Energy 2.0

SOLAR CELLS FOR TOMORROW

Posted on: July 8, 2008

The Five separate market places are

Building integrated

Grid connected solar farms

Consumer products

Remote industrial

Remote communities

First generation

Based on crystalline silicon

Commercial sales of these started in the 70’s

The Future for First Generation PV

Practical conversion efficiencies have now seemed to stabilize at around 15-18 % (with installed module efficiency 12-15%)
Increases in efficiency tend to be matched by the cost of increased design/processing complexity
Improvement of the cost-efficiency can therefore mainly be reached by reducing the cell and panel production costs

Second generation

Thin film semiconductors, silicon and non-silicon.

Commercial sales of these started in the mid 80’s

The Future for Second Generation PV

•Potential for cheaper production costs (but higher capital cost) by means of continuous deposition techniques.
Cell efficiencies are now in the order 5-8 %, but substantial improvements are forecast, not so much for amorphous silicon, but more for CIGS.
Environmental concerns about CdTe will affect its acceptability

Third generation PV

•Plastic solar cells (organic PV)

•Nano-technology cells

•Multiple junction thin polycrystalline films.

The first third generation products are just beginning to enter the market place.

The Present for Third Generation PV

The first organic solar cell – DSC (Dye solar cell).

Artificial photosynthesis system invented by Prof Michael Graetzel in Switzerland.

First DSC product to be commercially available is the STI DSC Solar Facade Panel

Laboratory results for DSC exceed 10%, with production models at around half that value.

The Future for Third Generation PV

•Organic or polymeric molecules as the PV active material.

•Recent results of 2-3% have been reported for blends based on substituted PPV polymer

•Designs for disc shaped phthalocyanine molecule as a film about 100 nanometers thick on a plastic substrate with a transparent electrical coating.

Fourth generation PV will derive from biology.

Fourth generation cells are expected to derive even more closely from photosynthesis.

Factors Driving Past Cost Reduction

Poly silicon price: $300/kg $30/kg

Wire saws: now < $0.25/W

Larger wafers: 2” 6”

Thinner wafers: 15 mil 8 mil

Improved efficiency: 10% 16%

Volume manufacturing: 1MW 100MW

Increased automation: none → some

Improved manufacturing processes

The annual production of solar modules increases ten-fold every decade. The price of solar cell modules decreases by half every decade

2002: $3.00/W

2012: $1.50/W

2022: $0.75/W

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