Technology Advances Needed for Photovoltaics to Achieve Widespread Grid Price Parity

Michael Woodhouse, David Feldman, Ran Fu, Kelsey Horowitz, Rebecca Jones-Albertus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus Citations


To quantify the potential value of technological advances to the photovoltaics (PV) sector, this paper examines the impact of changes to key PV module and system parameters on the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). The parameters selected include module manufacturing cost, efficiency, degradation rate, and service lifetime. NREL's System Advisor Model (SAM) is used to calculate the lifecycle cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for residential, commercial, and utility scale PV systems within the contiguous United States, with a focus on utility scale. Different technological pathways are illustrated that may achieve the Department of Energy's SunShot goal of PV electricity that is at grid price parity with conventional electricity sources. In addition, the impacts on the 2015 baseline LCOE due to changes to each parameter are shown. These results may be used to identify research directions with the greatest potential to impact the cost of PV electricity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1272-1283
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-64846


  • economics
  • LCOE
  • photovoltaics


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