Friday, December 16, 2011

LCOE of PV pre-print.pdf (application/pdf Object)

LCOE of PV pre-print.pdf (application/pdf Object)

As the solar photovoltaic (PV) matures, the economic feasibility of PV projects is increasingly being evaluated using the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) generation in order to be compared to other electricity generation technologies. Unfortunately, there is lack of clarity of reporting assumptions, justifications and degree of completeness in LCOE calculations, which produces widely varying and contradictory results. This paper reviews the methodology of properly calculating the LCOE for solar PV, correcting the misconceptions made in the assumptions found throughout the literature. Then a template is provided for better reporting of LCOE results for PV needed to influence policy mandates or make invest decisions. A numerical example is provided with variable ranges to test sensitivity, allowing for conclusions to be drawn on the most important variables. Grid parity is considered when the LCOE of solar PV is comparable with grid electrical prices of conventional technologies and is the industry target for cost-effectiveness. Given the state of the art in the technology and favourable financing terms it is clear that PV has already obtained grid parity in specific locations and as installed costs continue to decline, grid electricity prices continue to escalate, and industry experience increases, PV will become an increasingly economically advantageous source of electricity over expanding geographical regions.

LCOE in $/kWh for solar PV system varying interest rates, loan terms and discount rates
(A: 0%, B: 4.5%, C: 10%) assuming initial installed system cost of $5/Wp, degradation rate of
0.5%/yr and energy output of 1270 kWh/kW/yr.

LCOE in $/kWh for solar PV system varying system costs and discount rates assuming
zero interest loan, 30 year lifetime, degradation rate of 0.5%/yr and Energy output of 1270

LCOE for energy output versus initial cost of the system for a zero interest loan, discount
rate of 4.5%, degradation rate of 0.5%/yr and 30 year lifetime.

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