Solar panels are getting cheaper, but they are still cheaper than the market expected.
That could mean they will be less competitive in the coming years.
That’s according to an analysis released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on Tuesday.
Solar panel prices for each of the top 25 panels have been trending down, from $4,000 to $3,500 per watt, while prices for the top 10 panels have increased, from about $4.30 per watt to $5.20 per watt.
The SEIA analysis, which analyzed a year of solar panel prices from a dozen states, found that over the past year, solar panels have fallen about 13 percent, or $9.8 billion, while they have grown more than 60 percent.
Solar panels will become cheaper as new technologies become available, which is good news for solar installations, but it is still far less than what the industry expected.
The average cost of a panel now is $1,200, up from about half a year ago.
SEIA’s analysts said that if prices continue to fall, it could mean that solar panels will be “less competitive than they would have been” had solar prices stayed the same.
Solar manufacturers will be able to continue making solar panels for a longer time than they could have before, but with less competition from non-solar-panel companies, the solar industry may be forced to take on more debt to build solar systems.
SEAI also said that, for the past two years, the industry has lost nearly $1.5 billion due to the cost of solar power.