National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Director Dan Arvizu recently gave a keynote speech during the 2013 International Renewable Energy Conference (part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week), which I was lucky enough to attend in January*. His speech covered a large variety of cleantech topics, and most of the points I’ve covered extensively over the years. However, a couple of his points stood out to me as rather interesting and relatively uncovered.
Some of them are the foci of the interviews I conducted with him after his presentation (see the posts linked on the bottom of this article). But I decided to leave a couple of the points out of our interviews since they’re pretty straightforward and the chart presenting them is available on the NREL website, and now right here:
The takeaway points from the chart are:
- The current efficiencies of all types of solar modules and solar cells are nowhere near their theoretical efficiency limits. (And that’s not to say the theoretical limits can’t also increase.)
- Thin-film solar (CdTe) is especially ripe for efficiency improvements (commentary on that below), as are concentrated photovoltaics (CPV).