Power Engineering Features Applied's Kirk Hasserjian on Solar Energy

Apr162010

In case you missed it, this month Power Engineering magazine features Kirk Hasserjian, Applied Materials' VP and GM for the company's SunFab thin film solar business, on the four independent metrics contributing to the cost-comepetitveness of solar PV. Below is an excerpt from the article: 

Determining costs is the key to establishing when peak parity and eventually grid parity will be reached. Traditionally, solar panel efficiency has been the primary means of calculating the total annual cost of the energy produced. It’s easy to understand why: efficiency is a key and well-known cost metric because a field installation assembled from less efficient modules will require more modules and more area, thus incurring larger installation costs.

But for utility-scale installations, calculating solar panel efficiency alone results in an incomplete cost analysis. In its simplest terms, electricity cost is total costs divided by the amount of the electricity produced. Thus, to best determine the relative performance and total cost of solar installations, one must assess each of these four independent factors: panel architecture, panel size, energy yield and energy efficiency. All are important contributors to electricity’s final cost.

In fact, in many places around the world when calculating cost based on this broader set of factors, solar PV is already price competitive (using natural gas as the industry benchmark) when measuring cost during peak power, the time when electricity is the most expensive to produce.

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