Graph of the Day: Current solar efficiencies nowhere near potential

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NREL chart shows solar modules and cells are nowhere near their theoretical efficiency limits; and thin-film solar is especially ripe for improvements.

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The director of America’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Dan Arvizu, gave a keynote speech during the 2013 International Renewable Energy Conference (part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week), part of which focused on the current state of efficiencies in solar modules and cells. According to CleanTechnica‘s Zachary Shahan, who attended the conference and interviewed Arvizu on the conference sidelines, the NREL director’s points on the subject – which are embodied in the graph below – were that the current efficiencies of all types of solar modules and solar cells are nowhere near their theoretical efficiency limits; and that thin-film solar is especially ripe for efficiency improvements, as are concentrated photovoltaics. To read Shahan’s full story, click here. To read his interview with Arvizu, click here.

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1 Comment
  1. LR 7 years ago

    A general comment, a link to the original source would be useful – not a report on a presentation on a chart, but the actual analysis behind it.

    More specifically I think that the numbers are off (I could be wrong, but I don’t know what exactly this chart is trying to show, since I don’t know exactly where it is from). The authoritative source for these numbers (yes, more authoritative than NREL) says the best research c-Si cell efficiency is 25.0%, not 27.6% (the author of this chart might have got confused with Alta Devices recent record of 27.6%, since surpassed, this was single junction but GaAs not Si). The CdTe number is also out of date, it is 18.3% according to v41 of the tables, First Solar have since claimed 18.7%.

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