Solar Energy, Volume 144, 1 March 2017, Pages 629-634

Return on Investment Analysis and Simulation of a 9.12 Kilowatt (kW) Solar Photovoltaic System

Tyler Formicaa and Michael Pecht a
a CALCE, Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA


Residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have been emerging as an economically feasible energy source. In the United States, an extension of the federal solar investment tax credit was granted in December 2015 to encourage solar investments by giving residential users a 30% discount on start-up costs (equipment and installation costs) with the 30% discount decreasing slightly each year until it expires in 2023. This article presents a simulation of the return on investment of a residential solar PV system in College Park, Maryland, using weather conditions and tax credits specific to the Maryland area. A bundle package was selected with components that are cost-effective in residential applications, and the total amount of expected energy production was calculated by inputting information regarding the location, components, and design into the “PV Watts Calculator” tool available from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) along with eligible tax credits. An analysis of the conditions that affect the long-term return on investment including reliability and changing tax credit structures is then presented.

This article is available online here and to CALCE Consortium Members for personal review.

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