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Photovoltaic (PV) Pricing Trends: Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projections

Description: This report helps to clarify the confusion surrounding different estimates of system pricing by distinguishing between past, current, and near-term projected estimates. It also discusses the different methodologies and factors that impact the estimated price of a PV system, such as system size, location, technology, and reporting methods.These factors, including timing, can have a significant impact on system pricing.
Date: November 1, 2012
Creator: Feldman, D.; Barbose, G.; Margolis, R.; Wiser, R.; Darghouth, N. & Goodrich, A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cold-Climate Solar Domestic Hot Water Systems Analysis

Description: The Solar Heating and Lighting Sub-program has set the key goal to reduce the cost of saved energy [Csav, defined as (total cost, $)/(total discounted savings, kWh_thermal)] for solar domestic water heaters (SDWH) by at least 50%. To determine if this goal is attainable and prioritize R&D for cold-climate SDWH, life-cycle analyses were done with hypothetical lower-cost components in glycol, drainback, and thermosiphon systems. Balance-of-system (BOS, everything but the collector) measures included replacing metal components with polymeric versions and system simplification. With all BOS measures in place, Csav could be reduced more than 50% with a low-cost, selectively-coated, glazed polymeric collector, and slightly less than 50% with either a conventional selective metal-glass or a non-selective glazed polymer collector. The largest percent reduction in Csav comes from replacing conventional pressurized solar storage tanks and metal heat exchangers with un-pressurized polymer tanks with immersed polymer heat exchangers, which could be developed with relatively low-risk R&D.
Date: November 1, 2005
Creator: Burch, J.; Salasovich, J. & Hillman, T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Integrating Deposition, Processing, and Characterization Equipment within the National Center for Photovoltaics

Description: The purpose of the process integration project of the National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV) is to develop an infrastructure that will allow researchers to gain new knowledge that is difficult--if not impossible--to obtain with existing equipment. This difficulty is due, in part, to the state of our existing tool set, which lacks sufficient in-situ or real-time measurement capabilities, or lacks access to analytical tools where the sample remains in a controlled environment between deposition and processing or measurement. This new infrastructure will provide flexible and robust integration of deposition, processing (etching, annealing, etc.), and characterization tools via a standardized transfer interface such that samples move between tools in a controlled ambient. Ultimately, this synergistic effort between NREL staff, universities, and the photovoltaic (PV) industry--around an integrated tool base--will add to the PV knowledge base and help move many PV technologies forward.
Date: November 1, 2005
Creator: Nelson, B.; Robbins, S. & Sheldon, P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Evaluation of Ion Damage in Solar Cells: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-07-00234

Description: Equipment will be used by Greenville College to enhance a previously established collaboration in the area of radiation hardness of solar cells, using Greenville's unique Ion Accelerator. Equipment will be located at the E. College Avenue site.
Date: January 1, 2013
Creator: Young, D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Exploration of Novel Materials for Development of Next Generation OPV Devices: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-10-398

Description: Organic-based solar cells offer the potential for low cost, scalable conversion of solar energy. This project will try to utilize the extensive organic synthetic capabilities of ConocoPhillips to produce novel acceptor and donor materials as well potentially as interface modifiers to produce improved OPV devices with greater efficiency and stability. The synthetic effort will be based on the knowledge base and modeling being done at NREL to identify new candidate materials.
Date: September 1, 2012
Creator: Olson, D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Application of Vacancy Injection Gettering to Improve Efficiency of Solar Cells Produced by Millinet Solar: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-10-417

Description: NREL will apply vacancy injection gettering (VIG) to Millinet solar cells and evaluate the performance improvement produced by this process step. The VIG will be done in conjunction with the formation of a back, Al-alloyed, contact. Millinet Solar will provide NREL with cells having AR coating on the front side and screen-printed Al on the backside, which will be processed in the NREL's optical furnace to perform simultaneous VIG and back contact alloying with deep BSF. These cells will be sent back to Millinet solar for a screen-printed front/side contact mask, followed by a second firing at NREL. Detailed analyses will be performed to determine improvements due to BSF and VIG.
Date: July 1, 2012
Creator: Sopori, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Novel wide band gap materials for highly efficient thin film tandem solar cells

