Improving Photovoltaic Technology to Lower Solar Costs
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The video opens with the SunShot: U.S. Department of Energy logo. Text appears:
The SunShot Initiative funds innovative research and development projects with the goal of making solar energy affordable and accessible to every American.
Here is one project working to dramatically lower the cost of electricity generated by solar technology.
The video shifts to the sign outside the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, then shows a woman working in her office before it cuts to an interview with her.
Sarah Kurtz, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Being able to bring low-cost energy to the world will be a wonderful thing. If you have low-cost energy, you can generate clean water, you can bring light to people who need it. The cheaper the electricity is, the better off we are.
Three cents a kilowatt hour is the target. NREL is looking at a number of different possible solutions that could contribute. We have a module that's been very fun to watch. The module design allows it to operate at a lower temperature than what's normal. Every two degrees centigrade you can reduce the operating temperature, you increase the efficiency by one percent.
We're also looking at soiling. Can we understand how dirty the modules will get? How often you need to clean them? What you need to budget?
The degradation of PV modules can come about for lots of different reasons. But we've taken modules out of the field that have been there for more than twenty-five years, and found that they have a power output that's more than their original nameplate value. So, we know that it's very feasible to make a module that's very stable.
The most challenging part of meeting the three cents a kilowatt hour goal is to simultaneously get to higher efficiency, lower cost, long lifetime, low degradation rate. We can do all of those individually but doing them all together in one product is the challenge. I'm a hundred percent confident we're going to get there.
The video ends with the SunShot logo and the website's address: energy.gov/sunshot/.