Related to the previous section, solar PV financial models generally assign zero residual value to the project. The system, however, could have a useful life of 50 years or more, yielding a material residual value to the system after the 20- or 25- year financed term. Additionally, the PV power plant could increase in value if fossil fuel-based energy prices continue to rise.

Due to the time value of money, the LCOE impact of a system ’s residual value is diluted but could still materially reduce a PV power plant’s LCOE.

It is conceivable that in the future, PV systems will be treated as assets with an active secondary market. In the wind industry, secondary turbine sale and refurbishment has begun to occur.[10] SunPower has seen some value being placed on the future reclamation of the structural steel used in its power plants, but placing a value, the residual energy of a PV power plant is still immature in the market.

Updated: August 19, 2015 — 6:29 pm