Production costs for industry-leading Chinese crystalline-silicon (c-Si) PV module manufacturers -- such as Jinko Solar, Renesola, Trina Solar and Yingli Green Energy -- will fall from 50 cents per watt in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 36 cents per watt by the end of 2017, according to a new report from GTM Research. The report, PV Technology and Cost Outlook, 2013-2017, predicts that the majority of these cost declines will derive from technology innovations such as diamond wire sawing for PV wafers, advanced metallization solutions, and increased automation in place of manual labor.

While precipitous cost declines of roughly 70 cents per watt from 2010 to 2012 were made possible by cutthroat pricing and margin erosion in the polysilicon and PV materials markets, the report sees cost reduction drivers migrating in-house for wafer, cell, and module suppliers, as adoption of advanced technology platforms and manufacturing automation will account for 80 percent of the forecasted declines.

Contribution of Key Drivers Toward All-In Module Cost Reduction, Best-in-Class China Producer, Q4 2012-Q4 2017E

Source: PV Technology and Cost Outlook, 2013-2017

“Yesterday’s PV cost reduction roadmaps are no longer relevant today,” said Shyam Mehta, Senior Analyst at GTM Research and the report’s author. “Three or four years ago, the industry was targeting one-dollar-per-watt costs in 2013; today, we are at 50 cents per watt, and there is currently little consensus on what is a realistic goal for the module supply chain to set for itself over the next three to five years. This is important not only for these manufacturers and their investors, but also for installers and project developers across the globe.”

This 112-page report on the latest in c-Si PV wafer, cell, module, and materials technology is the most recent analysis from GTM Research's flagship supply-side practice, and aims to provide a competitive outlook on the leading technology and cost trends through 2017 across the global PV supply chain. The report explores existing and innovative technology advancements in ingot growth, wafer slicing, cell processing, and module assembly, as well as their impacts on conversion efficiency and manufacturing costs.

In addition, the report is packaged with GTM Research's proprietary PV module manufacturing cost model for China-based producers from 2011 through 2017. This 844-row workbook contains assumptions and results for key manufacturing cost drivers, including: capital equipment costs, polysilicon pricing, consumables pricing, material utilization, manufacturing yield, technology parameters, labor rates/intensity, and utility rates/consumption.

For more information on PV Technology and Cost Outlook, 2013-2017, visit