A report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (PDF here) entitled "Why Are Residential PV Prices in Germany So Much Lower Than in the United States?" provides details on just how much cheaper and more efficiently solar panels get installed on rooftops in Germany than the U.S.
The report is a gold mine of data, and we'll take a closer look in the coming days. Solar costs for hardware as well as "soft costs" are addressed, as well as the reasons for the $2.80-per-watt delta in system costs between the two nations. Germany installed four times as many solar panels as the U.S. in 2011 and almost ten times as many megawatts on a per-capita basis.
But we'll leave you with one vexing statistic today.
German residential solar systems, despite being on-average larger (6.8 kilowatts versus 4.95 kilowatts) take only 7.5 hours to install versus 75 hours in the U.S. This includes electrician labor as well as construction labor. The authors of the report appear a bit puzzled by this figure and continue to investigate. One more thing: residential projects take 126 days to develop in the U.S. versus 35 days in Germany.