On May 5, MIT Energy Initiative released their report of “The Future of Solar Energy”. MIT team examined the current state of U.S. solar electricity generation, and assessed changes in U.S. government policies that could more effectively support the solar industry. Following are their key findings:
The of c-Si systems likely will dominate the solar energy market for the next few decades and perhaps beyond. Moreover, if the industry can substantially reduce its reliance on silver for electrical contacts, material inputs for c-Si PV generation are available in suffi cient quantity to support expansion to terawatt scale.
some new thin-fi lm technologies using Earth-abundant materials, such as low weight and compatibility with installation in fl exible formats, offer promise for enabling reductions in BOS costs along with lower module costs.
They strongly recommend that a large fraction of federal resources available for solar research and development focus on environmentally benign, emerging thin-fi lm technologies that are based on Earth-abundant materials.
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
R&D and demonstration expenditures on CSP technology should focus on advances in system design, including singlefocus systems such as solar towers, and in the underlying materials science, that would allow for higher-temperature operations, and on the development of improved systems for collecting and receiving solar energy.
They recommend that the U.S. Department of Energy establish a program to support pilot-scale CSP systems in order to accelerate progress toward new CSP system designs and materials.
More details can be found at http://mitei.mit.edu/futureofsolar