Photovoltaics: A Review of Cell and Module Technologies

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This review centers on the status, and future directions of the cell and module technologies, with emphasis on the research and development aspects. The framework is established with a consideration of the historical parameters of photovoltaics and each particular technology approach. The problems and strengths of the single-crystal, polycrystalline, and amorphous technologies are discussed, compared, and assessed. Single- and multiple-junction or tandem cell configurations are evaluated for performance, processing, and engineering criteria. Thin-film technologies are highlighted as emerging, low-cost options for terrestrial applications and markets. Discussions focus on the fundamental building block for the photovoltaic system, the solar cell, but important module developments and issues are cited. Future research and technology directions are examined, including issues that are considered important for the development of the specific materials, cell, and module approaches. Novel technologies and new research areas are surveyed as potential photovoltaic options of the future.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)71-170
Number of pages100
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1997

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-24315


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