Solar Photovoltaics R&D at the Tipping Point: A 2005 Technology Overview

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The status of current and coming solar photovoltaic technologies and their future development are presented. The emphasis is on R&D advances and cell and module performances, with indications of the limitations and strengths of crystalline (Si and GaAs) and thin film (a-Si:H, Si, Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S) 2, CdTe). The contributions and technological pathways for now and near-term technologies (silicon, III-Vs, and thin films) and status and forecasts for next-next generation photovoltaics (organics, nanotechnologies, multi-multiple junctions) are evaluated. Recent advances in concentrators, new directions for thin films, and materials/device technology issues are discussed in terms of technology evolution and progress. Insights to technical and other investments needed to tip photovoltaics to its next level of contribution as a significant clean-energy partner in the world energy portfolio.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)105-135
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2006

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-38710


  • Photovoltaics
  • Solar cells
  • Thin films


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