New technologies pushing solar PV further down cost curve | RenewEconomy

New technologies pushing solar PV further down cost curve

Latest silicon solar report from Lux Research says emerging technologies like PERC and bifacial cells will help push down module costs in 2020.


PV Magazine

In its latest “Silicon solar cell and module roadmap” report, Lux Research says that emerging technologies like PERC and bifacial cells will aid in pushing down module costs in 2020.

New technologies are already flooding the PV sector with companies continually reporting the adoption of PERC or n-type, bifacial cell technologies to name a few. In line with this, Lux Research in its latest report confirms this trend and further adds that these technologies have the potential to push down module prices to $0.48/Wp in 2020. Efficiency of modules is also expected to increase to as high as 24% over the next five years.

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The technologies are namely passivated emitter, rear-contact (PERC), metal wrap through (MWT) and even more efficient bifacial cell technology. PERC technology is anticipated to be an “early winner”. This is due to not just its efficiency potential but also on account of its lower capex. PERC demand has been seen to be spiraling upwards with PERC equipment makers like Meyer Burger receiving a steady stream of orders. Companies like Hanwha Q-cells, Trina, JA Solar, SunEdison, SolarWorld and Motech, to name a few, have already jumped onto the PERC technology wagon.

Bifacial and MWT

Bifacial modules are also set to gain niche markets in distributed generation. Being able to absorb light on both the front and back sides, these cells can be useful in distributed roof-mounted installations in high-reflectivity settings or aesthetics-driven building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) markets. German equipment maker Schmid for example produces a bifacial turnkey line and has seen orders also come in for this tool. MWT technology deployment is expected to gain traction by 2020.

Lux Research believes that these high-efficiency silicon technologies will boost the ability of distributed generation, an aspect that was ignored in the recent Clean Power Plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

pv magazine did a special feature on future PV technologies where the high-efficiency silicon technologies mentioned above were included as well.

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  1. Mike Dill 5 years ago

    Since First Solar just stated that their new Malaysia plant is currently producing modules for $0.40/watt, $0.48/watt by 2020 is definitely achievable, and might be a bit high.

    • D Dunstan 5 years ago

      Mike Dell
      Read with interest your comments regarding the anticipated cost of modules / panels that First Solar will be producing sometime in 2020.
      I ‘m sure many of us will be looking forward to that day.
      At this juncture, would you have any idea as to the finished size of the panel/ modules that will be marketered?

      • Mike Dill 5 years ago

        I think that 22% efficient will be widely available, and 25% will be a special order, so a square meter will be 220watts, and the normal panel will remain 1m by 1.5m with a marketing value of 330watts. My guess for 2020, given the current production cost, cutthroat competition, a relative large markup, and a compounded price reduction: $0.62 to $0.75 per watt, or US$200 to $250 per panel wholesale. This is in-line with the sun-shot initiative.
        I also expect more electronics in the panels, with power leveling at the wafer level, as a selling point.

      • D Dunstan 5 years ago

        Your figures look interesting. Are they based on production out of First Solar, Malaysia, with more electronics plus other ” carrot dangling” benefits in the panels?
        It would be most appreciated if you could elaborate on the
        ” sun-shot initiative”.
        Btw; would it be too much too ask of your role in the industry.

  2. Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

    24% efficiency is going to cut away a bunch of BOS costs. Shipping, labor, racking, cabling. And a lot more wattage is going to get packed into available real estate.

    Take these little green rectangles below which represent the area needed to get 100% electricity from only solar and shave them off a bunch.

    Then take the new study from the NREL that finds onshore wind could soon hit CF levels around 65% and we’re going to be getting a lot more output for our dollars. (GE is reporting wind farms with >50% CF now.)

    • Pedro 5 years ago

      Like the map. You wouldn’t by any chance have a map showing the area taken up by all the coal/uranium mines and power plants to power the world. Or know where to find one. I think it would make an interesting comparison.

      • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

        Sorry, no.

        But some comparison maps would be very interesting.

      • Jacob 5 years ago

        Uranium power stations do take up a lot of land.

        And coal power stations need a massive water supply.

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