Published on March 7, 2014
Advances in PV technologies Steve Pester Part of the BRE Trust Ecobuild 2014
Today’s Speakers – Kevin McIntyre, Applications Modelling Engineer, Oxford Photovoltaics o Turning tall Buildings into vertical power stations – a new class of BIPV using perovskite thin-film cells – Thibaud Le Séguillon, CEO, Heliatek o Organic Solar Film for BIPV – Chris Laughton, Managing Director, The Solar Design Company o PV for heating and hot water - does this make sense? – Steve Pester, Principal Consultant, BRE National Solar Centre o Overview of PV technological advances
National Solar Centre • Based at the Eden Project, Cornwall • Formally opened by Secretary of State for Energy, Greg Barker, on the 25th April 2013 • Providing an independent source of reliable knowledge and helping to create a sustainable solar industry • NSC co-Chairs with DECC the Government’s Solar Strategy Group charged with identifying and resolving any barriers to deployment
NSC is supported by… Founding Partners • The NSC is funded by: o European Regional Development Fund (requirements to promote jobs in Cornwall) o Cornwall Council o BRE o 1-off contributions from Founding Partners • DECC very supportive and engaged
NSC - Core Functions • Home of Reliable Information for the UK Solar Industry e.g. Scientific test site for outdoor testing of modules & systems • Technical Consultancy Due diligence, Feasibility Studies, Technical Assistance, Fault Finding and Performance monitoring / evaluation • Publication of Best Practice Guides, Training Courses e.g. Technical Code of Practice, Planning guide, Performance of PV on non-domestic buildings, etc. • Working in Open Collaboration o o o o o Regulatory authorities and government Universities Trade bodies Companies Overseas research institutes
Advances in PV - main topics – Materials & Cells – Modules – Systems
Materials & Cells
Crystalline silicon trends – Market currently dominated (~90%) by crystalline silicon (c-Si) – More efficient materials e.g. Fraunhofer just announced n-type solar record 24% (cell eff.) – Thinner cells – Better ways to connect the cells (e.g. rear contacts, conductive films) – Coatings (e.g. better anti-reflection, coloured cells)
Thin Film PV technologies – What is Thin Film? – What is the future for Thin Film? – Leaders (by volume production & supply chain): o First Solar Cd Te (new record 20.4%) o Solar Frontier CIGS o 3Sun (Sharp, EGM, ST consortium) micro-cSi & aSi (triple junction) – Others (e.g. Hanergy) in middle ground – Innovators – e.g. in this seminar: o New materials o How TF is starting to merge with the world of BIPV o Future is roll-to-roll, printable TF onto many types of substrate
What’s the most efficient technology?
Modules – Drive for efficiency (at least 3 companies with 20% +) – Warrantees – current standards & testing are lagging – Cost reductions (now stabilising) – Combining PV with other technologies – Reducing degradation: o micro-cracks o PID o Tougher materials: backing sheets, encapsulants – New paradigms for modules altogether! E.g. laminates as standard modules
PV-T – Combines PV & Solar Thermal Photo: Natural Technology Developments – Not new tech, but a collection of new products is emerging – Factors to take into account: – PV-ST time lags – Low grade heat – Potential for higher PV efficiency in hot weather Photo: Romag Ltd Photo: Naked Energy
New shapes – E.g. triangular panels – Flexible panels Photo: TriEnergia
Architectural requirements – Durability – Colours & textures – Embodied energy – Solar shading (increasingly) Solar Decathlon 2010 Photo: Ertex / Sunways Photo: Ertex
Systems (Balance of) – Key developments: inverters – Increasingly sophisticated communications built-in – Transformerless types becoming standard – Efficiencies for string inverters ~ 98% – Micro-inverters gaining market share
Micro-inverters and DC Optimisers – Advantages: Energy yield (esp. shading), safety, diagnostics – Mounted outside, so subject harsher environmental conditions than string inverters – High number of inverters per PV system (1 per module or per pair) – Often in places with no easy access – Therefore need (proven) very high reliability – Many major manufacturers have recently launched products
Further info on leading edge PV technologies – Exhibitions & Conferences • Ecobuild! • EU PVSEC: best European conference for latest research developments, Amsterdam, September • Solar Energy UK, Birmingham, October – UK Research: Supergen Supersolar Hub • Group of universities & companies • Energy Generation & Supply Knowledge Transfer Network • Aims to improve the efficiency of next generation photovoltaic devices • Setting up cell efficiency measurement lab
BRE at Ecobuild - stands next to main arena: N1540/41 & N1530/31 For more information contact: Steve Pester NSC firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: 07528 976224 Office: 01923 664 729
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