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Title: Solar Buyer's Markets: Unlocking Lower Photovoltaic and Battery Prices on Online Quote Platforms

Abstract

In an online quote platform, a solar PV customer provides information about their home and desired system characteristics to a quote 'aggregator,' who conveys this information to a network of installers. Interested installers submit bids to the online quote platform, where the customer can then compare bids in a common format. In this report, we analyze the effects of quote platform use on PV prices using data from the Pick My Solar platform. The results of the our study corroborate results from a previous study based on a different quote platform, indicating that quote platforms are associated with reduced PV prices. By opting to use quote platforms rather than directly soliciting quotes from installers, PV customers might save roughly 20 cents/W - 40 cents/W, which is equivalent to 1,000-2,000 dollars in savings for a typical 5-kW residential PV system. For the first time, we also explore battery prices on quote platforms, and find evidence that quote platforms are associated with reduced battery prices. Despite the savings potential, only about 3 percent of residential PV sales currently occur through online platforms - though many more customers use platforms without adopting PV, and some customers may use platforms to learn about PVmore » prices before accepting a quote received directly from an installer. Continued growth of platform use could yield PV price reductions for at least two reasons. First, it could push the average PV price point toward lower platform prices. Second, it could produce spillover effects by forcing reductions in quotes obtained outside of platforms. For instance, national-scale installers - which have not historically bid on quote platforms - may begin to offer lower prices if greater numbers of prospective customers begin to use the platforms.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (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:
1482503
Report Number(s):
NREL/TP-6A20-72172
DOE Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; residential solar PV; photovoltaics; batteries; price quotes; prices; buyers; installers; markets; online; web

Citation Formats

OShaughnessy, Eric J, and Margolis, Robert M. Solar Buyer's Markets: Unlocking Lower Photovoltaic and Battery Prices on Online Quote Platforms. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1482503.
OShaughnessy, Eric J, & Margolis, Robert M. Solar Buyer's Markets: Unlocking Lower Photovoltaic and Battery Prices on Online Quote Platforms. United States. doi:10.2172/1482503.
OShaughnessy, Eric J, and Margolis, Robert M. Mon . "Solar Buyer's Markets: Unlocking Lower Photovoltaic and Battery Prices on Online Quote Platforms". United States. doi:10.2172/1482503. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1482503.
@article{osti_1482503,
title = {Solar Buyer's Markets: Unlocking Lower Photovoltaic and Battery Prices on Online Quote Platforms},
author = {OShaughnessy, Eric J and Margolis, Robert M},
abstractNote = {In an online quote platform, a solar PV customer provides information about their home and desired system characteristics to a quote 'aggregator,' who conveys this information to a network of installers. Interested installers submit bids to the online quote platform, where the customer can then compare bids in a common format. In this report, we analyze the effects of quote platform use on PV prices using data from the Pick My Solar platform. The results of the our study corroborate results from a previous study based on a different quote platform, indicating that quote platforms are associated with reduced PV prices. By opting to use quote platforms rather than directly soliciting quotes from installers, PV customers might save roughly 20 cents/W - 40 cents/W, which is equivalent to 1,000-2,000 dollars in savings for a typical 5-kW residential PV system. For the first time, we also explore battery prices on quote platforms, and find evidence that quote platforms are associated with reduced battery prices. Despite the savings potential, only about 3 percent of residential PV sales currently occur through online platforms - though many more customers use platforms without adopting PV, and some customers may use platforms to learn about PV prices before accepting a quote received directly from an installer. Continued growth of platform use could yield PV price reductions for at least two reasons. First, it could push the average PV price point toward lower platform prices. Second, it could produce spillover effects by forcing reductions in quotes obtained outside of platforms. For instance, national-scale installers - which have not historically bid on quote platforms - may begin to offer lower prices if greater numbers of prospective customers begin to use the platforms.},
doi = {10.2172/1482503},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Nov 12 00:00:00 EST 2018},
month = {Mon Nov 12 00:00:00 EST 2018}
}

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