Economically Sustainable Growth of Perovskite Photovoltaics Manufacturing
16 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2019 Sneak Peek Status: Review CompleteMore...
The significant capital expense of photovoltaics (PV) manufacturing has made it difficult for new cell and module technologies to enter the solar power market and compete on price with incumbents. We present a technoeconomic model that evaluates the sustainable growth rate of perovskite manufacturing companies, focusing on the dual impacts of economies of scale and average selling price on profitability. A cost model for a roll-to-roll perovskite PV manufacturing facility versus scale is presented and used to establish minimum sustainable prices from $3.3/W – $0.53/W for flexible modules manufactured in factory sizes ranging from 0.3 MW/year to 1 GW/year respectively. We use these numbers to calculate the economically sustainable annual growth rates for a company selling photovoltaic modules in different markets, obtaining a wide range of possible values, depending on operating margin and scale of manufacturing. Selling into the mainstream utility market for $0.4/W requires a prohibitively large upfront investment of over $1 billion to establish a profitable manufacturing facility. We show that the required investment, and thus the barrier to market entry for flexible perovskites, can be reduced in two ways: (i) lowering the cost of materials to 70% of current values reduces the initial investment required to <$100 million, highlighting the role of disruptive innovations in related industries, or (ii) selling into niche markets for $1/W or greater, representative of IoT, BIPV, and vehicle-integrated markets, reducing the required initial capital investment to <$10 million. In addition, we show that it is possible to sustainably grow a perovskite manufacturing company, considering US labor rates, by selling products in growing alternative PV markets.
Keywords: perovskite photovoltaics, cost modeling, technoeconomic analysis, scale-up, cleantech innovation
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