Next Generation Photovoltaics Lecture Series:
Hard Science of Soft Costs: Reducing Solar Costs and Accelerating Adoption
Varun Rai, Associate Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs & Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Webinar: Tuesday, June 27, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
PV hardware costs have come down dramatically over the last few years and soft costs (non-hardware, such as labor, design, permitting, customer acquisition, etc.) now comprise about 50% of the installed cost of solar. This talk discusses findings that shed light on the drivers of price variation of installed systems and on strategies for reducing soft costs. The talk will cover both the demand and supply side of the market and will focus on customer adoption decision-making process, role of different information channels in the adoption process, trends in balance-of-system (BOS) innovations, and impact of market structure and policies on solar economics. Also covered, a new study funded by the SunShot Initiative that takes a network-science approach for understanding how and from whom installation companies learn about reducing soft costs.