Cost modeling of silicon solar cell production innovation along the PV value chain
The introduction of new solar cell structures as e.g. PERC or HIP-MWT into industrial fabrication increases the cell production complexity considerably to the still widely produced H-pattern Al-BSF solar cell. But due to the higher efficiency of the new cell structures, their increased production costs can pay off within the following module production or on system level, as area-proportional costs are used more efficiently. We present a cost calculation model for the economic comparison of different silicon solar cell production technologies with respect to the impact of a cell efficiency improvement on the cost of ownership of each subsequent stage of the PV value chain. Following the presentation of our approach, we show an exemplary cost-of-ownership calculation, demonstrating that the industrial production of a PERC or a HIP-MWT cell structure can be economically feasible. The roughly 30 % higher cell production costs are already amortized on module level, on system level the advanced cell structures show a cost advantage compared to the Al-BSF cell structure.