Crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaics are robust, manufacturable, and Earth-abundant. However, barriers exist for c-Si modules to reach US$0.50–0.75/Wp fabrication costs necessary for subsidy-free utility-scale adoption. We evaluate the potential of c-Si photovoltaics to reach this goal by developing a bottom-up cost model for c-Si wafer, cell, and module manufacturing; performing a sensitivity analysis to determine research domains that provide the greatest impact on cost; and evaluating the cost-reduction potential of line-of-sight manufacturing innovation and scale, as well as advanced technology innovation. We identify research domains with large cost reduction potential, including improving efficiencies, improving silicon utilization, and streamlining manufacturing processes and equipment, and briefly review ongoing research and development activities that impact these research domains. We conclude that multiple technology pathways exist to enable US$0.50/Wp module manufacturing in the United States with silicon absorbers. More broadly, this work presents a user-targeted research and development framework that prioritizes research needs based on market impact.
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Energy & Environmental Science
- Information Point