Source of Cost Reduction in Solar Photovoltaics
AbstractThe price of solar panels has fallen rapidly over the last few decades. Using an extensive dataset of prices, costs, output, sales and technical characteristics of firms in the solar industry during 2005-2011, this paper investigates the factors that have contributed to the decline in costs and prices. While previous studies have attributed learning-by-doing and static scale economics as the main drivers of cost reduction, we find that these do not have any significant effect on cost once four other factors are taken into account, namely, (i) reduction in the cost of a principal raw material, (ii) increasing presence of solar panel manufacturers from China, (iii) technological innovations, and (iv) increase in investment at the industry level. Together, these suggest that innovations in the upstream industries that supply the solar panel industry with raw materials and capital equipment have been important drivers of technological progress in the solar panel industry.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 46657.
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Solar; Photovoltaics; Technological Change; Learning;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing
- O3 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights
- O30 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
- Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
- Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-05-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2013-05-11 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2013-05-11 (Environmental Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- van der Zwaan, Bob & Rabl, Ari, 2004. "The learning potential of photovoltaics: implications for energy policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(13), pages 1545-1554, September.
- Ron Jarmin, 1993.
"Learning By Doing And Competition In The Early Rayon Industry,"
93-4, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Ronald S. Jarmin, 1994. "Learning by Doing and Competition in the Early Rayon Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(3), pages 441-454, Autumn.
- Peter Thompson, 1997.
"How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study,"
Development and Comp Systems
- Peter Thompson, 2001. "How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 103-137, February.
- Nemet, Gregory F., 2006. "Beyond the learning curve: factors influencing cost reductions in photovoltaics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 3218-3232, November.
- Manuel Frondel & Nolan Ritter & Christoph M. Schmidt & Colin Vance, 2009.
"Economic Impacts from the Promotion of Renewable Energy Technologies - The German Experience,"
Ruhr Economic Papers
0156, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
- Frondel, Manuel & Ritter, Nolan & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Vance, Colin, 2010. "Economic impacts from the promotion of renewable energy technologies: The German experience," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 4048-4056, August.
- Gavin Sinclair & Steven Klepper & Wesley Cohen, 2000. "What's Experience Got to Do With It? Sources of Cost Reduction in a Large Specialty Chemicals Producer," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(1), pages 28-45, January.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.