The economics of perovskite solar manufacturing

Scientists in Switzerland put together a detailed analysis of the projected costs of designing and operating a 100 MW perovskite solar cell production line in various locations, taking in labor and energy costs as well as all materials and processing. The found that perovskite PV could be cost-competitive with other technologies even at much smaller scale, but noted that this still depends on the tech proving its long-term stability, and impressive achievements in research being successfully transferred to commercial production.

After quickly demonstrating potential for high-efficiency solar energy using lower cost materials and lower energy in fabrication compared to today’s silicon PV technology, perovskites are well on their way to commercialization. Many different possibilities exist as to the form these commercial products could take, and the materials they could contain. And it’s likely that more than one option could prove commercially viable.

Scientists led by the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland designed one possible process for the production of single-junction perovskite modules. They modeled all of the associated costs for manufacturing and installation of modules produced on a 100 MW production line based on their processes.

They described the production line and modeling in full in “Design and Cost Analysis of 100 MW Perovskite Solar Panel Manufacturing Process in Different Locations,” published in ACS Energy Letters. The group compared various material and processing options and found that a tin-oxide electron transport layer coupled with silver paste electrode would yield the lowest production cost and energy consumption, of the options compared in the study.

The group also calculated the minimum sustainable price, levelized cost of energy, and energy payback time for various locations. On the manufacturing side, they noted significant regional differences in the cost of processing glass, while their energy cost and payback calculations were largely affected by different land, labor and energy costs between regions, as well as climate conditions for installation.

The model predicts that a 100 MW perovskite production would require approximately 5.6 kWh of electricity per square meter of module. Based on installation in sunny locations such as Spain or Egypt, it could achieve an LCOE between $0.03/kWh and $0.04/kWh, reaching energy payback in a little over six months.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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