Category Next Generation Photovoltaics High efficiency through full spectrum utilization

Trends in the development of solar photovoltaics

Zh I Alferov and V D Rumyantsev

Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, 26 Polytechnicheskaya,

194021, St Petersburg, Russia

2.1 Introduction

Current civilization is based on mankind’s economic and social experience of the organization of life, accumulated over thousands of years, resulting in increasing material consumption but also providing energy and information benefits. Radical alterations in the material base of civilization started at the end of the 18th century industrial revolution (just after the invention of the steam-engine). Since that time, scientific and technical progress has accelerated. To supply energy to power the various technical inventions, a powerful and gradually growing infrastructure leaning upon fossil fuel resources has been created...

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We are about to experience a revolution in energy. The social push towards deregulation, concerns about sustainability, the scarcity of oil by the second quarter of the century, the disrupting role of the ever present and modular PV technology, together with that of the hydrogen technology driven by fuel cells will all constitute the driving forces of this revolution.

Present-day silicon PV technology will be at the onset of this revolution. It will grow tremendously in this decade constituting one of the first big new economic activities of the 21st century. But then its growth will stagnate, as the

cost-reducing capacity of present commercial PV technology is moderate.

One reason for this moderate cost-reducing capacity is in the poor utilization of the solar resource that is huge but d...

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The need for a technological breakthrough

With the help of the indicated model, we draw in figure 1.9 the cumulated market that, given the fast growth of PV and the long expected lifecycle of the modules, is almost the same as that of PV installed power. In this diagram we have also indicated (by dots) the installed PV capacity necessary to provide (in good climates) the annual intermittent electricity programmed in RIGES. We observe that our model leads, depending on the value of Cso, to 4.5-29.1% in the amount programmed for 2050. Furthermore, it is more expensive than incumbent electricity sources.

Of course, for a sufficiently high value of Cs0, the required cumulated sales would be reached. This value is 20 billion dollars which should be compared with the 5 billion of our central case. This would imply devoting up to 0...

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Will PV electricity reach costs sufficiently low to permit a wide penetration?

Reaching the penetration level assigned in the preceding scenario exercise implies that PV electricity has to reduce its cost to levels that makes it possible for it to compete with other electricity production technologies. Indeed, an energy technology is not adopted on cost considerations alone. Its choice has largely to do with why this technology is more convenient than the competing technologies. Modularity and image (which leads to generous public support for its installation), not price, are the origin of the impressive growth that PV sales have experienced in recent years. But prices must come closer to those of other technologies for any real massive penetration to be viable.

In figure 1.6 we present the evolution of PV module sales...

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Penetration goals for PV electricity

In this section we are going to present some results from the Renewable Intensive Global Energy Supply (RIGES) scenario. This scenario was commissioned by the United Nations Solar Energy Group on Environment and Development as part of a book [3] intended to be an input to the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Conference on the Environment and Development. This supply scenario was devised to respond to one of the demand scenarios prepared by the Response Strategies Working Group of the IPCC (who also presented its own supply scenario). The chosen IPCC demand scenario was the one called ‘Accelerated Policies’.

In this demand scenario, the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is assumed to be high in all of the 11 regions into which the scenario is divided...

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On the motivation for solar energy

The most obvious reason for supporting the development of a new form of energy is the exhaustion of existing ones. Will this situation occur, at least within the next half-century? Let us look at the answer given by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group [1], the big oil corporation:

Coal will not become scarce within this timescale, though resources are concentrated in a few countries and will become increasingly complex and distant from markets. Costs of exploiting and using them will eventually affect coal’s competitiveness.

Oil production has long been expected to peak. Some think this is now imminent. But a scarcity of oil supplies—including unconventional sources and natural gas liquids—is very unlikely before 2025...

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Non-conventional photovoltaic technology: a need to reach goals

Antonio Luque and Antonio Marti

Istituto de Energia Solar, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid ETSI Telecomunicacion, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040, Madrid, Spain

1.1 Introduction

This book is the result of a workshop celebrated in the splendid mountain residence of the Polytechnic University of Madrid next to the village of Cercedilla, near Madrid. There, a group of specialists gathered under the initiative of the Energy R&D programme of the European Commission, to discuss the feasibility of new forms for effectively converting solar energy into electricity. This book collects together the contributions of most of the speakers.

Among the participants we were proud to count the Nobel Laureate Zhores Alferov who, in the early 1980s, invented the modern III-V heterojunction solar cells, Hans...

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Next Generation Photovoltaics High efficiency through full spectrum utilization

This book results from a meeting that took place in Cercedilla, Madrid, Spain in March 2002. The meeting was about new ideas that could lead us to better use of the solar spectrum with the ultimate goal of achieving superior photovoltaic devices and, consequently, a reduction in their price. The meeting, despite being short, was so fruitful and intense that it was considered that the concepts discussed there should be preserved and made accessible to third parties in book form.

The result is a book that covers a variety of concepts: the economics of photovoltaics, thermodynamics, multi-junction solar cells, thermophotovoltaics, the application of low dimensional structures to photovoltaics, optics and technology. Time will tell whether many of these ideas and concepts meet expectations...

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