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Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Thin-Film Photovoltaics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2016

Inna Kozinsky*
Allegheny Science and Technology, Contractor to DOE, Washington, D.C. 20024
Brion Bob
DOE SunShot Fellow, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Oak Ridge, TN 37831
Rebecca Jones-Albertus
SunShot Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C. 20024
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort to reduce the price of solar energy to 6¢/kWh without subsidy for utility scale installations by 2020. Thin-film photovoltaics offer a promising path to reach this goal. Analysis of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) from photovoltaics (PV) highlights the dependence on the module and system efficiency and lifetime in addition to module price. Here we summarize challenges and opportunities for CdTe and CIGS PV research and show that a substantial effort is still needed in areas such as device design and material improvement to reach higher efficiency and reliability connected with low-cost and robust module-scale implementation. We also discuss how SunShot Initiative funding is addressing key research areas in CdTe and CIGS PV and show how recent progress in SunShot projects is guiding funding priorities in thin-film PV research.

Copyright © Materials Research Society 2016 

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