skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Capital intensity of photovoltaics manufacturing: Barrier to scale and opportunity for innovation

In this study, using a bottom-up cost model, we assess the impact of initial factory capital expenditure (capex) on photovoltaic (PV) module minimum sustainable price (MSP) and industry-wide trends. We find capex to have two important impacts on PV manufacturing. First, capex strongly influences the per-unit MSP of a c-Si module: we calculate that the capex-related elements sum to 22% of MSP for an integrated wafer, cell, and module manufacturer. This fraction provides a significant opportunity to reduce MSP toward the U.S. DOE SunShot module price target through capex innovation.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1754-5692; EESNBY
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy & Environmental Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 12; Related Information: Energy and Environmental Science; Journal ID: ISSN 1754-5692
Royal Society of Chemistry
Research Org:
NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY initial factory capital expenditure; capex; photovoltaic; pv; minimum sustainable price; msp; manufacturing