The SunShot National Laboratory Multiyear Partnership (SuNLaMP) funding program enables our country’s national laboratories to support commercialization, market readiness, and domestic manufacturing across the entire solar value chain through strategic cost and competitiveness analysis. The work of the national laboratories continues to be instrumental in accelerating progress towards and addressing the most critical barriers to achieving the SunShot goals.

Additional SuNLaMP awards also go to teams working in photovoltaics, soft costs, systems integration, and concentrating solar power research areas. Learn more about the SuNLaMP awards in other subprograms.


Project: Solar Technology Cost Modeling and Competitive Analysis
Location: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO
SunShot Award Amount: $3,000,000

Project Summary

This project uses bottom-up techno-economic cost modeling to both benchmark current technology and system costs, and to inform the potential commercial impacts of technology development and system installation improvement pathways. In combination with economic studies of critical materials supply-demand dynamics and possible price trajectories, this project also examines the potential impact to dependent module technology costs and deployment levels.


In the first year of this project, the research team will apply a bottom-up techno-economic modeling and analysis methodology to:

  • Estimate costs associated with various manufacturing methods and materials focused upon module reliability and useful life;
  • Assess the impacts of module size and form factor upon both manufacturing and system installation costs;
  • Estimate costs and minimum prices for photovoltaic (PV) system installation in the residential, commercial, and utility segments;
  • Estimate the system installation costs of solar and storage systems, focusing on installation costs while also performing modeling of system economics; and
  • Estimate the costs of integrating PV systems into multiple modeled representative utility distribution circuit scenarios in order to understand the major drivers of integration costs.

This project will produce and disseminate new analyses identifying potentially high-impact areas of interest for research across the entire value chain. By further examining the economics behind PV module reliability, lifetime, size, and performance, more efficient and cost effective technologies will make it to market. The project also provides a rigorous analytical basis for estimating the commercial impacts and cost-performance tradeoffs of different system installation technologies and techniques, as well as grid integration technologies.

Learn more about SunShot’s other funding programs and SuNLaMP awards.