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The Materials Challenges for Low Cost Photovoltaic Solar Energy

Evening talk on the materials issues for lowering the cost of photovoltaic cells.

The global photovoltaic (PV) industry has continued its rapid growth with deliveries of PV modules has been increasing by about 40% a year over the past decade with 7 GW of new installations in 2009. Despite the global recession the PV industry has continued to grow, mostly driven by market incentive schemes such as the Feed-in Tariff (FiT). However, alongside other micro-generation technologies, PV looks expensive with competitive electricity generation depending on location as well as the cost of the system. Higher volume manufacture has helped to reduce the price of PV modules and installation but long term cost reduction lies in the materials used to manufacture PV modules. This talk will explore the different materials technologies that are used in PV modules and the long term potential for increased conversion efficiency and reduced cost. Crystalline silicon continues to dominate the market but new thin film PV products are now being produced on a much larger scale than before and will result in both a larger share of the market and lower cost PV products. Materials research to address these issues will be outlined. This has underlined the importance of new challenges in achieving large scale production, higher solar conversion efficiency and materials sustainability. The prospect of lower cost PV modules based on the dye sensitised solar cells (DSC) and polymers is attracting an increased investment in both R&D and pilot production. The next few years will see a new range of PV products coming onto the market based on these materials. What will PV modules look like in the future and how will they perform against their current counterparts? The adaption of PV materials to the built environment might mean that we won’t even recognise them.


Prof Stuart Irvine | talks | www


Date and Time:

16 February 2011 at 7:30 pm


1 hour



Room 1N 05, University of the west of England
Frenchay Campus
Coldharbour Lane
BS16 1QY

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Organised by:

West of England Metals and Materials Association
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