Currently, solar does not amount to much of the worldwide power generation. In fact, a recent report, “Photovoltaic Technology Trends,” from Displaybank Co. Ltd. of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, pegs power generated from the sun at only about .03 percent. But as governments step up efforts to move away from fossil fuels, solar power generation is expected to grow from 4 GW produced in 2008 to 12 GW by 2010.
In 2003, solar power generation was practically nil, but it is expected to climb steadily through 2010 to 12 GW. Source IOE 2007 report, courtesy of Displaybank Co. Ltd.
The report compares the costs of generating power from fossil fuels with those from alternatives. Solar tops the chart at 21 to 30 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with just 1 to 4 cents for coal. But contrast that data with carbon emissions of coal, oil and natural gas, which have nearly doubled in the past century.
Technical details of solar cell design are included, as well as next-generation technologies. Dye-sensitized solar cells, for example, promise the higher efficiencies that researchers have been seeking. Also addressed is the need for high-purity polysilicon – whose shortage has been stalling manufacturing.
Another topic touched on in the report is the concept of recycling materials during the solar cell manufacturing process – indicating that about 75 percent of the current waste can be reused, or approximately 1.2 percent of the current consumption per module megawatt.
In another report by Displaybank, “CIS/CIGS Solar Cells’ Patent Trend Analysis,” solar patent trends are analyzed. On a decidedly upward trend since 2002, Japan currently leads in the number of photovoltaic patents (51 percent), followed by the US (30 percent). Europe and Korea straggle behind. The report categorizes patents by technology, including buffer layer, tandem, patterning, substrate and compound thin-film photovoltaic cell. Also listed are patents by inventor, with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, and Yazaki Corp. and Fuji Electric Holdings Co. Ltd., both of Tokyo, leading the way.
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