Photovoltaic (PV) research and development (R&D) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) focuses on (1) boosting solar cell conversion efficiencies, (2) lowering the cost of solar cells, modules, and systems, and (3) improving the reliability of PV components and systems. NREL's PV effort contributes to these goals through high-impact successes in fundamental research, advanced materials and devices, and technology development.
Our scientists are pursuing critical activities that will help to accomplish the goal of the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative—to make large-scale solar energy systems at low grid penetrations cost-competitive with other energy sources by 2020.
Our R&D activities complement, rather than compete with, private-sector work by:
Developing high-pay-off technology too high risk for industry, but too complex for universities;
Understanding the "why" behind what works and what doesn't;
Providing unbiased quantification of metrics to track industry progress;
Performing R&D and developing standards to improve confidence in PV performance, reliability, and safety; and
Supporting the success of U.S. companies through cooperative and enabling R&D.
Our robust research program includes a portfolio of projects with near-, mid-, and long-term time horizons. Industry partners may find partnering with NREL particularly attractive in areas where a commercial version of the technology is not yet fully established.