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Challenges for the PV materials supply chain

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By Mark Thirsk, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Linx Consulting LLC

The cost of PV modules manufactured and sold in 2012 is highly reliant on the materials used in the construction. A significant part of the market price is driven by the bill of materials, while other direct costs and depreciation form a small proportion of the total cost. Changes within the supply chain, and in the cost of the materials needed and used, are extremely important influences on the module cost and the end market price. In 2012 we have seen a slowdown in growth in the installation of both commercial and residential PV, despite dramatic falls in module costs. Some of the trends and effects of these changes on the materials supply chain for PV modules will be examined in this paper.

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Our focus here at Photovoltaics International has always been on efficiency improvement and driving down the cost per watt of modules. In this issue we take a look at some of the market dynamics driving prices in the supply chain so that you can make better decisions to help reduce your overall cost per watt and increase your efficiency at the same time.

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