Paths to Future Growth in Photovoltaics Manufacturing

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    5 Scopus Citations


    The past decade has seen rapid growth in the photovoltaics industry, followed in the past few years by a period of much slower growth. A simple model that is consistent with this historical record can be used to predict the future evolution of the industry. Two key parameters are identified that determine the outcome. One is the annual global investment in manufacturing capacity normalized to the manufacturing capacity for the previous year (capacity-normalized capital investment rate, CapIR, units $/W). The other is how much capital investment is required for each watt of annual manufacturing capacity, normalized to the service life of the assets (capacity-normalized capital demand rate, CapDR, units $/W). If these two parameters remain unchanged from the values they have held for the past few years, global manufacturing capacity will peak in the next few years and then decline. However, it only takes a modest improvement in CapIR to ensure future growth in photovoltaics. Several approaches are presented that can enable the required improvement in CapIR. If, in addition, there is an accompanying improvement in CapDR, the rate of growth can be substantially accelerated.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Pages (from-to)1024-1031
    Number of pages8
    JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - 2016

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/JA-5J00-65394


    • Capex
    • manufacturing
    • photovoltaics


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