Is it true that the sun's energy can't be harnessed cost effectively, or in large enough quantities to be useful? The sun has been around for four billion years, and will far outlast any — and all — fossil fuels. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, humans have relied on fossil fuels to generate energy. Some think that intermittency, area and cost are fundamental barriers to directly harnessing the sun's energy. In fact, we are nearing a turning point, where the production economics of solar energy are compelling enough to deliver electrons from the sun at a lower cost than electrons generated from fossils. We as humans are about to lay claim to the ultimate conquest, to harness mother nature's most powerful and abundant energy source.
About Chris Norris
Christopher Norris joined Alta Devices in 2008 as President and CEO shortly after the company was founded. During his tenure, Alta has raised over $100M in financing and set the world records for both cell and module efficiency based on its flexible solar cell technology. Prior to Alta Devices, Chris had the opportunity to experience both sides of the startup world, first as CEO of MicroDisplay Corporation, where he led the transformation of the company from chip maker to high definition TV (HDTV) manufacturer, and then later as a Venture Partner at the investment firm Blue Run Ventures. Much of Mr. Norris’ professional experience was shaped by a long career in the semiconductor industry, first at Intel, where he was involved in both manufacturing and development, and then later at Cypress Semiconductor where over seventeen years he managed a wide variety of businesses, including the consumer, computation, and data-com business units. While at Cypress, Mr. Norris served on the board of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), working on trade and environmental issues. He has seven issued patents, a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Computer Engineering.
As photovoltaic (PV) solar power becomes more prevalent and as PV penetration on the grid grows, inverters are going to increasingly be depended on to provide ancillary services in addition to just straight DC-to-AC conversion. These new services will look different for small residential and commercial applications versus utility-scale, but in any case, the role of the inverter is likely to grow. PV power plants operating similar to existing rotating equipment based power plants can support the grid with features that include Low Voltage Ride Through (LVRT) and reactive power supply in situations of low and high voltage.
About Erik Bakke
Erik is a Senior Sales Manager for Solar Solutions in the Renewable Energy division of GE Power & Water responsible for account management in the Western United States. He focuses on solar customer solutions utilizing thin film modules and grid connected inverters in Engineered Equipment Packages for utility scale PV Solar power plants. Prior to joining GE, Erik was the US Sales and Project Manager for Utility Projects at SMA America. He developed the contacts, processes and tools for large project central inverter sales as he lead the US entry of SMA technology into the US utility scale PV market for two years. His solar experience began in 2006 when he joined Conergy Projects to help launch the brand into the US PV market. As the Western Regional Manager, he lead sales, engineering and project management teams to engineer, procure and construct solar PV systems from 3 kW up to 1.2
The SQ limit assumes perfect external fluorescence yield at open-circuit. On the other hand, inefficient external fluorescence at open-circuit is an indicator of non-radiative recombination and optical losses. Owing to the narrow escape cone, efficient external emission requires repeated escape attempts, and demands an internal luminescence efficiency >>90%. We find that the failure to efficiently extract the recycled internal photons is an indicator of an accumulation of non-radiative losses, which are largely responsible for the failure to achieve the SQ limit in the best solar cells.
About Eli Yablonovitch
Eli Yablonovitch is the Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science (E3S), a multi-University Center based at Berkeley. He received his Ph.d. degree in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1972. He worked for two years at Bell Telephone Laboratories, and then became a professor of Applied Physics at Harvard. In 1979 he joined Exxon to do research on photovoltaic solar energy. Then in 1984, he joined Bell Communications Research, where he was a Distinguished Member of Staff, and also Director of Solid-State Physics Research. In 1992 he joined the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was the Northrop-Grumman Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering. Then in 2007 he became Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley, where he holds the James & Katherine Lau Chair in Engineering. Prof. Yablonovitch is a Fellow of the IEEE, the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society. He is a Life Member of Eta Kappa Nu, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences. He has been awarded the Adolf Lomb Medal, the W. Streifer Scientific Achievement Award, the R.W. Wood Prize, the Julius Springer Prize, and the Mountbatten Medal. He also has an honorary Ph.d. from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden. In his photovoltaic research, Yablonovitch introduced the 4n2 light-trapping factor that is used commercially in almost all high performance solar cells. Yablonovitch introduced the idea that strained semiconductor lasers could have superior performance due to reduced valence band (hole) effective mass. Today, almost all semiconductor lasers use this concept, including telecommunications lasers, DVD players, and laser pointers. Yablonovitch is regarded as one of the Fathers of the Photonic BandGap concept, and coined the term "Photonic Crystal".
