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Proceedings of the Second International Energy 2030 Conference,
November 4-5, 2008, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Advances in Photovoltaic Science and Technology for Solar Electricity

J. M. Poate

Colorado School of Mines, USA

R. T. Collins

Colorado School of Mines, USA

P. C. Taylor

Colorado School of Mines, USA

L. L. Kazmerski

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado, USA

Abstract
Future scenarios to meet the world’s energy and environmental needs will require a multiplicity of
energy sources including, for example, conventional and non-conventional fossil fuels, nuclear fission and
a whole spectrum of renewable energy sources. One of the most interesting and important questions is the
role that solar energy will play in this scenario. World energy consumption is predicted to grow from the
present day requirements of 13 TW/YR to 30 TW/YR in 2050. These figures should be contrasted with the
roughly 125,000 TW of solar power that strikes the earth at any time. Solar energy can be captured in
many ways, in this review we focus on photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation. At present, PV production
is almost insignificant compared to fossil fuel based electricity generation. The key issue in moving PV
generation forward is cost – PV generated electricity is almost an order of magnitude more expensive than
coal based electricity.

The significance and potential of PV generation has clearly been grasped with PV manufacturing
growing exponentially at 30%, or greater, per year. This growth has been mainly driven by government
subsidies in Japan and Germany. For example, the EU has a goal of generating 22% of electricity by
renewable sources in 2010. In the United States, the Solar America Initiative has the goal of making PV
power competitive with other forms of renewable energy by 2015. The generation of competitive PV
electricity generating will depend on manufacturing expertise, with its concomitant historic learning curve,
and scientific breakthroughs [1,2] that will guarantee increased efficiency.




 

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