Terawatt-scale photovoltaics: Transform global energy

Nancy M. Haegel, Harry Atwater, Teresa Barnes, Christian Breyer, Anthony Burrell, Yet-Ming Chiang, Stefaan De Wolf, Bernhard Dimmler, David Feldman, Stefan Glunz, Jan Christoph Goldschmidt, David Hochschild, Ruben Inzunza, Izumi Kaizuka, Ben Kroposki, Sarah Kurtz, Sylvere Leu, Robert Margolis, Koji Matsubara, Axel MetzWyatt K. Metzger, Mahesh Morjaria, Shigeru Niki, Stefan Nowak, Ian Marius Peters, Simon Philipps, Thomas Reindl, Andre Richter, Doug Rose, Keiichiro Sakurai, Rutger Schlatmann, Masahiro Shikano, Wim Sinke, Ron Sinton, B.J. Stanbery, Marko Topic, William Tumas, Yuzuru Ueda, Jao van de Lagemaat, Pierre Verlinden, Matthias Vetter, Emily Warren, Mary Werner, Masafumi Yamaguchi, Andreas W. Bett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

Solar energy has the potential to play a central role in the future global energy system because of the scale of the solar resource, its predictability, and its ubiquitous nature. Global installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity exceeded 500 GW at the end of 2018, and an estimated additional 500 GW of PV capacity is projected to be installed by 2022–2023, bringing us into the era of TW-scale PV. Given the speed of change in the PV industry, both in terms of continued dramatic cost decreases and manufacturing-scale increases, the growth toward TW-scale PV has caught many observers, including many of us (1), by surprise. Two years ago, we focused on the challenges of achieving 3 to 10 TW of PV by 2030. Here, we envision a future with ∼10 TW of PV by 2030 and 30 to 70 TW by 2050, providing a majority of global energy. PV would be not just a key contributor to electricity generation but also a central contributor to all segments of the global energy system. We discuss ramifications and challenges for complementary technologies (e.g., energy storage, power to gas/liquid fuels/chemicals, grid integration, and multiple sector electrification) and summarize what is needed in research in PV performance, reliability, manufacturing, and recycling.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-838
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume364
Issue number6443
DOIs
StatePublished - May 30 2019

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