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Chinese Solar Power Innovation Producing Cheaper Panels

Joseph Romm's picture
American Progress
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  • Feb 18, 2013 4:00 pm GMT

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Future cost drops from Chinese crystalline silicon solar producers will not be as steep as recent years, but they will still be significant.

Stephen Lacey, via GreenTechMedia

The cost of producing a conventional crystalline silicon (c-si) solar panel continues to drop. Between 2009 and 2012, leading “best-in-class” Chinese c-Si solar manufacturers reduced module costs by more than 50 percent. And in the next three years, those players — companies like Jinko, Yingli, Trina and Renesola — are on a path to lower costs by another 30 percent.

Check out [the above] chart outlining projected costs, which comes from GTM Research’s Global Intelligence PV Tracker.

“Clearly, the magnitude of cost reductions will be less than in previous years. But we still do see potential for significant cost reductions. Going from 53 cents to 42 cents is noteworthy,” says Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM Research.

With plenty of innovation still occurring in crystalline silicon PV manufacturing — including new sawing techniques, thinner wafers, conductive adhesives, and frameless modules — companies are able to squeeze more pennies off the cost of each panel. However, as the chart above shows, innovating “outside the module” to reduce the installed cost of solar will be increasingly important as companies find it harder to realize cost reductions in manufacturing.

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I K's picture
I K on Mar 26, 2013

Great news but what they really need to do is make them plug and play,
In the UK it will cost you £5,500 to have a 4KWp system installed, only around £1,800 of that is the PV panels themselves..

The manufacturers need to make it so you just plug and play. Go to your local DIY store, buy 10 meter square of panels. Lay it in your garden, run the plug into your house and plug it in.

That gets rid of the very costly overhead of employing a company or contractor to place it on your roof.

£1,500 for a plug and play 2,000KWp system would sell very well indeed

Also AC in homes seems to be past its useful life. AC comes into the house and nearly all equipment turn it into DC or can work on DC. That means your phones, your laptop, your computer, your TV, your washing machine and fridge…they all have transformers in them. Maybe a switch to DC in homes would make sense. That way you would also get rid of the need for an inverter on a PV system. DC from PV system, to AC and then back to DC to run your computer.


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