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The sharp cost reduction in photovoltaic (PV) crystalline silicon cells in recent years has dramatically increased the attractiveness of PV systems in many countries and specific electricity grids. This situation can be objectively described in terms of reached grid parity and the improved access to electricity in places where the power supply is not guaranteed in terms of quality or, simply, it does not exist. One of such places around the world where these conditions are fulfilled is West Africa. In this work a techno-economic analysis is presented for a Si-based low-cost solar cells manufacturing factory in West Africa and it is compared to a similar factory operating in China. A sensitive analysis of the final cost of the solar cells, in terms of USD/Wp is exposed and discussed varying the value of key input parameters into a defined range. The cost of solar cells in the different countries analyzed and other important parameters for business competitiveness serve to define a composite indicator and a ranking of the ten more favorable countries for the location of the PV factory.
Date of Conference: 3-8 June 2012