PV continues to grow and this entails investment in new systems. But which is the right technology from the medium-term perspective? Which technology offers the greatest potential? Or would it be better to adopt a technology whose potential is already largely exhausted?
This article endeavours to shed some light on the subject and clarify the situation from a somewhat higher viewpoint.
During the last 3 decades, a PV industry has emerged that covers the entire value chain from the production to contracting, installation, operations, repowering and the suppliers.
The module prices have been able to benefit significantly from the growing volumes and the many applied innovations, with ca. 21.5% doubling of the cumulative installation base. This is called the PV learning curve.
The goal of photovoltaics (PV) is to generate the maximum possible amount of electricity from sunlight. Initially standalone in so-called island systems and later as part of a power grid, which is today the most common application. At the same time, PV has to face up to the cost comparison in the energy market. The authoritative measurement quantity is USD/MWh. PV is only available during the day and requires buffer storage such as batteries, power-to-gas or conversion to heat for power shifting. PV is also one of the first energy forms to demonstrate a full-cost accounting: from the production to operation, distribution and disposal.