The installed cost per watt of solar photovoltaic systems in North Carolina dropped 36 percent between 2006 and 2011, the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association reports.
The NCSEA credits falling prices for a spike in solar installations. By last September, it says, North Carolina ranked eighth-highest in the nation for installed solar PV capacity. More than 1,100 systems with a total capacity of 128 megawatts registered with the N.C. Utilities Commission between 2006 and 2011.
Conventional electricity costs in the state, meanwhile, rose at an annual 3 percent average over the past decade, the study says.
The study projects that the largest solar PV systems, those larger than 500 kilowatts that take state and federal tax credits, will become cost-competitive with commercial retail electricity prices for all N.C. utilities in 2015. The smallest systems, 10 kilowatts or less, would reach parity by 2020.