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Solar Energy Researchers Around the World Attends 3rd Terawatt Workshop

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At the 3rd Terawatt Workshop of Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutes, (GA-SERI), representatives from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems(Germany), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory(USA), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology(Japan), and other top solar research institutes around world, as well international participants from academia and the industry, were able to discuss the implications of multi-terawatt PV. The workshop took place in Freiburg, Germany, May 16-17. More than 60 PV experts and experts in related areas of research and development (R&D), were present at the 3rd Terawatt Workshop of the Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutes (GA-SERI). They came from 12 different countries.

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This was a significant milestone in solar energy. In spring this year, one terawatt (TW), of installed PV capacity was broken. There is still much to be done, and there is a clear path for industrial production and deployment.

“This rapid growth towards a multi-terawatt marketplace presents tremendous opportunities and challenges for industry and research communities. These affect every step of the value chain, including product design, material procurement, and recycling,” said Prof. Dr. Andreas Bett of Fraunhofer International Science Education.

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The importance of solar energy in the future global energy system is increasing. This means that complementary technologies such as energy storage and grid integration, power to liquids and multiple sector electrification are becoming more important. Multi-TW-scale PV deployment will require research in materials science, module design and reliability, product integration, manufacturing, and material science.

Material Supply and Recycling Gain Importance

Participants discussed PV technologies in the multi-TW era, as well as the role of sector coupling. This increases the demand for solar electricity and opens up new markets and options to incorporate PV into the energy system on the TW scale.

The issue of material availability was another important topic. This also included the question of multi-TW value, and the supply chain. The workshop participants agreed that increased production will present new R&D challenges for the scientific community. To ensure the sustainability of the PV industry’s long-term viability, targeted R&D is essential. According to the group, rapid deployment is necessary in order to combine R&D and R&D.

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Nancy Haegel, center director at NREL’s Materials Science Center, stated that “waiting for future solutions” is not an option. “We must act immediately to reduce CO2 emissions, and solar energy can be ramped up quickly to meet this challenge”.

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