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Economically Sustainable Growth of Perovskite Photovoltaics Manufacturing

16 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2019 Sneak Peek Status: Review Complete

See all articles by Ian Mathews

Ian Mathews

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Sarah Sofia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Erica Ma

Wellesley College

Joel Jean

Swift Solar Inc.

Hannu S. Laine

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Sin Cheng Siah

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tonio Buonassisi

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Ian Marius Peters

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Mathews, Ian and Sofia, Sarah and Ma, Erica and Jean, Joel and Laine, Hannu S. and Siah, Sin Cheng and Buonassisi, Tonio and Peters, Ian Marius, Economically Sustainable Growth of Perovskite Photovoltaics Manufacturing (September 12, 2019). JOULE-D-19-00786. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3452790 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3452790
This is a paper under consideration at Cell Press and has not been peer-reviewed.

Ian Mathews (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Sarah Sofia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Erica Ma

Wellesley College

106 Central St.
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States

Joel Jean

Swift Solar Inc.

United States

Hannu S. Laine

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Sin Cheng Siah

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Tonio Buonassisi

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Ian Marius Peters

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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