Description: Tandem solar cells (TSCs), which use two or more materials to absorb sunlight, have achieved power conversion efficiencies of >25% versus 11-20% for commercialized single junction solar cell modules. The key to widespread commercialization of TSCs is to develop the wide-band, top solar cell that is both cheap to fabricate and has a high open-circuit voltage (i.e. >1V). Previous work in TSCs has generally focused on using expensive processing techniques with slow growth rates resulting in costs that are two orders of magnitude too expensive to be used in conventional solar cell modules. The objective of the PLANT PV proposal was to investigate the feasibility of using Ag(In,Ga)Se2 (AIGS) as the wide-bandgap absorber in the top cell of a thin film tandem solar cell (TSC). Despite being studied by very few in the solar community, AIGS solar cells have achieved one of the highest open-circuit voltages within the chalcogenide material family with a Voc of 949mV when grown with an expensive processing technique (i.e. Molecular Beam Epitaxy). PLANT PV’s goal in Phase I of the DOE SBIR was to 1) develop the chemistry to grow AIGS thin films via solution processing techniques to reduce costs and 2) fabricate new device architectures with high open-circuit voltage to produce full tandem solar cells in Phase II. PLANT PV attempted to translate solution processing chemistries that were successful in producing >12% efficient Cu(In,Ga)Se2 solar cells by replacing copper compounds with silver. The main thrust of the research was to determine if it was possible to make high quality AIGS thin films using solution processing and to fully characterize the materials properties. PLANT PV developed several different types of silver compounds in an attempt to fabricate high quality thin films from solution. We found that silver compounds that were similar to the copper based ...
Date: June 11, 2012
Creator: Brian E. Hardin, Stephen T. Connor, Craig H. Peters
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Applications of Passive Thin Films

Description: The physical properties of thin films affect the performance and durability of nearly every solar energy conversion device. Familiar examples of thin films for solar applications are optical materials and protective coatings. Optimized optical properties are key to cost-effective photothermal conversion where individual components must have high absorptance, reflectance, or transmittance. The protection of sensitive substrates from corrosion and/or erosion is essential to ensure adequate component and system lifetime. Such substrates range from photovoltaic materials operating near room temperature to turbine blade structural alloys in hostile environments at very high temperatures (>1,000 degrees C). Although much has been written on particular categories of thin-film materials for solar energy (for example, absorbers for receiver surfaces), to date no one has provided an overview of the spectrum of applications for passive thin films in solar energy. This work is such an overview and also reviews the material state of the art as described in the current literature. Active thin film devices such as photovoltaics and thermoeleetrics are not discussed.
Date: May 1, 1979
Creator: Call, P. J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Regulatory Considerations Associated with the Expanded Adoption of Distributed Solar

Description: Increased adoption of distributed PV, and other forms of distributed generation, have the potential to affect utility-customer interactions, system costs recovery, and utility revenue streams. If a greater number of electricity customers choose to self-generate, demand for system power will decrease and utility fixed costs will have to be recovered over fewer kilowatt hours of sales. As such, regulators will need to determine the value and cost of additional distributed PV and determine the appropriate allocation of the costs and benefits among consumers. The potential for new business models to emerge also has implications for regulation and rate structures that ensure equitable solutions for all electricity grid users. This report examines regulatory tools and rate designs for addressing emerging issues with the expanded adoption of distributed PV and evaluates the potential effectiveness and viability of these options going forward. It offers the groundwork needed in order for regulators to explore mechanisms and ensure that utilities can collect sufficient revenues to provide reliable electric service, cover fixed costs, and balance cost equity among ratepayers -- while creating a value proposition for customers to adopt distributed PV.
Date: November 1, 2013
Creator: Bird, L.; McLaren, J.; Heeter, J.; Linvill, C.; Shenot, J.; Sedano, R. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Photovoltaic Mechanisms in Polycrystalline Thin Film Silicon Solar Cells: Quarterly Technical Progress Report No. 1, July 30 - October 31, 1980

Description: Objectives of the program: 1) Development of the surface preparation techniques to aid in the unequivocal interpretation of grain boundary (G.B.) data, 2) Characterization of G.B.s in terms of chemical, physical, electrical and optical parameters, and correlation to solar cell performance. 3) Identification of the effects of intra grain crystal defects and 4) Determination of effects of solar cell processing on G.B. parameters and bulk defects.
Date: January 1, 1980
Creator: Sopori, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Photovoltaic Mechanisms in Polycrystalline Thin Film Silicon Solar Cells: Quarterly Technical Progress Report No. 3, February 1 - April 30, 1981

