Economic analysis of a novel design of microtracked concentrating photovoltaic modules

David Wright, Lauren Liu, Laura Parvan, Zigurts Majumdar, Noel C. Giebink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A new design for microtracked concentrating photovoltaics (mCPVs) published by one of us in Nature Energy has the same form factor as PV. This paper analyzes the cost below which it would compete with PV in behind-the-meter applications for commercial electricity customers in four cities in southern United States, assuming that the only significant differences between mCPV and PV are mCPV's higher efficiency and mCPV's inability to utilize sunlight that is either diffuse or has a high angle of incidence. The analysis first optimizes PV and mCPV microgrids and then selects the battery capacity that maximizes the internal rate of return (IRR) and selects a target mCPV installed cost for which the optimal mCPV IRR matches the optimal PV IRR. The result for projects starting in 2020 is $1.2/W in Lancaster, CA and Las Vegas, cities with similar ratios of direct to total irradiance. Modesto, CA and Kansas City have target mCPV installed costs of $1.07/W and $0.94/W, respectively. The electricity tariff and battery costs impact both PV and mCPV and have a minimal effect on the mCPV cost at which the two technologies compete. mCPV occupies 33.2% less area per watt than PV reducing some components of installed cost. In 2020, target mCPV module costs are $0.33/W in Lancaster and Las Vegas, $0.25/W in Modesto, and $0.17/W in Kansas City. These target costs decline by on average 9.6% per year for projects starting 2021–2025, similar to the 9.3% rate of decline in projected PV module costs over this period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-498
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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