Direct Solar Energy
Levelized Cost of Heat [USD
Solar Irradiation: 800 kWh/m²/a; Conversion Efficiency/Degree of Utilization: 35%
Solar Thermal Heat (DHW, China), 540 USD/kWth Solar Thermal Heat (DHW, China), 330 USD/kWth Solar Thermal Heat (DHW, China), 120 USD/kWth Solar Thermal Heat (DHW, Thermo-Siphon, Combi), 1800 USD/kWth Solar Thermal Heat (DHW, Thermo-Siphon, Combi), 1165 USD/kWth Solar Thermal Heat (DHW, Thermo-Siphon, Combi), 530 USD/kWth
Solar Irradiation: 800 kWh/m²/a; Conversion Efficiency/Degree of Utilization: 60% or Solar Irradiation: 1200 kWh/m²/a; Conversion Efficiency/Degree of Utilization: 40%
Solar Irradiation: 1000 kWh/m²/a; Conversion Efficiency/Degree of Utilization: 77% or Solar Irradiation: 2200 kWh/m²/a; Conversion Efficiency/Degree of Utilization: 35%
12 13 Capacity Factor [%]
Figure 3.16 | Sensitivity of LCOH with respect to investment cost as a function of capacity factor (Source: Annex III).
Photovoltaic electricity generation
PV prices have decreased by more than a factor of 10 over the last 30 years; however, the current levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from solar PV is generally still higher than wholesale market prices for electrici- ty.10 The competitiveness in other markets depends on a variety of local conditions.
The LCOE of PV systems is generally highly dependent on the cost of individual system components as well as on location and other factors affecting the overall system performance. The largest component of the investment cost of PV systems is the cost of the PV module. Other cost factors that affect the LCOE include—but are not limited to—BOS com- ponents, labour cost of installation and O&M costs. Due to the dynamic development of the cost of PV systems, this section focuses on cost trends rather than current cost. Nonetheless, recent costs are presented in the discussion of individual cost factors and resulting LCOE below.
Average global PV module factory prices dropped from about USD2005 22/W in 1980 to less than USD2005 1.5/W in 2010 (Bloomberg, 2010).
Most studies about learning curve experience in photovoltaics focus on PV modules because they represent the single-largest cost item of a PV system (Yang, 2010). The PV module historical learning experience ranges between 11 and 26% (Maycock, 2002; Parente et al., 2002; Neij, 2008; IEA, 2010c) with a median progress ratio of 80%, and conse- quently, a median historical learning rate (price experience factor) of 20%, which means that the price was reduced by 20% for each doubling of cumulative sales (Hoffmann, 2009; Hoffmann et al., 2009). Figure 3.17 depicts the price developments for crystalline silicon modules over the last 35 years. The huge growth of demand after 2003 led to an increase in prices due to the supply-constrained market, which then changed into a demand-driven market leading to a significant price reduction due to module overcapacities in the market (Jäger-Waldau, 2010a).
The second-largest technical-related costs are the BOS components, and therein, the single largest item is the inverter. While the overall BOS experience curve was between 78 and 81%, or a 19 to 22% learn- ing rate, quite similar to the module rates, learning rates for inverters were just in the range of 10% (Schaeffer et al., 2004). A similar trend was found in the USA for cost reduction for labour costs attributed to installed PV systems (Hoff et al., 2010).
10 LCOE is not the sole determinant of its value or economic competitiveness (relative environmental and social impacts must be considered, as well as the contribution that the technology provides to meeting specific energy services, for example, peak electricity demands, or integration costs).
The average investment cost of PV systems, that, the sum of the costs of the PV module, BOS components and labour cost of installation, has also