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  1. The residential photovoltaic (PV) market has expanded rapidly over the past decade, but questions exist about how equitably that growth has occurred across income groups. Prior studies have investigated this question but are often limited by narrow geographic study regions, now-dated analysis timeframes, or coarse estimates of PV-adopter incomes. At the same time, a spate of new programs and initiatives, as well as innovations in business models and product design, have emerged in recent years with the aim of making solar more accessible and affordable to broader segments of the population. Yet, many of those efforts are proceeding without robustmore » underlying information about the income characteristics of recent residential PV adopters. This work aims to establish basic factual information about income trends among U.S. residential solar adopters, with some emphasis on low- and moderate-income (LMI) households. The analysis is unique in its relatively extensive coverage of the U.S. solar market, relying on Berkeley Lab’s Tracking the Sun dataset, which contains project-level data for the vast majority of all residential PV systems in the country (a subset of which are ultimately included in the analysis sample). This analysis is also unique in its use of household-level income estimates that provide a more-precise characterization of PV-adopter incomes than in most prior studies.« less
  2. Berkeley Lab’s Tracking the Sun report series is dedicated to summarizing trends in the installed price of grid-connected, residential and non-residential systems solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. The present report, the tenth edition in the series, focuses on systems installed through year-end 2016, with preliminary data for the first half of 2017. The report provides an overview of both long-term and more-recent trends, highlighting key drivers for installed price declines over different time horizons. The report also extensively characterizes the widespread variability in system pricing, comparing installed prices across states, market segments, installers, and various system andmore » technology characteristics. The trends described in this report derive from project-level data collected by state agencies and utilities that administer PV incentive programs, solar renewable energy credit (SREC) registration systems, or interconnection processes. In total, data for this report were compiled and cleaned for more than 1.1 million individual PV systems, though the analysis in the report is based on a subset of that sample, consisting of roughly 630,000 systems with available installed price data. The full underlying dataset of project-level data (excluding any confidential information) is available in a public data file, for use by other researchers and analysts.« less
  3. We study the synergies between behind-the-meter solar and storage in reducing commercial-customer demand charges. This follows two previous studies that examined demand charge savings for stand-alone solar in both the residential and commercial sectors. In this study we show that solar and storage show consistent synergies for demand charge management, that the magnitude of reductions are highly customer-specific, and that the magnitude of savings is influenced by the design of the electricity tariff.
  4. The present report describes installed cost trends for grid-connected PV projects installed from 1998 through 2010 (with some limited and preliminary results presented for projects installed in the first six months of 2011). The analysis is based on project-level cost data from approximately 116,500 residential, non-residential, and utility-sector PV systems in the United States. The inclusion of utility-sector PV is a new element in this year’s report. The combined capacity of all systems in the data sample totals 1,685 MW, equal to 79% of all grid-connected PV capacity installed in the United States through 2010 and representing one of themore » most comprehensive sources of installed PV cost data for the U.S. Based on this dataset, the report describes historical installed cost trends over time, and by location, market segment, technology type, and component. The report also briefly compares recent PV installed costs in the United States to those in Germany and Japan, and describes trends in customer incentives for PV installations and net installed costs after receipt of such incentives. The analysis presented here focuses on descriptive trends in the underlying data, serving primarily to summarize the data in tabular and graphical form.« less
  5. We use simulated load and PV generation profiles, based on 17 years of weather data for 15 cities, We use simulated load and PV generation profiles, based on 17 years of weather data for 15 cities.
  6. Commercial retail electricity rates commonly include a demand charge component, based on some measure of the customer’s peak demand. Customer-sited solar PV can potentially reduce demand charges, but the magnitude of these savings can be difficult to predict, given variations in demand charge designs, customer loads, and PV generation profiles. Moreover, depending on the circumstances, demand charges from solar may or may not align well with associated utility cost savings. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are collaborating in a series of studies to understand how solar PV can reduce demand charge levelsmore » for a variety of customer types and demand charges designs. Previous work focused on residential customs with solar. This study, instead, focuses on commercial customers and seeks to understand the extent and conditions under which rooftop can solar reduce commercial demand charges. To answer these questions, we simulate demand charge savings for a broad range of commercial customer types, demand charge designs, locations, and PV system characteristics. This particular analysis does not include storage, but a subsequent analysis in this series will evaluate demand charge savings for commercial customers with solar and storage.« less
  7. Solar PV market research to date has largely relied on arbitrary jurisdictional boundaries, such as counties, to study solar PV market dynamics. This paper seeks to improve solar PV market research by developing a methodology to define solar PV markets. The methodology is based on the spatial distribution of solar PV installers. An algorithm is developed and applied to a rich dataset of solar PV installations to study the outcomes of the installer-based market definitions. The installer-based approach exhibits several desirable properties. Specifically, the higher market granularity of the installer-based approach will allow future PV market research to study themore » relationship between market dynamics and pricing with more precision.« less
  8. The price of solar PV systems has declined rapidly, yet there are some much lower-priced systems than others. This study explores the factors that determine prices in these low-priced (LP) systems. Using a data set of 42,611 residential-scale PV systems installed in the U.S. in 2013, we use quantile regressions to estimate the importance of factors affecting the installed prices for LP systems (those at the 10th percentile) in comparison to median-priced systems. We find that the value of solar to consumers-a variable that accounts for subsidies, electric rates, and PV generation levels-is associated with lower prices for LP systemsmore » but higher prices for median priced systems. Conversely, systems installed in new home construction are associated with lower prices at the median but higher prices for LP. Other variables have larger price-reducing effects on LP than on median priced systems: systems installed in Arizona and Florida, as well as commercial and thin film systems. In contrast, the following have a smaller effect on prices for LP systems than median priced systems: tracking systems, self-installations, systems installed in Massachusetts, the system size, and installer experience. Furthermore, these results highlight the complex factors at play that lead to LP systems and shed light into how such LP systems can come about.« less
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"Darghouth, Naim"

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