Solar photovoltaics: basic principles, state of the art and perspectives.
Ecole polytechnique, IPVF, E4C
Thu, Jun. 04th 2020, 11:00
Solar photovoltaics (PV) has become a key figure in the energy landscape, and continues to raise both hopes and concerns. On the one hand, the sector has evolved extremely fast. PV was marginal two decades ago, but the exponential growth of the sector made it reach 3% of the world electricity production last year, within increasing performances and shrinking costs. On the other hand, concerns about the actual potential and sustainability of the PV industry are often shared, notably in terms of energy costs and material ressources - as exemplified by the recent movie "Planet of the Humans" by Jeff Gibbs.
The aim of this seminar is not to bring a definitive answer to these questions, but to provide updated elements on the PV sector as food for thoughts. I will start with the physical principles of solar energy conversion, to set the fundamental rules of the field. I will then present the current status and recent trends of PV, which will show how fast the sector is evolving, and why it is important to revise orders of magnitude on a regular basis. Finally, I'll present some perspectives and upcoming challenges.