part 2: Six Month Confirmation of Anticipated Job Growth},
author = {Fox, Elise B. and Edwards, Thomas B.},
abstractNote = {In 2015, a program was initiated to carefully track and monitor the growth of the solar industry in SC. Prior to then, little information was available on the costs associated with distributed photovoltaic (PV) installations in the Southeastern US. For this report, data were collected from businesses on the number of hires they had at the end of 2014 and compared with data for 2015 and June 2016. It was found that the percentage of installers within the state who serve the residential sector increased to 82% from 67%. During the same time period, the average size of initiated installations for residential, commercial, and utility scale installations all trended upwards. Where residential installations were typically 5 kW-DC in 2014, they were typically 10 kW-DC by late 2015 and in mid-2016. For commercial installations, the average size grew from 84 kW-DC in 2014 to between 136-236 kW-DC in 2015 and then 188-248 kWDC in mid-2016. An exception was seen in utility scale installations where a 2.3 MW-DC system was common in 2014, the size grew to be 5-15 MW-DC in late 2015. The average size dropped 3.1-4.4 MWDC in mid-June 2016, though individual averages up to 20 MW-DC were reported.},
doi = {10.2172/1342716},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Jan 31 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Tue Jan 31 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The South Carolina solar industry has surged over the past two years, largely due to the implementation of Act 236, and continues to grow at a rapid pace. At the beginning of 2014, there was little more than 3MW total spread across the state, but by the end of 2021, that state solar industry will have grown to over 300MW across all sectors. Prior to this study, there has been little publically available information on the solar industry in SC and throughout the Southeastern US. This makes SC a key case study of an emerging market, enabling the development ofmore » regional best practices in order to decrease associated costs and increase deployment.« less
  • A solar industry survey was given to professional installers who serve the South Carolina market in order to determine trends in costing, work force needs, and business demographics at the end of 2016. It was found that 70% of the respondents serve the residential sector, while only 7% of the total exclusively serves the residential market. The average size of residential installations remain near 9 kW-DC, while the average size of commercial and utility scale installations continue to grow to 378 kW-DC and 14.8 MW-DC, respectively. The total cost of these residential systems has hovered around $3.50/W-DC since the endmore » of 2015, while commercial installations have dropped to $2.45/W-DC and utility scale installations have dropped to $1.49/W-DC. It is expected that the cost of utility scale installations will continue to drop as there are publically reported utility scale installations with contracted PPAs for less than 4¢/kWh. 52-60% of the cost is associated with hardware only depending upon sector.« less
  • The Southeastern US has the largest potential for growth in the solar industry. However, currently they languish behind the rest of the US. There are several bright spots including the large number of utility scale installations in North Carolina and the recent successes in South Carolina under Act 236. In order to better understand the impacts of state legislation on the growth of the solar industry in the SE US, the Savannah River National Laboratory has undertaken a study to look at the growth in each state in order to develop recommendations to help reduce the cost of solar andmore » to spur the industry. This is the second report in the series. The first focused on developing cost metrics for South Carolina under Act 236. This report focuses on Alabama, the 49th ranked state for solar business, which has very similar population and median income to South Carolina. For this survey, the ten known in-state installers were contacted. Responses were received from seven, representing 70% of the installers, a majority of which provide both residential and commercial installations. Interestingly, none of the respondents serve the utility scale sector. Overall, costs for Alabama are on track with the rest of the country with a reported average cost of $3.29/W-DC for residential systems and $2.44/W-DC for commercial systems. 60% of this cost is attributed to hardware only. Of the remaining costs, installation contributed to the largest percentage of soft costs followed by overhead, marketing and sales, and permitting, respectively. This also closely mirrors results seen in South Carolina. Job growth in the industry is expected to proceed well. An expected 34-42 additional full time equivalent jobs were expected to be added in Alabama within the six month window following the survey period. During the three years following the survey, this number was expected to double with 89-97 additional jobs being added to the market. In both cases, a vast majority of these jobs were for installation professionals and electricians. Despite the cost of solar, the industry continues to struggle in Alabama, largely due to the absence of any statewide net metering legislation. By current best estimates, there are over 60 residential installations statewide; however, this number is difficult to track due to the lack of a State authority keeping a consolidated list of grid connected distributed power systems. In South Carolina, the Energy Office tracks and reports grid connected distributed power systems by all Cooperatives and utilities. In Alabama, the Energy Office does not fulfill this role and data must be collected directly from each utility and cooperative, which makes collection and analysis difficult. Having a central state agency track this information would be extremely useful towards developing state policy recommendations, particularly if net metering were enabled within the state.« less
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