The Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) is the principle metric by which electricity generation technologies are compared. This established basis for evaluating the cost of a generation method takes into account those aspects of a technologies performance that directly impact power generation efficiency, system cost, and reliability. LCOE is a measure of the total lifecycle costs associated with a PV system divided by the expected lifetime-energy output, while accounting for the appropriate adjustments such as time value of money, etc.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a robust model that considers the climatic variables which impact solar energy generation for hundreds of US locations called: the Solar Advisor Model (SAM). As a participant in the Solar America Initiative, IBIS Associates is expert in the use of the SAM software. In addition, IBIS has supported numerous government proposals by small and large PV Companies by providing the requisite LCOE benchmarking analyses.
As a manufacturer of a novel thin film Photovoltaic (PV) cell and module technology, XsunX funded a detailed, unbiased analysis of their competitive LCOE position relative to incumbent PV-technologies and immediate competing products. Five (5) key competing PV products have been chosen as the scope of this analysis; representing a diverse range of available and leading field-installation PV products.
- a-Si triple junction (e.g. ECD)
- mc-Si (Schott)
- CIGs (Global Solar)
- CdTe (First Solar)
- X-Si (Sharp)
The technologies were chosen based on their prominence in the market (i.e. X-Si) and unique performance characteristics that make them uniquely competitive in the markets that XsunX intends to target (i.e. low light areas – a-Si triple junction). The scope of the analysis was constrained to two (2) US locations that provide bases for evaluating the products in extreme temperature and irradiance conditions.
- Phoenix, AZ
- Portland, OR
The locations were also selected based on the availability of climate and environmental data (i.e. solar radiance, cloud coverage, temperature, etc.).
Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) analyses are calculated based on simulations of products and systems designs in specific locations. The module technologies under consideration may be configured in a wide range of stationary, tracking, rooftop or field installations. The choice of system design drives the Balance of System (BoS) requirements, land usage, maintenance and installation costs and performance (tracking).
System size: The baseline system size considered in the comparative analysis of LCOE was chosen to represent a "large" (e.g. power purchase or utility) installation; 1MW (AC peak power/year).
Results and Analysis: Phoenix, AZ
Results and Analysis: Portland, OR