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Issue 3, 2012
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Crystalline silicon photovoltaics: a cost analysis framework for determining technology pathways to reach baseload electricity costs

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Abstract

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.

Graphical abstract: Crystalline silicon photovoltaics: a cost analysis framework for determining technology pathways to reach baseload electricity costs

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Article information


Submitted
17 Dec 2011
Accepted
27 Jan 2012
First published
14 Feb 2012

Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 5874-5883
Article type
Analysis

Crystalline silicon photovoltaics: a cost analysis framework for determining technology pathways to reach baseload electricity costs

D. M. Powell, M. T. Winkler, H. J. Choi, C. B. Simmons, D. B. Needleman and T. Buonassisi, Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 5874
DOI: 10.1039/C2EE03489A

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