Residential photovoltaic (PV) systems are significantly more expensive in the United States than in Germany ($5.18/W vs. $2.59/W in 2012). These price discrepancies stem from differences in “soft costs” between the two countries. A survey of German PV installers was deployed to collect granular data on PV soft costs in Germany, and the results are compared to those of a similar survey of US PV installers. Non-module hardware costs and all analyzed soft costs are lower in Germany, especially for customer acquisition, installation labor and profit/overhead costs, but also for expenses related to permitting, interconnection and inspection procedures.
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These findings were based on an LBNL report entitled Why Are Residential PV Prices in Germany So Much Lower Than in the United States? A Scoping Analysis. To see the full report, click here.