An Analysis of Residential PV System Price Differences Between the United States and Germany

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Date Published





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.


39th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference

Year of Publication



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.


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