Terawatt-Scale Photovoltaics: Trajectories and Challenges
10:50 - 11:20
Auditorium between Building 4 and 5
It is well understood and commonly cited that the solar energy resource significantly exceeds the world’s total energy consumption. However, despite dramatic advances in deployment and cost reduction, the vision of photovoltaics (PV) providing a significant fraction of global electricity generation—and ultimately, total energy demand— remains to be realized. In the near term, PV has a clear path for substantial growth. Longer term, the question remains whether PV will be able to provide a moderate (e.g., 20%, ~ 4 TW in 2030) or a large (e.g., 50%, ~ 10 TW in 2030) fraction of world electricity needs.
Terawatt scale PV deployment is achievable with growth rates substantially below what the industry has achieved over the past decade. Material for this presentation will be drawn from The Terawatt Workshop and a resulting April 2017 publication in Science. Led by the Global Alliance for Solar Energy Research Institutes (GA-SERI), leaders in PV came together to highlight the opportunity and discuss the challenges that need to be addressed to realize the vision of TW scale PV. These challenges include the continuing demand for improved efficiency and reliability, the required magnitude of capital expenditure, the need for a sustainable industry (both financially and environmentally), as well as needs for grid modernization and consistent policies to meet energy demand, enable greenhouse gas reduction and advance global prosperity based on a secure and sustainable energy system. Finally, the presentation will briefly highlight some research directions in PV at NREL that address performance limiting factors and offer pathways to increased efficiency, increased reliability and reduced manufacturing costs.