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Issue 4, 2015
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Pathways for solar photovoltaics

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Solar energy is one of the few renewable, low-carbon resources with both the scalability and the technological maturity to meet ever-growing global demand for electricity. Among solar power technologies, solar photovoltaics (PV) are the most widely deployed, providing 0.87% of the world's electricity in 2013 and sustaining a compound annual growth rate in cumulative installed capacity of 43% since 2000. Given the massive scale of deployment needed, this article examines potential limits to PV deployment at the terawatt scale, emphasizing constraints on the use of commodity and PV-critical materials. We propose material complexity as a guiding framework for classifying PV technologies, and we analyze three core themes that focus future research and development: efficiency, materials use, and manufacturing complexity and cost.

Graphical abstract: Pathways for solar photovoltaics

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Article information

25 Dec 2014
17 Feb 2015
First published
17 Feb 2015

Energy Environ. Sci., 2015,8, 1200-1219
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Pathways for solar photovoltaics

J. Jean, P. R. Brown, R. L. Jaffe, T. Buonassisi and V. Bulović, Energy Environ. Sci., 2015, 8, 1200
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE04073B

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