Current multi-junction solar cell technology has a well-known efficiency limitation of ~40% at 500 suns. Higher efficiencies can be achieved by optimizing the bandgaps of the junctions, but the selection of materials and approaches to do so is very limited. Solar Junction has adopted the dilute nitride material system to obtain these new bandgaps and break through the 40% efficiency barrier. The unique and powerful advantage of dilute nitrides is that the bandgap can be tuned and varied while maintaining lattice-matched conditions to Ge or GaAs. Solar Junction’s first commercial product demonstrates a significant performance improvement with verified efficiencies of 43.5%. Advantages of this technology to CPV modules and system operation will be discussed.
About Homan Yuen
Homan Yuen brings extensive hands-on materials and device experience for a wide range of applications including solar cells, optoelectronics, silicon photonics, and CMOS electronics. He is currently Vice President, R&D and Co-Founder of Solar Junction, producer of the world’s most efficient solar cell. Homan received his Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from Stanford University for developing the dilute nitride material system for semiconductor laser diodes. He also held a senior research position at Translucent Inc. developing rare-earth oxide applications. Homan brings over 11 years of experience in materials science and device technology with numerous technical publications and patents.
In recent years the global market for photovoltaic power generation has grown by an average of over 40% per year and is expected to continue to grow strongly in the future, especially with the growing awareness of the need for renewable energy. Conventional inorganic semiconductor-based photovoltaic cells suffer from a number of drawbacks, including high fabrication cost and the need for extremely sophisticated manufacturing capabilities. This technology is, therefore, currently not commercially viable without government subsidy. Polymer-based solar cells are comparatively much cheaper devices, and can be fabricated using less expensive infrastructure. However, commercial application of these devices is hampered by their instability and extremely short life span. In addition to a susceptibility to UV radiation damage, moisture and oxygen diffusion are major factors responsible for the instability and short life span of these devices The talk will introduce new Polymer Energy System. We have recently demonstrated (1) the most stable polymer solar cells in the world (exceeding 400 days) fabricated at exceptionally low costs through novel open air-manufacturing and (2) high-density polymer super-capacitors that offer uniquely high power and energy density storage. We combine these two components into a flexible and scalable Energy System enhanced by nano-optic metallization films on the surface. This system improves performance and allows on very low cost and practical use of this technology. The capability and advantage of organic semiconductors and printed electronics will be discussed as an exciting new platform technology that creates the low-cost foundation of our energy system.
About Bozena Kaminska
Dr. Bozena Kaminska, Ph.D. is presently Professor and Canada Research Chair in wireless sensor networks at Simon Fraser University, focusing on the research and development of innovative micro and nano devices. She leads CIBER, the Centre for Integrative Bio-Engineering Research at Simon Fraser University. At present she serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for CMC Microsystems. Dr. Kaminska’s academic career spans two decades and three nations including professor posts at the University of Montréal, Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole Polytechnique of Algiers and Warsaw University of Technology. She has been at Simon Fraser University since 2005 after her company OPMAXX has been acquired by US-based public company Credence Corporation. Dr. Kaminska is a prolific inventor who has authored multiple patents. She was recognized with the 2010 Entrepreneurship Fellow Award by the British Columbia Innovation Council for her leadership and initiative in developing multiple commercially attractive wireless technologies for healthcare, security, asset tracking, and document verification. In 1997 she received the Innovator of the Year award by US EDA association for her mixed-signal design and test innovation. In 1996 she also funded Pultronics Inc. in Montreal. Pultronics is a wireless sensor network provider operating successfully until now. Currently she is involved in nano technology start up IDme, publicly traded NanoTech Security, and wireless sensor network provider Adigy Canada.
