ETIP Photovoltaics

In the last decades, the cost of electricity produced from photovoltaics (PV) has decreased strongly, enabling PV to be crowned as the king of electricity markets [F. Birol, IEA Annual Energy Outlook 2021] and to become one of the major pillars of the future energy system.

For PV to fulfil its mission in transforming the energy systems and to accommodate large-scale deployment, further cost reduction as well as increased emphasis on efficiency and sustainability is necessary.

The energy output of PV modules can be enhanced by increasing the efficiency or energy yield (MWh/Wp) or a combination of these factors. Since Balance-of-System (BOS) cost is becoming a larger fraction of the overall cost, increasing the energy output of modules will directly affect the levelized cost of electricity (LCoE). Other factors could also impact the BOS cost. For example, the application of lightweight modules could, dependent on the application, relax the requirements for the robustness of the system aspects, and therefore reduce the overall cost as well. Development of novel manufacturing technologies to increase the efficiency and to further reduce the production cost will result in lower LCoE. Besides cost and efficient use of the available areas, other factors such as spatial and ecological integration are important for large scale deployment of PV.

This Challenge is divided into three objectives:

Objective 1: PV modules with higher efficiencies and lower costs

Objective 2: System design for lower LCOE of various applications

Objective 3: Digitalisation of PV

Together, these three objectives cover all aspects that need to be improved to lower the cost and enhance the efficiency of PV technology to ensure a large deployment and the various applications needed to make PV a cornerstone of the future energy system.