Description: This report describes two areas of research carried out during this contract period. Results of Cu decoration for defect analysis are given and also the design of an AR coating for optimizing performance of a textured cell. Basic optical characteristics of textured surfaces utilized in this design are described.
Date: January 1, 1981
Creator: Sopori, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Analysis of Photovoltaic System Energy Performance Evaluation Method

Description: Documentation of the energy yield of a large photovoltaic (PV) system over a substantial period can be useful to measure a performance guarantee, as an assessment of the health of the system, for verification of a performance model to then be applied to a new system, or for a variety of other purposes. Although the measurement of this performance metric might appear to be straight forward, there are a number of subtleties associated with variations in weather and imperfect data collection that complicate the determination and data analysis. A performance assessment is most valuable when it is completed with a very low uncertainty and when the subtleties are systematically addressed, yet currently no standard exists to guide this process. This report summarizes a draft methodology for an Energy Performance Evaluation Method, the philosophy behind the draft method, and the lessons that were learned by implementing the method.
Date: November 1, 2013
Creator: Kurtz, S.; Newmiller, J.; Kimber, A.; Flottemesch, R.; Riley, E.; Dierauf, T. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Development of a Visual Inspection Checklist for Evaluation of Fielded PV Module Condition (Presentation)

Description: A visual inspection checklist for the evaluation of fielded photovoltaic (PV) modules has been developed to facilitate collection of data describing the field performance of PV modules. The proposed inspection checklist consists of 14 sections, each documenting the appearance or properties of a part of the module. This tool has been evaluated through the inspection of over 60 PV modules produced by more than 20 manufacturers and fielded at two different sites for varying periods of time. Aggregated data from a single data collection tool such as this checklist has the potential to enable longitudinal studies of module condition over time, technology evolution, and field location for the enhancement of module reliability models.
Date: March 1, 2012
Creator: Packard, C. E; Wohlgemuth, J. H. & Kurtz, S. R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Understanding the Temperature and Humidity Environment Inside a PV Module [Presentation]

Description: This presentation addresses moisture-driven degradation processes in PV modules and the conditions to use for accelerated stress testing. Here we show that by choosing humidity conditions that more closely match the use environment, one can minimize the uncertainty associated with moisture induced degradation modes.
Date: June 1, 2013
Creator: Kempe, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Advanced Photovoltaic Inverter Functionality using 500 kW Power Hardware-in-Loop Complete System Laboratory Testing: Preprint

Description: With the increasing penetration of distribution connected photovoltaic (PV) systems, more and more PV developers and utilities are interested in easing future PV interconnection concerns by mitigating some of the impacts of PV integration using advanced PV inverter controls and functions. This paper describes the testing of a 500 kW PV inverter using Power Hardware-in-Loop (PHIL) testing techniques. The test setup is described and the results from testing the inverter in advanced functionality modes, not commonly used in currently interconnected PV systems, are presented. PV inverter operation under PHIL evaluation that emulated both the DC PV array connection and the AC distribution level grid connection are shown for constant power factor (PF) and constant reactive power (VAr) control modes. The evaluation of these modes was completed under varying degrees of modeled PV variability.
Date: January 1, 2013
Creator: Mather, B. A.; Kromer, M. A. & Casey, L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Standards for PV Modules and Components -- Recent Developments and Challenges: Preprint

Description: International standards play an important role in the Photovoltaic industry. Since PV is such a global industry it is critical that PV products be measured and qualified the same way everywhere in the world. IEC TC82 has developed and published a number of module and component measurement and qualification standards. These are continually being updated to take advantage of new techniques and equipment as well as better understanding of test requirements. Standards presently being updated include the third edition of IEC 61215, Crystalline Silicon Qualification and the second edition of IEC 61730, PV Module Safety Requirements. New standards under development include qualification of junction boxes, connectors, PV cables, and module integrated electronics as well as for testing the packaging used during transport of modules. After many years of effort, a draft standard on Module Energy Rating should be circulated for review soon. New activities have been undertaken to develop standards for the materials within a module and to develop tests that evaluate modules for wear-out in the field (International PV Module QA Task Force). This paper will discuss these efforts and indicate how the audience can participate in development of international standards.
Date: October 1, 2012
Creator: Wohlgemuth, J. H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department