A New Model to Determine Installed System Cost and LCOE for ARPA-E's MOSAIC Micro-Concentrator PV Program: Preprint

Ran Fu, Kelsey Horowitz, Daniel Cunningham, James Zahler

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The US Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) started a three-year program in December 2015 called Microscale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAIC). It consists of 11 teams from across the United States. Its goal is to have project teams leverage expertise from conventional flat-plate photovoltaic (PV) system configuration and concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) module technology to produce a new class of modules for residential, commercial, and utility-scale markets. The intent is to increase performance and facilitate cost-effective deployment of solar power systems across a wide range of geographical locations in part by concentrating both direct and diffuse components of the sun's irradiance. This paper describes a collaboration of ARPA-E and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop a bottom-up system cost model for MOSAIC research teams. The model includes an estimate of regional, all-in, CPV installed cost, and levelized cost of energy (LCOE) by using customized inputs parameters, such as module efficiency, cost, and physical dimensions. This techno-economic cost model can help researchers analyze tradeoffs among different design parameters and then prioritize their distinct research opportunities. Moreover, it establishes a standardized cost benchmarking for MOSAIC micro-CPV systems and a normalized comparison against traditional CPV and today's highly competitive flat-plate PV systems. The model is a valuable design tool within the program, helping validate the various technical approaches and compare future deployed system competitiveness versus incumbent technologies in the PV industry.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2018
Event2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC) - Washington, D.C.
Duration: 25 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


Conference2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC)
CityWashington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A20-68550


  • balance of system
  • BoS
  • bottom-up cost model
  • concentrated photovoltaics
  • CPV
  • LCOE
  • solar energy


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