What is the PVMC CIGS Cost Model?

A clear, detailed breakdown of manufacturing cost is an invaluable tool to identify pathways to reduce cost and increase profitability. The PVMC CIGS cost model has been developed for the purpose of providing a one-stop tool for firms to identify cost drivers and optimize their production process.


Cost per watt ($/W) is the most closely watched metric in the solar industry. The competitiveness of solar module manufacturers depends critically on the cost at which they can manufacture their modules. To be competitive, it is imperative for these companies to identify costs incurred along each step of the production process.

The cost model is designed for all CIGS-based manufacturing processes and deposition techniques, including batch, roll-to-roll, rigid glass, and flexible steel. The default values in the cost model are based on data collected from industry stakeholders, including module, equipment, and materials manufacturing companies. This data was supplemented with that previously collected from publicly available sources.

Benefits and Features of the CIGS Cost Model

The cost model is interactive and allows users to run a variety of scenarios to examine the impact on costs. It provides users valuable analytical metrics including final cost per watt and detailed cost breakdowns at each production stage, all based on a set of inputs chosen by the user. These fully-customizable inputs include factory size, module size, labor rates, and efficiency, among others. The user can override the default values provided for materials, capital, and labor requirements for each process. Output reports, spreadsheets, and charts are also customizable, exportable, and automatically generated.