What about solar cell power generation and manufacturing costs?

What about solar cell power generation and manufacturing costs?

According to the statistics of Sharp Corporation, solar photovoltaic cells or modules only account for 25% (crystalline silicon) to 40% (thin film) in the entire value-added chain of solar energy systems, materials account for 20% (crystalline silicon), and systems and engineering account for another 35% to 40%. %.

The cost of a PV system is in USD/W. As of June 2008, in the US, for small PV systems, the average cost is less than $8-10/W to be attractive. The total cost depends on the size of the system, which is determined by the electrical load being built or by the roof area being set up.

A typical home PV system scales from 2 to 5 kW, and the average American household uses 10,000 kW h of energy per year. To meet the full energy needs of the average household, the PV system needs to be up to 5kW in size. Assuming $9/W, an attractive cost of about $45,000. But for an energy-efficient home that can cut electricity use in half, the cost of a 2.5kW system is about $22,500.

PV module prices are trending down. In addition to facility and other system costs, the average price of PV modules has dropped from $100/W in 1975 to less than $4/W by the end of 2006. Average PV prices are expected to drop to $2/W in 2010 as polysilicon supply grows. For thin-film photovoltaics, production costs are expected to reach $1/W in 2010, when solar photovoltaics can compete with coal-fired power generation. With rising oil prices and the push to develop renewable energy in response to climate change, solar power is expected to take a prominent place in the global energy economy.

According to the forecast information from Photon Consulting Co. and ABN AMRO, which was compiled by Applied Materials at the end of July 2009, it is believed that with the improvement of technology, as well as the use of less materials and the adoption of more advanced automation technology, conventional crystalline silicon photovoltaic The average manufacturing cost of the board is expected to fall from the current $2.04/W to $1.47/W in 2011, assuming a fixed cost of $55/kg for silicon.

The current situation and forecast analysis of the solar photovoltaic industry chain are as follows:
At least in the next few years, crystalline silicon will continue to occupy the mainstream of the world’s solar photovoltaic manufacturing. Figure 1 shows the solar cell market and forecast for monocrystalline silicon (c-Si), polycrystalline silicon (Poly-Si) and thin film.

What about solar cell power generation and manufacturing costs?
Figure 1 Market and forecast of solar cells such as monocrystalline silicon (c-Si), polycrystalline silicon (Poly-Si) and thin film

PV manufacturing is done in several stages. The first is to make crystalline silicon, which requires a large-scale factory, however, the product chain is cut to make wafers, and then the wafers are used to make batteries, and finally the batteries are assembled into modules.

The investment of PV manufacturing plant depends on the different construction stages of the plant. To build a polysilicon manufacturing plant, the minimum scale requires an investment of 250 million US dollars. For a wafer production factory, the minimum scale is 50MW wafers (annual output is 50MW), and the investment is 30 million to 40 million US dollars. The solar cell factory investment can be smaller. For 20MW/a, a typical investment is 10 million US dollars. The module factory can be as small as 10MW/a, and the investment is 2 million to 4 million US dollars.

Thin-film PV fabrication, such as using amorphous silicon, CIGS, or fragmented cadmium (CT), typically starts with a glass plate onto which PV thin films are deposited. The fabrication of interconnects on the deposited material can be accomplished by building stacks. Lamination on a module involves many times the same steps as in the production of crystalline silicon modules.

The production of aggregated cells, such as arsenide, is more complex and depends on the aggregate design itself.

The production cost of related plant equipment is broken down as follows:
· Wafer production equipment is about $0.60/W.
· Battery production equipment is about $0.40/W.
·Module production equipment is about $0.30/W.

Taken together, this means that the cost of the production plant is about $1.30/W. When this price is combined with the 800MW of new capacity added in 2008, the investment equipment market value is $1 billion per year.

At present, the scale of factory construction has been continuously expanded. When it started in the 1970s, the factory was set to have a production capacity of 1MW per year. By the 80s, a typical plant was 5MW. By 2005, it was increased to 50MW, and the scale of the plant put into operation in 2010 has reached 100MW. There are also GW-scale capacity plants under consideration, which would consist of multiple 100MW capacity facilities.

The above cost estimates do not take into account the cost of polysilicon, which is as high as $400/kg if taken into account, and is expected to drop to $70/kg in the next few years. Accordingly, the module manufacturing cost will be about $2.11/W. Wafer cost over $1 ($1.08)/W. The cost of polysilicon will have a significant impact on the cost of future modules. Figure 2 illustrates the sensitivity of polysilicon cost. Figure 3 shows the sensitivity of solar cell efficiency.

What about solar cell power generation and manufacturing costs?
Figure 2 Sensitivity of polysilicon cost
What about solar cell power generation and manufacturing costs?
Figure 3 Sensitivity of solar cell efficiency

The PV market in 2010 can be predicted as follows:
·The world’s manufacturing capacity will reach 8~10GW.
· There will be 6 major manufacturers, each producing 1GW or more.
· There will be 30 other manufacturers, each producing 100MW or less.
·Module sales price is $2.90/W.
80% of PV will continue to use monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon.
20% of PV will be thin film and other forms (concentrator systems).

Further reductions in the cost of solar photovoltaic panels will make photovoltaics more competitive with conventional electricity. One way is to scale up production to improve economics. The Solar Energy Industry Association estimates that every doubling of industrial production capacity reduces the cost of solar photovoltaic panels by 18 percent. Over the past 20 years, the cost of solar photovoltaic panels has fallen by an average of 6% per year.

US First Solar announced on February 25, 2009 that as of the fourth quarter of 2008, the cost of its solar modules has reached $0.98/W, breaking the price barrier of $1/W. a big improvement. This achievement marks a new milestone for the solar industry in providing practical sustainable energy solutions. First Solar’s initial production line was put into commercial operation in the second half of 2004. Since 2004, the company’s production capacity has increased by 2,500%, exceeding 500MW in 2008. First Solar’s annual production capacity in 2009 doubled again to reach More than 1GW, equivalent to an average-sized nuclear power plant. These products enable rapid reductions in manufacturing costs. Since 2004, First Solar’s solar module manufacturing costs have dropped by 2/3, from more than $3/W to less than $1/W. Based on the improvement potential of its technology and manufacturing process, the manufacturing cost will drop significantly in the future.

The research report released by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the US Department of Energy on February 23, 2009 shows that the installation cost of solar photovoltaic power generation systems in the United States has dropped significantly from 1998 to 2007, but it has remained basically the same in the last two years. The decline in the cost of setting up solar photovoltaic power generation systems is mainly due to the decline in non-module costs. The study involved 37,000 grid-connected PV systems set up in 12 states in the United States from 1998 to 2007. It was found that the average setup cost (set on a 2007 dollar basis) dropped from $10.50/W in 1998 to $7.60/W in 2007. This equates to an average annual decline of $0.30/W, or 3.5% per annum on a real dollar basis. The biggest cost reductions are for smaller PV systems, such as those used for residential power generation, while larger scale setups have better economics. Systems built in 2006-2007 with a scale of less than 2kW cost an average of $9.00/W, while systems larger than 750kW cost an average of $6.80/W. Costs vary by state. For systems less than 10kW installed in 2006-2007, Arizona was as low as $7.60/W, followed by California and New Jersey with an average of $8.10/W and $8.40/W respectively, and Maryland as high as $10.60/W W.

Thanks to technological advancements, the cost of setting up solar panels is much lower than it was three years ago, and by 2014, even without government subsidies, solar photovoltaic systems are expected to compete with conventional power generation in price, according to forecasts by Deutsche Bank. Solar panels are expected to find more applications in the home and commercial fields.