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IEA SHC Task 54: Investigating Cost Factors Along the Value Chain

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 22, 2017
Task 54 RWTH AachenResearchers have worked intensively for one-and-a-half years across national borders to find ways of reducing the costs of solar thermal systems and making them more attractive to end users. The members of Task 54 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme, Price Reduction of Solar Thermal Systems, have discussed the effects of standardised product designs or changes in product offerings on cost structures. They have also analysed the entire value chain from component manufacture to system assembly and installation to help identify cost-cutting potential. This is the first time that methods of Process Cost Analysis are being adapted for the solar thermal business. “The share of overhead (e.g. marketing, sales, logistics, quality management and maintenance) has increased significantly, from 30 to 60 % of total product expenses over the last 50 years. This means we will have to investigate the relationship between technology, product portfolio and overhead,” explained Wolfgang Kramer, Head of the Solar Thermal Heating Systems Department at German-based Fraunhofer ISE. “To this end, the process cost analysis provides important quantitative information.” For example, the chart illustrates the issue of having a wider product portfolio and its impact on competitiveness and profitability. The model is currently being adapted for the solar industry in Task 54 as part of German research programme TEWIsol.
Chart: RWTH Aachen University
 

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