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Current and future photovoltaics

Current and future photovoltaics
Current and future photovoltaics
Photovoltaics, now a billion-dollar industry, is experiencing staggering growth as increased concerns over fuel supply and carbon emissions have encouraged governments and environmentalists to become increasingly prepared to offset the extra cost of solar energy. Three 'generations' of photovoltaics have been envisaged that will take solar power into the mainstream. Photovoltaic production is currently 90% 'first-generation' or '1G' solar cells that rely on expensive bulk multi-crystalline or single-crystal semiconductors. Dominated by silicon wafers, they are reliable and durable but expensive. Half of the cost of 1G devices is the silicon wafer and efficiencies are limited to around 20%. Instead of using wafers, cheaper 'second-generation' (2G) solar cells would use cheap semiconductor thin-films deposited on low-cost substrates to produce devices of similar efficiencies. A number of thin-film device technologies account for around 5–6% of the market. As 2G technology reduces the active material cost, eventually the substrate will be the cost limit, and higher efficiency will be needed to maintain the $/W cost-reduction trend. 'Third-generation' devices (3G) will utilise new technologies to produce high-efficiency devices. Recently, tremendous advances outside the photovoltaic industry in nanotechnologies, photonics, optical metamaterials, plasmonics and semiconducting polymer sciences offer the prospect of cost-competitive photovoltaics based on new science and 3G concepts. Within the next 20 years, it is reasonable to expect that cost reductions, a move to 2G technologies and the implementation of some new technologies and 3G concepts can lead to fully cost-competitive solar energy.
Boreland, M.B.
10c892f3-6231-4a0f-8650-44dfd82802ad
Bagnall, D.M.
5d84abc8-77e5-43f7-97cb-e28533f25ef1
Boreland, M.B.
10c892f3-6231-4a0f-8650-44dfd82802ad
Bagnall, D.M.
5d84abc8-77e5-43f7-97cb-e28533f25ef1

Boreland, M.B. and Bagnall, D.M. (2006) Current and future photovoltaics. Foresight - Horizon Scanning Report.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Photovoltaics, now a billion-dollar industry, is experiencing staggering growth as increased concerns over fuel supply and carbon emissions have encouraged governments and environmentalists to become increasingly prepared to offset the extra cost of solar energy. Three 'generations' of photovoltaics have been envisaged that will take solar power into the mainstream. Photovoltaic production is currently 90% 'first-generation' or '1G' solar cells that rely on expensive bulk multi-crystalline or single-crystal semiconductors. Dominated by silicon wafers, they are reliable and durable but expensive. Half of the cost of 1G devices is the silicon wafer and efficiencies are limited to around 20%. Instead of using wafers, cheaper 'second-generation' (2G) solar cells would use cheap semiconductor thin-films deposited on low-cost substrates to produce devices of similar efficiencies. A number of thin-film device technologies account for around 5–6% of the market. As 2G technology reduces the active material cost, eventually the substrate will be the cost limit, and higher efficiency will be needed to maintain the $/W cost-reduction trend. 'Third-generation' devices (3G) will utilise new technologies to produce high-efficiency devices. Recently, tremendous advances outside the photovoltaic industry in nanotechnologies, photonics, optical metamaterials, plasmonics and semiconducting polymer sciences offer the prospect of cost-competitive photovoltaics based on new science and 3G concepts. Within the next 20 years, it is reasonable to expect that cost reductions, a move to 2G technologies and the implementation of some new technologies and 3G concepts can lead to fully cost-competitive solar energy.

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More information

Published date: 2006
Additional Information: Event Dates: 5th July 2006
Venue - Dates: Foresight - Horizon Scanning Report, 2006-07-05
Organisations: Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 264403
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/264403
PURE UUID: 03829fec-74d1-4758-aeba-2b71fb99005b

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Aug 2007
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 07:36

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Contributors

Author: M.B. Boreland
Author: D.M. Bagnall

University divisions

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