Estimating the Effects of Module Area on Thin-Film Photovoltaic System Costs

Kelsey Horowitz, Ran Fu, Timothy Silverman, Michael Woodhouse, Xingshu Sun, Muhammad Alam

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

1 Scopus Citations


We investigate the potential effects of module area on the cost and performance of photovoltaic systems. Applying a bottom-up methodology, we analyzed the costs associated with thin-film modules and systems as a function of module area. We calculate a potential for savings of up to 0.10/Wand0.13/W in module manufacturing costs for CdTe and CIGS respectively, with large area modules. We also find that an additional 0.04/W savings in balance-of-systems costs may be achieved. Sensitivity of the /W cost savings to module efficiency, manufacturing yield, and other parameters is presented. Lifetime energy yield must also be maintained to realize reductions in the levelized cost of energy; the effects of module size on energy yield for monolithic thin-film modules are not yet well understood. Finally, we discuss possible non-cost barriers to adoption of large area modules.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2018
Event2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC) - Washington, D.C.
Duration: 25 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


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

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-6A20-68506 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A20-73956


  • cost analysis
  • large module
  • photovoltaics
  • solar economics
  • thin-film


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