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Photovoltaic manufacturing: Present status, future prospects, and research needs
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In May 2010 the United States National Science Foundation sponsored a two-day workshop to review the state-of-the-art and research challenges in photovoltaic(PV)manufacturing. This article summarizes the major conclusions and outcomes from this workshop, which was focused on identifying the science that needs to be done to help accelerate PVmanufacturing. A significant portion of the article focuses on assessing the current status of and future opportunities in the major PVmanufacturingtechnologies. These are solar cells based on crystalline silicon (c-Si), thin films of cadmium telluride (CdTe), thin films of copper indium gallium diselenide, and thin films of hydrogenated amorphous and nanocrystalline silicon. Current trends indicate that the cost per watt of c-Si and CdTesolar cells are being reduced to levels beyond the constraints commonly associated with these technologies. With a focus on TW/yr production capacity, the issue of material availability is discussed along with the emerging technologies of dye-sensitized solar cells and organic photovoltaics that are potentially less constrained by elemental abundance. Lastly, recommendations are made for research investment, with an emphasis on those areas that are expected to have cross-cutting impact.
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