Module Cost Structure Breakdown: Can Thin Film Survive the Crystalline Silicon Onslaught?

October 20, 2010 | State of the Market Report

The same brute force economics of the conventional semiconductor industry, which have made silicon the dominant material, have taken over the solar industry as crystalline silicon (x-Si) device manufacturers iron out fractions of a cent in cost. This has endangered manufacturers of pioneering thin-film technologies – including thin-film silicon (TF-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS). The success or failure of broad technology classes, as well as their developers, will depend critically upon achieving significant cost reductions and critical installation volumes in the coming months.

Coverage Area

  • Owning the Energy Transition

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Landscape
    Understanding module costs requires knowledge of the four main PV technologies’ value chains – some of which are borrowed and some of which are purpose-built for solar.
  • Analysis
    Efficiency and nameplate capacity assumptions are key to understanding the competitiveness of new TF-Si and CIGS technologies with well-defined mc-Si and CdTe incumbents.
  • Outlook
  • Endnotes

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