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Sustainable silicon photovoltaics manufacturing in a global market: A techno-economic, tariff and transportation framework

  • Author(s): Castellanos, S
  • Santibañez-Aguilar, JE
  • Shapiro, BB
  • Powell, DM
  • Peters, IM
  • Buonassisi, T
  • Kammen, DM
  • Flores-Tlacuahuac, A
  • et al.

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Solar photovoltaics (PV) manufacturing has experienced dramatic worldwide growth in recent years, enabling a reduction in module costs, and a higher adoption of these technologies. Continued sustainable price reductions, however, require strategies focused in further technological innovation, minimization of capital expenditures, and optimization of supply chain flows. We present a framework: Techno-economic Integrated Tool For Tariff And Transportation (TIT-4-TAT), that enables the study of these different strategies by coupling a techno-economic model with a tariff and transportation algorithm to optimize supply chain layouts for PV manufacturing under equally-weighted objectives. We demonstrate the use of this framework in a set of interacting countries (Mexico, China, USA, and Brazil) and two extreme tariff scenarios: no tariffs, and high tariff levels imposed. Results indicate that introducing tariffs between countries significantly increase the minimum sustainable price for solar PV manufacturing, alter the optimal manufacturing locations, and render a more expensive final solar PV module price which can hinder the adoption rates required to mitigate climate change. Recommendations for stakeholders on the optimization process, and techno-economic drivers are presented based on our results. This framework may be utilized by policymakers for the spatially-resolved planning of incentives, labor and manufacturing programs, and proper import tariff designs in the solar PV market.

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