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Title: Increasing markets and decreasing package weight for high-specific-power photovoltaics

Abstract

We report that thin-film and emerging technologies in photovoltaics (PV) offer advantages for lightweight, flexible power over the rigid silicon panels that dominate the present market. One important advantage is high specific power (the power-to-weight ratio). Here we consider niche market size, price points and value propositions that can provide a path for new PV market entrants. Examining the cost-production experience curves of Si, CdTe and CIGS PV suggests that a minimum market size of US$0.2-1 billion is required to incubate a new market entrant. Several markets requiring high specific power meet this threshold. We assess the critical role of the substrate, packaging and interconnects and provide a quantitative assessment of pathways to maximize specific power. With all requisite components included, along with requirements for safety and reliability, we estimate a lower bound for a durable lightweight module at about 300-500 g m -2. Lastly, pairing this bound with a 15%-efficiency thin-film or 35%-efficiency III-V module would yield specific powers up to 500 W kg -1 or 1,167 W kg -1, respectively.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program; US Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR)
OSTI Identifier:
1485564
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5K00-70241
Journal ID: ISSN 2058-7546
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 2058-7546
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; cadmium telluride; efficiency; II-VI semiconductors; silicon compounds; thin films

Citation Formats

Reese, Matthew O., Glynn, Stephen, Kempe, Michael D., McGott, Deborah L., Dabney, Matthew S., Barnes, Teresa M., Booth, Samuel S., Feldman, David J., and Haegel, Nancy M. Increasing markets and decreasing package weight for high-specific-power photovoltaics. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1038/s41560-018-0258-1.
Reese, Matthew O., Glynn, Stephen, Kempe, Michael D., McGott, Deborah L., Dabney, Matthew S., Barnes, Teresa M., Booth, Samuel S., Feldman, David J., & Haegel, Nancy M. Increasing markets and decreasing package weight for high-specific-power photovoltaics. United States. doi:10.1038/s41560-018-0258-1.
Reese, Matthew O., Glynn, Stephen, Kempe, Michael D., McGott, Deborah L., Dabney, Matthew S., Barnes, Teresa M., Booth, Samuel S., Feldman, David J., and Haegel, Nancy M. Mon . "Increasing markets and decreasing package weight for high-specific-power photovoltaics". United States. doi:10.1038/s41560-018-0258-1. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1485564.
@article{osti_1485564,
title = {Increasing markets and decreasing package weight for high-specific-power photovoltaics},
author = {Reese, Matthew O. and Glynn, Stephen and Kempe, Michael D. and McGott, Deborah L. and Dabney, Matthew S. and Barnes, Teresa M. and Booth, Samuel S. and Feldman, David J. and Haegel, Nancy M.},
abstractNote = {We report that thin-film and emerging technologies in photovoltaics (PV) offer advantages for lightweight, flexible power over the rigid silicon panels that dominate the present market. One important advantage is high specific power (the power-to-weight ratio). Here we consider niche market size, price points and value propositions that can provide a path for new PV market entrants. Examining the cost-production experience curves of Si, CdTe and CIGS PV suggests that a minimum market size of US$0.2-1 billion is required to incubate a new market entrant. Several markets requiring high specific power meet this threshold. We assess the critical role of the substrate, packaging and interconnects and provide a quantitative assessment of pathways to maximize specific power. With all requisite components included, along with requirements for safety and reliability, we estimate a lower bound for a durable lightweight module at about 300-500 g m-2. Lastly, pairing this bound with a 15%-efficiency thin-film or 35%-efficiency III-V module would yield specific powers up to 500 W kg-1 or 1,167 W kg-1, respectively.},
doi = {10.1038/s41560-018-0258-1},
journal = {Nature Energy},
issn = {2058-7546},
number = 11,
volume = 3,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {11}
}

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