EU PVSEC 2018: PV will play central role in 100% decarbonized economy

The 35th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference ended after 5 days of intensive scientific debates on the further development of solar power with a strong message.

“While solar is already the lowest cost power generation source in many places in the world, it is now about speeding up the efforts to quickly utilizing this unique clean and distributed power technology to combat climate change,” said Dr. Pierre Verlinden, Conference General Chairman, at the closing ceremony. “We need 100%-decarbonized electricity generation to power all energy sectors and industrial processes – and PV will play a central role.”

Dr. Robert Kenny, European Commission Joint Research Centre and Technical Programme Chair, said, ”A fascinating week long scientific programme clearly showed that solar researchers and industry are ready to support a much faster growth of solar power to make the energy transition a real success story. I am pleased that a lot of this impressive progress is due to EU funded research.”

At the 35th EU PVSEC from 24 – 28 September, more than 2,000 international solar experts from over 80 countries gathered to present the latest research in solar technology. Leaders from politics and industry in Europe discussed the necessary steps to reach the recently agreed 32% EU renewable energy target by 2030. The consensus: PV will be of strategic importance for the EU economy, providing energy independence, industrial jobs and economic growth. Europe is leading in technological development, state-of-the-art manufacturing technology, sustainability of production and quality, as well as efficiency of PV products.

The EU PVSEC highlights included:

  • PERC solar cell technology has become the new solar cell standard. Now it is about advancing cell technology to the next level. Passivating contacts, heterojunction and back contacts are the path to higher cell efficiencies.
  • Silicon tandem research cells are approaching the 30% efficiency level: The best efficiency for an InGaP/GaAs/Si 3-junction cell presented was 28.7%.
  • Thin-film solar technology continues its progress – a world record commercial CIGS thin-film solar module of over 18% was presented.
  • With advanced silicon cell architectures being naturally bifacial, solar researchers and industry are all working on putting bifacial technology in the field. While gains of 20% are easily achievable, scientists are working on how to make best use of bifacial systems.
    Several researchers presented work on modelling future energy scenarios with up to 100% renewables based on solar as the central pillar.

Pierre Verlinden added, “In 2017, the PV industry has installed almost 100 GW of PV systems, equivalent to 39% of all new added global electricity generating capacity. We are very proud of the accomplishment of the PV research community and the global PV industry, and we are already looking forward to next year’s EU PVSEC.”

The 36th EU PVSEC will take place in Marseille, France, in September 2019.

The EU PVSEC Conference programme is coordinated by the European Commission Joint Research Centre.



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