New report benchmarking Oregon solar soft costs

In November, Energy Trust published a “Benchmarking Oregon Solar Soft Costs 2014 Installer Survey Analysis” report. The report found that soft costs account for more than 50 percent of average installation costs for both residential and commercial projects in Oregon in 2014.

Amongst the many findings, trade allies reported that:

  • They spend an average of 15.9 labor hours on permitting, inspection, interconnection and incentive processing for residential projects and 27.3 labor hours for commercial projects.
  • Installation crews spend an average of 10.75 hours per kilowatt on residential projects and 8.4 hours per kilowatt on commercial projects.

solar-soft-costs1The report analyzed results from a survey of solar trade ally contractors performed between July and September 2014. The survey was closely modeled after surveys used by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL, to build the national roadmap outlined in the “Non-Hardware (“Soft”) Cost-Reduction Roadmap for Residential and Small Commercial Solar Photovoltaics, 2013-2020.” Trade ally contractors answered questions about labor hours required to complete specific design, permitting and installation tasks, and provided data about expenditures for customer acquisition. The survey was divided into the same five categories as the national roadmap: hardware costs; installation labor; permitting, inspection, interconnection and incentives (PII+I); customer acquisition; and other soft costs.

Energy Trust aims to create a vigorous and sustainable market in Oregon for solar that can ultimately thrive without incentives. This report found that to realize that goal, more work is needed to reduce soft costs and address the market barriers that increase installation costs in Oregon.

Read the full report online here.