Solar Photovoltaics Update.
Two EPRI reports reveal significant deployment
increases and cost reductions for PV technology.
Between 2003 and 2008, annual growth
of solar photovoltaics (PV) averaged 52% per year,
the fastest growing form of electricity generation
on a percentage basis. In 2008, global module sales
exceeded 5,400 MW, and it is anticipated that 2009
brought an equal or greater amount of growth, resulting
in a total worldwide capacity approaching 20 GW. This
rapid pace is driven by a combination of government
incentives and popular support for clean energy. It
translates into a billions-of-dollars-per-year business
for both module production and system installation.
Significant cost reductions are expected to continue
as a result of improving power conversion efficiencies,
development of low-cost fabrication processes, and
increasing cell production volume and economies of
scale. Historically the selling price of modules has
declined by about 20% with each doubling of sales.
After three years of higher prices due to a shortage
of high-purity silicon feedstock, 2009 saw a massive
investment in feedstock production and expansions
in module manufacturing, which, along with the softening
demand caused by global recession, resulted in silicon
module prices falling over 30% in the past year.
Large-scale commercial PV and central-station utility-scale
PV will most likely become the dominant growth market
in future years; however, the relatively high value
of displaced retail kWh are expected to stimulate
ongoing strong growth of the residential and commercial
markets as well. Recent trends suggest that power
companies will have a significant role in both distributed
and utility scale applications.
In December, EPRI published two reports on the status
of PV technology. The first is a publicly-available
perspective called Solar
Photovoltaics: Status, Costs, and Trends
(1015804). Detailed cost and performance results for
six PV technologies in different climate regions are
contained in a second report, titled Engineering
and Economic Evaluation of Central-Station Photovoltaic
Power Plants (1017600).
For more information, contact Chuck McGowin (email@example.com,
650-855-2445) or Tom Key (firstname.lastname@example.org,