NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Columbia, MD, United States, 2011/05/09 - Energetics Incorporated played an instrumental role in preparing two influential reports based on a 2010 workshop on exploring the major technology challenges and opportunities for future growth in the solar-cell industry.
The workshop, sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), brought together 72 internationally recognized experts in the field to discuss and debate these issues.
The conclusions of the workshop are summarized in a newly released NIST publication, Foundations for Innovation: Photovoltaic Technologies for the 21st Century. The complete details of the workshop can be found in the Workshop Report: Grand Challenges for Advanced Photovoltaic Technologies and Measurements.
Energetics (energetics.com) worked with NIST to prepare background documents for the workshop and collaborated with a high-level, multi-sector steering committee to develop the workshop program, identify a broad spectrum of leaders in the field to participate, and produce the two reports.
In its news release announcing the publication of the reports, NIST states,“Photovoltaics—the generation of electric power by direct conversion of sunlight using ‘solar cells’—is a rapidly growing field. The United States currently has 8 percent of the manufacturing share of this market, but there are opportunities to double that or better, particularly through technological advances, according to the workshop report.”
At the heart of the workshop were focused discussions on the priority challenges and solutions for the four dominant photovoltaic technologies: crystalline silicon-based wafers, amorphous silicon and polycrystalline thin films, III-V multijunctions (a presently expensive but highly efficient technology that was first used in space applications), and more experimental excitonic and quantum-structured based technologies.
In addition to addressing the needs for better scientific understanding of the devices themselves and for practical engineering data to determine their optimum use, three key issues were identified: (1) how to increase manufacturing yields, quality, and performance of photovoltaic products simultaneously; (2) how to improve prediction of a solar cell's expected useful life; and (3) how to produce cheaper, more reliable, and higher energy efficiency devices.
The workshop also noted the importance of issues such as availability of raw materials, environmental impact of the entire life cycle of a photovoltaic installation, regulatory and tax policies, and the need for better consumer information.