Recent Progress and Future Potential for Concentrating Photovoltaic Power Systems: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper explores the potential of utility-scale PV power, and, specifically, the opportunity that may arise for concentrating photovoltaics (CPV). In the 1990s, sales of PV modules were dominated by small-size applications such as PV-powered water pumping, emergency telephones, and calculators. More recently, the dramatic growth in the PV industry has been fueled by rooftop systems, especiallyin Japan and Germany. Such subsidized, grid-connected PV systems are likely to drive PV markets in coming years. Distributed systems deliver power where it is needed, avoiding transmission losses; and residential and commercial systems can be financed along with the rest of a building. Japan and Germany continue to provide market incentives because of their belief in PV's long-term benefits. Assuccessful and important as the rooftop market is for PV sales today, the PV industry will be able to penetrate a larger fraction of the electricity market if PV systems are also used in larger installations, such as utility-owned systems, PV parks, and customer-owned systems. Because retail electricity costs more than wholesale electricity, it is often assumed that PV will address, withincentives, the retail market long before the wholesale market. Here, we show data suggesting that they can grow together. CPV, which uses low-cost lenses or mirrors to focus sunlight on high-efficiency solar cells, has often been presented as a lower-cost approach to utility-scale PV power. Although CPV typically does not compete in rooftop or other current PV markets, CPV could be a majorplayer in a utility-scale market.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2004
EventWorld Renewable Energy Congress VIII - Denver, Colorado
Duration: 29 Aug 20043 Sep 2004


ConferenceWorld Renewable Energy Congress VIII
CityDenver, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-520-36330


  • concentrating photovoltaics (CPV)
  • module
  • PV
  • solar cells
  • utility-scale market


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