The Open PV Project: The real-time status of the solar photovoltaic market in the U.S.

The Open PV Project: The real-time status of the solar photovoltaic market in th


The ProjectThe Open PV Project is a collaborative effort between government, industry, and the public that is compiling a comprehensive database of photovoltaic (PV) installation data for the United States. Data for the project are voluntarily contributed from a variety of sources including utilities, installers, and the general public. The data collected is actively maintained by the contributors and are always changing to provide an evolving, up-to-date snapshot of the US solar power market.Data Collection

The Open PV Project is collecting data from any willing contributor of available information. NREL has "seeded" the Open PV database by requesting data from most state run incentive programs, large utilities, and other organizations. This initial data collection has provided a solid base of data for the project to launch from and it is our hope that the database will continue to grow through contributions from the PV community and anyone interested in understanding PV market dynamics in the US.

Data Quality

Determining the quality of incoming data is dependent upon who is submitting the data to the project. This means that data coming from users associated with a particular organization may be "trusted" more than data from other unknown users. Each registered user is assigned a default "score" based on their organizational affiliation. This score is highest for Government users (State, Federal, etc.) because such users are often involved with incentive programs that have a defined data collection process in place. Second are utility and PV installers (and others in the PV industry), and so on. All users who contribute data to the project have the ability to gain a "project reputation" that can impact the score of the data they contribute.


Data validation occurs on each record in the database on a regular basis. The database is continually analyzed for corrupt records, bad or invalid data, and outliers such as an abnormal cost to watt ratio. Records found to contain questionable data are flagged and are dealt with on a case by case basis by a member of the Open PV Team.


Understanding duplication is one of the ways that individual records are validated. In a publicly contributed database, it is imperative to anticipate the submission of duplicate records. When duplicate records are detected, they are added to an install specific list of duplicates and the data provided are aggregated into "summary records" of their respective installs. Identifying duplicate records helps validate PV installs in the database. The more a PV installation is duplicated in the database, the more trust the project places on the data for that installation.

Data FieldsRequired Fields

The Open PV Project is designed to be able to store nearly any type of information pertaining to PV installations. In order to provide the primary statistics from the database we have identified 4 data fields that are required of each PV install added to the project. These four fields are:

  • Date Installed (Completion date or interconnection date)
  • Size/Capacity of the PV Installation (in kW DC)
  • Location (Zipcode or Street Address)
  • Total Installed Cost (in USD, before incentives)
Additional Fields

The four required fields listed above provide the Open PV Project with the base information needed to derive several key statistics on the US PV market, including historical trends and regional comparisons. However, the design of the Open PV database is capable of storing nearly any type of data associated with PV installation, so the Open PV Team would like to encourage you to contribute any additional information you are comfortable sharing. This extra information can be extremely valuable, for example, data that contains information about who installed the PV installation can help to answer very useful questions about where certain installers are working. Information on module or inverter types can be useful in mapping efficiency and detailed financing information can be a key factor in understanding trends in overall installation cost. The Open PV Team strongly encourages you to contribute any data you feel comfortable providing, especially data you would like to see visualized in our gallery someday.

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