Investment Costs

Typically the cost of installing a photovoltaic system having a power of 10 kW was about 1,600 €/kWp and cost of 100 kW was about 1,400 €/kWp in 2013[1]. The investement range for PV power plants constructed in 2010 was between 2,000 and 4,000 €/kWp, more only for some tracking power plants. Typical investment costs in years 2009/2010 are presented in the table below. Please note that typical investment range is presented in the tables. Typical investment costs are from 3,500€ /kWp for thin film PV power plants up to 5,500 €/kWp for c-Si tracking power plants for 2009.

Power (kWp) Investment (€/Wp)
Off-grid 0,1 - 0,5 10 - 15
1 - 4 8 - 12[2]
15 - 30 worldwide[3]
On-grid 1 - 4 3,5 - 5
10 - 50 3,5 - 5
> 50 3,5 - 5

TABLE 1: Typical investment costs in year 2009 for different power ranges

Power (kWp) Investment (€/Wp)
> 200 2 - 4

TABLE 2: Typical investment costs in year 2010 for utilizy scale PV power plants

Maintenance Costs

Operation and maintenance costs, ranging between 0,02 to 0,1 €/kWh. However, these costs can vary significantly, ranging between as low as 0.01 €/kWh to 0.10 €/kWh. The higher reported costs included maintenance costs for generators in remote hybrid PV systems, as well as capital replacement costs due to environmental factors such as extreme temperatures and vandalism. The most significant replacement cost will likely be the battery. Some studies report that operation and maintenance costs are well correlated to the system size, so 1 % of total hardware costs (investment) operation and maintenance costs is expected. Aboves estimation are not very new but they match very well with latest results where average operation and maintanance costs are estimated to be about 50 US$/kW.

Technology Costs
fixed tilt c-Si 47
fixed tilt CdTe 52
fixed tilt a-Si 52
single axis tracking c-Si 60

TABLE 3: Estimated total operating costs USD/MW[4] for different technologies
(courtesy: EPRI, 2010)

Electricity Price

Electricity prices for systems with a planned 20-year lifetime with 5 % discount rate and for typical annual yields of 900 kWh/kWp, 1000 kWh/kWp, 1500 kWh/kWp, 1700 kWh/kWp and 2000 kWh/kWp are presented in Figure below. In this calculation annual maintenance costs representing 1 % of the investment are considered. The yield range presented in the abovementioned Figure covers (rough estimate) the typical annual yield achievable in European countries. 900 kWh/kWp can be attained in northern Germany using fixed mounted systems, while up to 1500 kWh/kWp is possible in Italy, Greece and Spain and about 2000 kWh/kWp in those same countries using two-axis tracking systems. In southern USA even higher yield is possible.

Electricity price, credit pvresources

Electricity price (EUR/kWh) of grid-connected PV power plants for a 5 % discount rate and 20-year system
lifetime for different yield rates (kWh/kWp), sorted by annual yield. Investment range from 2 - 4 Euro/kWp
as presented on Y-axis covers average investment in period from 2008 to 2010 (see figure labels).
Source: Large-Scale Photovoltaic Power Plants, pvresources Annual Review 2008 Extended Edition, June 2009.


[1] Data source: Bundeswerband Solarwirtschaft.
[2] In developed countries.
[3] Countries in development and rural areas worldwide.
[4] This data is related to output power and not to array (Wp) power.

Investment Costs

Wiser, R. et al. (2009): Tracking the Sun, The Installed Costs of Photovoltaics in the U.S. from 1998 to 2007; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, February 2009.

Operating and Maintenance Costs Reports

Best Practices in PV System Operations and Maintenance, Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) Working Group; Version 1.0, March 2015.
Electric Power Research Institute: Solar Photovoltaic System Operations and Maintenance EPRI, December 2011.
Electric Power Research Institute: Addressing Solar Photovoltaic Operations and Maintenance Challenges A Survey of Current Knowledge and Practices, EPRI, July 2010.

Life Cycle Cost of Energy - LCoE

Huld, T. et al. (2014): Cost Maps for Unsubsidised Photovoltaic Electricity . European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Energy and Transport.
Fraunhofer ISE, (2015): Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics. Long-term Scenarios for Market Development, System Prices and LCOE of Utility-Scale PV Systems. Study on behalf of Agora Energiewende.
Up-to-Date Levelised Cost of Electricity of Photovoltaics; Background from Fraunhofer ISE relating to IPCC WGIII 5th Assessment Report, Final Draft, September 2014.
Kost, C. et al., (2013): Levelized Cost of Electricity Renewable Energy Technologies. Frauenhofer ISE Study; November 2013.
World Energy Council, (2013): World Energy Perspective, Cost of Energy Technologies. Project Partner: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Ftenakis, V., Kim, H. C. (2011), Photovoltaics: Life-cycle analyses; Solar Energy 85 (2011) 1609-1628.
The Drivers of the Levelized Cost of Electricity for Utility-Scale Photovoltaics; SunPower Corp., White Paper, August 2008.