Emerging Opportunities and Challenges in U.S. Solar Manufacturing
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Innovation-driven cost and performance improvements, along with strong projected solar demand in the United States and across the Americas, could increase the attractiveness of U.S.-based solar manufacturing (see Chung et al. 2016). Although improvements to standard PV modules have produced deep cost reductions over the past 5 years, the returns on such incremental improvements appear to be diminishing, and more dramatic innovations in module design and manufacturing are required to continue along the path of rapid progress. At the same time, major opportunities exist for innovation to unlock the potential of CSP technologies. This need for innovation could benefit U.S. PV and CSP manufacturers. The United States has been rated one of the world’s most competitive and innovative countries as well as one of the best locations for PV manufacturing. It is a global leader in PV and CSP R&D and patent production, and U.S. PV manufacturers are already pursuing highly differentiated innovations.