EU PVSEC: PV developing in right direction

13. September 2010 | EU PVSEC 2010, Top News | By:  Becky Stuart

The 25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition / 5th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (25th EU PVSEC / WCPEC-5) closed its doors last Friday after five days in Valencia, Spain.

Visitors walking into the 25th EU PVSEC in Valencia, Spain

Visitor numbers were lower than expected. Image: Wip Renewable Energies.

While 4,540 conference delegates attended 1,600 scientific and technical presentations, and 963 exhibitors met with 38,000 visitors from around the world, visitor numbers were lower than the 40,000 originally expected.

However, judging from the news, which came from the trade show, the industry is positive about its progress. Conference general chairman, Dr. Giovanni Federigo De Santi, director, Institute for Energy (IE) JRC - European Commission stated: “This 5th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion confirmed our expectations that photovoltaics (PV) is developing globally in the right direction."

He continued: "With the targets as declared so far by its Member States, in the year 2020 the European Union would cover an estimated three percent of electricity consumption by PV solar energy. Similar ambitious plans are being brought forward in the U.S., Japan and India as well as in China. My vision to reach by 2020 a worldwide installed PV solar capacity, equivalent to about two percent of the total electricity demand, seems to be not unrealistic.”

R&D progress

During the WCPEC-5, delegates presented new ideas and concepts in all fields of PV research and technology. Topics ranged from advanced PV - new concepts and ultra-high efficiency - wafer-based silicon solar cells, materials technology and thin film solar cells, to PV systems and their components, and large-scale deployment of PV.

In his concluding summary, Dr. Heinz Ossenbrink, technical program chairman, highlighted the “enormous steps ahead” in research and development that had been presented during the conference. In the sessions on advanced PV, for example, the latest progress made in research on PV through nanotechnology, such as 10.9 percent efficiency for Nanowire III-V Cells, as well as light trapping plasmonics in thin film, were emphasized.

Additionally, it was said that the big market share in silicon based module cells is expected to grow rapidly in the next ten years. An alternative method of manufacturing silicon was discussed in sessions on the future of silicon. The commercial use of silicon modules today was also addressed during the week. Latest efficiencies of crystalline silicon modules show a performance of more than 22 percent.

In the auditoria and on the floors the latest efficiencies and thicknesses of PV thin film cells and modules were presented.  For example, CIGS thin film cells reaching 20 percent efficiencies and micro thin film modules achieving close to 11 percent. Recycling of PV was another topic, as well as progress made in measuring the reliability of PV thin film. Dr. Ossenbrink emphasized that ‘PV Architecture’ is about to become a “cultural experience”. 

Awards

Last Wednesday, the 18th European Becquerel Prize for Outstanding Merits in Photovoltaics was awarded to Professor Hans-Werner Schock from the Helmholtz-Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy, Germany. He was awarded for his pioneering work on Copper-Indium-Gallium-Diselenide (CIGS) thin film solar cells. Additionally, the 2010 Robert Hill Award for the Promotion of Photovoltaics for Development was presented to Alain Liébard, Fondation Energies pour le Monde, France last Friday.

The next EU PVSEC is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany, in the CCH – Congress Centre and International Fair Hamburg. The conference will take place over five days, from next 5-9 September 2011; the exhibition will run over four days from 5-8 September.


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