Comparing residential solar install costs in the U.S. to Germany


The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently released a briefing comparing the “soft” costs (or business process costs) of residential photovoltaic solar installations in the U.S. and Germany. The comparison was focused on outright purchases in Germany in 2011 and based on a survey done by NREL in the U.S. in 2010.

Key findings based on a standard 5 kW residential system, which costs about $25,000-$30,000:

  • In total, average German soft costs were about $13,500 less
  • Acquiring customers cost $3,000 less in Germany
  • Labor costs were $2,750 less
  • Permitting and Interconnection costs were $1,000 less in Germany
  • Sales tax exemptions in Germany saved another $1,000
  • The remaining $5,750 difference in soft costs was associated with overhead, profit and other residual costs

The PowerPoint briefing can be downloaded here. Hopefully this is a first stip in helping further drive down the costs of installing residential solar in the United States!

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