SERI's Photovoltaic Research Project: A Foundation for Tomorrow's Utility-Scale Electricity

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    Photovoltaic (PV) research activities at the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) provide the foundation for new PV technologies having lower cost, higher performance, and better reliability than today's photovoltaics. Privately owned PV companies are already developing some of these technologies and identifying new commercial applications. This paper focuses on recent progress and futuredirections in PV research managed by SERI for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The primary emphases of the research are on thin-film single-junction and multi-junction devices. However, work also continues on advanced crystalline silicon sheet materials. Improvements in materials and processing, solar cell design, and cell fabrication techniques have led to continuing improvements in cellefficiencies in nearly all material areas. Recent research has identified the criticality of source-material purity and device-processing conditions for different PV materials. Attention to total device design and processing has increased our understanding of metallic contacts, transparent conductors, and intermediate layers. Sophisticated models have been developed to quickly assess deviceconcepts. Enhanced measurement and characterization techniques, along with increased interactions among PV scientists, are adding to the strong foundation of photovoltaics. Future directions in PV research are given in the recent Five Year Research Plan prepared by DOE. The plan is predicated on partnerships among the federal government, private companies, universities, and electric utilities.As part of a consensus review of the plan, this multifaceted PV community identified the specific technical goals and pertinent R&D needed for success. These technical goals and future research are described in detail.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages10
    StatePublished - 1988

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-211-3354


    • future research
    • module
    • performance
    • photovoltaics (PV)


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