Solar Photovoltaic Power Systems: An Electric Utility R & D Perspective

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Science  20 Apr 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4646, pp. 245-251
DOI: 10.1126/science.224.4646.245


Solar photovoltaic technology is receiving increasing attention as a prospective source of bulk, electric utility power within the next 10 to 20 years. Successful development will require solar energy conversion efficiencies of about 15 percent for photovoltaic flat-plate modules, or about 25 percent for photovoltaic cells using highly concentrated sunlight. Three different cell technologies have a better than even chance of achieving these target efficiencies with costs and operating lifetimes that would allow significant use by electric utilities. The challenge for the next decade is to push photovoltaic technology to its physical limits while expanding markets and user confidence with currently available systems.