Tracking the Sun: Pricing and Design Trends for Distributed Photovoltaic Systems in the United States, 2021 Edition

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Berkeley Lab’s annual Tracking the Sun report describes trends among grid-connected, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. The latest edition of the report focuses on systems installed through year-end 2020, and is based on data from roughly 2.2 million systems, covering 79% of all distributed PV systems installed nationally through 2020.

The report describes trends related to:

  • Project characteristics, including system size, module efficiencies, prevalence of paired PV with storage, use of module-level power electronics, third-party ownership, mounting configurations, panel orientation, and non-residential customer segmentation ownership
  • Median installed-price trends, including both long-term and more recent temporal trends at the national and state levels, with comparisons to other recent PV cost and pricing benchmarks as well as to prices reported for other countries
  • Variability in pricing across individual projects based on system size, state, installer, module efficiency, inverter technology, and non-residential customer type

The report also includes an econometric analysis to estimate the effects of individual drivers on installed prices for host-owned residential systems installed in 2020.

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The report, published in slide-deck format, is accompanied by a narrative summary factsheet, interactive data visualizations, public data file, and summary data tables. All items can also be found at:  

A webinar discussing this research recorded on September, 22, 2021, can be viewed here

We want to hear from you. If you have specific questions about the report or data or requests for related analytical support from LBNL staff, you can submit those comments through a separate form here, and they will be routed to the appropriate staff.


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