Photovoltaic Deployment Scenarios toward Global Decarbonization: Role of Disruptive Technologies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To totally decarbonize global electrical systems using photovoltaics (PVs) in the 2050–2060 decade, the world would need to install 63.4 TW of PV. This article models and explores how a PV manufacturing ramp-up trajectory toward this goal can be achieved while assuming that investors continue to make financially rational decisions avoiding stranded production assets and therefore protecting their return on investment. The model effectively exploits experience curve benefits in both the scaling of the manufacturing process and continued progress in product design technologies. The scale-up challenge is amplified because trajectories that achieve this goal require an unprecedented ramp-up of production capacity over just two decades, followed by relatively modest demand to maintain the installed base and support continued population growth. It is demonstrated that sustainable ramp-up of manufacturing is indeed possible and shown that the deployment of the requisite manufacturing capacity can be accelerated and accomplished at lower total capital cost by the introduction of disruptive technologies that have lower capital intensity, embedded energy, or higher efficiency.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2300102
Number of pages6
JournalSolar RRL
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Solar RRL published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-82827


  • decarbonization
  • disruptive technology
  • energy systems
  • energy transition
  • photovoltaics
  • renewable energy
  • solar energy


Dive into the research topics of 'Photovoltaic Deployment Scenarios toward Global Decarbonization: Role of Disruptive Technologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this