Sweet Answer from Solar Mango: (updated Jul 2015)
The solar PV value chain looks thus (for crystalline solar panels):
Stages requiring high capital expenses
- Within the solar PV value chain, Polysilicon manufacturing and ingot/wafer manufacturing facilities require high capital costs, in the order of $1 billion or more.
- Cell manufacturing typically comes in at about $50-100 million (for a 50-100 MW capacity range).
- At the downstream end, solar PV power plants, if they are in the MW scale, involve high upfront expenses. As of 2015, a 1 MW solar PV power plant could cost in the range $1-1.5 million depending on the region.
Stages that do not require high capital expenses
- Module assembly capital costs can be in a few million $ (you can have a reasonable sized module assembly plant at less than $5 million)
- Plants assembling off-grid solar products (solar lanterns etc.) cost much less and could be done even by small entrepreneurs or investors.
- Polysilicon – from Sand to Solar Cells, it Starts Here
- Solar Cell – The Basic Unit of a Solar Power Plant
- Solar Panels – A Nice Package to Capture the Sun!
- What is the difference between manufacturing solar cells and manufacturing solar panels?
Ask Solar Mango
Have a solar energy related question to be answered at Solar Mango? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org