Solar Power

  • The most prevalent material in solar cells is solar-grade silicon in the form of ingots, wafers, or ribbons.
  • An entire photovoltaic system comprises the photovoltaic (PV) modules, batteries, inverters, charge controllers, control components and mounting frames.
  • Conventional PV panels are composed of 60 solar cell. Each cell is a 6-inch/160 mm single-crystal silicon cells. Panel efficiency is typically 16 – 18%.

Types of Technologies and Conversion Efficiencies1

  • Storage of solar energy is an obstacle. To replace effectively other sources of energy, solar must be able to supply power when the sun is not shining. Battery technology is not yet ready for use on a very large scale.2,3
  • SolarCity intends to address this problem by manufacturing Li-ion batteries for use in homes and businesses.4

Market

  • Solar power now supplies 0.6% of total US energy production.

US Net Generation by Energy Source: Electric Utilities, 2006-October 2016

2016 Value Represents 0.6% of Total Energy Generation

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  • The global market for solar power is $126B. It is expected to grow to $179B by 2020 (CAGR=9.5%)5

The Global Market for Solar Power By Region- % of Total

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  • The US market for solar power is $33B. It is expected to grow to $39 by 2020 (CAGR=7.5%)
  • In the US the solar market grew 75.9% between 2011 and 2016.

Key US Market Drivers

Costs

  • The marginal cost of solar power is competitive with other energy sources.

Comparison of Energy Production Costs ($/MWh)6

  • The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 60% over the last 10 years, leading the industry to expand into new markets and deploy thousands of systems nationwide.
  • Wafer and cell prices fell a respective 25% and 26% quarter-over-quarter, reaching $0.15/W and $0.23/W in Q3 2016. The same dynamics driving lower polysilicon prices also drove rapid decline in solar wafer and cell prices.
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  • The biggest cost-decline opportunity in the solar industry exists in soft costs, including labor, supply chain and overhead considerations.
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Companies

  • Globally, solar cell manufacturing is dominated by the Chinese and Taiwanese.Leading suppliers include China’s GCL and LK, Korea’s OCI, US-based Hemlock, and Germany’s Wacker.
  • In the US, there are 155 business in the market of producing solar power for the existing power grid. There is no dominant player.

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