After a year of booming demand and handsome profits in 2010, where the global new installations grew by more than 140% year-over-year to reach 18GW, the global PV industry entered into a much challenging time in the second quarter of 2011. Policy uncertainties in key markets have led to soft demand. Industry overcapacity, feared by some for years, has finally caught up. These key factors have created a market situation with significant inventory build-up, sharply falling ASPs, and eroding gross margins. This presentation will take a look at the development of the PV industry in recent years, with a focus on manufacturing and supply chain. It will also explore opportunities in an ear of challenging market dynamics.
About Melody Song
Melody Song joined SEMI San Jose office in 2010 and currently is the Sr. Manager, Industry Research and Statistics. Prior to this position, she worked at SEMI China Shanghai office as an analyst focusing on China PV industry. Before starting a career in the PV industry, much of Melody’s past experience involves market research and business analysis for the internet industry. Melody received a Bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, a Master’s degree from UC Berkeley, and an MBA degree from Santa Clara University.
Just as consumers seek certified doctors or car dealers, financiers now demand greater levels of technical certification for solar projects. Learn how financial decision makers judge the "bankability" and predicted ROI of solar projects. This session discusses how commercial and utility projects can maximize yield, forecasting accuracy and the investment of solar financiers.
About Benjamin Compton
Ben Compton, a 12+ year solar industry veteran, is guiding meteocontrol’s entry into the North American market. Previous positions include leading the Field Operations team at United Solar where he oversaw all Application Engineering, Field Service Engineering, Technical Support, and Project Deployment activities. Earlier Ben directed the Customer Service departments at Suntech and SunPower/PowerLight. During six years at SunPower (PowerLight), he was responsible for all operational aspects of over 110 MW of solar deployed in 350 systems. He has developed commissioning and acceptance test plans for over $1.2 billion (200 MW) of installed solarsystems, ranging in size from several kilowatts up to multi-megawatt (23 MW) power plants. Ben holds a B.A. Computer Science from Brown University and an M.S. Engineering with a focus on Renewable Energy Technologies from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Optimization of the PV cell process and design directly affects the key metrics: cost per watt. A significant optimization space is demonstrated for the optical behavior, junction engineering, and contact placement of a crystal silicon PV cell based on a rigorous 3D modeling of all relevant physical effects. The calculated PV cell properties are then used for virtual prototyping of the modules and arrays to optimize the system level performance.
About Victor Moroz
Victor Moroz is a Synopsys Scientist, engaged in a variety of projects on modeling 3D ICs, transistor scaling, FinFETs, stress engineering, solar cell design, innovative patterning, random and systematic variability, junction leakage, non-Si transistors, and atomistic effects in layer growth and doping. Several facets of this activity are reflected in three book chapters and over 100 technical papers, invited presentations, and patents. Victor has also been involved in technical committees at ITRS, IEDM, DFM&Y, ECS, and ESSDERC.
Worldwide grid-connected PV capacity is constantly increasing, providing an opportunity for micro-inverter market share growth, but it is vitally important that their lifetime be comparable to the PV modules from which they harvest power. This paper will explore the reliability challenges that have to be faced when designing micro-inverters, such as the effects of the environment to which they are exposed and how this can be simulated during the product design using accelerated life testing techniques. Further, system availability will also be discussed, which is an integral component in the reliability equation that has to be addressed if the PV installation is to fulfil its investment potential.
About Asim Mumtaz
Asim Mumtaz (Founder and Principle Engineer) has over 10 years experience in microelectronics and solar photovoltaic's research. He is a founder of Enecsys and developed the company's first IC and led prototype development. He has interests in sustainable development and has been involved in the implementation of a number of solar and wind energy projects in 4 African countries. Asim holds a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge.