Optimal Planning of a Solar Cells Manufacturing System involving Economic Aspects
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V.Fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas produce approximately 40 % of the world-wide electrical power; this causes serious environmental problems because of greenhouse gas emissions generation. For that reason, the implementation of new ways to produce energy with low environmental impact is needed. In this context, solar energy provides great opportunities to meet energy demand through diverse technologies. However, the evaluation of the real effects of these technologies is important in order to use this energy source. Thus, the present work aims to propose a mathematical approach for the optimal planning of a solar panels production system from mineral silicon; which considers the complete stages of the manufacturing process, such as the mineral extraction, ingots, wafers, cells and panels production, as well as selling of final products. The model assesses economic aspects for the involved entities in this supply chain given by transportation costs and minimum sustainable price. Also, it considers environmental issues through the calculation of emissions during the extraction, transportation and production stages. It is worth noting that the mathematical model is able to select between the products exportation and raw material importation to satisfy the need of production system. In addition, the methodology takes into account the dependence over the time for the variables and parameters through a multi-period programming model. The mathematical approach is capable of obtaining the values of inventory levels, production capacity and the satisfied demand in all periods of time. The formulation also determines the period of time in which different facilities are installed. The mathematical approach is applied to a nationwide case study for Mexico. Results show the potential configuration of the solar power supply chain and the levels of potential contribution to the markets of the local production considering different values of taxes for the external producers. Finally, the model is useful to take decisions about the design of solar panels production system and the adequate values for tariffs to external markets.