Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Module Manufacturing Costs and Sustainable Pricing: 1H 2018 Benchmark and Cost Reduction Road Map

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


In this paper we provide an overview of the accounting methods and most recent input data used within NREL's bottom-up crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar photovoltaic (PV) module supply chain cost models. The costs accounting framework that is detailed in this paper provides a methodology to prepare bottom-up c-Si PV supply chain cost models in accordance with the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). For the polysilicon, ingot, wafer, cell conversion, and module assembly steps of the c-Si supply chain, we outline what is relevant for calculations of the costs of goods sold (consisting of the materials, labor, electricity, maintenance, and depreciation of capital equipment); as well as the additional operating expenses of research and development (R&D); and sales, general, and business administration (S, G, &A). This 2017 benchmark analysis is applied to current state-of-the-art manufacturing sites located within the United States, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Germany. Primarily due to country-dependent labor and electricity rates, tax rates, and cost-of-capital considerations, we calculate differences in minimum sustainable pricing for all of these countries. In this paper we also include technical descriptions and bottom-up cost model results for several emerging c-Si technologies including larger Czochralski (Cz) ingots, kerfless wafers, reduced silicon utilization by thinner wafers and advanced diamond wire wafering, new encapsulants and backsheets, shingled cells, and the cell architectures passivated emitter and rear cells (PERC), bifacial passivated emitter and rear totally diffused (PERT) cells, bifacial heterojunction intrinsic thin layer (HIT) cells, and interdigitated all back-contact cells (IBC).
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages58
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-72134


  • advanced manufacturing
  • crystalline silicon
  • photovoltaics
  • renewable energy
  • solar


Dive into the research topics of 'Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Module Manufacturing Costs and Sustainable Pricing: 1H 2018 Benchmark and Cost Reduction Road Map'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this