skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Using Residential Solar PV Quote Data to Analyze the Relationship Between Installer Pricing and Firm Size

Abstract

We use residential solar photovoltaic (PV) quote data to study the role of firm size in PV installer pricing. We find that large installers (those that installed more than 1,000 PV systems in any year from 2013 to 2015) quote higher prices for customer-owned systems, on average, than do other installers. The results suggest that low prices are not the primary value proposition of large installers.

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
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)
OSTI Identifier:
1358537
Report Number(s):
NREL/PR-6A20-68153
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; solar; photovoltaic; PV; installer pricing; residential solar; market power

Citation Formats

O'Shaughnessy, Eric, and Margolis, Robert. Using Residential Solar PV Quote Data to Analyze the Relationship Between Installer Pricing and Firm Size. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1358537.
O'Shaughnessy, Eric, & Margolis, Robert. Using Residential Solar PV Quote Data to Analyze the Relationship Between Installer Pricing and Firm Size. United States. doi:10.2172/1358537.
O'Shaughnessy, Eric, and Margolis, Robert. Fri . "Using Residential Solar PV Quote Data to Analyze the Relationship Between Installer Pricing and Firm Size". United States. doi:10.2172/1358537. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1358537.
@article{osti_1358537,
title = {Using Residential Solar PV Quote Data to Analyze the Relationship Between Installer Pricing and Firm Size},
author = {O'Shaughnessy, Eric and Margolis, Robert},
abstractNote = {We use residential solar photovoltaic (PV) quote data to study the role of firm size in PV installer pricing. We find that large installers (those that installed more than 1,000 PV systems in any year from 2013 to 2015) quote higher prices for customer-owned systems, on average, than do other installers. The results suggest that low prices are not the primary value proposition of large installers.},
doi = {10.2172/1358537},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri May 19 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Fri May 19 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • The vast majority of U.S. residential solar PV installers are small local-scale companies, however the industry is relatively concentrated in a few large national-scale installers. We develop a novel approach using solar PV quote data to study the price behavior of large solar PV installers in the United States. Through a paired differences approach, we find that large installer quotes are about higher, on average, than non-large installer quotes made to the same customer. The difference is statistically significant and robust after controlling for factors such as system size, equipment quality, and time effects. The results suggest that low pricesmore » are not the primary value proposition of large installer systems. We explore several hypotheses for this finding, including that large installers are able to exercise some market power and/or earn returns from reputations.« less
  • We use residential solar photovoltaic (PV) quote data to study the role of firm size in PV installer pricing. We find that large installers (those that installed more than 1,000 PV systems in any year from 2013 to 2015) quote higher prices for customer-owned systems, on average, than do other installers. The results suggest that low prices are not the primary value proposition of large installers.
  • Before investing in a system, a prospective PV customer must not only have initial concept 'buy in,' but also be able to evaluate the tradeoffs associated with different system parameters. Prospective customers might need to evaluate disparate costs for each system attribute by comparing multiple bids. The difficulty of making such an evaluation with limited information can create a cognitive barrier to proceeding with the investment. This analysis leverages recently available data from EnergySage, an online solar marketplace, to offer the first data-driven characterization of quote variation faced by prospective PV customers, lending early insight into the decisions customers facemore » once they have initial buy-in.« less
  • This analysis leverages available data from EnergySage, an online solar marketplace, to offer the first data-driven characterization of quote variation faced by prospective PV customers, lending early insight into the decisions customers face once they have initial buy-in.
  • This report presents results from the first U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored, bottom-up data-collection and analysis of non-hardware balance-of-system costs--often referred to as 'business process' or 'soft' costs--for residential and commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems.