It is important to do some kind of manufacturing cost-benefit analysis when developing alternative PV technologies. It helps the researchers to understand the commercial potential of their technology, and identify cost and performance barriers that need to be overcome. However this kind of analysis can be very difficult to conduct. As there are significant uncertainties in the process, equipment and materials to be used, and their cost in high volume production, it can take excessive time and resources to obtain sufficiently accurate input data. A cost analysis method has been developed that is well suited for use during technology development, as it takes into account these uncertainties and allows a rapid identification of cost drivers and cost uncertainties without requiring accurate input data. This method has been applied to early stage PV technologies such as perovskite modules (both roll to roll processing and on rigid glass substrates) and III-V on Si tandem cells. It has also been used to analyse variations of c-Si technologies such as PERC, LDSE and Advanced Hydrogenation. In this presentation, the cost analysis method will be described, together with some of the results of these analyses.
Nathan Chang is currently undertaking a PhD with UNSW and the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP), focusing on manufacturing cost analysis of various PV technologies to help with understanding and progressing their commercial viability. Before this, he worked for over 15 years in the photovoltaics industry (in both R&D and manufacturing) at Pacific Solar, CSG Solar and Suntech R&D Australia. During that time, one of his responsibilities was the Cost of Ownership analysis of the CSG Solar thin film Si technology as it progressed from the lab to commercial production. He completed his MBA in 2007 and BE (Electrical) in 1997.