Photovoltaics

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National Labs Improving Photovoltaic Technology
SETO projects at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are working to develop solutions that will reduce the cost of solar panels.

The Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) supports the early-stage research and development of photovoltaic (PV) technologies that improve efficiency and reliability, lower manufacturing costs, and drive down the cost of solar electricity. The program funds innovative concepts and experimental designs across a range of materials that have the potential to make solar energy among the least expensive forms of energy available by reaching a levelized cost of energy of $0.03 per kilowatt-hour.

SETO advances PV efforts through two competitive funding mechanisms:

Learn more about the PV R&D program and funding priorities, read a paper on PV technology pathways, and read the results from a request for information about photovoltaic research and development priorities.

View the photovoltaics fact sheet (PDF).

SunShot LCOE bar chart 2030 goals utility-scale 2020 met

Photovoltaics Success Stories

EERE Success Story—Researchers Illuminate Solar Panel Wear and Tear to Improve Longevity
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University use electroluminescence and machine learning to reveal the evolution of solar module degradation.
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EERE Success Story—International PV Manufacturing Standards Improve Investor Confidence

SunShot funding is enabling researchers from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop a solution for...

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EERE Success Story—Solving the Efficiency Puzzle: New Solar Cells Open Pathway to 40% Theoretical Efficiency

The solar cells found in today’s typical photovoltaic (PV) solar panels convert about 20% to 23% of the light that passes through them into...

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EERE Success Story - Back to the Basics: Studying Solar Cell Components

As any athlete will tell you, going back to the basics when practicing a sport can provide a refreshed perspective on skills that will improve...

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EERE Success Story—Putting Solar Panels to the Test

Mother Nature can be unpredictable. Sometimes she sends hail; other times, damaging winds; and if you live in a cold climate, she loves to send...

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EERE Success Story—Raising the Bar for Quality PV Modules

Since the development and codification of testing standards for PV modules requires a lengthy multiyear process, Department of Energy’s SunShot...

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