Prevalent crystalline photovoltaics technologies are unlikely to meet targets set under a US government solar programme to reduce the installed cost of PV in America, according to research.
A study by Lux Research claims that although crystalline silicon will continue to be the most commercially successful form of PV technology, it will not drive down costs to the levels envisaged in the Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative.
Comparing different technologies, the report predicts that advanced silicon modules will continue to have the greatest market share, but will not meet the programme's expectations.
At the moment installed prices are between two and four times the SunShot targets of US$1/W for utility, US$1.25/W for commercial and $1.50/W for residential installations.
Even by 2030, the report maintains that improvements in crystalline technology will leave installation prices 13% above the targeted $1/W utility installation price.
“The most promising technologies are bifacial crystalline silicon modules, followed by tandem cell architectures for III-V and CIGS technologies – these approaches will come closest to the target module costs and efficiencies by 2030,” said Fatima Toor, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, ‘Continuing Education: Going Back to School for Photovoltaic Innovation’.
The report compared disruptive technologies relative to the $1/W system price target and sorted them for their commercial feasibility, technology potential and expected market share by 2030.
“Other technology families such as OPV/DSSC and heavy metals are likely to be farther away,” Toor added.
The report also found that China continues to maintain the position it assumed in 2009 as the leading generator of intellectual property related to PV technology, with the US second place and South Korea in third.