chapter  10
28 Pages

High Efficiency Photovoltaics Lead to Low Energy Cost

ByAllen Barnett

Photovoltaic solar electric power promises to become one of the major sources of electricity worldwide. Since becoming major electricity source for terrestrial electric energy applications requires achieving a reduced cost of energy. The chapter explores the value of module efficiency using a rooftop system. This system is an important example of the high-value opportunity provided by generating electricity at the point-of-use. The chapter describes the components of electricity cost in this system and will then extend the same to outline opportunities. The cost of the electricity generated and delivered to the end user is the sum of the cost of the electricity and the cost of the system. The chapter describes the solar-cell device and how it works and reviews the basis for high-efficiency solar cells and some of the key literature. Solar-cell technologies that show high performance can be divided into several areas: crystalline silicon, gallium arsenide, thin films, and novel "emerging" materials and technologies.